Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A Solution for Mom & Open Markets

Since I haven't posted open markets in ages, I figured I'd do a market roundup post for April. But first I figured I'd post a couple mini updates and a solution that freed up a little time for me a couple nights per week. 

First, I finished my first term of college classes. Forty credits done. I've got forty-seven more to go by October. I did take a week off instead of trying to finish another couple of classes this term, but I needed it. I've been able to use the week to relax, but also to get end-of-year tax stuff done, as well as a couple other projects. My new term starts tomorrow, and I'm ready to go. 

Second, with school more than full-time I needed something taken off my plate. I didn't even plan that pun. Anyway, I decided to give Hello Fresh a try, which is a meal service. We do it three days a week, so my husband, son, and daughter each choose a meal for that week, then they prepare it. We do pizza night once a week with a family movie, so that only leaves three days a week I have to worry about dinner. With my time stretched so thin, we'd been grabbing food to go a lot, anyway, and this actually turned out to be cheaper. I highly recommend it if you're the cook in the family and would like a break. Though I'd make a couple notes:

1. Set limits on types of food (example: they'd pretty much all choose pasta for every meal, so I've limited it to one pasta dish per week).

2. My next step needs to be to teach them to clean up after they mess up the kitchen. :p

3. I add an extra meal for the week if there's something I really want to try or if the things they chose aren't "real" food. Like if they choose flatbreads, quesadillas, or things like that, I'll probably make some sort of meat and potatoes dish.

4. Some meals need additional seasoning. At least in my opinion. 

To be clear, this isn't a sponsored post (though if they want to sponsor our podcast, that would be awesome.) But there's something called emotional labor that comes into play with meal planning, grocery shopping, meal prep, cleanup, etc. I'm not just making dinner constantly. I'm having to think through what I'll make for the next week, then go through all the steps. It takes up more mental space than people not in that role understand. The same goes for stuff like planning all the family appointments and planning what we do each week, etc. Doing this, I was able to do a month's worth of shopping for easy meals, stock the freezer and pantry, and with the HF meals coming into play, I'm no longer doing extensive meal planning all the bloody time. Yeah, I still end up dictating who makes their meal and when, but this is such a huge relief, so I wanted to pass it along in case anyone else could use something like this, and hadn't thought of what else it could relieve. 

Oddly, with this little taste of freedom I've been baking more fun stuff, like muffins, making fresh smoothies for snacks. I run to the store for fresh produce and oat milk when I'm out, but this even makes the produce thing easier. Before, I'd have to basically use up produce early on in the week then move onto things that weren't necessarily so fresh, but now I have exactly the amount of produce I need, and I don't have to waste anything if I don't get to it in time. The only produce I have to get now is fruit and veggies for snacks, plus I get salad stuff, because we can add a salad to any meal. Easy.

(I forgot to take a picture of the meal I made that first week. My husband hadn't chosen one that week, because we switch off some weeks, depending.)

Due to my kids being trapped in the house for a year, courtesy of the pandemic, we've also started taking them out once a week to pick a dessert somewhere. We've hit a couple local bakeries, a convenience store (for candy bars), an ice cream place we hadn't tried before, and locations like that. It gets them out of the house, gets us out of the house, and we get a real dessert once per week. Plus, we get to support a small business.

Okay, on to publications accepting submissions.

Bear in mind, I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Goodman Publications is seeking sword and sorcery fantasy short stories for their magazine Tales From the Magician's Skull. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $.04/word. Deadline tomorrow, April 1.

Ninth Letter is seeking short stories with the theme "distanced." Up to 3500 words. Pays $25-$75, depending upon type of submission. Deadline April 5.

The Novelette is seeking YA and NA stories for Aesthetic: A Dark Academia Anthology. Any sub-genre. 1000-15,000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline April 10.

Grist is holding a writing contest with no entry fees with the theme "Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors." 3000-5000 words. Prizes range from $300 to $3000. Deadline April 13.

Cloaked Press is seeking science fiction and fantasy short stories for their anthology Summer of Speculation. 4000-10,000 words. Pays $15. Deadline April 20.

Shooter Literary Magazine is seeking short stories with the theme "Escape." 2000-6000 words. Pays 25 pounds. Deadline April 25. 

Cryoseism Press/Frost Zone Press is seeking horror short stories for the anthology Handmade Horror. 600-5000 words. $10-$25 CAD, depending upon length. Deadline April 28.

Bronzewood Books is seeking gaslamp fantasy (fantasy paired with historical fiction) for their anthology Gaslamp Fantasy. 2000-8000 words. Pays $.015/word. Deadline April 30. 

Denver Horror Collective is seeking horror short stories for their anthology The Jewish Book of Horror. 3000-7500 words. Pays $30 for the first 3000 words, then 1/2 cent per word after that. Deadline April 30.

From the Farther Trees is seeking deep time fiction and poetry for their magazine The Mesozoic Reader. 1000-15,000 words. Pays $10. Deadline April 30. 

Accepting Submissions First Week of May:

Improbably Press is seeking cryptid short stories for their anthology Cryptids Emerging: Tales of Dark Cheer. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline May 1.

Spider Road Press is holding a writing contest with no entry fees for women and those who identify as women only. 20-100 words (microfiction). First prize is $150. Deadline May 1.

The First Line is seeking stories beginning with "Lena was raised on violin lessons and minimal parental supervision." 300-5000 words. Pays $5-$25, depending upon entry type and length. Deadline May 1.

Have you tried a home meal delivery kit? Which one? How did you like it? Any of these markets of interest? Anything to add?

May you find your Muse.


  1. Congrats on finishing your first college semester. It's a great accomplishment. And my daughter uses Hello Fresh and really likes it.

  2. Hi Shannon - all I can say is well done ... sounds a very good way to cope. I've seen the ads for Hello Fresh over here - but being one and quite happy to cook ... all's well on my meal thoughts ... but would like to try sometime. All the best - and congratulations on all your doing - Hilary