Thursday, December 31, 2009

Glancing Back, Moving Forward

Looking back over 2009 I realized that I had a pretty great year writing wise. I did a lot of writing, even started that elusive novel which will probably wind up being a novelette as I'm already closing in on the ending after five chapters. I didn't submit as many stories this year as last but still had about twenty published among the racked up rejections. "Cold Rifts" was nominated for a Spinetingler Award. Several of my shorts were reviewed which was pretty cool and I did an interview over at BSC about short stories. All and all, a good year.

The blog has found its footing which makes for a fun day when I post. And I'm so grateful to all of you who have dropped by to say hello and share your wisdom and market news. But most of all, it's so wonderful to see how many people love short stories in all the genres. Long live shorts!

I haven't made a list of resolutions this year but I did do a rift on the Serenity Prayer.

The Writer's Serenity Prayer

Muse, grant me the serenity to accept rejection as part of the writing process.

The courage to rewrite and resend those rejected stories.

And the wisdom to know when to file it in a drawer.

And lastly a link

Dream big, my friends, and write well with great success in 2010! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Country of the Blind

Anton Gully was kind enough to supply the title and author to the short story I mentioned in my last post. After doing a search I found the story at a new to me site called Online Literature The story I referenced was "The Country of the Blind" by HG Wells It's not a long story and well worth the read and still very much relevant in today's world.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rose Colored Glasses

The sci-fi community has been bashing about the question of whether or not sci-fi as a genre should die. Yeah, I know, the death of another genre (chuckle). The reason they're considering killing off sci-fi? Because it's not fair to women, doesn't cater to race, and all the stories are about white males. All of which I've heard said about the mystery genre. But today I ran across a statement by one of the "combatants" that truly makes me wonder what goes on in some writer's heads.

The post I was reading is at Jason Sanford's blog and the response comes Jestede Vries

From Jason, "Stories are what matter first and foremost in any writing genre, and no amount of intellectual debate can ever change this."

Jestede in the comments, "...if a story is the be-all and end-all (and I'm not saying it's not important and it's of crucial importance. But it's not the only thing.) then why bother dressing it up as SF, thriller, mystery, literature, horror, steampunk and what-other-genre-have-you. We might as well call it all fantasy and be done with it."

Well, duh! It's fiction, it is fantasy no matter what the genre. This idea that we should pretty up the world with our fiction is one of the most stupid ideas I've ever heard. Take a look around you, prejudice is standing in the room with you in one form or another. Male/female, gay/straight, race, politics, religion, everything we think and believe is based on a prejudice of one kind or another. Do I wish it was otherwise? Of course, I do. But to a write only stories that are politically correct is just creating a new kind of fairy tale.

Some of the best stories I've read that tackle discrimination have come out of the sci-fi genre. I can't remember the name or the author, but I remember a short story about a man who finds himself in a valley of blind people and they kill him because he's different. He can see. From Star Trek, I remember an episode where the inhabitants of one planet, who had black and white faces, hated each other because the white half of their face was on the wrong side.

You don't have to beat your readers over the head with your ideas of right and wrong, shift the line of sight, move it in a different direction, then pull the rug out from under them to make your point. They'll understand because readers aren't as stupid as you might think.

The world is not black and white and we as writers would be doing a great disservice to our readers if we painted it that way. Even in the mystery genre writers try to pretty up the world of crime, but children and pets do get killed, women get raped, and men are killed for the change in their pockets. It's reality, so why do we shy away from it? Why do we try to pretend that these things don't exist by keeping them off the page?

