Monday, August 31, 2009

A Pair of Anthologies

Pill Hill Press is churning out themes faster than I can keep up. The newest is the Twisted Legends Anthology. They're looking for short stories with a clever twist on urban legends. They're accepting all genres with an emphasis on strong horror/suspense themes, 500 to 5000 words. They're only accepting stories until the anthology is full and they've already started accepting. Be sure to check out their blog for the urban legends that have accepted already. Paying market

You'll have more time for this one because it doesn't open for subs until October 13. It's called Retro Spec: Tales of Fantasy and Nostalgia They're looking for spec-fiction poetry, stories and reprints about culture, society and politics from the 1920's to the 1980's. And they're also a paying market. 3cents a word for shorts with a flat rate of $25 for original stories 900-2000 words. Reprints are 1cent a word with a $3 minimum and a flat rate of $25 for 2500-3000 words.

Looking at Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the first of September and that means there are markets opening for submissions.

First is the zine Big Pulp. url to the left. They open tomorrow and take subs until the 30th.

Now the following are all print magazines and their urls are to the left in the print/anthology section. All of them are open from September 1 through the 30th:

Withersin is open to novella submissions only. This is a horror market.

Cross Genre wants you to cross sci-fi and/or fantasy with another genre. For September the theme is gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. If that doesn't trip your writing trigger you can get a head start on October's theme which is action/adventure.

CrimeSpree is a mystery market as most of you know. With only six to twelve shorts published a year it's a hard market to crack but well worth the effort.

Comet Press extended their Dark Crimes Anthology deadline to September 15, so you better hurry if you're writing for this one.

Shock Totem is open to submissions - they forgot to change their submission page, but have since updated it.

Dropped by the Esquire site. Their contest is closed but they had 3000 entries and they've posted a few tidbits on the site. And if you haven't taken the time to drop by there, you should. They have a wonderful selection of short stories by folks like Stephen King and Daniel Woodrell.

And Rick Helms has announced that the latest issue of The Back Alley is finally up. This is an all lady issue so lets have a great big Snoopy Dance for these fine writers:

G. Miki Hayden
Debbi Mack
Susan Fry
Katrina Barnett
ja kazimer
and good friend of The Corner and the rest of the blog world
Patricia Abbott

Congrats, Ladies!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Goodness

BV Lawson of the In Reference to Murder blog is running a contest. She has 5 copies of CiCi McNair's memoir, Detectives Don't Wear Seatbelts: True Adventures of a Female PI. So hurry on over before midnight August 31 to enter to win a copy. You'll find the details here Hat tip to the Women of Mystery blog.

The ever gracious, Michael Bracken, sent me this link While the site isn't mystery specific, they do publish three or four literary zines full of shorts, flash, and poetry. If you click on the Best of the Web link, you'll find a link to a long list of journals on the right. Now you all know how easy it is to make a crime story literary so happy market hunting.

Over at Duotrope, their random market today was Big Ole Face Full of Monster. It's a print market and they pay 2 1/2 cents per word. They're looking for horror, sci-fi and cross genre work. Be sure to read the guidelines because there's a list of what they don't want there.

And if you're looking for something to read, I have a story up at BTAP. My thanks to David Cranmer, who actually believed I could write a decent western and Elaine Ash for her great editing. And while you're there, be sure to take a read through the archives. You'll find plenty of great stories there!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Links for Friday

I have all kinds of lovely links for you today.

First a bit of news. Corey Wilde has announced that he has two more judges, beside himself, for his Watery Grave Invitational contest. Welcome Dave Zeltserman and Aldo Calcagno to the judging staff.

Over at the Flash Fiction Chronicles, Jonathan Pinnock has an enlightening essay about the joys of getting stuck when you're writing.

When I read this essay by Richard Dansky, I wanted to grab a pen and start writing as fast as I could.

If you're considering writing a steampunk story for the Kerlak anthology you might find this slide show by Jeff VanderMere of interest

I also came across two new markets, at least to me. The first came via Brooke Smith's flash group. Called "Sunsets and Silencers", it's a non-paying print and online lit journal looking for flash and short stories up to 3000 words.

