Sunday, November 1, 2020

Halloween Ends and NaNoWriMo Begins

Happy Halloween people. I had a nice outing with my daughters and girlfriend. We had a home party with two other families. Great fun, though my older daughter got a bit tired after the festivities. We had the Joker, Pennywise, a spooky skeleton, and the green monster Mike.

As for my most recent submissions, I just submitted a 3500-word story to PseudoPod. That story would be a trip to hear read live in their podcast. It has a haunting beauty to its dark poetry. Such an emotional literary horror piece. Makes me cry. I also submitted a 350-word revision of a weird xmas story I wrote a few years back. and sent it out to the Weird Christmas Flash Fiction Contest.

Some good news for me--I applied for a scholarship for some master workshops with teachers at Fyrecon 2020 (money has been rather scarce for me since job loss hit hard as a freelancer) and, guess what? I got approved for two master workshops! The first one is a two-day workshop of eight total hours: Cracking the Story Code with Amy White.The second one is The Secrets of a Howling Good Plot with Wulf Moon (I took his other master class on winning short stories in the summer).

And now, it's suddenly November. Already the second of November for me here with a bunch of business to take care of... voice acting job needs to get finished in a few days, some examiner training I need to send, another teaching-related project that awaits revision/expansion, and some jobs will take over several days this month...Sigh.

Of course, NaNoWriMo has started, so I'm supposed to get 6000 words written into the rewrite/revision of my novel today to get off on the right foot with my profile mentioning some further details. I'm working as a NaNo Rebel again this year, with plans to dive back into my 60,000-word novel. I pitched this one to agents at the Willamette Writers Conference, but after that I ended up adding another thread and messing with the story, so I must expand or cut or completely rewrite it. My plan is to explore a few sections of it that need fleshing out then cut out the excess and expand with the heart of it in mind. Basically approach my novel with some lessons learned while working with Wulf Moon's Super Secrets over the course of a year. I think his KYD exercises will be especially useful. I also have a flash that I wrote in August/September that will provide another good link into the novel, and a possible new diving in point for it. We'll see. I expect to reach around 100,000 words on this one if the current structure of it is any sign of its new normal to come.

I had a past post on NaNoWriMo advice. I may try to do that again, but here...I recommend using as many approaches as will help. Keep a notepad and pen handy, but also keep your smart phone handy. Both can be useful to brainstorm wherever you are. If you're stuck at work, you can keep quick notes on the side. Use Scrivener to keep all your notes together and various drafts for swift reference. Print out pages and mark them and move them around for structural inspiration. Set a clock, do writing sprints, and/or use the Write or Die software to make sure you write during your planned or unplanned sessions. Do not plan everything as things will fall apart, but do plan some so that it actually happens. Do leave something waiting to be written whether by having a notepad full of notes or a scene not quite finished. Have your inspiration constant my having your fingers in multiple pies (more than one scene ready to go, multiple avenues and interests that need to be jumped into, etc.). Okay, that's all the quick advice I have for now. Just zoom through the words and get the basic idea and pathways down. Do plan to come back and revise. Also, some new advice I'll be toying with: consider the Super Secrets, and especially the KYD exercises, as long they don't slow down your production output too much. But these last two are especially important if you find you not quite reaching the actual story and emotional core behind it.

I do have the Pack Chat writer friends who have been such a boon. Though we have finished the 2019-2020 year and the official 2020-2021 group has been reduced, our pack chat group remains. Quick to provide feedback on stories and always adding in some nice chat on life and writing inspiration. A nice pack of fellow creatives. One has invited me to send the first 50 pages of my novel to provide some help in my rewrite. Others have provided consistent help with fixing up my short stories and flash. One in particular has always been happy to tear apart my stories to help find the stronger core.

In the meantime, short story submissions continue. Current 2020 stats are inserted below.

Total submissions to publications: 113 (111 to pubs of 5-20¢/word; 2 to 1-4¢/word)

Rejections:     96 (59 short, 32 flash, 4 poems, 1 novel writing grant application)

Pending:         17 (10 short, 7 flash)

Just a few new deadlines added below. A bunch with deadlines right at the start of the month. Details for Flame Tree's latest horror anthology Beyond the Veil have been added now that they announced more about it (11/15 deadline). Deep Magic is still open if you have any amazing PG-13 speculative stories to send us first readers. The Dread Machine has a new anthology looking for dread-inspiring stories set in 1986 (2/26/2021 deadline). Added Departure Magazine to deadlines as their window is now limited to January 2021, i.e. they are currently closed. Also adding an open anthology on quiet horror with no deadline below from Cemetery Media Gates. Edit: Added Flame Tree’s flash fiction contest (11/17 deadline) to the deadlines list.