As writers we should be able to write about the truth of the world as we see it. Sure, not everyone sees the world the same way, but that's why we read a variety authors and genres instead of just one. If every writer were to write politically correct stories what a very boring reading experience that would be. I read for pleasure but I also read to learn, to see how other people think, to find out what their experiences are like compared to mine. Be brave when you write.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Couple of Horror Markets

I have a pair of horror markets for you today. From Sideshow Press we have Black Ink Horror #7 open for submissions from December 26 to March 26. They're looking for stories in the 2000 to 5000 word range and are paying $20 for each selected story. Be sure to read the guidelines very carefully. The editor is reading the submissions on his Kindle so they have to be formatted in a special way. You can find all the details at

The Living Dead Press is putting together an anthology entitled "The Book of Cannibals". Yeah, I know, but some people actually write and read this type of story (slowly raising hand on the writing part. But only one and unpublished). They also have calls out for two zombie anthologies. There's no pay but if you're interested you can find the details here

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ten Stories

All across blogland people are composing lists of their top novel picks of the year and the decade. I read some great novels this year, most notably "The Liar's Diary" by Patry Francis. This book made me take a look at my own writing and set me in a different direction with some of my own stories by exploring deeper into family ties and the damages people inflict on those closest to them.

As this is a short story blog, I'm not going to list my top ten novels but I am going to post links to ten online short stories that have stuck with me this past year for various reasons. And no this isn't a crime fiction list, though there are quite a few crime stories. They're just stories that struck a cord in me. In no particular order, here you go.

"If Only It Had Rained Cats and Dogs" by John Sharp

"The Woman on the Sidewalk" by Ben White

"Trashcan Special" by Derek Nikitas

"The Tut" by Paul Brazill

"Whiskey, Guns and Sin" by Charles Gramlich

"The Tortoise and the Tortoise" by Patti Abbott

"Insatiable" by Hilary Davidson

"The Sacred Cake" by r2

"Recalculating" by Cormac Brown

"Scary Monsters by Stephen D. Rogers

The Internet is filled with wonderful stories and talented writers and this list is just a sample of what's out there. These stories suit my tastes as a reader but every reader has different stories that speak to them, so feel free to post a link to one of your favorites of the year in the comments.

Friday, December 25, 2009


I hope everyone is having a lovely day with friends and family. For your Christmas ( insert other holidays for those who don't celebrate ) pleasure I some Christmasy links for you.

No tree? The beautiful women of mystery have a solution for you.

No snow? Zoe Sharp over at Murderati is your answer and be sure to read between the pictures for some wonderful writing advice.

Need a list? Michael Bracken has every writer's wish list.

And how about a Christmas short story to tickle your funny bone?

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE! May your day be merry and bright and filled with love and joy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Pair of Markets

If you're interested in the ebook market you might want to check out Sonar4 Publications. They publish novels, novellas, and short story collections paying a small advance plus royalties for sci-fi and horror. Also they've got four open submission calls for anthologies The topics are Steampunk, Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper, and for our western writers, Wild West Horror. You'll find all the details at the link. I didn't happen to find any mention of pay for the anthologies so that's something you'll have to inquire about. Sonar4 also sponsors a free mentoring group for new writers if you'd like to check that out. Just a late added note here, I found the anthology payment which is one print copy of the anthology you're in.

I also ran across a site called Wily Writers who are looking for speculative fiction short stories. They have a list of what they're looking for and one is paranormal mysteries. They publish two stories a month in both audio and text format with monthly reading periods and themes for 2010. The themes aren't listed yet, except for January which is paranormal romance, so you'll have to check back if you're interested in submitting. They only want work from previously published writers and they do accept reprints. Stories must be 1000 to 4000 words long and they pay a flat rate of $50. You can find the details at

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Short Time

Over at Jason Sanford's blog he poses the question "How Long to Write that Short Story?" There's a lot of interesting discussion in the comments.

For me, it depends on the story. Some flash pieces just fly on the page in a matter of minutes, then it usually takes about an hour for polishing. Of course, there is also the flash piece that blossoms into a full-fledged short story after spending three or four hours thinking of the places that story could go. Which poses another question. Do we count the time the story spends in our head both before and after the words hit the page? Or the time the story spends resting so we can look at with fresh eyes to find its faults?

I believe that each writer has their own method of writing and each story requires different things from us. On his blog, Michael Bracken has written about writing a 5000 word story in an afternoon, but sometimes the first idea or paragraph came months before. Another writer, I can't remember who at the moment, said that he never spent less than a year on a short story. Both of which astonished me in different ways. Michael because he has the confidence to sub that story the next morning and the other writer because I'd be bored to tears plugging away at a story for that length of time.

