Saturday, March 31, 2012

Let the Voting Commence

The polls have opened over at Spinetingler this morning. Voting remains open until the end of April and winners will be announced on May 1. The voting is open to the public, so get yourself over there and cast your votes. Lots of great zines, anthologies, collections and short stories nominated.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Needle Magazine

Needle Magazine has opened for submissions - check out the guidelines here

Anthology Call

I missed this the other day over at Crossed Genres. They have a call for short stories of 2000 to 8000 words for an anthology called "Menial: Skilled Labor in SF". Yes, they want stories about the people who get their hands dirty in space, who know the nuts and bolts of keeping a body alive with hard work. Deadline is May 31, payment is a flat $20. You can find all the details here

RIP Harry Crews

“A writer’s job is to get naked, to hide nothing, to look away from nothing, to look at it, to not blink, to not be embarrassed by it or ashamed of it. Strip it down and let’s get to where the blood is, where the bone is.” --Harry Crews

Where We're Going

Richard Parks has a great essay on riding the wave of this new publishing world we're living in and how it affects our writing goals.

Can You Feel It?

That tingle running up your spine. Yep, The Spinetingler Award nominees are being announced today. One every hour until seven tonight and tomorrow the polls open so the voting can begin. Posted already are the best covers and The Fireball Award for best opening line. We're all Snoopy Dancing today! Check them out here

And a special Snoopy Dance for the short story nominees!!

“Abriani’s Six” by Atul Sabharwal from Tehelka
“The Cloud Factory” by Court Merrigan from PANK Magazine
“Disney Noir” by Peter Farris from Shotgun Honey
“Either Way it Ends with a Shovel” by David James Keaton from Crimefactory
“Hoodwinked” by Nigel Bird from All Due Respect
“The Other Man” by Hilary Davidson from Beat to a Pulp
“Road Kill” by William Dylan Powell from Flash Fiction Offensive
“Silas’ Good Run” by Matthew C Funk from Beat to a Pulp
“Silent Game” by Stephen Graham Jones from Plots with Guns
“Vorovsky Mir” by M James Blood from Plots With Guns

And this category made me tingle all over!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Pair of Markets

There's a new sci-fi ezine that's just launched called They're also a paying market for short stories ( 5cents a word ) and they're open for submissions. You can check them out here

I ran across a new press over at Duotrope that might interest you folks. It's called Stumar Press and they publish horror. They're looking for shorts for their "Book of Horror" anthology series. They're also looking for single author collections and novella and novel length work of 15,000 to 100,000 words. They are an ebook publisher but some of the work will also be in print. Payment is in royalties with 50% of the profits going to the author (even split of that percentage to each author in the anthology series). You can check them out here

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

And Another

Necro Publications has a call for an anthology titled "Into the Darkness". They're looking for horror stories of 1500 to 10,000 words with a July 31 deadline. Payment is 2cents a word plus a copy. You'll find all the details of what they want and don't want here

Anthology Call

Crossed Genres has a submission call out for speculative novellas featuring women of advancing age for a new anthology called "Winter Well". Stories must be 17,500 to 40,000 words with a September 30 deadline. Payment is $2.50 per 1000 words plus a print copy and ebook copy. You can find all the details and the submission form here

Dashiell Hammett

With a big thank you to Peter Rozovsky there's word that Dashiell Hammett's short story "Arson Plus" is online over at the Library of America site as story of the week.

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 storySouth Million Writers Award

The Million Writers Award has finally launched this year. This award is for stories published in online journals and magazines that have an editorial process. Readers are allowed to nominate one story and editors can nominate three. You can find all the rules and links to posting your nomination here

There are cash prizes for the winners but most of all this is a great place to discover new stories and markets.

Forgot to mention that stories must be over 1000 words to be eligible.

A Twist of Noir

A Twist of Noir has closed to submissions until further notice. Editor, Christopher Grant, is working through the backlog. You can read the details here

Thunderdome Publishing

Thunderdome Publishing has two anthology calls listed on their site. They're also a zine site for short stories which is non-paying but has some interesting reading. Ah, yes, the calls:

"Cipher Sisters" is looking for shorts up to 5000 words based on the true story of two sisters who died with no relatives to contact. What they want is for writers to piece together what might have been their lives. The deadline is September 30. Pays royalties.

"The Tarot" is looking for shorts up to 2000 words based around a tarot deck or a single card from the deck. The deadline here is April 15. There's no mention of payment.

