Sunday, February 28, 2010

Short Story Awards and a Market Note

Today is the last day to post your nominations for the storySouth Million Writers Award. Online stories of any length over 1000 words and in any genre can be nominated. Readers are allowed one nomination and editors three. Top prize for the winning story is $400 plus a $100 gift certificate. Money aside, this is a great opportunity to get short stories and publishing venues out in front of the public. You can find the details at

The Short Mystery Fiction Society is also open for Derringer nominations until March 15. Any editor who publishes short mystery fiction is eligible to nominate stories. You don't have to be a member of the society to participate, though it's a great group of people who share their love for short fiction. There are four categories from flash to novelette that you can submit nominations for. You can find all the details at Current members of the society can nominate two stories each.

And on a sad note, The Feral Pages will no longer be a bi-monthly zine. Editor, Lyman Feero, has published a notice on the site to make everyone aware of the changes he's making. Which will be switching from a zine to a once a year print anthology. He will be starting up the Feral Pages blog on March 15 for those who would like to discuss cross genre writing and he'll be posting the guidelines for the anthology at that time. For more details go here

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Superheroes and Such

This Mutant Life is looking for superhero stories, poetry, non-fiction and artwork. This is a print magazine and the first issue is available for purchase. Right now, they're looking for subs for issue two with an April 1 deadline. The pay for shorts is $5 AUS. Poetry is paid in copies. You can find all the details here

If you're interested in comics and graphic novels, Cindi Myers Market News blog has you covered this week with an entire list of markets that are open to this type of submissions.

We Have Linkage

The link to this essay by Theresa Rizzo came through the Crime Scene Writers group. There's some really good advice in this one. While writing is a solitary thing, we also need to pay attention to feedback from readers, editors and critique groups. Making a story the best it can be is what every writer should strive for.

John Floyd has an interesting post over at Criminal Brief about punctuation I really do love John's sense of humor, but he also makes some very valid points about the overuse of punctuation marks in a story.

And for your Saturday morning chuckles head on over to the Women of Mystery blog for this very funny piece. Be very careful where your participles dangle :-)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Advice Columns

Nobody can tell you how to write, that comes from putting your butt in the chair and just doing it. The more you write, the easier it gets and the more confidence you build in yourself and your writing. But the truth is, a good writer never stops learning and the glory of the Internet is that there's lots of advice available for aspiring writers. With that in mind, here are some links to a few recent advice columns that contain some excellent advice on a variety of topics. Use what works for you.

Michael Bracken has been in the business for a long while and when he gives advice, I sit up and take note. This advice is especially suited to you folks who submit to online zines. Many of those zines don't edit so you always have to remember that your story reflects on you as a writer. If the story is full of errors, it says you're a lazy writer who doesn't care about the reader. Readers appreciate a clean story. If its full of errors, another story is just a click away.

Chris Holm has an interesting post on adverbs, you know those pesky little "ly" words. I read this post yesterday and used the advice to clean up the flash story I was working on. It made a world of difference in the telling.

Russel McLean has an interesting piece up at Do Some Damage today While the post is about how to get your novel published, steps 3 through 11 are perfect advice for any short story writer to take to heart.

Juliette Wade has a very interesting take on finding your character's voice. When I started reading this essay, I thought it would probably be the same old - same old. Boy, was I surprised. Ms. Wade opened my eyes to a whole new way of looking at my characters. Very cool advice!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

For New England Writers

Ruth McCarty just posted this call for submissions to the SMFS board. You can find more details about Level Best Books here This is a call for New England writers only. Level Best is a co-operative publishing company that might be of interest to those of you who are investigating this type of publishing.

We are currently accepting submissions for the Eighth anthology, titled "Thin Ice". We are seeking original crime stories by New England writers in the following genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, caper, and horror.

Submission Guidelines:

Stories should be no more than 5,000 words in length and should not have been previously published anywhere, including on the web via an e-zine or your own website. Each story should be typed in 12 pt, double-spaced.In the upper right-hand corner, please include your name and address, phone number, e-mail address, and word count.Please submit hard copy with a SASE and include a brief cover letter describing your publishing experience. We do not accept electronic submissions.Level Best Books will accept submissions from January 1 to April 15, 2010.New England writers are residents of the six New England states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. If you have any questions about whether you qualify, please query before submitting.