There seems to be no perfect method for writing. As writers we just have to go with the story as it presents itself to our imaginations. Some stories come in full-blown and there's no hesitation in getting it down. Other stories come in dribs and drabs that drive us crazy. All we writers can do is keep on writing until that story is satisfied and then move on to the next one whispering in our ear.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Few Interesting Tid-bits

I always enjoy interviews with editors, no matter what the genre. The interviews usually give you a good overview of what editors in general are looking for, how they work, and, just maybe, how I might be able to sneak my work into a publication. With that in mind here are links to two editor interviews. The first is with Apex editor, Maggie Jamison, at the Science of Fiction blog and the second is with Hub publisher, Lee Harris, at Charles Tan's blog.


If you're thinking of dipping your toes into the sci-fi field, "A Golden Age For Short Fiction" written by Joe Sherry might be a good place to start. He's got links to markets for both pros and amateurs.

And finally the December issue of Apollo's Lyre has gone live
and the winter issue of Scalped is here which contains a wonderful story by Al Tucher. And no, it's not a Diana story, but you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

No Links Tonight

The links will probably be a little slim this week. Many of the markets are closed to submissions until after the first of the year and most of the blog posts are lists of ten or Christmas stories. While all of this is interesting, it's not exactly the type of links you usually find here. If something interesting pops up on the link radar, I'll post it for you.

Another thing I'm finding is a lot of is non-paying new markets, most of which aren't mystery related. If you're looking for this type of market, drop on by Duotrope and click on the What's New link. One of the reason I'm not posting these right now is because so many of them are what I call "wannabe" markets that never get off the ground. I've posted many of them in the past only to find that they never publish a first issue or there's a first issue and then they're gone. That's a waste of a writer's time. And yes, I've been there hoping to get in on the ground floor of a new zine only to have it disappear into the ether.

Of course, all of this sounds a little Bah! Humbug! but it's not meant to be. I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season and looking forward to a new year of writing. I know I am.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A World of Wisdom

As writers we love finding the odd article about writing by authors who are no longer with us. We want to know how they wrote, where they wrote, even if they were drunk or sober when they wrote. I suspect that we're trying to tap into the formula that made them successful. You know, the one that leads to the secret handshake in the magic land of publishing, maybe then we'll find our own success.

What I've found is that every writer has their own way of writing and copying someone else isn't going to get the job done. And if you really need your fix for the day head on over to James Reasoner's Rough Edges blog. The writers who's wisdom we'll be tracking down in the next twenty or thirty years are holding forth about the editing process.

The number of books, short stories and articles that have slipped from the pens of these gentlemen is staggering. Thanks for sharing guys!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Issue

The second issue of The Feral Pages has arrived. with short stories by Jacob Strunk, Syd Freeman, and Hillary Davidson. If you're considering submitting to this zine be sure to check out the new guidelines.

Writing Links

Do you remember that old commercial for Calgon Bubble Bath? "Calgon, take me away!" Well, that's how I feel about stories. Reading or writing I want that feeling of being taken away from the everyday and living in someone else's world for a few hours. Karen Miller pretty much sums up that wonderful feeling in this essay.

Jim C. Hines posted about "Girly Books" Books are books and they shouldn't have to be divided into boys vs girls. The very first books I bought for myself was a 50cent box of "boys" books at an auction my Dad took me too. For months I lived in the jungle with Bomba, attended Annapolis and West Point with Dave Darrin and Dick Prescott but the absolute best was getting to be a Junior G Man with stories by Gilbert Lathrop, Edward O'Connor and Norton Hughes Jonathan. It never mattered that boys were having all the fun because I got to go along on their adventures.

While I don't stop by every day, I do click over to the Storytellers Unplugged site on a regular basis. There were three essay that I really enjoyed from this week's offerings.

"Alternate Reality" by Bev Vincent is all about walking in a character's shoes. Bev got to do this playing an alternate reality game based on Stephen King's book "Under the Dome".

"Sea Lions in Coffins, Getting Lost and Writing Without Words" by Thomas Sullivan is a look at how to keep your writing fresh and finding new ideas by putting yourself outside of your own comfortable world.