You can find details for both of these anthologies here If you're interested in submitting to their magazine click on submissions at the top of the page and click on fiction if you'd like to read what they've published.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

It's Always Something

Another market writers should avoid!

I've found over the years that while many markets offer payment they actually hate to part with their money, and the smaller the payment, the harder it is to squeeze the money out of them :) Truth is, if you're like me, you'll just let it go because there's not much point arguing over a dollar or five. The costs of trying to collect doesn't make it worth the effort and I expect that's what many publishers count on. I'd rather be published without payment than lied to by one that supposedly pays. Of course, if you're a freelance writer using the money to put food on the table, that's another story entirely.

Hat tip to Brian Lindenmuth for the link!!

Anthology Call - Mirror Shards

Over at I found a new anthology call. This one is from Black Moon Books for "Mirror Shards vol 2". They're looking for stories in any genre so long as the story revolves around an augmented reality. 3000 to 9000 word with a May 5 deadline. Payment is 2cents a word with the top story receiving 5cents a word. You can find a link to DL Snells interview with the editor and details about the call here

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Anthology Call

Red Iris Books has a submission call out for their 2012 anthology. They're looking for stories of 5000 to 20,000 words that are a cross between horror and paranormal. Deadline is August 15. Payment is $0.002 per word which works out to $10 to $40 a story depending on length. You can find all the details here

Downer Magazine

Downer Magazine is a new flash zine looking to launch soon. They bill themselves as "a broken home for abrasive fiction". They're looking for 1000 words or less of dark, noir, and pulpy stories. You can check out the site and details for submitting here This is a non-paying market.

UPDATE:  April 7, 2013  This market appears to be dead and the site gone.

Joe Lansdale

With his new book, "Edge of Dark Water" coming out soon, Joe Lansdale is making the interview rounds and I'm so enjoying reading about how he works. You can find a two part interview over at Mulholland Books and another over at The Big Click where he's being interviewed by Tom Piccirilli

Friday, March 23, 2012


Every year I pick a couple of markets where I'd like to see one of my stories published. Gemini magazine has been on my list for a couple of years and I finally wrote a story that was a fit for their zine. If you'd care to have a read you can check it out here

Gemini publishes some very fine stories and I'm proud to be a part of their zine. How about you, do you have a list of markets that you'd like to have your stories published in one day?

To Self-Publish or Not

This post might be a bit muddled as I'm trying to think through my thoughts on this topic. Over on SMFS a poster brought up the question of whether to seek publication in zines for her short stories or to just publish them herself. The answers were varied but seemed to tend toward self-publication via Amazon.

When I was growing up as a writer self-publishing was frowned upon. You needed to earn the right to call yourself a writer. And so I submitted my work to newspapers and regional magazines with some small success then started submitting short stories to the wider world of publishing with not so much success. But along the way I kept learning what I was doing wrong from wonderful notes from the editors who read my work. And that's something that self-publishing as a beginning writer can't do for you unless you're smart enough to hire an editor to fix your work before you publish.

The problem with most beginning writers is the belief that once they have it down on paper (computer screen) it doesn't need editing, it's brilliant because they wrote it. And believe me, I understand that belief. It was only through working with editors and other writers that I realized just how much I had to learn. That's when I started cracking the books. Not just writing books but novels and short stories that could show me what makes a good or bad story. Then writing and writing some more. Writing isn't just about getting the words down, it's about craft. It's about using the right words to get your meaning across. It's about learning how to bring your characters to life. It's not about pleasing just yourself, but pleasing the readers, too.

The online zines are an excellent training ground for new writers, especially the ones with editors who care about the work and strive to help writers put their best story forward. But even the ones who don't edit help, because you can see your own mistakes there on the published page and many times the readers will let you know when you've failed them, by their comments or lack thereof. You can even judge the improvements in your writing by going back to some of the first work you had published and comparing it to where you are now. I hide my head in shame when I read some of my old work and wonder what those editors were thinking!

One of the biggest pros for publishing online is the ability to build a following that will know your work and your name. That name recognition, especially if coupled with good writing and stories, will translate into sales if you do choose to self-publish your work. It also brings your work to the attention of other editors and publishers who are looking for stories for their zines and anthologies. And yes, I speak from experience on that point. The thrill of having an editor ask for one of your stories is, well, thrilling.

Writing is a continuous learning process. One that gives you both pleasure and grief in abundance. If all you're seeking is money, then self-publish, especially if you've reached the point where you're a good writer and know the value of an editor for your work. New writers will find out the hard way, through bad reviews and lack of sales, that they've got a lot to learn. But of course, there's no easy way to find out that you're not as brilliant as you think you are.