Mail submissions to:
Level Best Books
P.O. Box 161
Prides Crossing, MA 01965

**I deleted their email address, so they don't get a lot of spam from this post. Anyone who needs to query will find the email link at the link posted above.

Seeing Characters

Yesterday I wrote my story for Daniel O'Shea's flash challenge. No, it's not finished. I'm not happy with the ending and will spend the next few days working on it. (procrastinating and mulling at the moment). The thing is, I dropped the story into my flash critique group and one gentleman thought I should add more details about the characters.

Sigh. I hate describing characters. I'll dress them up because clothes will give you more details about a character than how tall and skinny they are. How they move will give you their age group, even how they talk tells you a lot about the character. The thing is, I always have a picture in my head of how they look, but writing it down, never brings them to life for me. And the truth is, describing how someone looks and going into excessive detail about what they're wearing, the kind of shoes on their feet and the wing-back, flower patterned, 19th century chair they're sitting in are the parts I skip when I'm reading.

How about you? Do you need those descriptions to really "see" a character or do you like the image you conjure up yourself when you're reading?

All Over the Map Day

It's another one of those all-over-the-map links day. They're mostly markets but they range from flash to cats and all things in between.

First though, here's a link to Nick Mamatas' blog and an interesting discussion about lit, genre and making money with your writing.

Chicago Pulp Stories is a print magazine. The deadline is March 8 for their next issue and they're looking for fiction in any genre. The pay is 2 copies of the issue your story appears in.

The Feline Muse is, you guessed it, looking for all things feline from poetry to photographs and everything in between. The deadline is May 16 for a June launch of this new zine. This is a non-paying market.

Quick Fiction is a flash fiction print and online flash magazine. They're looking for stories under 500 words with a August 15 deadline for their next issue. Non-paying market.

Over at Duotrope I noticed that they had listed Burst Fiction as a dead market. Apparently there were two Burst zines because the link I have in the flash section is still live with the newest issue now up. This Burst is looking for flash under 700 words. It's an online quarterly zine that pays $10 per story.

At I found an anthology call from Wicked East Press The anthology is called Ransom: Give Me What I Want and I'll Go Away (Maybe) They're looking for ransom stories of 3500 to 7000 words with a September 30 deadline. The payment is one copy. What troubles me here is that the call is posted on a forum board but I can't seem to find a website for Wicked East Press. Pill Hill Press also uses this board but they have a web presence. So if you decide to go with this call, do a little checking around first. It always pays to err on the side of caution.

And finally, the crew at Do Some Damage has issued the latest Flash Challenge. They're looking for recession stories with a top word count of 900 and an April 6 deadline, which gives you lots of time. If you're interested in the challenge, drop on over and sign up in the comments section.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Get Your Scare On

I'm not finding many new straight crime markets but the horror business seems to be booming at the moment and a lot of crime stories can trip over into this category.

First up, we have Death Head Grin. This is a non-paying market looking for horror but open to other genres. They take flash to 1000 words, shorts up to 7000 and poetry. Reprints are also welcome here. You can find all the details here

Blood Bound Books has listed several new anthologies. The pay is a flat rate of $5. You can find all the various calls here

DF_underground is looking for horror and dark fiction. The pay is $5 for stories up to 1000 words and $10 for 1000 to 5000 words. They also pay $5 to $7 for poetry depending on the length.

Dreams of Decadence has reopened. They're looking for shorts of 1000 to 7000 words with a pay rate of 1 to 7 cents per word in the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres. Reprints welcome if they're over two years published.

And finally, we have Aberrant Dreams looking for spec-fiction of fantasy, sci-fi, and supernatural horror of less than 10,000 words. They pay 3 cents a word up to $100.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Have you ever had a week where things kept popping up that set you down a long path of thinking about a topic? Sure you have. My topic this week was writing outside of the publishing parameters.