"But You've Never Been There" by John Rosenman. This is an interesting essay about writing places you've never visited and making them real.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Yessss! Thank you, Jason Sandford! Thank God for people who can just say things so much more eloquently than me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We Have Linkage

Brian Lindenmuth sent me this link today It's an interesting article that takes a look at F. Scott Fitzgerald's tax returns and earning over the years for his writing. And thanks to The Great Gatsby, he's still earning royalties.

BV Lawson posted this link to the SMFS list This article is about short stories and iPods.

Over at Charles Tan's blog there's a very interesting interview with anthology editor,Danel Olson, about Gothic Fiction and the work involved putting together an anthology and getting it published.

The December issue of Yellow Mama has arrived with short stories by Kieran Shea, Sarah Hilary, Jodi McArthur and many others. Also submissions were supposed to reopen today but the opening has been pushed back to January.

And if you're in the mood for a marathon of flash reading you might try Steve Weddle's Memorial Airport Flash Fiction Challenge. You'll find flash stories by Patti Abbott, Paul Brazill, Keith Rawson and a whole slew of other writers. Ha. The link I had doesn't have the links to the stories but if you take a stroll over at CrimeSpace, Patti Abbott's blog or some of the links to the bottom left on my blog, you're sure to find links to most of the stories. And of course, if someone drops me the link, I'll post it up. Got it!

One final thing. The website for Shakespeare's Monkey Review is down and Duotrope has declared them a dead market so I've removed their link from the sidebar. This was a nice little print magazine and I was lucky enough to have a story included in one of their issues this past year. They'll be missed.

Considering the Quality of Best

Over on the SMFS, there's been a lot of discussion about what makes a short story professional enough to meet the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar list. While the MWA is an organization of professional writers, I wonder if they and all of us are missing the point about the "best" short stories.

Now I have nothing against the Edgars or any of the other awards available to writers. Awards are nice, they draw notice to writers, help them promote themselves by adding a "winner of ..." after their names. That's cool. But in the process of making a list of what is "best" are we losing sight of the story itself?

Many people can remember the writer who wins, but do they remember the story or even the title? And what makes a story "best"? Is it the place where its published? The author who wrote it? How much he got paid for it? And yet, these are all considerations for stories to be nominated for the major awards.

Perhaps that's why I love the Derringers and the Spinetinger Awards. The short-listed stories are chosen by their merits as a story, not where they were published, how much the writer was paid, or even who the writer was. These awards are pure story driven and the word "best" here means exactly that. People voted for the story that was the best read for them, the story that touched them on some level and made them declare that story "best".

Now, I'm not ranting against awards here. They have their place, they make readers take a second look at a story they might have otherwise skipped, they sell books and get a writer's name out there for people to recognize. That's all good, but more importantly they're getting stories read. I'm just musing about what qualifies a story for the title "best".

It was this comment from a SMFS member that set me to musing. "And if you don't think that mentioning you are an active member of MWA or have been nominated for the Edgar at some time wouldn't make an agent or editor sit up and take notice, you are just fooling yourself." The saddest thing about that comment is that it is probably true. It is no longer about the best story but about the writer who can bring the most sales to the cash register. And that's a very sad commentary on today's publishing business.

Monday, December 14, 2009


AND DAMN PROUD OF IT. There I said it. I love writing short stories. I love searching for markets that my stories will fit into. Not all of them pay. So, does that make me any less of a writer than the guy who gets twenty-five dollars for every story he writes?

There's been a lot of discussion in recent weeks about the amount of pay being offered up (or not) by the current crop of zines and magazines. In the mystery genre the pay is either token or non-existent with very few exceptions. And those exceptions are over-run with submissions and being a bottom line company they'll go with the name brands before the newbies. Do I blame them? No, how could I? They're running a company and need to make a profit.

What bothers me is organizations that claims to support writers, but point their fingers at short story writers and say, "We don't want your kind." What kind is that? The kind that makes the $200 limit required to buy into their organization but not in the required $25 increments. Hello! If the mystery genre markets are only paying $10 - $15 per story, what are we supposed to do? Stuff our stories in a drawer?