I don't know if anyone will find any wisdom in this post, it is, after all, just a bit of musing on my part. The truth is, I don't know the answers myself. Some writers, both experienced and novice have found tremendous success in self-publishing, others not so much. There's no easy answers to be found in this new publishing world. Only more questions.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


If you've ever wondered about all the different types of flash fiction LitReactor has a post up that breaks it down fairly well. They're also running a 10 word flash contest. Post your entry in the comments by March 28 to win prizes.

Always the Fine Print

I ran across a new flash fiction market over at Duotrope this morning that I think needs a caution attached for all you new writers out there. Flash Fiction World states (pasted below) that they don't own your work but they do own "a perpetual, non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, transferable licence to use...." Yep, that means they can do anything they choose with your work and they don't have to pay you a dime or even tell you that they've used it or sold it elsewhere. Be cautious out there people.

"If you submit any material or comments to Flash Fiction World, the following conditions apply:

a) You retain all intellectual copyright of your work – Flash Fiction World does not own your work once you have submitted it, and you are free to submit the same piece elsewhere. By posting a Submission, you grant Flash Fiction World a perpetual, non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, transferable licence to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, distribute, perform, play, and make available to the public that Submission without restriction, for internal purposes and for commercial purposes. You acknowledge that Flash Fiction World may at its discretion contact you to discuss any Submissions with you further. Although you may submit the same piece elsewhere, it may be the case that other websites and publishers will not accept your Submission once Flash Fiction World has published it – by submitting a piece, you recognise that this is the case."

For Our British Writers

Or those who will be in Bristol, UK May 24 to 27. Crime Fest is sponsoring a contest called "FlashBang!" and the first place winner receives two weekend passes. There is no entry free.

They're looking for up to 150 words with an April 15 deadline. There will be eight prizes total and the winners will be published online at the FlashBang site. You can find all the details here

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Just when I thought I'd seen it all in regards to letters from editors, tonight I received a letter that both accepted and rejected my story. The acceptance was nice with details about the story and publication. Then immediately after came the one line standard form rejection. Of course, I'll be sending the editor the required file and bio and keep my fingers crossed. :)

How about you, what's the strangest rejection or acceptance you've ever received?

Writing the Senses

Michael Bracken sent me this link to an article that explains why you should use all the senses in your writing. Pretty interesting.

Underwater New York

Ran across this interesting site over a Duotrope today. Underwater New York publishes stories about items found underwater around New York. And yes, there's a list available for you to choose from. Right now they're looking for flash stories of up to 500 words with a May 1 deadline. This is a non-paying market. You can find the details here They accept work in all genres.

Even if you don't care to submit to this market, the list of objects that have been found in the waterways of New York is a great place to find a story prompt.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More Calls for Submissions

Angie has posted her monthly list of anthology calls (paying) here

And Horror Tree has both anthology calls and zine calls (paying and non-paying) here

Anthology Call

Author and editor, Matt Hilton, has posted a call for submissions to a new anthology tentatively titled "Action: Pulse Pounding Tales". He's looking for action stories in any genre up to 5000 words. Pay varies by length from 5 to 20pounds. You can find all the details at


The first issue of Grift is now available for sale. You can check out the details for this new print magazine here

Monday, March 19, 2012

For the Ladies

The "Luna Station Quarterly" has opened for submissions of spec-fiction by female writers. This is a non-paying market for short stories of 500 to 5000 words. Deadline is May 15 for this submission period.

Cover Art

For those of you who enjoy cover art Snubnose Press has a page of their cover designs posted here

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Anthology Calls

Post Mortem Press has a call for submissions for the anthology "The Ghost In the Machine". They're looking for steampunk ghost stories set in any time period. Deadline is May 31. Payment is royalties. 2000 to 7000 words. Details here

Evil Jester Press has a call for submissions for the anthology "Carnival of the Damned". They're looking for horror stories set at the carnival. 4000 to 12,000 words with a July 31 deadline. Royalty payments. You can find the details here

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Over at The Big Click

It's always fun getting inside a writer's mind and Tom Piccirilli's non-fiction piece, "Fat Burglar Blues", was an interesting place to spend a little time. You can read it here

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bloody Scotland

From Elaine Ash we have word of the Bloody Scotland short story contest. There's a 10pound fee to enter. The deadline is June 29 for stories up to 3000 words. The theme is "Worth the Wait". And the top prize is a $2000 bottle of 35 year old single malt, publication as lead story in an ebook anthology, and a week end pass to Bloody Scotland. Runners up have their stories published in the anthology. You can find all the details here.