What put me on this path was a comment on a newscast about Sarah Palin developing her "brand". Writers are often told to create a brand, build a platform and write what publishers want. All of which have created a half million vampire books, Harry Potter wannabes and cozy mysteries populated with hobbies, recipes, and pets. Gimmicks. In case no one ever noticed, ranchers brand their cows because they all look alike. Do you, as a writer, really want your story to be a pale imitation of everyone else's story? And the flip side is this question. Do you want to keep writing the same story over and over because that's the brand you've stuck on your work?

This last year, I stepped out of my comfort zone of writing hard noir crime fiction. Why? Because I couldn't crack into ThugLit or Plots with Guns and I couldn't figure out why. I was writing in all the curse words all the nasty degenerate things I could think of but my heart wasn't in it. My stories disgusted me. And I expect it showed. Once I cleaned up those stories and put a little heart in them, they sold to places like Shred of Evidence and Mouth Full of Bullets. Not the "holy grail" of noir but respected zines. And readers let me know that they enjoyed these stories.

I love writing crime stories, and noir especially, but I also wanted to experiment, to write stories that revolved around families, to play in the sci-fi and western playgrounds, to not keep writing the same story of screwed up characters over and over. If I brand myself as a crime writer, do I lose the option of writing the other stories that bubble up in me? Do I have to take every idea and spin it around a crime in order to be published?

Next, there was the discussion on SMFS about writing for the reader or writing for yourself, which I kind of instigated. If you want to published by a specific zine or NY publisher you have to write to their specs. There's nothing wrong with that if that's what you crave as a writer and if you have the skills to do it. Me? Been there and done that. It doesn't work for me.

A good example is my story "Glory in the Flower". I had bent that story so many ways over the years and had it rejected by so many zines, I finally tossed it in a drawer. When I was asked to contribute a gardening story to "Seeds" that was the first story that popped into my mind. The only editorial requirement was to keep it G rated and under a thousand words. Since the story was 1200 words and your standard revenge, bury the body in the garden story, I started slicing and dicing.

By cutting back to the bare bones, I found the sweet spot that could change the story into something different. I followed the heart of the story. As writers, that's what we should always seek to find when we're writing, the heart, not the gimmick. Will it be what an editor is looking for? Not always, but then it could be more than they're looking for. It could be that "give me something different" that they always say they're looking for but a writer can never quite find when they're trying too hard to please an editor.

And then this morning I read Scott Parker's post over at Do Some Damage. While Scott's post is about music, my mind jumped immediately to writing, to books and short stories that all read the same. We're all taught the same rules, start with the action then go faster until the story explodes with a mind-boggling twist. If you read any of the current crop of crime zines, that's what you'll find, the same formula over and over. But if you step back and think about it, the stories that really slap you in the face are the ones that don't follow the formula or that do, and give you something different within the formula. Those writers who get your attention have probably followed the heart of the story, crossed over the line of formula and into a place that tugs at your emotions or makes you sit up and think, yeah, okay, I can go here with this writer.

I know a lot of people didn't like "The DaVinci Code" but it's a prime example of taking a stroll off the beaten path. Dan Brown asked his readers to travel a "what if" path with him. What if Jesus had been married? After all, God sent his son to earth to experience being human and having a wife and child is part of that process, so why not? If a reader trusts the writer, he can take them anywhere. You just have write a "what if" that readers can believe in on some level. Readers love when you surprise them and take them on a journey where they least expect to go. Trust yourself, and trust your story. Choose not to be a McWriter. Unless that's really the path you want to take.

It's your choice how you write. You're the one behind the keyboard of your writing journey.

Now this is all written from my perspective as a writer who is learning to follow the story's path, who doesn't expect to ever have a published novel or make a billion dollars and I'm happy with that. And every writer who reads this has to decide what makes them happy, what they're looking for from their writing and do what's best for them. I'm no shining example of how its done - I'm just tapping away at the keyboard with the rest of you, trying to figure it all out.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Odds and Ends

I'm glad to see that Stephen D. Rogers has restarted his blog "Writ". Stephen has an interview with Charles Ardai up, with Charles answering some questions about his Gabriel Hunt book.