Then of course you have the flip side of that. Getting paid pro-rates for your mystery stories in other genres, which, while being well-paid, doesn't count because they're not on an approved market list.

It seems to me that short story writers are caught between a rock and hard place. We're damned if we do publish for less than pro-rates and damned if we don't publish in the "approved" genre markets. While I never have been nor will I ever be a member of such an organization, I still believe that that organization has a responsibility to all their members, not just a select few.

If you're going to give awards for short stories, pay attention to the short story markets that are available to your members. Keep your listings updated. Realize that quality stories are appearing in markets that don't fit the genre image, but also in markets that don't meet the pay scale. If the average pay for the genre is lower than the required rate maybe it's time to reconsider your rules instead of shunning writers.

Isn't it about time short story writers got the respect they deserve?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Oh, The Stupidity of It All

This is too good not to share. Now, when we're writing, we're told to keep things real. Ever had one of your thieves use a backhoe to break into a museum? Um-huh. Nobody would believe that right? Well, there was a guy a few counties over who "allegedly" used a backhoe to break into his father's art museum and steal twenty million dollars worth of paintings. He claimed his father wanted him to make sure they were in a safe place. That excuse might have worked if he'd used a key instead of a backhoe to open the door.

Markets and Things

I ran across a pair of anthology markets that might be of interest to some of you.

The first is from Absolute XPress. While they accept novels and novellas they also run quarterly flash fiction challenges for short story anthologies. There's no pay listed but Duotrope says they pay semi-pro rates, so that's something you'll have to check out. The deadline for the next theme is January 15, 2010 and the theme is Thieves and Scoundrels. You have up to 1000 words in the horror, sci-fi, or fantasy genres. You can find the details at

The second is from Harrow Press. They're looking for horror stories set in broad daylight with a January 1, 2010 deadline. 2500 to 5000 words $25 for the lead story and $10 for the rest that are selected. You can find all the details at

For the ladies, TR Shaw is in the process of starting up a new horror zine for women writers only. The zine is called A Darker Spirit and is set to premiere in April of 2010. She's looking for artwork, articles, flash shorts, and poetry. There's no mention of pay.

For those of you thinking about putting together an anthology of your shorts, Charles Gramlich has a couple of posts addressing this topic.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Love My Shorts

One thing I'm loving about Scalzi's rant against Black Matrix is all the discussion that's pouring out across the web about SHORT STORIES. While most of it is about the sci-fi/fantasy markets there's still a lot out there that mystery writers can glean from these discussions. And hey, if you're writing shorts, you don't need to limit yourself to just one genre. Writing shorts is like dating, you need to play the field before you settle down with your one true love.

And now for your linking pleasure

Nick Mamatas holds forth on "The 'Market' for Short Stories". This is a pretty simple overview of the genre markets. He pretty much nails the mystery markets conundrum.

Cat Rambo's essay "Finding Markets for Stories" covers the process of looking for markets and where to start your submission process. Lots of links and good advice in this one!

Ann Leckie has two wonderful essays that speak more to the writing process than marketing. and

Marshall Payne also talks about writing in his essay "What is Story"

And so as not to slight the gentleman who started all this great discussion, John Scalzi has another, and he claims it's the last, post about markets and rates.

Don't you love it that short stories just keep keeping on?

Gifting the Children

For those of you with the computer skills and/or ipods, tonight from 7 to 8 pm Central time (US) some of the writers from the Toys for Tots anthology"The Gift of Murder" will be on blog talk radio discussing their stories. The show is also archived in case you miss it tonight or your time zones don't co-operate. Some of the author's voices you'll be hearing are Bill Crider, John Floyd, Barb Goffman and publisher, Tony Burton.

Publisher, Tony Burton has a post here that explains how he got started with the Toys for Tots project.

Christmas is just around the corner so if you're stymied for what to buy. Gift your friends with "The Gift of Murder", you'll not only solve your shopping problems, but you'll be gifting a needy child as well.