The first Kindle edition of Spinetingler Magazine is now available

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Needle Magazine

The first issue of 2012 is live. For all the details and the secret password for your 20% discount go here

Print the Legend

After all these years we still don't know the truth about the infamous Lizzie Bordon. Perhaps that's why we're so fascinated with the case. Of course the truth will never be as delicious as the legend of Lizzie Bordon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Market Notes

I ran across Astraea Press over at Duotrope. They're looking for stories of 15,000 to 100,000 words in all genres including YA. They're basically a romance press but they want everything clean - no sex, cursing, violence etc. Think Christian without the religious aspects. This is a royalty paying press. You can check them out here

Jake's Monthly has been around for six months now. Every month a new theme is posted and an anthology put up on Smashwords. There are no word limits and no payment. But I thought this month's theme might interest some of you - locked room mysteries. Deadline is March 31 for this one. You can check them out here

Monday, March 12, 2012

Market Notes

Canadian magazine, AE Sci-fi, is open for submissions to its third micro fiction contest. This year's theme is "space" and you have 200 words, including the title to, tell your sci-fi story. There is no fee and the deadline is March 26. Five winners, three Canadian and two international, will be selected for publication and paid 6cents CAD with a minimum of $10 for each story. You can find all the details at

And "Nefarious Muse" has closed to submissions, no word if they will re-open. Their publishing schedule has been pretty spotty over the last year or two.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Morning Chuckles

Having a blog attracts all sorts of people to your site and dumps all kinds of requests into your email account. Yesterday I was sent a free e-copy of a novel. Now I don't open emails with files attached before I do a search for the person who sent the email. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on this author's site

Oh, yes, he's giving away free copies of his ultra noir detective novel, "The Long Drunk", in exchange for an Amazon review. And no, I haven't read it, but I couldn't resist linking to this guy's web site.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Anthology Call

Very cool news from Chris Rhatigan. With the wonderful success of Pulp Ink, editors, Chris, and Nigel Bird are opening submissions for Pulp Ink 2. This time around there is no theme and they're looking for crime and horror or a combination of both. 1000 to 5000 words. You can find all the details here

Friday, March 9, 2012

Anthology Call

Here's one for all you Westerns writers out there. "The Edge of Sundown" is looking for horror stories of 4000 to 8000 words set in the American West of 1860 to 1900. The deadline is July 1. Payment is 3cents a word. I found this one over at where there's also a link to an interview with the editor.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Market Notes

From Katherine Tomlinson we have an anthology call contest. There's no entry fee. Iron Cauldron Books is looking for submissions for "Richmond Macabre". They want horror stories set in Richmond, VA in any time period. 3000 to 6000 words with a deadline of March 31. There's no mention of prizes or pay. Details here

And from Brian Lindenmuth we have a link to author/editor, Joe Clifford's blog. He's looking to start a new ezine along the lines of ThugLit. There's no details as yet but he's looking for suggestions of a name for the new zine. Drop on over and give him some encouragement. We can always use another crime fiction market.

Concentration and Juggling Stories

Do you ever find it hard to concentrate on a story? Right now, I'm puttering around with three stories and not making much progress on any of them. The stories are all pretty much formed in my head but getting them down feels like pulling my own teeth with a pair of pliers.

Part of problem is that I'm waiting on editorial notes from two other projects that have been accepted and are supposed to be published this month. I hate getting deep into a story and then having to turn it off to work on something that's already been kicked out the door. Yeah, the fun part of writing for me is putting down a new story.

I really don't mind the editing process, it's a necessary part of the work. I just find it difficult to concentrate on new stories while the old ones are still swimming around in the back of my mind, playing over and over again, as I look for ways to improve what's already written.

Does anyone else have this problem of concentrating on more than one project at a time or is it just my old timer's mind that likes working on one thing at a time until it's finished?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Brain Harvest

Flash market, "Brain Harvest", is closing its doors. Too bad, this was one of the few paying flash markets.


Over at the Detectives beyond Borders blog, Peter Rozovsky has a post about the writing in Daniel Woodrell's "The Outlaw Album". The conversation that followed was very interesting and made me wonder just how important an MFA is to a writer.

So here's my questions. Does an MFA make you a better writer? Does it open more doors for an author? Does it make your agent query letter look more important?

And what about places like The Iowa Workshop or Breadloaf or any one of a hundred other literary workshops? Do they make you a better writer or do they just make all writers sound the same? How important are MFA's and literary workshops to an author's career? And can you be a successful (successful being subjective) writer without all the literary trappings?