I first discovered a link to Stephen's blog over on the SMFS list and have always enjoyed the little bits of wisdom he posted. I've also been an avid reader of his stories on the web. He's a good teacher both with his blog and his stories. I've learned a lot from Stephen over the years and hope he continues to post those little nuggets of wisdom. Welcome back, Stephen!!

Paul Brazill has an interview with Aldo Calcagno up on his blog. Aldo is the editor of Powder Burn Flash and Darkest Before the Dawn (links to the left).

Stopping by Shroud Magazine's blog today, I discovered that they've been added to the Horror Writers Association approved list.

Hunter Liguore, editor of The Last Man anthology stopped by and left a comment on this post to let us know that they have rephrased their guidelines about taking a class in the last three years. Us old geezers are welcome to submit! From what he said, I wasn't the only one to wonder about the phrasing.

And Spinetingler has started adding content to their site with some book reviews, a note from the editor and the promise that there will be short fiction posted soon. Yahoo!!

***Just a quick note to say that the Spinetingler site is down at the moment, along with it's host site BSC due to server problems.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Agatha Short Story Nominees

“Femme Sole,” Dana Cameron, Boston Noir, Akashic Books

“Handbaskets, Drawers and Killer Cold,” Kaye George, Crooked

“The Worst Noel,” Barb Goffman, The Gift of Murder, Wolfmont Press

“On the House,” Hank Phillippi Ryan, Quarry, Level Best Books

“Death Will Trim Your Tree,” Elizabeth Zelvin, The Gift of Murder, Wolfmont Press

Congratulations to everyone!!! And I'm especially pleased to see Elizabeth Zelvin, Barb Goffman and Kaye George on this list for a very selfish reason - I had the privilege of sharing pages with them. Congrats, Ladies! There's a whole chorus line of Snoopy dancers prancing around the room.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Call for Submissions

I'm a regular reader over at Fried Chicken and Coffee. While I don't live in Appalachia, the way of life in that area parallels life here in my corner of PA, and the type of stories I'm struggling to write. Today, there was a post about a call for submissions for an anthology to published by Bottom Dog Press.

From Hill to Holler is looking for short stories about contemporary Appalachian working class fiction. The deadline is July 1 for stories of 3000 to 6000 words. Payment is $50 plus two copies of the anthology.

If you're considering submitting be sure to read the post over at Fried Chicken and Coffee for details of the type of writing and the kinds of stories that make up this genre. And it is a genre all its own.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Interview

Back in January I mentioned the Distant Realms anthology For those of you working on a submission, I found an interview with the editor at DL Snell's Market Scoops. that might help you with the finer points of your story. It's always nice to have an understanding of what the editor is looking for in a story before you submit. And just a reminder, the deadline is March 31 and the pay is $100.


In my last post I stated that the email for the call to submissions at Gloom Cupboard was different. It's not, the email address is the same. I was looking at the email for complaints at the end of the guidelines at the Gloom Cupboard site. So sorry for any confusion.

Monday, February 15, 2010

This and That

I just spotted this call for submissions over at CrimeSpace. Fiction editor, Allie Dresser, is looking for short stories of 50 to 2000 words for a special noir issue of Gloom Cupboard. Their guidelines are here If you're considering submitting, take note that the email address for the special issue is different than the one for regular subs. This is a non-paying market but they seem to have been publishing for several years now.

For those of you who write gay erotica, Dreamspinner Press has calls out for two anthologies. This is an e-publisher that pays royalties. You can check them out at

Paul Brazill has an interesting interview on his blog with short story writer, Patti Abbott.

With a hat tip to Bill Crider, we have an article on show and tell that focuses on the sci-fi genre.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Newest Flash Challenge

With a hat tip to Kieran Shea we have a link to the latest flash challenge on the blog block. The theme for this one is writing a crime story revolving around your local house of worship. As Dan O'Shea puts it, "set wherever good folks hit their knees". One thousand words tops with a posting date of March 1. Drop on over to Dan's blog and sign up in the comments if you're interested. Noir in a church opens up all sorts of possibilities!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Drawing a Blank?