The Murders in Memory Lane

I received a rather odd request yesterday. A publicist asked me to review Lawrence Block's new column in Mystery Scene Magazine. My first reaction? It must be some kind of spam, after all this is a short story blog, why would they want me to review something a novelist had to say. And reviews, well we all know I'm nobody's first choice when it comes to that particular form of writing.

After contacting Mystery Scene's editor, Kate Stine, and being reassured that this was on the up and up, I said sure, why not. The real pleasure was discovering that Mr. Block's first column was about short story writer extraordinaire, Stanley Ellin.

And the stories Mr. Block shares are superb. He makes you feel like you've been invited to a writer's family reunion and you get to sit by his knee and listen as he spins the tales of his friends and colleges with love and humor.

About Ellin's approach to writing shorts, he says, "His method strikes me as pathological, and not far removed from OCD. It's how TV's Monk might write a short story--but a comforting thing about writing is that it never matters how a story was written, just so it works on the page. And Ellin's stories work superbly."

With this new column, aptly called "The Murders in Memory Lane", Mystery Scene and Mr. Block are taking you into a world that is slowly slipping away. A world of writers we love, but who are no longer here to share their words with us. As Mr. Block phrases it, "And while I'm here, perhaps I ought to share some of the flotsam and jetsam bobbing on the stagnant pond that is my memory."

So grab yourself a copy of the Holiday issue of Mystery Scene and sit down at the knee of "Grandpa Block" and enjoy the memories and the lessons.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Late Day Linkage

Yep, I'm a bit late in getting a post up today. There's a big ice storm heading our way and so we were in the great outdoors splitting and stacking the last bit of firewood so we don't freeze our butts off this winter. Well, my husband and son were, I had the George Jetson job, pushing the lever back and forth on the splitter. A job which leaves my mind to wander so long as I don't pinch any one's fingers between the splitter pusher and the block of wood.

And my mind did a lot of wandering mostly about these links that Michael Bracken sent me this morning. The links are a continuation of the paltry pay for short stories discussion that's being flung across the Internet.

My conclusions? Most of these guys are comparing short story rates to non-fiction rates and the difference between the two types of markets is staggering. Many of these writers are in a much higher tax bracket than I'll ever see in my lifetime. See, when I get twenty-five bucks for a story it's a yippee-skippy day for me. Four of those will buy a week's worth of groceries. I think the best view on this subject comes from Jim Hines, the last link, who doesn't so much talk about the money but about the markets and what you want to achieve when you submit your stories for publication. He lays out some good solid advice in the post and continues through the comment thread.

And if you're on the fence about this writing thing give this link a try. This is from Brian Lindenmuth who asks the question, who else is going to send you foul-mouthed writing advice? Nobody, Brian! But I must admit, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry as I read this piece.

Oh, yes, the first issue of Pulp Metal Magazine has gone live.

If I'm not around tomorrow it will probably be because the ice took out the electric. It's one of those things we live with around here. At least, I've got a stockpile of books for reading and notepads for writing.

Monday, December 7, 2009

More on Pay Rates

Wow! There's a bunch of posts out there in the ether about writers and payment, all spawned from John Scalzi's posts that I linked to the other day. These links, though, take a look at the other end of the pay scale where most of us are living. In the posts and the comments there's a lot of food for thought.

From Catherine M. Valente "Short Fiction and You" This is coming from a short story writer who's making a fairly decent living from her shorts.

From the Clarkes World blog there's a look at pay scales from the zine side of things with the comments having some of the best information.

From Sarah Monette "Where We Are" This one is a good look at the place where many of are in the short story world.

From Clint Harris "What the Rest of Us Get Paid" This is a look at where the newbie's are hanging out and working their way up the ladder.

And with all the talk about pay aside here are a couple of links about actually putting words on the page and learning the craft. Both are excellent essays

Rachael Caine takes a look at some writing advice that was given to her early in her career

And from Damien G. Walter "Show Me the Risk Taking Writers" This one's about letting your writing "fly".

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A New Zine

Yes, I'm back, and if my head wasn't attached, well you know the rest of that cliche! Paul Brazill sent me a note about a new zine that's looking to splash itself across the ether. The zine is called Pulp Metal and they're looking for submissions. Short stories up to 5000 words, reviews, essays, art and comics. Our friend, Paul has also snagged himself a column called "I Didn't Say That, Did I?". This is a non-paying market but if you're interested in what they're up too and would like to submit, check them out.

