Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Slasher Sports Cinema Podcast & December Submission Roundup

Hi there! I'm actually posting on time for maybe the first time in a few months. I feel so accomplished. :D


Before I jump into links for December submissions, I was a guest on Slasher Sports Cinema, where I got to chat with Billy, the host, about Nightmare on Elm Street, my first and favorite slasher film, and one of the first horror films I saw and remembered (after Jaws and Cat People). As someone whose had insomnia since the age of twelve and who has also suffered sleep paralysis that involved a figure standing over my bed (pretty common in sleep paralysis), Freddy always stood out to me as different than the other slashers. And far scarier. 


You can listen to it (and view it, in the case of the YouTube link) in several places: 

ANCHOR - https://anchor.fm/slashersportscinema

SPOTIFY - https://open.spotify.com/show/4FabrHyO4FpbvTHeuG8Ksd

APPLE - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/slasher-sports-show/id1633502252

IHEART - https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-slasher-sports-cinema-102543354/

YOUTUBE - https://youtu.be/_h0_3rmI8Fg


Now onto markets open for submissions in December. As we ease our way into winter, the numbers dwindle slightly, but there are still plenty of short story/flash fiction/poetry markets looking!


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


December


Outcast Press is seeking noir-style stories where diners (or similar) are an integral part of the story. 2000 to 7000 words. Pays $25-$100. Deadline December 1.


R. Saint Claire is seeking horror short stories for a new magazine: Book Worms. 500 to 3000 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline December 1.


Parabola is seeking stories and articles with the theme "Transformation." Up to 3000 words. Paying market, but I'm not finding the pay. Deadline December 1.


Lost Boys Press is seeking stories involving societies of anthropomorphized animals for Empire of Beasts. 3000 to 9000 words. Pays $40. Deadline December 1.


The Other Stories is seeking short horror stories with the theme "Tunnels." Must be 2000 words, give or take 10%. Pays 15 GBP. Deadline for this theme (other themes are also open right now) December 1.


Crystal Lake Publishing is seeking dreamy, psychedelic or related horror for their Never Wake anthology. 2500 to 4500 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline December 4. 


Eye to the Telescope is seeking speculative poetry about Frankenstein and what it means to you. Can submit 1-3 poems. Pays $.04/word. Deadline 15. 


The Showbear Family Circus is seeking stories that involve deities connected to constellations for Of Gods and Globes. Prefer stories under 7500 words. Pays in a royalty split. Deadline December 15.


Freeze Frame Fiction is seeking flash fiction in any genre. Up to 1000 words. Pays $10 per piece. Deadline December 31.


Manawaker Studio is seeking sci-fi retellings of Briar Rose (aka Sleeping Beauty) for Project Briar Rose. 1500 to 5000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline December 31.


Arc Poetry Magazine is seeking poetry. Up to 3 poems or 360 lines. Pays $50/page. Deadline December 31.


Dead Fish Books is seeking speculative stories about alien first contacts that start well, but go terribly wrong for Yay! They're Here! 2000 to 6000 words. Pays $5 + royalties. Deadline December 31.


Eerie River Publishing is seeking horror stories involving wind and its various forms. 1500 to 7000 words. Pays $.01CAD/word. Deadline December 31.


Dragon Soul Press is seeking stories for two anthologies: Carried Away (Romantic Comedy) and Liberty (LGBTQ+ Fantasy). 3000 to 15,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline December 31.


Any of these of interest? Are you submitting? Anything to share? Know of any open calls? Do you enjoy slashers?


May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

IWSG - Saying Nope to NaNo & October News

It's November! My birthday month! But first it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.


Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG provides a place where writers can air their insecurities and both get and give support to fellow writers. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and put your blog on the linky list.

This month's co-hosts are Diedre Knight, Douglas Thomas Greening, Nick Wilford, and Diane Burton.

The optional question: November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why?

I've never fully participated. While running local events for a writer's group, I had several unpleasant experiences with whatever the "official" local folks are who run things under the guise of the overarching group. Ever since then, I've had zero interest in being a part of anything they have to do. 