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Few Links

How cool is this - they've discovered 500 new fairytales!!
There's a great post at Omnivoracious about writing cross genre stories.

Rose Lemberg has a wonderful view on writing feminist characters.

And Cheryl Morgan wonders why women writers aren't taking the opportunities open to them for writing sci-fi/fantasy

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Spam Story Cupboard

For the most part spam emails are just a nuisance. But this morning I received an intriguing email from a Terrance Dittmar, whom I don't know. There was a file attached so I didn't open it, but, oh, the urge to do so was great. Why? The subject line was something you don't see everyday. "You should kill your ex after this photo".

Oh the story ideas at play in that subject line. Is Dittmar a PI who snapped a picture that enraged him so much that he'd encourage his client to murder? Or perhaps a hit man offering his services? And what could be so devastating in a photo that your would want to murder your ex? Or could it possibly be a police sting? Or a jealous lover looking to fan the flames of divorce? And then of course, there's the amateur detective who does open the email and starts to investigate. As I said the ideas are endless. And who'd have thought such a great story idea would pop up in my spam folder?

Friday, March 2, 2012

From Brian

From Brian Lindenmuth comes this link to the 10 Commandments for Con Men

One of the blogs I read this morning said that today is David Goodis' birthday which might explain why something called Munseys is giving away free Goodis ebooks. I read this on Brian's twitter feed, @brianlindenmuth. He listed several books but I'll just give you the main link

Feminist Friday

One of my regular Friday stops is Katherine Tomlinson's blog, Kattomic Energy, where the weekly post is called Feminist Fiction Friday. This week's post is an interview with Jennifer Parsons, editor of Luna Station Quarterly. In the interview Ms. Parsons talks about short stories, writing, creating her online zine and why women writers only. You can read it here

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Busy day today. The Big Click has gone live today! Good to see the new zines on the block kicking it off on time and with some great content.


Dark Moon Books has two anthology calls that are open for subs. The first is an alternate history themed anthology that I've mentioned before but the second is one for women writers only titled, "Mistress of the Macabre" which is looking for horror stories feature females that scare the bejesus out of the readers. Deadline for this one is June 30, payment is $20 and a copy. You can find all the details at There's also a listing for "Deadword: Tales of the Wild Dead West". Details for this one will be announced at a later date.

Also open for submissions this month are Bete Noire and Crimespree

Blood and Tacos

The first issue of the new zine Blood and Tacos has launched!!

The 2012 Derringer Award Nominees

The Derringer Award nominees for the Short Mystery Fiction Society have been announced. Congratulations to all the nominees

Finalists for Best Novelette:

Jeffrey Cohen, "The Gun Also Rises: an Aaron Tucker Mystery," Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, January/February 2011

Toni L. P. Kelner, "In Brightest Day," Home Improvement: Undead Edition, August 2011

Doug Allyn, "A Penny for the Boatman," Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March/April 2011

David Dean, "Tomorrow’s Dead," Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, July 2011

Earl Staggs, "Where Billy Died," Untreed Reads, August 2011

Finalists for Best Long Story

Art Taylor, "A Drowning at Snow’s Cut," Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, May 2011

Trina Corey, "Facts Exhibiting Wantonness," Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, November 2011

Trey Dowell, "Ballistic," Untreed Reads, July 2011

Karen Pullen, "Brea’s Tale," Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, November 2011

William Burton McCormick, "Blue Amber," Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, June 2011

Finalists for Best Short Story:

Elizabeth Zelvin, "Death will Tank Your Fish," Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices, 2011

B.V. Lawson, pen name of Bonnie Vanaman, "Touch of Death," Absent Willow Review Online Magazine, April 2011

Mary Stibal, "Sisters in Black," Best New England Crime Stories 2012: Dead Calm, November 2011.

Cathi Stoler, "Fatal Flaw." Beat to a Pulp Online, April 2011

Adam Renn Olenn, "Coronation," Best New England Crime Stories 2012: Dead Calm, November 2011.

Finalists for Best Flash Fiction Story:

Warren Bull, "Company Policy," Yellow Mama, August 2011

John Kenyon, "Countdown," Thrillers, Killers, and Chillers, April 2011

Al Leverone, "Lessons Learned," Shotgun Honey, July 2011

Melodie Campbell, "The Perfect Mark," Flash Fiction Online Magazine, July 2011

Kathleen Ryan, "Heat of Passion," A Twist of Noir, February 2011