Sunday, July 31, 2011

Writing Shorts

Patti Abbott has a great questionnaire on her blog for all you short story writers out there. The questions really make you think about your writing and your process. Though I must say, that no two stories ever hit the page in the same way for me. Every story has its own process.

Sunday Musing

I've been putting together a collection of short stories for publication and have discovered during the process that I fold a great deal of myself into my writing. No, they're not autobiographical, but they hold bits and pieces of the life I've lived in them.

The creek where I went swimming is the scene of a murder. The various diners around the area are settings for several stories as well as the small towns that dot the countryside where I live. And the people I know, the gossip, the way they act in any given situation, it's all in there. The good and the bad.

In the time I've been writing, I was always looking for that gimmick that would make a story click. Turn it into something marketable. But as I'm rewriting old stories and writing new ones I've discovered that what makes a story good is not the gimmick, but the truth. The truth of how we live our lives, how we act when push comes to shove, and what we'll do when someone we love is threatened. Just plain old ordinary people living their lives until the shit hits the fan.

How about you? What have you learned while writing your stories? Have you discovered yourself living on the fringes of your words?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Literary Underground

It seems to be the day for finding new market sources! "The Literary Underground" is a new site that posts submission calls and new releases. There's also a forum and a variety of blogs that are in place to help writers, readers, and publishers. And the site is still growing. You can check them out here and for the open call page

The lady in charge is Michele McDonnold, is also editor in chief of the online zine "Red Fez" which is open for subs.

Dirty Noir

Dirty Noir has opened submissions to their quarterly ezine, "Dollar Dreadfuls". This is a non-paying market looking for stories of 500 to 10,000 words. They will consider 40,000 word stories that can be serialized over four issues. Guidelines for "Dollar Dreadfuls" can be found on their Submishmash page Guidelines for all Dirty Noir submissions can be found here with links to their submishmash page.

Another Market Source

While searching for anthology calls I stumbled across a new market source. This one is put together by freelance writer Krissy Brady. You'll find calls for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction along with writing advice.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Short Reviews

This is a hit and run post because we have another storm coming in. They started yesterday and looks like they're going to keep on coming today. No electricity yesterday for almost ten hours!

I haven't spotted any new markets but did find a new short story review site that you might enjoy reading. It's called "Criminal Thoughts by R. Thomas Brown" He's got short reviews up of online stories and ebook anthologies. Nice to see another site supporting shorts!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

More Reading

You'll find the prologue to my first serial story here

From there you'll find a link to the first installment of "The Steampunk Princess" called "Enter the Red Door".

This is my first stab at writing a serial story, and in a genre that I don't normally write, so I hope you enjoy the journey into my little steampunk fantasy world.

More Market Links

For those of you looking for more anthology markets, stop over to Angie's Desk for her monthly roundup

For your non-fiction, contest, poetry, and everything in between needs, you'll find plenty of new listings at these sites.

Story Time!

Dan O'Shea's flash challenge has gone live!! You can find the links to stories here

Sharpen Those Pencils

With a hat tip to we have Burial Day Books. This is a non-paying market for supernatural horror. They publish monthly with a first of the month deadline for 1000 to 3000 words. And Gothic Blue Book submissions of 2500 words with a September 13 deadline. All submissions via submishmash.

And is revamping their site with new community features that include forums and they're open to submissions of "how to" articles and market tips from members.

Less Than Three Press is a gay market for both short and long work. They prefer happily ever after endings for their stories. You can find submission details here Pay varies per project from a flat rate to royalty payments. They also have an anthology call for "Private Dicks: Undercover". They want PI stories where you protag goes undercover. The deadline is January 4, 2012 for 10,000 to 20,000 words. Payment is $150.

"Something Wicked" has opened to sci-fi and horror shorts of 2000 to 8000 words with payment 1cent a word. They also accept reprints with the same pay. The magazine is based in South Africa. You can find details at

"Withersin" is revamping their site and switching from print to online publishing. They're open to subs of "razor wire" fiction in the sci-fi and horror genres. Deadline for shorts up to 3500 words and flash to 750 words is April 15, 2012. Novella subs of 15,000 to 35,000 words opens in December. Payment is $5 to $10. Details here

"Realms of Fantasy" has posted a submission announcement. You can read it here

Crimefactory has closed to submissions. But Needle Magazine has reopened

"The Red Penny Papers" opens on August 1, which is about a week away. They're open to stories of 1000 to 5000 words in most of the genres. Payment is 1cent a word up to $25.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Beautiful, Brash, Beastly Belfast by Seamus Scanlon

There are some stories that just tear your heart apart to read them and yet so beautifully written that you can't stop.

Zine News

The summer issue of Mysterical E has gone live.