The second is a paying print market of a penny a word called "New Genre". They're looking for sci-fi and horror stories

And we've all been here before But it's always nice to know that we're not alone. Go read Bill Barr's "Slice of Life", it's short but it'll put a smile on your face.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Pair of Markets

Apparatus Magazine bills themselves as a literary zine but says they also publish genre. I expect they're looking for the "transcending" kind. They accept poetry and shorts to 500 words. There's no pay, but once a publishing year (June to June) they select one poem and one short to receive $100. I thought this market might be of interest to our crime writers because the October issue is billed as The Hitchcock Issue with the theme MacGuffin and Red Herring. The deadline is September 22 for this issue. You can find the guidelines at

Aurora Wolf is a sci-fi/fantasy zine looking for PG-13 stories of 2500-5000 words. The pay here is $5 and they're planning an anthology in 2010 with stories from the zine and will renegotiate payment if your story is used. The stories are posted as accepted. You can find the guidelines at

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Odds and Ends

Everyone seems to be looking for sex these days, at least in their short stories. Scalped Magazine has posted the theme for their Winter issue:

"We are looking specifically for writing and artwork of a sexual nature, but not merely sex in literature, erotica literature, or erotica artwork – but work of a sexual nature that is in itself grotesque or at the very least relatively appalling. We want sexual degeneration and sexual distortion."

The deadline for submissions is November 21st. If you stop by the site be sure to check out their gallery. They have an amazing art exhibition there, just run your cursor over the pictures to enlarge them.

Kerlak Publishing on the other hand is looking for stories for their new Steampunk Anthology. They're looking for stories up to 9,000 words with a payment of $20. The deadline for this one is March 31, 2010. You can find all the details and an explanation of steampunk here

And if you're longing to be rid of the day job, you might want to read this essay by Greg vonEekhart called "The Mirror Don't Lie." before you take that leap.

We started with sex, so we'll end with "Sex and Murder". Their September issue is now up. You'll find the url to the left.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not Your Usual Markets

First a market note: For those of you holding contracts for Lurid Lit's print copy of his ezine, you can tear them up. As of August 3, he's folded the zine due to financial problems caused by a lawsuit and released all stories. You can find the details at

Dark Recesses is open to submissions. They're looking for stories that take a walk on the dark side. Pay attention to the guidelines because they tell you what they're looking for and how they want it submitted. Stories from 500 to 5000 words with pay at a penny and half per word with a $25 cap.

Ran across this new zine that's looking for serial stories. It's called Fried Fiction and they have a query process in place. There's no pay and if your story is novel length, you'll probably lose the opportunity to have it published traditionally if you go this root, and the editor kindly states that fact in his guidelines. There's only one story up so far, from the editor, about a retired truck driver hauling freight through Zombie land, so you can get an idea of what he's looking for. Here's the url

If you haven't had lunch yet, you might want to wait to check out this litzine, the pictures alone will set your mouth to watering. Called "Eat Your Words", they're looking for poetry and prose up to 1200 words that's centered around food and the growing and eating of it. They publish every other Thursday.

"Out of the Ruins" is a non-paying market, also. They're looking for dark weird fiction of 1000-5000 words. The site is filled with all kinds of artwork that goes with the stories they've published which looks pretty cool.

And finally we have "Purdee" which posts audio stories. They accept all submissions, with a few exceptions that you'll find in their guidelines, but they must have the audio attached. They're looking for poetry, flash to 1000 words and shorts to 3000. The list of authors contained two I was familiar with, Joe DeMarco, editor of Mysterical-E and Wayne Scheer. I forgot to write myself a note, but I believe they accept reprints and if you're into computer gadgets this might be a fun spot to recycle some of your stories.

The Watery Grave Invitational

Okay, listen up all you crime writers out there, there's a new contest brewing on the World Wide Web. The Watery Grave Invitational is the brain child of Corey Wilde, owner of the excellent, Drowning Machine Blog.

