Sunday, January 31, 2010

storySouth Million Writers Award

For all you readers and editors out there in the zine community - listen up! The storySouth Million Writers Award is now open. Stories have to be published online and be a thousand words or more.

For readers this is your chance to post a link to one of your favorite stories last year and writers you can nominate one of your own if you're so inclined. And editors, this is a chance to display the best work that you published last year. And you get to post three stories. It's good publicity for your zine and your authors. But best of all, people will be reading short stories!! In your zines!!

You can find all the details and links to nominating here

There are cash prizes for the writers of the top stories selected by the judges. And a big thank you goes out to Jason Sanford for his support of zines and short stories.

Hey, what are you waiting for? Grab your links and get them posted!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Finding the Laughter

I watched "The Adventures of Mark Twain" on TCM this morning and it got me to thinking about any number of things. How popular writers aren't appreciated by the literary folks, how publishing hasn't changed much in all these years, and how writers are always trying to reach for what they feel is unattainable because they don't feel like they're good enough.

But what really struck me was the lack of humor in today's writing. Oh yes, there's humor, but it's mostly black humor, not the kind that has its roots in the everyday process of living. We tend to look at the dark side when we're writing instead of the silly situations that we all fall into going through our day.

I miss books like Booth Tarkington's Penrod series, Ralph Moody's "Little Britches" and the best of the best, Will Rogers. These were the writers I grew up reading and I miss this kind of humorous book, the kind that takes the little things in life and makes us laugh and cry. They take us to the core of humanity and dare us to look ourselves in the face. The same way Mark Twain did in "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer".

What about you? Do you miss books that are just good, clean fun to read, the books that find the humor in everyday life, or do you think they're not relevant in today's world? Are we trying so hard to show the "realities" that we're missing all the good things in life?

The floor's open. What do you think? Have you found any humorous books or short stories out there on the shelves? If you have, please share. Tell us what you think about writing humor or just reading it. What do you find funny?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snarkiness, A Contest, and Some Advice

I saw a call for submissions yesterday that really made me shake my head in wonder. In order to submit to this anthology you had to be a member of a the local and national chapter of an organization ( I won't name names here ). Membership for the two was $60, even if you were already a national member you had to pay $20 to the local in order to submit. The pay if your story was selected? $10 or a copy of the anthology. Money flows to the writer, folks, but it sure seems like a great money-maker for the local chapter if writers take the bait. And yes, I'm being snarky. Paying for the privilege to submit isn't in a writer's best interest.

Writers living in the UK might be interested in this short story contest. The three finalists win tickets to Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival. They're looking for 2000 - 5000 words with this starter sentence by Stuart McBride. "In my experience, those who beg for mercy seldom deserve it." Cool starter even if you can't enter! You can find the details here There's no fee to enter.

And finally, the lovely Brian Lindenmuth sent me this link. This is a great essay with twelve tips for speeding up your productivity with the goal of writing a short story a week. I use most of these rules though there are a couple that make me stumble, like not knowing where I'm going when I start. I have some lovely openings that just...well...stop because there's nothing else to say.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ligature Marks

has gone live with their second issue. You'll find short stories by Brian Haycock, Shawn Oetzel, Todd W. Bush and Daniel W. Davis and an interview with Joe R. Landsdale.

All Kinds of Markets Today

Found quite a few markets that are open to submissions in my clicking about travels today so I decided to put them in a separate post.

I don't know how many of you drop by looking for leads but they've revamped the site again, added a few more people to help with the chores and the site is looking pretty great with all kinds of new content, from markets to reviews and everything in between. I have a permanent link in the Market Resources links to the left.

New Fairy Tales has opened to subs with a April 15 deadline for their May issue. They're looking for shorts up to 3000 words. They're also looking at poetry, flash and comic strips if these are your fields of interest. What they want in a story is a new fairytale, not a "remake" of a classic. You can find all the details at There's no pay here, but readers are asked to donate to the Derian House Children's Hospice.

Eclectamatic Ezine is looking for your dark stories in any genre up to 4000 words. They're also looking for poetry, articles, essays and visual arts. For visual arts they'll take anything that falls between pornography and cute fluffy unicorn kitties. I didn't notice any mention of pay for this one. You can find all the details at

Full Armor Magazine is set to lunch in June from Dragon Dreamz Publications. They're looking for fantasy, slipstream and mystery with a Christian-Judean message or symbolism at the core of the story. There's a list of examples on the sub page. The pay here is a penny a word for stories up to 3000 words and they pay $1.00 a line for poetry.