As I was clicking through the links over there on the right I discovered that "Fried Chicken and Coffee" has disappeared along with "Night Train" another zine edited by Rusty Barnes. I don't know what happened but I will miss the "Fried Chicken and Coffee" zine - They published some great stories that I very much enjoyed reading.

There's also a new issue of Storyglossia up and they're open to subs for their August issue.

A Pair of Markets

For all you flash writers out there I found a new flash market called 100 Word Story. They're looking for flash of exactly 100 words. You'll find prompts and photo prompts to spur the muse and essays about writing flash. This is a non-paying market.

And Digital Science Fiction is open to submissions for its 4th anthology. There's no theme for this one. They want stories of 3500 to 7500 words and the pay is 5cents a word. They have an online submission form along with the guidelines here

Monday, July 18, 2011

Letting Go

Have you ever kept beating your head up against the wall of a story that just didn't want to be written? I have this terrific beginning and I know almost where the story is going but the damn thing just won't come together. I've changed from first to third person, still doesn't work. Gone from 1800 down to 800, nada. Even dropping the first paragraph didn't bring it together. So there I am, stuck in park.

All the while I was beating my head against those 1000 words, I had a character that I'd created for a story in Pulp Ink knocking back from the other side of the wall. I closed the first file and started typing in a new one and now have a 3000 word story finished and awaiting a final polish.

Sometimes you just have to let go to move forward.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Knowing the Basics

Michael Bracken has a guest post over at the Criminal Brief blog where he talks about the nuts and bolts of writing. We all know about storytelling and style but there are technical aspects of writing that we should also be aware of, especially in this new age of self-pubbing your shorts. You can read his article here

Clarity of Night Contest

Time once again for one of Jason Evan's Clarity of Night Flash Contests. Very cool picture for the prompt once again and the title for the contest is "Elemental". 250 words by July 20. There are five prizes of Amazon gift certificates. Be sure to read through the rules because Jason has come up with a new way to keep the contest manageable, which means the deadline could change. You can find all the details here

Gone Already?

Well, that was quick! La Criminophile has left the building. Clicking on the link brings up the message: this blog has been removed. We never did find out who was behind this splendid idea and I, for one, am very sorry to see it gone. I was hoping for a place where the dark stories that women write could find a home.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Market News

This anthology call is for both fiction and non-fiction stories from the workplace. "JOBBED: Tales of Fact & Fiction From the Workplace" wants stories up to 7500 words with a October 31 deadline. They will accept reprints. At this time there is no publisher attached to the project so the pay is undetermined.

Red Skies Press is a non-paying anthology publisher. They have several calls listed for stories in the horror genre. You can find them here

Fear and Trembling has reopened under a new editor. They're looking for spiritual horror, supernatural thriller and suspense stories with a PG to PG-17 rating. Flash of 900 to 1500 words and shorts of 1500 to 6000 words. Query for longer stories or poetry. Pay is $5

And audio magazine "Tales of Old" has reopened to subs. Pay here is 1cent a word for historical stories in all the genres.

Monday, July 11, 2011

La Criminophile

La Criminophile has officially opened their doors to submissions today. This is a market for female crime writers only. Spread the word, Ladies.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

All Due Respect

Chris Rhatigan, All Due Respect's new editor, has announced that submissions are now open for stories to be published in 2012. He's also given a more detail on what he's looking for as editor so drop on by his blog and check it out.

For the Ladies

Ran across this new zine getting ready to start up called La Criminophile. They're looking for crime fiction under 6000 words, preferably in the 3000 to 3500 word range. This is a non-paying market for female writers only. Yep, looks like the girls are going to have their own zine. Not sure who the driving force behind this is, but I wish them much success!!

You can find all the submission details at

The Product Placement Story Cupboard

I've seen the commercials for those "Space Bags" about a million times but this morning something just clicked and I started wondering.

Could you put a body in a space bag? Yes, but you might have to cut it up in pieces. Well, you'd have to do that if you used trash bags.

Would there be any advantage to using the space bag? Hmm. You suck the air out so the body might not decompose quite as fast. It doesn't leak, so no dripping blood in your truck. No air, no bugs, so time of death might be compromised.

Could a cadaver dog smell the body through that airless plastic? If you're a stickler for detail you could always kill a rat and give it a try or just ask someone who owns a cadaver dog.

Could a criminal find other uses for the space bag? How about cocaine smuggling? If the dogs can't smell through the bags you could layer the coke with clothes, maybe throw in a few coffee grounds to make sure. You could bury your money in the back yard and not have to worry about it getting wet. Gee, what if there was a flood and somebody found one of those bags full of money floating by? Or maybe a serial killer's trophies? Does he carry one of those mini-vacs around in his car? And what would a profiler think about that one?!? And then there's weapons. If you need to hang onto a gun, stick it in a space bag and it won't rust or get corroded from setting around under the floorboards. It would definitely keep your powder dry if you're using black powder for pipe bombs or muzzle loaders.