Open Anthology with no specified deadline yet (pay 1-10¢/word)

There is also a new story call for an anthology forthcoming from Cemetery Media Gates with no specific deadline (probably closing in early 2021 once they have enough stories). Details: CMG's Quiet Horror anthology, 1000-3000 words probably best (up to 5000 words OK), payment is a flat $100 (so if 1000 words then 10¢/word, if 2000 words then 5¢/word, 3000 words then about 3¢/word), Genre/Theme: Quiet Horror/confessional style supernatural experiences, Multiple and Simultaneous NO (but can resubmit one week after receiving a rejection), Note: this links to CMG's Twitter post on it which is the primary source on this "secret open call". 

Submission Deadlines in September and Beyond (pay 5-20¢/word USD or equivalent)

11/1, Dark Matter Magazine (Halloween Issue and General Issue), 1000-5000 words, 8¢/word, Genre: various SF (including Afrofuturism, Alternate Universe, Apocalyptic, Cyberpunk, Dark Humor or Satire, Dying Earth, Dystopia, Hard Boiled, Hard SF, Near Future, Pulp, Occult SF, SF Fantasy, SF Horror, Slipstream, Space Opera, Theological, Weird SF), Theme: general submissions and Halloween or monster themed story call, Poetry OK ($30/poem), Comics OK (1-10 pages; $50/page), Simultaneous OK, Multiple OKish, Reprints OK (2¢/word)

11/1 Weird Christmas Flash Fiction Contest (3rd annual), ~350 words, prize money (1st=$50, 2nd=$25,10+HMs=$5, Genre: SpecFic/SF/F/H/Humor/Weird Theme: scary stories set around any winter holiday, Reprints: query, Note: accepts narrative poetry, multiple entries OK

10/15-11/2, PseudoPod, 1500-6000 words (4500 best) or ~1499 words (500-1000 best), 8¢/word, Genre: Horror/Dark Fantasy/Weird, Simultaneous OK (if not both Escape Artists publications)

11/1-11/2, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, open 1st-2nd every month, 1000-40000 words (shorter preferred), 6¢/word (reprints 2¢/word), Genre: F/SF, Poetry ($1/line, ~40 lines, reprints 50¢/word), Articles (2-6¢/word, reprints 1-4¢/word), Note: great feedback provided if requested in cover letter

11/1-11/7, Cossmass Infinities, 2000-10,000 words, 8¢/word, Genre: SF/F, Simultaneous OK, Note: this window is only open to Black, Asian, Latin, LGBTQ+ and other under-represented authors

11/15, Apex Holiday Horrors Flash Fiction Contest, ~250 words (not including title/byline), $25 for winner and $10 for two runner-ups, Genre/Theme: Horror set around any winter holiday

10/31-11/15, Beyond the Veil: A New Collection of Horror Stories (Flame Tree Anthology), 3000-5000 words ("most likely to be successful at" but will read a little outside that range up to around 6000 or so), 8¢/word, Genre/Theme: any horror, Further notes: edited by Mark Morris; Beyond the Veil is the second book in the Flame Tree Book of Horror series; also see 1st book in series titled "After Sundown which published in October 2020, submit here:, Multiple OK, Simultaneous OK

11/17, Flame Tree Flash Fiction Contest, ~1000 words, 8¢/word, Genre/Theme #1: Horror/A Red Christmas, Genre/Theme #2: SF/Icy Planet, Note: sign up for their newsletter to get notified of these every month and read the past winners 

9/21-11/30 (closing date unknown but likely around the end of November), Deep Magic, 1000-40,000 words, 8¢/word up to 7499 words ($599.92 pay cap above that), Genre: SF and Fantasy, Note: PG-13, Reprints OK (2¢/word up to 10,000 words and capped at $200 for longer)

11/30, ServiceScape Short Story Award, ~5000 words, $1,000 USD (one winner), Genre: any

11/30: Cast of Wonders (General Submissions), ~6000 words (best 3000-4500 or flash <1000), 8¢/word, Genre: any YA, Note: good feedback provided last time I submitted

11/30, Strange Horizons, open every Mon 16:00 UTC - Tue 16:00 UTC, ~10,000 words, 10¢/word, Genre: all speculative, (Note: closes for all of December, Poetry OK, Non-Fiction OK

11/1-11/30, ProleSCARYet: Tales of Horror and Class Warfare, 1000-4500 words, $75/story, Genre: Horror/Dark Weird/Dark SF, Theme: anything anti-capatalist and horror (horrors of capitalism; monstrous bosses, jobs from literal Hell, working class folks fighting back against great cosmic evils, etc.), Simultaneous OK, Note: "Please send submission to Include your name, story title, and word count in the subject heading (e.g., Karl Marx — “Capitalism Bad” — 3,500 Words”). Include an author bio of under 100 words and no more than two links to accompany your story."