Coming up with story ideas is part of a writer's job, but the ideas don't always materialize when you want them to. But hey, don't panic, you can find ideas in all sorts of places.

There are many prompt sites out there like Seventh Sanctum They have seventeen generators to choose from and a list of fifteen other sites with generators. This is the link to the quick story generator All you have to do is click until you find a story idea that works for you.

Over at Duotrope they have a theme calender You can scroll down through the calender and find any number of different themes that might trigger a story for you. If the zine with the theme doesn't suit you, it doesn't matter. There are always other markets, only the idea is important at this point. Get the story written.

And speaking of themes, I found a Western theme opening for you Western writers out there. It's a non-paying quarterly market called "Schlock" who's looking for pulpy type stories for a variety of themes. They also take reprints. The deadline for the Westerns stories is November 1 for the December issue.

Of course, there are other places to find ideas like prompt groups, google, and blogs. All you have to do is open your mind to the possibilities then hit the keyboard.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Too Old?

In searching out markets, I read a lot of guidelines. Some are very specific, some are in your face nasty, some are just "send us your best whatever/however". The point is, every publication has their own rules and tastes and as submitters we need to follow those guidelines. Which brings me to the call for submissions that I stumbled across yesterday.

The Last Man Anthology sounded great. They're looking
for short stories with the theme of catastrophic literature based loosely on Mary Shelley's novel, "The Last Man". They had a list of phases they didn't want to see in a story, they detailed the judging, gave clear concise details of how they wanted the story submitted. All good things.

Until I ran across this: "It is suggested that all writers submitting have at least taken a college level composition class within the last three years." Now, this being a literary effort, I can understand this statement to a point. My problem? The last English comp class I took was forty years ago and I expect there are many older writers out there, like me, who haven't stepped inside a classroom in years. So, does this disqualify us from submitting?

Oh, probably not, but it made me think about what they might actually be looking for. Which, for the most part, would be work from young writers, probably those in MFA courses, which definitely leaves me out. Since my brain always slides sideways, I started thinking about what they're missing by putting that statement into their guidelines.

Yes, it's their publication and they have the right to exclude older writers, but who better to approach such a topic? Writers in their sixties have lived through the loss of parents, classmates, friends and relatives, possibly their children. They understand the meaning of being the last man left, to be the last person holding all the memories of their companions. They can understand that desolation on a level that the average twenty-five year old can't begin to grasp.

That's not to say that younger writers can't write perfectly good stories - I mean, imagine texting or twittering and there's no one on the other end! Or a vampire with no blood to suck! No, I'm not making fun of the younger generation, though sometimes they're an easy target.

Every writer brings their own life to the story, it's what creates the diversity in short stories. It's the thing that teaches us and helps us understand the people around us, the people we don't know because we haven't walked in their shoes. Having a degree or taking a class doesn't make a writer better, it only gives him a better grasp of grammar and punctuation. But all that book learning won't put a heart in the story, it won't bring a new understanding to the readers, unless the writer puts a piece of himself into the story. That's what good literature is, right?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Short Story Review

Yesterday I posted about the new zine, "Moon Milk Review" and suggested that you should read some of the stories before submitting. Taking some of my own advice, I read "Beds" by Karen Heuler.

Opening a speculative fiction story with a sentence like, "There were twelve beds in the hospital ward today; tomorrow there will be eleven." is guaranteed to keep the reader's eyes on the page. Now, I'm not fond of more than two or three characters in a story this short, but Ms. Heuler handles the occupants of the beds perfectly and you are never confused as to who is who in the story. The beauty part is, that everyone in the story is someone we know, or could have run into, in the real world.

Like most short stories, this one is focused on one simple scene, that of a nurse dispensing medicine and the doctor choosing which bed is to leave the ward. The richness of this story lives in the layers of the story. Each patient's fear of having their bed chosen to leave, their fear of what's to come if they are chosen and their weaknesses as human beings. The ending is so simple and yet complex as you see their reaction to who is chosen and the reader is left to wonder at their feelings of .... What? You expect me to give away the ending?