Pow Fast Flash Fiction is looking for 100 - 1000 words in the genres of horror, crime/suspense, sci-fi and humor. They also want you to think outside the box with your stories. This is a non-paying market and there's some stories already up if you want to take a look at what they're publishing.

I found a lovely site called Short Story America This is sort of a teaching site as they have contests for school age children, but they also publish one new short story a week that's collected into an anthology at the end of the year and the authors receive a percentage of the sales. They're looking for stories of 500 - 12000 words in length and they have an online submission form. You need to be a member to submit but membership is free. They will also consider reprints. On this site you'll also find a great collection of classic short stories along with the weekly shorts. Here's the classic link if you'd like to take a look I will say that this is one of the most beautiful sites I've come across in a long time.

And finally, a big Thank You to Paul Brazill who awarded me the Circle of Friends Award. Its most appreciated kind sir.

Show and Tell

Over at Book Life Now there's a very fine essay by Jeremy L. C. Jones, about showing vs telling in a story. It's something we know we're supposed to do when we're writing but tend to forget as the story flows from our fingertips.

Contained in the essay is this link to another show and tell essay by Robert J. Sawyer that gives such a perfect example that you want to slap your forehead and say, "Yeah. I get it now!"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Scattered Stuff

I love taking a peek into the minds of writers and today it's Bill Crider. He's guest blogging here about writing without an outline.

I enjoy reading Bev Vincent's essays over at Storytellers Unplugged so I was thrilled when I clicked on a link that took me to Bev's own blog. Yesterday's post had a bit of advice about anthologies. Make sure they have a publisher on board before you submit. I learned that one the hard way with some non-fiction years ago. Of course, even with a publisher things can go wrong. While being in an anthology is great, sometimes the road getting there isn't much fun.

Over at Duotrope I clicked on a random market that might be of interest to our pulp/noir writers. And if those insulting, curse-ridden guidelines bother you, this isn't your market. The market is called "Swill" and they're a print magazine that pays two copies for stories up to 5000 words. One of their favorite writers is Harlan Ellison, so that gives you a clue as to what they're looking for in a story plus they have excerpts published on the site. You can find the guidelines by clicking on the Reading Now for issue 5 (the link I had doesn't work), they opened these submissions back in September so you might want to drop them a line to make sure they're still open. They don't state on the site if they're quarterly, annual, or monthly.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This and That

I have a little bit of everything today.

Something I find interesting is the discussion that never seems to go away about genre vs literary. This one is one of the most civil and on point discussions I've yet to read. There's some interesting thoughts here.

Over on Charles Tan's wonderful blog he's posted an interview with short story writer Angela Slatter.

I received a newsletter from Comet Press today They're planning on two new releases this year, one an extreme creature themed anthology and the second a zombie novella/novelette collection. The guidelines aren't up yet but it's something to keep in mind as you're spilling words on the computer screen. I'll post a link when the guidelines go up.

The deadline, March 31, for Kerlak Publishing's Steampunk anthology is sneaking up on us. I posted about this quite a while ago but sometimes a reminder is good. You can find all the details here This is a paying market.

And Jersey Devil Press has posted a more detailed explanation of what they're looking for in a short story for their online zine. and their fourth issue is up here

Monday, January 25, 2010

Market Notes

I spent part of the weekend adding a few links to the left and also added a Western links section. I also found a new (at least to me) market for western shorts called Rope and Wire. They're looking for traditional and contemporary western stories up to 5000 words. They're a non-paying market. You can submit to their online form or email your submission. You can find all the details at

While clicking around the site, I found a page with links to western music, film clips, and some old time radio shows like "Gunsmoke". There's loads of good stuff at this site for Western fans.

A note from Paul Brazill brings the news that Pulp Metal has put out a call for submissions. They take shorts up to 2500 words in a variety of genres. They're a non-paying market.

For those of you who write those really, really short stories, The Vestal Review has something for you. Launched in October, the Dirty Dozen is a twelve word story with a one word title. They pay $10 and a print copy for the top story. You can find the details and some published stories here

And Bloody Bridge Review launched today with a piece of poetry by Howie Good. This is a flash and poetry market and they're still looking for more submissions. A non-paying market also.