Here and There

John Scalzi has added a few more posts that sprang from the Black Matrix discussion. There's much interesting discussion in the comments of both posts, I even kicked in a few words.

I was also thinking about this discussion and the thought crossed my mind that perhaps in the sci-fi arena there are a great deal more well-paying markets than in the mystery genre. Could be why we mystery writers are so touchy about the topic of little or no pay for our work.

Issue 6 of Pine Tree Mysteries has hit the virtual streets with short stories from Liza Rush-McLeod, Dorothy Baughman and DJ Barber.

The December issue of New Mystery Reader is up and includes an interview with Tom Piccirilli along with their usual reviews

And finally, I polished up a new story today that wanders into the sci-fi/fantasy realm and in my search for a market discovered that Big Pulp has posted some new content but really had my funny bone tickled when I read "Call for Submissions" by Libby Cudmore and Matthew Quinn Martin in that issue Go have a read, you won't regret the few minutes it takes!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Rant for the Week

I've got to wonder what John Scalzi is thinking when he writes a post like this

Then comes the Black Matrix Publishing response

And finally, Scalzi again

Of course we'd all like more money for our work or in some cases to even be paid no matter how prestigious the damn zine or review is. What I haven't figured out is why Scalzi is pointing his finger at only one publisher when there are hundreds paying at the same level. Black Matrix is putting out four print magazines and that's a whole lot of stories and they're not out there begging everyone to donate like the other sci-fi magazines were doing of late. Do you remember those "pros", Mr. Scalzi? "We need $10,000 or we're going to fold." Hey whatever trips your trigger at least they're (?) paying pro rates. Or how about those college "Reviews" that don't pay their writers. They're subsidized by Federal grants, the workers aren't paid and the college pockets the change. But hey, they're top of line.

But what really bites is the latest bit coming from both zines and anthology markets. They'll pay a penny a word for a story but if you're a "pro", they'll pay you 5cents or negotiate higher. WTF? If I follow the guidelines and submit a clean story that gets accepted, why can't I get paid the same as someone like Mr. Scalzi? If all the pros ( you know, the ones with a track record or a famous name ) took the stand that everyone should be paid equally, that would be something worth screaming about rather than how little one publisher is paying. My god, imagine how many novels could be published if King, Brown and Patterson didn't need millions in advance money.

In the end, it's up to each individual writer as to where they want to submit. When Mr. Scalzi says writers should boycott this market, he's instigating the downfall of a market that might be of interest to writers who can live with such a small amount. There are more writers at the bottom of the food chain than the top and some of them are pretty damn good but still can't crack the top rank. There is a need for these small markets because it's where new writers learn their craft and build their reader base.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Issues Up

Issue 34 of ThugLit has hit the streets with eight short stories celebrating the holidays the Thug Way. Some favorite authors in this issue, guys, Ryan Zimmerman, Rob Loughran, Taylor Brown, Scott Wolven, Justin Porter, Chris Holm, Steve Pantazis and David Keaton.

You'll also find that the December issue of The Gumshoe Review has gone live with new reviews and don't forget that they're open to short fiction submission so check out their guidelines.

Issue 5 of Sex and Murder is up

PulpPusher has added some new content on their site

Short Links and Market News

We all know the value of "best of" lists but I thought this one might interest some of you. They've put together a list of the 10 best short story collections of '00's. While they're mostly sci-fi and fantasy there's a few that might interest readers here and the comments section contains a great many more not included on the list.,35747/

John Fox has an interesting interview with short story writer Tod Goldberg about his new collection of shorts.

And a bit of market news:

The theme for the Scalped spring issue is torture with a February 21 deadline.

Big Pulp has opened for a month's worth of submissions.

The print magazine Ghost Light will be open for subs until January 31, 2010.

And finally two new zines looking to get off the ground.

Bastards and Whores is looking for flash and shorts with a January 31, 2010 deadline for their first online issue. Payment is a token of $1