Corey's looking to do something different with this contest and, truth is, it sounds like fun. Starting on September 1 and running through September 8, all EZINE crime writers are invited to send a link to one of their stories published in an ezine. Only one link per author so choose your best story.

After reading all the stories, Corey will then pick the top ten and those writers will be invited to send him a crime story of no more than 2500 words, which you'll have two weeks to write. From those ten he'll pick the winners. 1st prize is $25, second $15 and third $10. There's no fee, only the cost of an email sent to Corey with your story link.

You can check out the details here

For those of you not published in the zines, what are you waiting for? You have until Sept. 8 to find a home online for one of your stories, so get to pounding those keyboards.

Oh yeah, spread the word, we need to drown this man in stories!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gifting Imagination

I don't usually talk about the personal stuff here. This blog is about short stories and markets and writing. Besides, I'm a writer with a boring life but an imagination that wanders into places my feet would never take me.

And it's that imagination that I've been thinking about lately. I wonder where it comes from, why I have an abundance of it and my siblings don't, basically where did it come from, this urge to explore the corners of my mind? In the end of all my wondering, I place the blame for my overactive imagination squarely on my father.

My Dad had gypsy feet and a wandering mind. By the time I was ten years old we'd lived in five different houses and I've lived in seven more since then, though this last one seems to have taken hold me (we've lived here for 33 years). And while my feet are rooted, my imagination still moves from place to place pulling up pictures from the past to paint the canvas of my short stories.

Dad was the reader in our family. Of course, his reading material was forbidden to me (An assortment of "lurid" novels like "God's Little Acre"). But when he sat down to rest after a day's work, it wasn't the TV he turned to, it was his books. If he wanted to learn something, he found a book and poured over the pages until he knew his subject inside and out. From him I learned to love the written word, I learned there were other worlds and wonderful ideas living between the pages of books and I swallowed every word with joy. Novels or short stories, I imbibed like a drunkard.

But it wasn't just the books with my Dad, going on a trip with him was always an experience. You never knew what would capture his eye and we'd be off on a side trip to places like the Corning Glass Works or some out of the way train museum. Even a trip to Grants Department Store was an adventure. My mother went with a list and when the cart was filled with the items on her list, she was ready to leave. But with Dad, we strolled every aisle looking over the newest electronics, toys, power tools, anything that was new caught his eye and he'd study it until he knew how it worked, even buying some of the gadgets he found the most entertaining.

Summer weekends were reserved for the Drive-in movies. From Disney to the latest Liz Taylor, we saw them all on that giant screen in a parking lot full of cars. Watching with wonder from the backseat of the old Rambler station wagon, dressed in our pj's, buried in pillows and blankets, munching popcorn Dad had popped to bring along for movie snacking. From "Dumbo" to "Raintree County" and even (gasp) "God's Little Acre", we saw whole new worlds splashing through the windshield in vivid technicolor.

Yep, my old man flipped the switch on my imagination. He gave me the gift of looking at the world through books and movies. The gift of being able to marvel at and explore the world around me and the belief that I could combine the two into a world of my own making. Bless you Dad.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sex Anyone?

For those of you who can write sex scenes and create a story around them there's the Surprise Anthology from Racy Pages. They're paying $100 for stories from 1000 - 5000 words, $50 per poem, and $10 for 100 word flash pieces. You can find all the explicit details here I couldn't find the publisher but there's an email address there if you have any further questions about the anthology. Oh yes, and a hat tip to Brooke Smith's Flash Writing group for the information.

Friday Linkage

September 15 is the deadline for Storyglossia's Musical Obsession issue. As of the first week of August, they'd only had four stories submitted so get your keyboards singing folks. They also have a new online submission form. You can find all the details here

Russel McLean has a thoughtful post over at the Do Some Damage blog about stepping outside your comfort zone as a writer.