12/1, Don't Touch That: An Anthology of Parenthood in SFF, ~5000 words, 6¢/word, Genre: F/SF, Theme: "Parents exploring ancient, curse-ridden caves with their children. Parents trying to give their kin enough personal space to grow their own intergalactic empires - and make their mistakes. Parents hunting the monsters that hide beneath kids' beds. Parents offering advice to the adventuring child who never takes it." Submit: "a .doc or .docx file to no later than 11:15pm EST on December 1, 2020." Note: open to 2 slush stories

12/2, Arkansas Intergalactic Themed Issue, ~8000 words, $20/page capped at $250, Genre: SF/Speculative, Simultaneous OK, Multiple OK (in one submission packet), Poetry OK, Note: no submission fee if they haven't hit the monthly cap

11/30-12/4, Fireside (Autumn 2021 Issue), ~3000 words, 12.5¢/word, Genre: Any (English or Spanish) 

12/1-12/7, Fantasy Magazine, ~7500 words, 8¢/word, Genre: Fantasy/Dark Fantasy, Poetry ($40/poem, send up to 6)

12/1-12/7, Cossmass Infinities, 2000-10,000 words, 8¢/word, Genre: SF/F, Simultaneous OK, Note: this window is open to all authors

12/1-12/31, PodCastle, ~6000 words (3000-4500 best), 8¢/word, Genre: Fantasy, Simultaneous OK, Reprints ($100 for >1500 words, $20 for flash)

12/31, Lost Contact, 1000-7000 words, 5¢/word, Genre: Horror/Weird Science, Theme: use lost contact idea as you please and link it with horror and technology, Simultaneous OK

8/27-12/31, THE MODERN DEITY’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HUMANITY, DERELICT, and WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (three anthologies from Zombies Need Brains LLC), 7500 words, 8¢/words + royalties, Theme 1: urban fantasy w/ a god/deity, Theme 2: SF/F about abandoned ships, Theme 3: SF/F about colliding cultures, Sub to w/ name of anthology and title of story submitted, Multiple OK (separate emails), Reprints/Simultaneous NO

12/31, Curiouser Magazine, ~5000 words (~1000 words = about 7¢/word), $50-125/story ($25/poem), Simultaneous OK, Multiple OK (1 story or 3 poems or 2 flash of ~750 words)

1/1-1/7, Fantasy Magazine, ~7500 words, 8¢/word, Genre: Fantasy/Dark Fantasy, Poetry ($40/poem, send up to 6)

1/1-1/7, Cossmass Infinities, 2000-10,000 words, 8¢/word, Genre: SF/F, Simultaneous OK, Note: this window is only open to Black, Asian, Latin, LGBTQ+ and other under-represented authors

1/2-1/31, Departure Mirror, ~20,000 words, 10¢/word ($300/story above 3000 words), Genre: SF/F, Poetry OK, Simultaneous OK, Multiple OK

10/1-1/31, Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award, ~8000 words, 8¢/word, Genre: SF, Want "Moon bases, Mars colonies, orbital habitats, space elevators, asteroid mining, artificial intelligence, nano-technology, realistic spacecraft, heroics, sacrifice, adventure"

2/1-2/7, Fantasy Magazine, ~7500 words, 8¢/word, Genre: Fantasy/Dark Fantasy, Poetry ($40/poem, send up to 6)

2/1-2/7, Cossmass Infinities, 2000-10,000 words, 8¢/word, Genre: SF/F, Simultaneous OK, Note: this window is open to all authors

2/25/2021, The Dread Machine's first annual anthology, 8¢/word, Genre/Theme: anything dread-inspiring set in the actual 1986 or alternate version, Multiple subs OK but no simultaneous

3/1-3/7, Fantasy Magazine, ~7500 words, 8¢/word, Genre: Fantasy/Dark Fantasy, Poetry ($40/poem, send up to 6)