Ooops, just remembered that static electricity can set off black power so the bag might not work for that. Plastic tends to get staticy at times.

And what about using a muzzle loader to kill someone? I'll bet there's no data base for lead balls! Yes, my mind just shifted a bit there. How about you? Ever seen a product advertised that set your muse into overdrive?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Bit of Silliness

In the course of watching TV this past week a few items of interest came up.

From Jeff Dunham's stand-up act came the question, "What color do smurfs turn when you're choking them?"

From the Walton's. Railroads. Do you remember when the sound of a railroad whistle in the distance offered the romance of life on the road. People dreamed of getting on a train and traveling to exotic places like NYC or Chicago. Road trips had a whole different meaning back then. Traveling on an Interstate doesn't give you the same romantic adventure vibe, does it? Of course we don't have Route 66 anymore either. The old highway system with all its small town diners, hotels, and motels were almost as good as the railroad dreams.

And then there's cars. Why don't cars have cool names like they used to? Remember the Mustang, the Road Runner, and the Cobra? Lord, I miss those cool names. Think about, when someone asks you what your driving which sounds better?

"Oh, I'm driving an XKX 666, but I really admire your ZZZ 333." or "A 'Cuda, man. But I'm really digging your Charger."


"Uncle John's Flush Fiction" anthology is looking for shorts of 1000 words in all genres. Payment is $50 plus two copies on publication. The deadline is August 31 with publication in 2012.

Bete Noire's anthology "In Poe's Shadow" opened for subs on July 1 and closes July 31 for shorts of 2000 to 4000 words inspired by Poe's work. Payment is 1cent a word.

Lore magazine opens for subs on August 1 for shorts of 2000 to 6000 words in the genres of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Payment is 5cents a word and 2cents a word for reprints.

And Warren Lapine is still open for submissions to his "Fantastic Stories Anthology". Payment is 10cents a word with a $250 cap and reprints bring 2cents a word with $100 cap.

A Writing Question

I've been in a bit of a writing frenzy of late, which has left the blog without a new post in a few days. Besides the writing there have been waves of thunderstorms rolling through that makes using the computer a hit or miss proposition and the hits are usually devoted to writing stories.

In all of this writing I pulled out an old story that was published in MuzzleFlash and decided to lengthen it. Those 625 words turned into 3000. The original story was in first person and the new one, third. What I also discovered in rewriting the new story was that only one paragraph and the core idea of the story survived the rewrite. So, here's my question - is the rewrite a new story or do I need to credit the original publication?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Rules are the bane of the writer. Do we follow or break them? And will breaking them ruin our stories? Aargh...rules! Then along comes Terry Bisson and his essay. Sixty! Count them, sixty rules for writing short sci-fi and fantasy. Even if you don't write in these genres, there's plenty of good advice in this collection of rules. Read them, learn them, break them, or embrace them. Just write!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Anthology Call

Australian publisher, Fablecroft, has a call for submissions to their anthology "Apocalypse Hope". They're looking for stories of 2000 to 10,000 words that address the theme that there is hope for the survivors. Deadline is September 30, payment if AU $50. You can find all the details here

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Writer and the White Cat

The first "issue" of "The Writer and the White Cat" has gone live I was a little disappointed though to click on the issue icon to discover that it only contained a letter from the editor. You'll find links to the stories at the top of page by clicking on flash fiction or fiction. And it was fun to find an Apocalypse story there by friend of the blog Charles Gramlich called "Ruins and Wraiths"

Just an added note - The direct link to Charles' story doesn't work, you are taken straight to the front page of the zine. You'll have to click on fiction to find his story.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Links From Friends

Paul Brazill has sent us two market links.

The first is for a twice a year publications called "Unspoken Water". This market is looking for poetry and short stories in the supernatural genre. Pay is 10pounds.

The second market is "Wordland" They're looking for shorts up to 1500 words with the theme twilight - and not the teenage vampire twilight! This is a non-paying market.

Brian Lindenmuth sent a link for a great essay about writing openings for your short story.

And from Michael Bracken an essay about commas for all you grammar geeks out there.

Thanks guys!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011


Issue #9 of 10Flash is live. And they've opened to submissions for their next quarterly issue with the theme "It's quiet. Too quiet".

New Issues

All Due Respect's July issue is live with a short story by Copper Smith titled "Mutiny on the Pimp Wagon".

Black Heart zine's special Noir issue is available for download. You can check out the contents here. And, yep, all the usual suspects are there for your reading pleasure.

The newest installment of Beat to a Pulp's serial "A Rip Through Time" is up. This episode is written by Garnett Elliot.

And Christopher Grant has started posting more of the 600 - 700 flash stories again over at A Twist of Noir. You'll find stories by Cindy Rosmus, Ron Earl Phillips, Kelly Whitley, and Naomi Johnson.