I've mentioned The Big Adios before, but its worth mentioning again, especially since the month of August brought us three new interviews at the site with crime writing authors, Anthony Neil Smith, Megan Abbott, and Dave Zeltserman. You can find all three interviews plus many more at this link.

Horror Bound Magazine updates their site frequently and the latest update brings us an interview with Jonathan Maberry Here's a quote from the Advice to New Authors section of the interview:

"And...have fun. If you're not having fun with this stuff, you're missing the point."

Excellent words to write by!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Writing the Past

Has something ever happened in your neighborhood that haunts your stories? Back in the late sixties a couple of miles from where I lived, an elderly woman got out of bed in the middle of the night, walked down the hall to her grown daughter's bedroom, shot her, came back to her own room, killed her husband, then herself. This story haunts me on several levels and mostly because no one ever figured out why she did it.

And the why is probably the reason I keep writing about this story in bits and pieces. What always creeped me out about this story was the fact that the house was right next to a cemetery. My imagination conjures up ghosts and demonic possession. What always surprised me was that one of her sons chose to return and live in the house. Yeah, made me shudder, too.

Another story was that she had cancer and didn't want to leave her husband to fend for himself, but no one could figure out why she killed her daughter. I always thought doing that first, would keep the daughter from stopping her from committing suicide. Or perhaps she was jealous of her daughter's relationship with her husband and didn't trust him enough to leave them alone together when she died. But remembering the times and knowing the women her daughter was friendly with, I've wondered since if the mother found out her daughter was gay and couldn't bear the embarrassment that would bring to the family name.

All sorts of ideas tumble through my brain, bubbling to the top and spilling out on the pages of short stories. One such story is about forty pages long, unpublished, and it's been tugging at me again, begging to be worked on. It's full of ghosts and murders and mother/daughter relationships.

What about you? Is there an old incident that tugs at your memory and slips into your stories or do you just write around those memories, leaving them buried in the past?

Reading Material and Research

A new issue of Plots with Guns has hit the streets. On their virtual pages you'll find stories by the wonderful Tribe, who gave crime flash fiction a place to play in the sorely missed "Flashing in the Gutters", and BV Lawson of the wonderful blog In Reference to Murder. You'll also find many of the usual suspects like Frank Bill, Keith Rawson and Scott Phillips.

For those of you considering submitting to the FMAM anthology here's a link to the publisher's website. This might give you a better idea of how they work and pay as the guidelines at the FMAM site are rather sketchy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Markets and Links

For those of you who love the extremely short form, there's "One Sentence True Stories". The idea is to write a story in one sentence and there's some really great ones at the site. There's no pay. You can find the guidelines here A big hat tip to Brian Lindenmuth who pointed the way from his excellent blog.

And a new market that's looking to launch in September is They seem to be a travel magazine type zine. They're looking for travel articles and short stories. The shorts must have a ghost, paranormal activity, or a haunted slant of some kind with setting playing an important part of the story. Top word count is 2500. The pay is $5 for stories up to 1000 and $10 for stories over 1000. They have an online submission form.

There's a lovely essay explaining why short story collections aren't poison at The Story Prize blog.

And for those of you who get stalled because you don't have the exactly right detail for your story there's "The Power of TK" by Tobias Buckell

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Deadlines Knocking at the Door

The deadline for Gemini Magazine's flash fiction contest is August 31. With a top prize of $100 it might be worth a shot to you flash writers out there

August 21 is the deadline for the horror themed Fall issue of Scalped.

Hint Fiction is pounding down to their deadline of August 31. The pay for those accepted is $25 which works out to a dollar word at a 25 word limit.

And the first issue of Horror Zine has hit the ether. And they're open to submissions to their October issue which is, of course, Halloween themed.

A Pair of Anthologies

I would be remiss not to mention that Futures is looking for short stories for their first yearly anthology. Futures is short for Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine. Once upon a time they were a well respected mystery magazine publishing many newcomers and old hands at the short mystery. The magazine has folded but the online site still publishes reviews. On August 15 they opened for subs to the new anthology. They're looking for stories in the 5000 to 15,000 range with a flat rate per word to be determined at a later date. is the url, just scroll down a bit. Be advised that when doing the last couple of issues of the magazine they were very slow in responding and publishing, that's not to say that will be the case here, it's just an advisement based on my dealings with them in the past.