My only nit with this story was all the semicolons. When you stumble over a punctuation mark in every other sentence it tends to slow a story down, at least for me. Other than that, I loved this story and highly recommend it.

There's also a link at the end of the story to an interview with the author. Nice to know that Ms. Heuler is a top shelf short story writer.

More Flash Contests

If you're on the look-out for flash contests, drop on over to the Women of Mystery blog. The lovely Kathleen Ryan has posted three non-fee flash contests.

And while you're there, have a look around, the ladies have a very lively blog.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Market Links

Well, I've got a little bit of everything today. First up is the new zine "Moon Milk Review". They've just published their first issue and are looking for new subs. Flash under 500 words, shorts to 3000 but with a sweet spot around 1500 words. This zine is lit with a surreal bend. You really need to read the stories to get an idea of what they're looking for. There's no pay for the monthly but if your story is chosen for the annual issue you'll receive 5cents a word. You can find all the details at

Over at I found that The Drabble Cast is looking for submissions of 500 to 2000 words in the fantasy/sci-fi/horror genres. The pay is a penny and half per word. Stories under 500 and 100 word drabbles receive no pay. You can find all the details at And do be sure to drop by as they have several other markets listed that might be of interest.

I don't usually post non-fiction but thought these anthologies might be of interest to a few of the writers who stop by. These folks are looking for subs for two anthologies. The first is A Pinch and A Dash with a very tight deadline of January 15. They want non-fiction poetry or prose of family memories that revolve around food along with the recipe. The second is Flashlight Memories with March 15 deadline for submissions about childhood reading. The pay for both is $5 for poetry and $10 for prose plus a copy of the anthology. They have several other projects listed but no set publishing dates, these are purely on spec.

And for the UK students among us, we have a non-fiction competition. 2000 to 4000 words on any topic for undergrads and post grads at UK universities. The deadline is May 1. The winner receives $1000 and a month stay at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony. You can find all the details at A big hat tip to Paul Brazill for this one.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Of Love and Hate

I've had two very different items chasing their way through my brain this past week. No matter what I'm doing, my brain shifts and I start thinking, then over-thinking, until frustration sets in. So, I'm thinking maybe if I just write my thoughts down, they'll go on their merry way and I can get back to work.

The first is an essay I read over at Storytellers Unplugged called "The Heart of Love and Hate" by Gerard Houarner. In his essay, Mr. Houarner writes, "Love is the heart of every story." No, he's not talking about romance but how love can open up a story. He also says,"Hate does only one thing. The heart of hate is very small."

Now, I've read the essay several times and in mulling it over, I realized that Patti Abbott's short story, "Instrument of Their Desire" perfectly illustrates what Mr. Houarner is talking about. The premise of this story could have so easily lent itself to the hate aspect by becoming a story of revenge either by the sister or the brother. But, instead, the story became about love. The love of a sister for a brother and the love of a brother for his family. Love opened the story up and added so many more layers than hate and revenge could have ever done.

So, the next time you're writing a story, stop and think about the love aspect and how it might open your story up into something more powerful.

The second thing that's been driving me nuts is two court cases that took place in our area last week.

The first case was a male caregiver who "allegedly" raped a mentally challenged woman. He was found not guilty because the woman didn't understand what sex was and didn't say no, making it "consensual" sex. The worst part? The woman gave birth to a still-born child fathered by this man because she didn't know she was pregnant and didn't go to a doctor. Since the man was found not guilty, he'll be allowed to go back to his job as "care-giver". And they wonder why so many women are the victims in crime books?

The second case involved a woman who was selling "goth" cats on the Internet. She'd pierced their ears and bobbed their tails. She was arrested for cruelty to animals, even though the cats were well-fed and well taken care of. She was found guilty and could spend up to five years in jail.

So, you tell me, why are the damn animals given more rights than a human being who is incapable of defending herself against an "alleged" rapist? The cats didn't know what was happening to them either.