There's a new zine out on the virtual streets today. It's called Crimefactory and it's packed with 108 pages of noir/hardboiled goodness. Published in pdf form you'll find movie reviews by the Nerd of Noir, an excerpt from Ken Buren's soon to be released "Killer" and yes, short stories from Frank Bill, Steve Weedle, Dave White and Hilary Davidson. The contents will keep you reading for hours. Thanks to Keith Rawson, Cameron Ashley and Liam Jose for pulling all this great stuff together. You can find Crimefactory here

And yes, they're open to submissions. They're looking for not only crime stories but noir westerns, hardboiled sci-fi, and gritty urban stories. They'll take stories up to 5000 words but their sweet spot is 3000. This is a non-paying market and you must query first. You can find all the details here

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Just Because

I found these interesting. They have absolutely nothing to do with writing or short stories but I enjoyed both of these posts. They made me smile today.

Friday, January 22, 2010


For you fantasy writers out there we have an anthology looking for novella length fantasy stories. They want stories in the 20,000 to 30,000 word range with a March 31 deadline. The pay is $100 plus two copies of the anthology. You can find the details here

I also ran across a new zine that publishes a mixture of sci-fi, mystery, and pulp fiction type stories. The zine is called "Stub" and they're looking for flash and short stories in the 2000 to 7000 word range with a May 1st deadline for their first issue. There's no pay. You can find all the details at I would add just one note here. The guidelines have been updated for 2010 but Ersatz Press first set this blog up in 2000 for other projects. According to back posts they've only completed one project in the last ten years. If you're considering this market you might want to check into them further. It's alway good to check out who you're submitting to before you proceed.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

More Links

I'll bet you can tell I'm between projects today. I polished a story and sent it out this morning and haven't decided what to work on next. I hate this space between, that moment when I have to decide what I want to write next.

So, traipsing around the 'net I came across this post What are professionals so afraid of? It's not like anyone is knocking on the amateur's door and offering them thousands of dollars for a short story. Please - get a grip. We amateurs have to earn our way to the top just the same as you. And these days, it more about luck and the publishers bank account than anything else.

There's an interesting look at the horror genre in this blog post by Monica Valentinelli and quite a debate stirring the pot in the comments.

And this post about the stages of a spec-fiction writer are just as germane to any new writer in any genre.

I Love Surprises

I love when a writer surprises me. Glen Gray has written many short stories and been published in places like ThugLit and BTAP but his stories aren't usually to my taste so I often pass on reading them. Don't get me wrong, he's a fine writer, it's just the subject matter he writes about tends to twist my stomach in knots. Until today.

Today I ran across one of his stories in A Long Story Short. Knowing the "G" rating of this venue, my curiosity got the better of me and I started reading "Missed Calls" and I'm glad I did. This isn't Glen's usual foray into darkness though it is a dark story. It's a bittersweet romance that leaves you with the shivery feeling that things are only going to get darker. Great story, Glen!

You can read Glen's story here

A Pair of Links

If you can't make up your mind whether or not to outline, you might want to read this essay by Erin Evans.

Jason Sanford has an interesting post on his reasons for not including flash fiction in the Million Writers Award. Of course, you all know how I feel about flash. It's a form of writing that takes patience and practice and skill to become adept at. And not everyone can do it.

And speaking of flash, here's the top five winners of the Clarity of Night contest.

1st Michael H. Payne
2nd Kurt Hendricks
3rd Aniket Thakkar
4th Linda Courtland
5th Alisa Rynay Haller

There is also a long list of honorable mentions, and of course, the Reader's Choice winners. Congrats to everyone who won and all those who entered. What a great display of talent and some really exceptional flash fiction. If you haven't yet, please stop on over and read some of the stories.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Robert B. Parker

What do you say when one of your heroes dies? Robert B. Parker passed away today. He went out in true writer fashion, at his desk. Writing.

Other than Agatha Christie I'd never read much in the mystery genre until I stumbled upon Parker's Spencer novels at our local library. The man blew me away. Every book a sit-down-and-read-until-its-done experience. In my first attempts at writing crime fiction I channeled Parker's wonderful dialogue, going for the humorous come-back lines that I loved in his books.