Warrior Wisewoman 3 will open to subs on September 1 with a January 15, 2010 deadline. They're taking stories up to 10,000 words and the pay is 2cents a word. You can find all the details here

Monday, August 17, 2009

Well, Slap Me Happy

The August issue of Yellow Mama has hit the streets with short stories by Kenneth James Crest, Gary Lovisi. David Price, and Sarah Hilary, just to name a few. And there's poetry by Gerald So and David McLean, plus many more. This issue is just packed full of goodies for everyone!

The debut issue of the Collagist is now up. I'm not familiar with any of the writers but there's some top notch stories there and with this issue up they're on the lookout for subs for the next issue. Urls to both of these zines are to the left.

Over the weekend, David Cranmer dropped me a note to say that Bill Crider had written up a piece about My Little Corner in the newest issue of Ellery Queen. Virtual kisses and hugs headed your way, Mr. Crider. Thank you so much!!

And dropping by Cullen Gallagher's Pulp Serenade blog to check out his Stories for Sunday I found a lovely review of one of my own stories! He actually made it sound like I knew what I was doing! Thanks to PulpPusher editor, Tony Black, for accepting the story and Cullen for the wonderfully kind words.

Can you tell I'm Snoopy Dancing today?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Musing on Elvis

Over at The Kill Zone, James Scott Bell has an essay up called "Shake Rattle and Write" where he compares writing originality to the 50's Elvis.

While I agree with Mr. Bell on the originality angle of his essay, I don't particularly agree with the Colonel Parker selling angle. All of Elvis' originality seemed to fly out the window when he became the product. It was no longer about the song but about Elvis.

It's the same with those big time writers like King, Patterson, and a half dozen others. It's "Have you read the latest King/Patterson/Whoever book?" Not, "Wow, you have to read this book!". Slap a famous name on the cover and you can sell all the words, good or bad, that pour out of their keyboards. When you focus on the artist, you're focusing on personalities not stories. Sales, not wonderful words.

I think writers have to choose whether they want to be the star or if they want their words to be the stars. It's like making the choice between being a major movie star or a character actor. As the character actor, no one will remember your name but they will remember what you brought to the story.

And yes, it's a hard choice because the world kneels down to worship fame and fortune and it wouldn't be human not to want a piece of that. But I wonder, do you think Elvis would have been happier without all the fame and fortune? Those early songs, so full of originality, will never be forgotten, while the later ones are already a fleeting memory.

What do you want from your writing? Do you want the fame and fortune of a King or do you want a story that will endure forever on its own merit, with your name a vague afterthought?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Change of Address

Over on SMFS they're passing along the news that AHMM and EQ have changed their submission address as of today. Another reason to check out guidelines every time you submit. Here's the new addy:

267 Broadway
4th Floor
New York, NY

Idea Breeding

Story ideas grow out of the most bizarre things. For me I get a picture in my head then tumble it around with a lot of other ideas or cross breed it with something I've heard or read. About a month ago I had a picture of a girl hiding inside a wall (yeah, I'm weird) and I'd crossed it with a home invasion idea. Then over on Rara Avis they started talking about motel noir and my story morphed into this

Where do your ideas come from? And how weird do you get when you're writing?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jumping the Curb

As readers we tend to get stuck in a rut with our reading. The same writers, the same zines, the same old story retold. So I've been reading outside my comfort zines and decided to share some stories with you. They're short and won't take much of your time but they'll stick with you a while, make you think, and that's the purpose of a good story.

If Only It Had Rained Cats and Dogs by John Sharp

The Woman on the Sidewalk by Ben White (if sex offends you, please don't read)

The Girl Who Loved Bugs by Robin Koman

Who Knew

There were so many great writing blogs?!