But I do know what would happen to that "man" in a story of mine and it sure wouldn't be about love and it very definitely wouldn't be very pretty.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Two Markets and a Flash Contest

I promised to let you know when Comet Press opened for anthology submissions. Well, it has and you can find all the details at The Extreme Creatures anthology is for short stories with a deadline of May 1. The pay is 1/2 cent per word with a $50 max. The Extreme Zombie anthology wants novelettes and novellas with a July 1 deadline. Same pay but with a $150 max.

Flyleaf Press is looking for short stories featuring lesbian identified sorceresses, witches, magicians or any other magic users. They're looking for stories of 3000 to 8000 words but you must query first to submit your story between February 15 and May 15. They pay royalties based on word count.

***This is a later addition to the post. Drollerie Press has other imprints besides FlyLeaf Press that also have submission openings you can find links to those calls at

Flash Fiction Chronicles has kicked off a new contest called String of 10 two. they've listed a string of ten words and you have to use at least four of them for a 250 word flash. The contest starts today and ends on the 14th. You can find all the details at

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Butt in Chair Links

Links have been in short supply of late as nearly everyone is weighing in on the Amazon vs Macmillan (okay, I just typed MacMillion - I wonder what my brain is trying to tell me!) but I've been clicking about and think I've got a few that might be of interest.

Over at Jason Sanford's blog there's an interview with David Backer who has just created a new website for short stories - with a twist.

Mr. Backer finds stories that are already published and links to them without giving the titles or author names. He has three categories, short, long and genre. For those of you looking for markets he also has a long list of zines and links. You can find Fiction Daily here

David Barber has an interesting conversation going on about writing at his blog. His advice - stop moaning and just write. He even gives you a few places to find ideas.

And Dave White extends that advice with his post over at Do Some Damage by telling writers to just do what works for you.

Once you've got all that down pat, drop on by Michael Bracken's place and check out the ins and outs of the financial life of a freelancer.

Can't come up with any ideas? With a hat tip to Charles Tan we have The Fiction Writing Directorate prompts to get you started.

Still stuck? Try Donna Moore's essay "From Noir to Cosy in 12 Easy Stages"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thinking Out Loud

Over at Do Some Damage last week, Russel McLean posted about the changes the new technology has brought to the PI genre. Your PI character can now pick up a phone, click on a computer or text his buddy instead of pounding his feet on the pavement.

Russel's post made me think about Susan Glaspell's short story, "A Jury of Her Peers" written in 1917. A writer would be hard pressed to write something this chilling in today's world. The desolation that existed, especially out on the prairie, is almost impossible to duplicate. With cell phones, computers, even cars, nobody is that isolated anymore. In order to duplicate those conditions a writer has to blow out cell towers, kill car batteries, down electrical wires and create an act of God via a blizzard, tornado, or hurricane. And then, it would only be for a day or two, not the year's it took to build up to this woman's breakdown. To duplicate Glaspell's story, a modern writer would have to let the story evolve out of a series of coincidences rather than the natural evolution of their character's life.

So, I'm wondering, does having all of these coincidences in a story spoil it for you or do you just accept that that's the way it needs to be to make the story move forward?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Morning Chuckles

I always thought that Disney did the world a disservice when they let Bambi loose on the world. Deer are not the gentle creatures city folks believe them to be.

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Issues and Open Markets

The newest issue of ThugLit has hit the streets with eight new stories by Christopher Long, Nate Southard, Nicola Haywood and others.

The February issue of The Gumshoe Review is out also with their usual reviews and short fiction by Jacqeline Seewald.

Submissions are open for the summer issue of The First Line, with a May 1 deadline. The starter sentence is "Paul and Miriam Kaufman met the old-fashioned way."

Murky Depths, a UK based print magazine, is open for submissions to their next issue. They're looking for 500 - 5000 words of dark spec-fiction that includes elements of sci-fi, fantasy and horror. They're paying a pound per 500 words with a ten pounds for 5000. You can find all the details at

Pear Noir is open to submissions for their fourth issue with an April 30 deadline. They're a non-paying print market. You can find all the details at
Pear Noir is also running a contest called The Black Pear Awards with the same deadline. They want up to 3000 words in three different categories: Burlesque Comedy, Speculative-Fiction, or Magic Realism. First place in each category is $100 and publication in the next issue. You can find the details at