Through his books I came to love the genre and search out other crime writers. Through his books I learned how to write crime fiction, to realize that it can be more than just solving a crime. His books were full of wise-cracks, but you could see the love he had for his characters and them for each other. It doesn't get any better than that.

Rest in peace, Mr. Parker, you'll be greatly missed.

For more -

Market Notes

With a hat tip to Stephen D. Rogers we have the Al Blanchard Award contest sponsored by Crime Bake. Stories can be no more than 5000 words written by a New England author or set in New England. The deadline is April 30,2010 and there's no fee to enter. The winner receives $100 and publication in the Crime Bake conference anthology. You can find all the details at Mystery/crime genre only.

Editor, David Cranmer, is still looking for submissions for BTAP's print anthology. The deadline is January 31. David's looking for pirate and adventure stories. You can find the submission guidelines here

For those of you with a literary bend to your writing, posted a call for submissions list on January 17. Lots of good stuff here

Charles Tan has an interview up on his blog with GUD editor, Kaolin Fire. GUD is a paying market (3cents a word) that has just opened for new submissions. They publish in all genres. And GUD stands for Greatest Uncommon Denominator.

And there's a new flash market called Bloody Bridge Review that's looking for stories under 500 words. This is a non-paying market.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sound Familiar? All of us have been there at some point in our writing life and some of us are still tripping on the edges of it. "Aspiring Writers" by Bev Vincent takes a look at aspiring to be a writer and what it takes to make the leap.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Blog of Interest to Mystery Writers

For those of you who write mysteries and are in need of understandable forensic help you might try the blog of DP Lyle, MD. On the right side of the blog, the topics are broken down into categories which you can click on if you're looking for something specific or just need an idea on how to kill one of your characters. I'll post the link to the left in the links section.

Writing Insights

James Reasoner has a wonderful post on his blog about his writing process called "Instinct". He's also very generous in sharing more of his process in the comments.

I've found that the more you write, the more that instinct pops up to tell you there's something wrong with your story. The trick is learning to trust that little voice.

Scott Parker has an interesting post over at Do Some Damage about creating characters. One of the things I love about short stories is the ability to explore a character in a series of stories. Sometimes the stories suck, but the exploration can lead to one publishable story that makes all the work worth while.

And 10Flash has posted the theme, "Are we there yet?", for their July 2010 issue. Submissions are open and the spots fill quickly. You can find all the details at and this one is a paying market.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wallowing in Slush

The other day I mentioned that the links that come my way sometimes mesh all together in one topic. Today's topic is the slush pile. And we've all been there and until we can convince a court to change our names to Stephen King its someplace we'll probably always find ourselves. Our stories that is. With a hat tip to Victor Banis on the SMFS list, Anton Gully in the comments of the previous post, an email from Michael Bracken, and a link I found at Charles Tan's blog -- I give you the secrets of the slush pile.

"The View from the Slushpile" by Kevin J. Anderson

From the blog "Musings of an Aussie Writer" we have "Do Not Do This" There are also a few other posts here that might be of interest as the gentleman, Brenton Tomlinson, posting is putting together an anthology.

Douglas Cohen, editor of "Realms of Fantasy", gives us a look-see into his process of working through the slush pile of submissions before passing his selections on to the publisher.

And finally an article about the novel slushpiles


Charles Tan has an excellent essay up over at BSC about the time it takes to see an anthology come together.

And over at Bookgasm, Allan Mott has a humorous look at how to become a published author.

Jason Sanford has a call out for genre judges for his storySouth Million Writers Award. You can find the details at For all you editors, writers and readers out there you should seriously consider posting links to this award once its up and running at the end of January. More than just an award process, this competition provides links to stories and zines all over the web. Editors can nominate three stories and everyone else can nominate one (their own or a story they admire). It's a great way to support the zines and your fellow writers. I'll post a link to the rules once everything's up.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Odds and Ends

There's not been much marketing news of late but I did find that Macabre Cadaver Magazine is open for submissions. They're looking for 1000 to 7500 words of spec-fiction combined with themes of horror, sci-fic and dark fantasy. This is a non-paying market, you can find all the details here

Back in December I mentioned that Sonar 4 was publishing an anthology of Sherlock Holmes themed stories. That has been dropped. There's no reason given but I suspect that the recent incident with the new Sherlock Holmes movie might have something to do with it. Law suits are such a pain to creativity. :) They've added several more themes if you'd like to take a look.