Lots of clickity-click in the comments.

Market News and Links

A while back I posted a link to a new market called QuarterFlash. Well, it seems they flashed and burned. The site url no longer works and the email submission address no longer exists. And I have it from a writer who submitted that he never received a response to his submission. So if you submitted to them, consider your story free to find another market.

And as one disappears another peeks over the horizon called The New Flesh. They're looking for odd flash fiction only, 1000 words tops. So, what is odd? Sci-fi, horror, fantasy and bizzaro. No reprints and no pay. They do have a pair of stories up so you can see what they're looking for.

I ran across a couple of paying anthology markets this morning.

The first, Appalachian Holiday Hauntings, is looking for stories in the 1000 to 3000 word range with a September 1 deadline. They want ghostly Christmas stories set in the Appalachian region. Payment is 3cents a word.

The Ladies of Trade Town is looking for sci-fi/fantasy stories about "ladies of the night" in the 3000 to 10,000 word range. The pay is 2 cents a word. The submission period begins January 5, 2010 and runs until June 9, 2010 so you have lots of time to get a story ready for this one.

Comet Press has extended the deadline for their Dark Crime anthology to September 15. url in the print/anthology section to the left.

I found this essay by Dean Wesley Smith comparing writing to poker quite interesting.

And another fanning of the literary/genre flames, this one involving Tin House

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Flash Fiction Has a Web Site

Randall Brown ( ) has created a web site for lovers of flash fiction. Loads of great stuff for both beginners and pros. A big hat tip to the Apollo's Lyre blog for this one!

Writing Advice

Courtesy of Ed Gorman.

A New Market

I ran across this print market today. It's Ghostlight Magazine and it's a new endeavor from the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers.

They opened to submissions on August 1 and will be open until September 30. The pay is $5 for stories 500 to 6000 words with a preference for stories set around The Great Lakes and Michigan area. They plan to publish three times a year with reading periods for each issue.

Odds and Ends

Things have been a little slow but there is a bit of news here and there.

Spinetingler seems to be back up, at least the website, the blog is still down.

Book Spot Central has a spiffy new look.

The October issue of 10Flash is full but editor, KC Ball, has posted the themes for the January and April 2010 issues and will be accepting submissions for those issues now.

And I ran across a site that might interest you. It's called Black Mask There's some great pulp stories and covers and the history of Black Mask on the site. There hasn't been any new content in several years but the archives are a treasure trove of great stuff.

And Brian Lindenmuth has started blogging again which makes for some interesting reading. Drop on by and say "hey".

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I've Been Thinking

Yeah, duck for cover, the old noggin has jumped into overdrive. In the past several weeks I've read a few blog posts about the place of women in stories. JT Ellison's post at Murderati yesterday is the one that really kicked my brain in gear.

By place, I mean how they act, the type of back story they should have but something else I've noticed is that writers tend to use female characters as either a victim, a femme fatale, or the comic relief, especially in the mystery genre. The truth is, not all women fit in these molds and except for similar body parts, and they're not exactly divided equally either, we're all different. Yet, when writing these characters, authors tend to use a basic stereotypical woman. And not just male writers, but female writers, too.

I grew up with a great-grandmother, two grandmothers, seventeen aunts and a slew of female cousins and not one of them was alike. True, each generation of women has that generation's beliefs stamped on them as a whole, but as a person they were nothing alike. I grew up seeing marriages that lasted more than fifty years, divorces, widowhood and each woman involved reacted differently to their changing or unchanged situations.

I've seen sweetness, bitterness, and downright bitchiness and sometimes that's just in one woman. Not all women are nurturing, some of them should never have had children, while others embraced every child that came within hugging distance. Not every woman is a victim, and some of them can be the worse predators you've ever crossed paths with.

I also had an equal number of male relatives and just like women, they, too, had their individual quirks. They were fighters and cowards, macho swaggering and quiet observers, caregivers and selfish. Exactly like their female counterparts.