3/1-3/7, Cossmass Infinities, 2000-10,000 words, 8¢/word, Genre: SF/F, Simultaneous OK, Note: this window is only open to Black, Asian, Latin, LGBTQ+ and other under-represented authors

8/10/2021-8/31/2021, PseudoPod (Flash Fiction Contest), ~1500 words (500-1000 best), 8¢/word, Genre: any horror, Reprints OK, Simultaneous OK (if not an Escape Artists podcast)

Publications Open for Submission (No specified deadline; pay 5-20¢/word USD or equivalent)

*added Boneyard Soup, Departure Mirror, and Infinite Worlds Science Fiction Magazine*

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, ~20,000 (8-10 cents/word), 40k-80k serials (6 cents/word), poetry ($1/line), 4000-word fact articles (9 cents/word), Genre: SF, Multiple Yes

Anathema: Spec from the Margins, 1500-6000 words (if 1500-2000 words pays 5¢/word), $100 CAD/story ($50/poem), Genre: SF/F/H, Simultaneous OK, Poetry OK (under 100 lines, Non-Fiction OK (1500-3000 words), Limited demographic: queer/two-spirit person of colour/Indigenous/Aboriginal, Note on Genre/Theme: "We are open to any form of genre or speculative content. We talk about what we do as "SF/F/H, the weird, slipstream, surrealism, fabulism, and more," elsewhere on the site. But we are not limited to those genres. Use them as a starting point and send whatever you want: as long as it's got some kind of speculative content we'll consider it. And we are also interested in seeing work that has been difficult to place because of content or perspective."

Apex Magazine, ~7500 words, 8 cents/word, Genre: F/SF/Horror

CLOSED TO SUBS UNTIL FEB 2021 Hybrid Fiction, 500-5000 words (or serialized novellas), 6¢/word, Genre: speculative hybrid/cross-genre (blend of 2+ genres, such as dark fantasy, steampunk western, historical fantasy, weird western, crime fantasy, etc.)

Submission Deadlines in August and Beyond (pay 1-4¢/word USD or equivalent)

9/15-11/15, New Tales of Fairy Godmothers by Kate Wolford, 4000-7500 words, 1¢/word, Genre: fairy tale fantasy, Theme: new fairy godmother tales that refresh/subvert the trope, simultaneous OK

9/15-11/15, Lamplight Magazine, ~7000 words, 3¢/word, Genre: Dark/Literary

1/4-11/15, In Darkness Delight Anthology (Corpus Press), 2500-7500 words, 3¢/word, Genre: Horror, SF (soft)

11/30, Women Destroy Retro Science Fiction, 750-1500 ($10) or 1501-2500 words ($15), Genre/Theme: retro-futurism with a female filled world of impossible wonders, Note: Women authors only (Transwomen authors accepted because transwomen are women)

12/1 Worldbuilding Fantasy Anthology, 3500-7000 or 9000-15,000 words, flat payment (short $100; novella $200), Theme: Politics as Conflict. Genre: any Fantasy (PG-13)

3/15/2021-5/15/2021, Lamplight Magazine, ~7000 words. 3¢/word, Genre: Dark/Literary

Publications Open for Submission (No Specified Deadline; pay 1-4¢/word USD or equivalent)

Where to search for submission windows on your own?

Where to Submit Short Stories: 30 Magazines and Websites That Want Your Work, a decent list with a literary focus

28 Themed Submission Calls for August by S. Kalekar, submission possibilities including a few good ones I haven't had time to add to the lists above

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: plenty of updated lists of agents, calls for submission, contests, conferences, recipes, and more

Need motivation for the submission game? 

Submitting Short Fiction: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Genre Edition by Holly Lyn Walrath, a useful guide on playing the submission game written in 2019

Submission Tetris: An Analytic Approach by Laurence Raphael Brothers, a brief but useful consideration of what and where to submit in the submissions game from SFWA

Also, great advice at these links below

Wulf Moon's Super Secrets: a ton of great advice on writing short stories that win (he runs a workshop that you can peek in on and learn from as it goes)

Charlie Jane Anders' advice: chapters from her forthcoming non-fiction book Never Say You Can't Survive with new chapters released every Tuesday

Delilah S. Dawson's page of links, including her advice on how to get published

And here, more links

This is a listing of speculative award winners. Go read, study, and improve yourself.

Here are grants to apply for with the Speculative Literature Foundation

This is a listing at that shows general response times of various publish

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