Over at The Drowning Machine, Naomi Johnson has posted three more short story review columns. If you're looking for something to read, she's got you covered.

If you've ever wondered how to think outside the box when it comes to writing short stories spend a little time over at the Clarity of Night blog. The contest closed last night with a whopping 237 entries. There is one picture to frame your words around yet the stories cover every genre imaginable and while some have the same theme, each story is uniquely different.

And my first published short story of the year has gone live. "Glory in the Flower" appears in The Texas Gardener newsletter "Seeds". Just scroll down a bit if you'd like to read it. My thanks to editor, Michael Bracken, for the opportunity.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Writing Tips

Some days I run across links that mesh together nicely into one theme, other days, I'm all over the place. Today's links are all over the place but there's one thread that runs through all of them, how to write better.

I clicked on this link to The Outfit Collective because of the title, "Chasing the Elusive Coyote". I know about coyotes. They live in our woods, their hunting habits have driven the deer and turkeys in closer to the house, hoping for a respite from the hunt, their howls in the night send shivers up my spine and yet there are no words to describe that unearthly sound, especially during the spring mating season. While the beautiful essay that Bryan Greeley wrote doesn't dwell on coyotes, he does draw a wonderful picture of how to capture setting in your stories.

John McFetridge posted a quote from James Crumley's "The Last Good Kiss" that totally sums up how to write a short story. "Stories are like snapshots, son, pictures snapped out of time," he said, "with clean, hard edges. But this was life, and life always begins and ends in a bloody muddle, womb to tomb, just one big mess, a can of worms left to rot in the sun."

And a snapshot is exactly what a short story is. A glimpse at one moment in time that changes a character forever in some way. Short stories don't sprawl, like a photograph they have "clean, hard edges". And as a reader we get to live in that life-churning moment with the character we're reading about. You can read more of John's thoughts at

A while back I asked Michael Bracken if he found himself repeating stories. At the time I was writing story after story about floods, the stories themselves were different but the flood was always present. Michael said (paraphrasing here) that most writers repeat themes in their stories. No matter what genre the writer uses, they'll probably go back to that "something" in their life that they want to explore. So, this post at The Guardian struck home for me on a couple of different levels,

Not only do I have to watch out for repeating themes, now I have to watch out for putting the same scenes in every story. And yes, I've caught myself using the same scenes, like hiding in hidey-holes and wrapping up in Grandma's quilt or afghan. But then for me, having something familiar close by when my character is scared just seems right. And yes, my grandmother's lamp sits on the desk where I write. Subliminal message?

Monday, January 11, 2010

As Promised

The other day I came across this blog post by Jim Hines about killing off your characters. While most of the comments deal with novels and movies, it's still an interesting topic for short story writers. Killing off anyone but the bad guy seems like bad form for a short but Flannery O'Connor did an excellent job of making this work in "A Good Man is Hard to Find" And maybe that's an advantage short story writers have over novel writers, we actually have the option of killing off our protag without alienating our readers.

Over at Do Some Damage there's a great interview with short story writer Hilary Davidson. Yes, she writes other stuff but I still think of her as one of the best short story writers around.

I love reading about novel writers who struggle with the short form. There's some interesting thoughts in this blog post by Clare Langley-Hawthorne about her struggle with writing a short story.

Monday Morning Chuckles

With a smile on my face and a big tip of the hat to Michael Bracken!

More links later, this one was too good not to share first thing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fourth Annual Black Orchid Novella Awards

With a hat tip to The Rap Sheet, we have word of the Fourth Annual Black Orchid Novella Awards. This contest is sponsored by The Wolfe Pack and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. They seek novellas of 15,000 - 20,000 words that mirrors the Nero Wolfe novels. The deadline is May 31, 2010. You can find all the details at

The winner receives $1000 and publication in AHMM.

A Pair of Markets

Brave Blue Mice is looking for flash and short stories up to 7000 words. They've been around for a year now so there's lots of stories at the site to get an idea of what they publish. They're looking for weird, bizzaro, horror, noir, sci-fi and an occasional fantasy piece. There's no pay but they do take reprints.