So what am I saying? Treat all your characters, male and female, as individuals, people with the whole range of human emotions and personal quirks. It'll make for a richer, fuller story and resonate with the real truth of what being human is all about.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

In the Zone

Over at Charlie Williams' blog he's asked a group of writers one single question and posted their answers. The question?

"When it's going well, what does writing feel like for you?"

He's got some great answers from some extraordinary authors.

So what about you? Feel free to drop a comment and tell us what it feels like. For me?

When it's going well, I'm no longer me, I'm the character who's telling the story. Ain't a better feeling in the world than walking in those shoes.

Flogging the Fray

First there was the big deal about Fantasy covers and naked women and an off the cuff remark about when do we get to see a guy's naked butt on a cover. Then there was the Banville/Black "slumming comment". Then the Hugo Awards spawned a traditional vs literary sci-fi brawl. And now, it's "The Mammoth Book of Mindblowing Sci-Fi" and the fact that there are no women or people of color represented in the book. And all of this mad gnashing of teeth has just been in the last month.

Aaargh. Get a grip, people. A book or a story is just that. A book. A story. You sit down and read and either enjoy the ride or toss the damn thing against the wall. Who cares who the author is or why they wrote that particular tale?

Well, scratch that. Of course you like to follow certain writers on their writing journey but did you pick them because of their sex or color or their literary bend? No, you picked them because they wrote a story that appealed to you as a reader. When a writer writes, that's all that should matter, because for the reader, all that other crap is just that, CRAP.

Does all that controversy and writer in-fighting sell books? Does it bring in more readers? I don't know and personally, don't care. When I sit down to read I want a story that engages me, that takes me out of my hum-drum little world and launches my imagination into orbit. I want to be entertained. All the fighting and spouting of learned opinions doesn't interest me, the reader, at all. As a writer, I find it all very amusing.

And as a writer, I wish they'd do away with all those stupid genre/literary tags. But that's wishing for the moon because words will always spawn discussions and arguments and maybe that's the way it should be. I imagine those first storytellers sitting around a campfire spinning their yarns were stoned (with rocks, you druggie fool) if they didn't spin their tales to the listener's satisfaction.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reading and Writing Links

Since I gave you a link for a Fantasy anthology yesterday, it's only fitting that I link you up with a series of essays about Fantasy World Building written by Patricia C. Wrede. This page also has links to eight essays on different aspects of Fantasy world building.

This link will take you to an excellent essay from literary agent, Rachelle Gardner, about craft and story in fiction writing. I immediately thought of Nora Roberts when I read this one. I recently read a couple of her books and the writing just drove me nuts but the story kept me from throwing the book up against the wall. An even more important factor for short stories than novels. You have to tell a story that compels your readers to keep reading.

Over at The Kill Zone blog, Joe Moore has a post about putting conflict in a story.

And JD Rhodes has a great post on rules over at Murderati this morning with lots of links off his post to others.

Over at the Rap Sheet you find will a short story by Tom Cain called Blood Sport. It's broken into three parts, I'm posting the link to the ending as all three links are at the beginning for you to click back to the start.

And the new issue of ThugLit has hit the streets You'll find stories by Joseph Winter, Anna Russell, Brian Murphy, Jack Bates, Levi Smock, Kevin Limiti, Joe Clifford, and Robert McClure.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pass the Cheese, Please

Okay, I've been nursing a bruised ego today as I've received two rejections in the last two days. Sigh. Both of these stories are ones I love and both have been rejected twice before. Yeah, I could stuff them in a drawer, but I love them. So, I'll go over them again, see what I can do to make them more editor friendly then find a couple more markets. I always have to keep reminding myself that rejection is part of the job.

And because you've been kind enough to listen to my whine, here's a call for submissions to a fantasy anthology. It's called Scheherazade's Facade - fantastical tales of gender bending, cross-dressing and transformation. The submission period is November 1 to February 28, 2010 and they're accepting stories up to 10,000 words. The pay is two cents a word. You can find the details here

Monday, August 3, 2009

Spinetingler Update

I hadn't given it much thought as I hang out at Book Spot Central, the site that hosts Spinetingler, a good deal, but the Spinetingler website is down for those looking for the stories and guidelines. Here's an update from Brian:

I just wanted to drop you a quick line about Spinetingler in case you get any questions on it. Spinetingler website is down at the momentand has been for a little more then a week now, the zine is still going strong and we are still open and accepting submissions.

A little background. BSC is the parent site with a couple of dozenchild sites under it (Spinetingler being one of them). The main site was linked to by a couple of very large sites that flooded BSC withtraffic. The servers and other behind the scenes tech stuff that is above my pay grade are being upgraded to make sure this doesn't happen again. The child sites are all slowly coming back online. So again, Spinetingler hasn't gone anywhere and we still want your stories.


Me here - As soon as the site is back up, I'll post a note for those with stories to submit.

The Flow of Money

Over on SMFS one of the "rules" that is stated over and over is "money flows to the writer". Why do I mention money? Because the other day Brian Lindenmuth emailed me a link. from there I clicked to another essay plus a few other links from both spots but these two pretty much cover the gist of what's going on at Narrative Magazine.

And what's going on you ask? These folks charge a $20 reading fee to take a look at your story with absolutely no guarantee that they'll publish it. Money flows towards the writer, folks, not away. If you have to pay to be published, perhaps you're not ready to be published or just haven't found the right place for your story.

One thing I don't do on this blog is post contests or markets that require fees and, believe me, there's lots of them out there. For me it doesn't feel right to have to pay someone to read my story. While I might give my work away, I never pay for the privilege of being published.

Linky Monday

I found some writing links that might be of interest.

Discovering Voice by Allison Brennen. Over at Murderatri yesterday Allison Brennen posted a lovely essay on finding your writing voice. You know, the one that's hiding in the shadows waiting for you to grab hold and use it.

Writing: Your Subconscious and You by Jeremiah Tolbert. Mr. Tolbert had me spraying coffee this morning as I read this one. While it strikes all the humor chords, its also very true.

Where Ideas are Found by Mark Teppo. Another humorous look at finding ideas in the strangest places.

On the Fine Art of Submission by Angela Slatter. One of the best and most useful articles on the submission process that I've seen anywhere.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

And a Couple More

I'd deleted Shock Totem from the print links because their website disappeared, but it appears they're back with a brand new site and their first issue already published. And they're open to new submissions starting today. I'll reinstate their link but you can check things out here for now.

Necrography has also opened as of today. They're also a print market, url to the left, and they pay.

For flash fans The Vestal Review opens today and remains open until November 30. Top word count is 500, they're one of the most respected flash markets out there. You'll find their url in the flash section.

Sharpen Those Pencils

We've got markets opening for submissions this month.

The Hint Fiction Anthology opens today. They're looking for stories of 25 words or less.

SnipLits opens today. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on Author's Room for the guidelines. They're only taking certain genres in any given month. And also be prepared to wait for a response. The given time is two months, but they're still working on their backlog from last year.

Crossed Genres opens today. They've put up a new online submission form and this month you have to cross your sci-fi/fantasy story with horror. url to the left in the print section will take you directly to their submissions page.

Pear Noir #3 is open until October 31. url in the print section also.

The First Line opens for their Winter issue tomorrow. Today is the last day to submit to their Fall issue. The Winter first line is "Waiting for change always seems to take longer than you would expect." And again, the url is in the print section.

You only have until September 1 to get your stories into 10Flash. They've got a theme that should tug at your crime writing keyboard, so go take a look and get scribbling. url in the flash section.

And if you've got a novella seeping out of your keyboard in the 25,000 to 50,000 word range keep Withersin in mind as they're open from September 1 to October 1 for novella submissions. Link in the print column.

As always check the guidelines for all the details. Some of these are paying markets, some not. The choice is up to you.

And there's a new blog going live today. Take a few moments to check out Do Some Damage, Drop them a comment to let them know they're being read.