And House of Horror opens for submissions to their new anthology, "Frightening Fables and Freaky Fairy Tales", on January 10. They pay a flat rate of $5 for stories 500 - 2000 words long. You can find all the details at

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Writing Westerns and a Question

Over at the Clarity of Night, Jason Evans posted a note that he reserved the right not to publish stories he found offensive for offensive's sake, right after I sent in my submission. Oh yeah, I jumped to the obvious conclusion to me, that he had found my story offensive. It was way too real, I should have gone with the romantic vision everyone has. Did I tell you this piece was a western?

There's a famous line in the movie "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" that goes something like this. "When you have a choice between printing the truth and printing the legend - print the legend." And let's face it, most of our visions of Westerns come from movies and TV. A very highly romanticized west. Just listen to Toby Keith's song "I Should Have Been a Cowboy" and you'll hear every man's vision of the West.

I've been doing a little research and imagining about the West and the sight isn't a pretty one. No running water or deodorant which means a great many unwashed bodies. Lots of dust, prairies full of dead buffaloes filling the air with the stench of death. And that's just the smell.

Reading up on cattle drives, I discovered that most of the cowboys walked behind the cows poking them with sticks - cowpokes. Those who rode developed boils on their butts from lack of bathing and the constant rub of the saddle against their pants. And they only managed 10 miles on a good day. The reality is a dirty job that only paid a dollar a day if they lived long enough to collect their pay at the end of the drive.

Those were some of the realities of the wild west, definitely not what you see up on the silver screen. So here's the question, when you're writing westerns do you stick with the legends or do you lay out the realities of the real west?

Oh, and if you'd like to read my flash Western you can find it here and while you're there be sure to read some of the other entries that are posted. There's a lot of great stories that all came from one picture. I find that simply amazing. And there's still plenty of time to enter your own 250 word story.

One more question. Has anyone read "Murderland:h8" by Garrett Cook? I found it listed at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography as one of the best experimental novels of 2009. The premise of the book sounds amazing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Treat for Pulp Fans

I ran across a new market today called, Necrology Shorts, which is looking for horror, sci-fi and fantasy stories. There's no pay here, but even if you don't want to submit you should stop on by this site. They have stories posted by HP Lovecraft and Conan creator, Robert E. Howard. Some lovely pulpy stuff there.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Story Day

For those of you looking for reading material, head on over to the Rap Sheet. They've posted an original short story by Tony Black featuring Gus Dury, from his novels "Paying for It" and "Gutted". Those of you hanging around here will probably know Tony best for being the fabulous editor of the online ezine, PulpPusher.

The January issue of New Mystery Reader is now live. You'll find an interview with Ken Bruen and a short story, "The Visit", by Sherry Isaac, along with all the usual reviews of crime fiction.

And if you're tired of reading, head on over to Elizabeth Foxwell's blog and click on the link to hear "Improvisation" by Ed McBain.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Around the Blogs

Jeff Vandermeer has an excellent essay up over at BookLife about things to consider before submitting your short story.

I'm a daily reader of the Do Some Damage blog and today's entry by John McFetridge is one of the reasons why you'll find me there. John takes a look at finding the truth and sentimentality in crime fiction.

Sandra Ruttan pointed me in the direction of the excellent blog, Mysterious Matters. I've put a link to the left and expect this will be a regular stop for me. Scroll down the pages and you'll find some excellent essays about all things Mystery.

Oline Cogdill had an interesting essay about transcending over at Mystery Scene Magazine's blog. But Brian Lindermuth puts the whole transcending thing into perspective with his post Seems nobody's ever been comfortable wearing mystery's shoes.

Yesterday I posted about the all female issue of Realms of Fantasy and today all the women who were complaining about being ignored are now complaining that they're being pandered too. Is no one ever happy? I'm not linking to the complaints, its not worth the effort. But this gnashing of teeth makes me wish that stories were considered without thoughts to gender, race, or any other damn thing. The only thing that should matter first and foremost is THE STORY!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Flashing All Around

For those of you who need a gentle nudge to get your writing juices flowing, you might take the flash plunge.

First off, every Friday, Cormac Brown gives you a starter sentence over at Friday Flash Fiction. Then on Tuesday he posts the links to your stories.

Yesterday, Bryon Quertermous posted a challenge on his blog. Write a flash story under 1000 words, then send him the link by next Monday, January 11. Open theme here, so it's anything your imagination can crank out on the page.

And lastly, the twelfth Clarity of Night flash fiction contest. Jason Evans runs a fabulous contest on his site. There's no charge and 1st through 5th place receives Amazon gift certificates as prizes. Jason posts a picture to build your 250 word story around. The contest starts tomorrow and all entries must be received by January 13. You can find all the details here

Get your keyboard in gear and have some fun.


I love it when authors take the time to break down their income from writing. You can see why some people keep their day jobs and how freelance writers spread their writing abilities across many different fields to make their yearly income. Here's links to two eye-opening posts if you're considering trying your hand at living off your writing income.

If you've had a fantasy story published or will be published between May 1, 2009 and May 31, 2010 you can nominate it for inclusion in "Best American Fantasy 4". You can find all the details here Hat tip to Brian Lindenmuth for the link.

For the lady fantasy writers out there Realms of Fantasy is looking to publish a women in fantasy issue in 2011. They're seeking both fiction and non-fiction from women writers only. The deadline for submissions is November 15, 2010. You can find the details for this special issue here the guidelines for ROF are

And Astonishing Adventures #8 is out. You can find all the details about this issue and links to the pdf over at Cormac Brown's blog.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Writers Take Care

I ran across a market the other day that reminded me that writers need to watch out for royalty minimums when they sign a contact. This particular market pays nothing up front and no royalties until they reach the $50 mark. They have five years to reach that point, then all royalties revert to the publisher. This was an ebook publisher, the market an anthology, so the odds of a writer ever seeing a penny are pretty slim.

The reason this struck me was I signed a similar contract several years ago. The anthology was print, and believe it or not, it's still listed for sale at and several other book seller sites. The writers weren't paid for the stories up front, but once the royalties hit $25 per author they would be paid. I received my one and only quarterly statement two months late and the royalties were just over $24. A few cents shy of my getting paid for my work. Shortly after that statement arrived the press folded and the publisher re-opened under a new name. So, who got the royalties that were supposed to go to the writers?

Now, I was thrilled to be included in the anthology, I received the copies I was promised, but I still feel like I was bent over. But I did learn a valuable lesson, which I'm passing on to you. Pay attention to how the payment of royalties is worded, if there's a minimum payment, try to negotiate. If they don't want to negotiate the ball's in your court. You have to decide if the publication credit is worth more to you than the possibility of payment.

And a market note: Shock Totem has opened for submissions

Friday, January 1, 2010


We have a new short story reviewer. Naomi Johnson has her first reviews up over at The Drowning Machine review site. Today she reviewed stories by Patti Abbott, Matthew McBride, Robert Crisman and Paul D. Brazill. Drop on over, read the reviews, then click the links for some pleasurable reading. Good stuff, Naomi!

More New Issues

The new zine, Ligature Marks, has posted its first issue with 5 short stories from Joe R. Lansdale, Mike Wilkerson, JD Murray and others. There's also interviews, film reviews and book reviews. And the site looks like a pretty good showcase for your work.

And Frontier Tales has their December issue up and lists the lineup for their January issue. This one's for our western pals.

Closings, Openings and New Issues

Sandra Ruttan has announced that Spinetingler is closed to submissions until further notice. You can find all the details at

Crime Spree and Necrotic Tissue have both opened for submissions today. Yellow Mama and Shock Totem both list a January opening but neither state they're open at the sites. Also Shroud was supposed to open in January but they've changed their reading period to May 1 through July 31. Urls to the left for these zines.

The deadline for The First Line's Spring issue is February 1 and the first line is "Working for God is never easy."

Gemini Magazine is sponsoring another contest but this time there's a $4 fee to enter. First prize is $1000, the deadline is March 31.

The winter issue of Mysterical E is now live with 21 brand new short stories by writers like Stephen D. Rogers, Dana King and Jake Hinkson to name just a few.

The January issue of Gumshoe Review is up with the usual reviews and a short story by Virginia Winters called "Clarice".

And Issue 6 of Sex and Murder is here with new shorts and poetry

For those not downing aspirins and hugging the toilet bowl, there's no excuse not to get cracking on your New Year's resolution to write and submit. That was your resolution, wasn't it? If you're holding an ice bag to your head, there's lots to read until your brain kicks into imagination drive. Happy New Year!

***A late addition here. Issue 3 of 10Flash has gone live with 10 flash stories by some familiar authors, Jodi MacArthur, DJ Barber and Laura Eno among others.