However, I've long done my own version where I set my own rules, especially as I'm primarily a short story author. It started as ShaNoShoStoWriEdSubMo (Shannon's Novel and Short Story Writing, Editing, and Submitting Month). I set my own realistic goals for what I needed to achieve to further my own specific career. This month I'm in a class and I also have novel editing to work on, plus I'll be attending the 20 Books to 50k writing conference in Vegas, so I likely won't be setting any ShaNo goals, but I encourage others to use the energy of NaNo to set their own goals if they don't want to or can't participate in the bigger group. That gathered energy of writers can promote a lot of progress and provide support.

I have some news before I jump in with my October submission stats. October is always a busy month for me (gee, I wonder why), but the below are some things you can enjoy for free!


I had a story come out on Halloween in a special double issue, and it's free to read! You can check out "A Few of His Favorites" at Indecent Magazine.

I was also a guest on two podcasts, both of which went live in the last week:


The Bookshelf Odyssey is an author podcast. You can listen to my conversation with Art at Buzzsprout or search your favorite podcast platform. The video version can be viewed on YouTube.


Paranormal: The New Normal is a paranormal podcast (clearly, haha), so I talked about some experiences from my life. I did previously post the video of this, but it is now out on podcast platforms, including Spotify and Apple.


I also did a reading of one of my unpublished stories, "The Pitter Patter of Little Feet" for Stories Live! The theme was: The future is dark. You can view it on YouTube. (If you're interested in reading on one of the monthly episodes, let me know on here and I'll connect you with Amy Armstrong, who puts these together and hosts them.

Okay, time for my submission stats for October. I do this each month with my IWSG post in order to keep myself accountable. 

2 acceptances

1 request to send a new story

1 publication release

7 rejections

11 submissions

20 stories currently on submission

8 stories in limbo until I have time to sit down, research, and submit

Are you submitting? Any submission news? What are your insecurities? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?

May you find your Muse.


Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Submission Roundup

Time again for the submission roundup for now through the end of November. Bear in mind that I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting to a market.



Accepting Submissions

October

World Weaver Press is seeking solarpunk stories with nonhuman characters (can be interacting with human characters) for Solarpunk Creatures. Up to 7000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline October 31.

War Monkey Publications LLC is seeking horror stories based on "regional legends and tall-tales" for From the Yonder Volume IV. 1000 to 7500 words. Pays $10. Deadline October 31.

Zoetic Press is seeking submissions with the theme Family for Nonbinary Review. Up to 3000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline October 31. 

Lucky Jefferson is seeking stories by black authors following their prompt for Awake. Poetry or flash fiction up to 1000 words. Pays $15 to $50, depending upon submission type. Deadline October 31.

November

The First Line is seeking fiction, poetry, and nonfiction with the first line: "When he died, their father had two requests." 300 to 5000 words. Pays $5 to $50, depending upon submission type. Deadline November 1.

The Other Stories (a podcast) is seeking horror stories. Must be within 10% of 2000 words. Current theme is Mother Nature. (Can also submit to future calls: Tunnels, Strange Weather, Imaginary Friends.) Pays 15 GBP per story. Deadline November 1.

The Last Girls Club is seeking stories with the theme Homeless Nation. Up to 2500 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline November 1.

Ninth Letter is seeking fiction, poetry, and nonfiction with the theme Constellations. Up to 3500 words. Pays $25 to $75, depending upon submission type. Deadline November 1.

Fanatical is seeking "sci-fi and fantasy stories inspired by tabletop games." 2000 to 6000 words. Pays 20 pounds. Deadline November 5.

Bag of Bones Press is seeking co-authored dark fantasy for Double-Edged Sword. 4000 to 6000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline November 8.

Berlin Lit is seeking poetry. Up to 5 poems. Pays 20 euros. Deadline November 12. 

Presses Renaissance Press is seeking stories about disabled superheroes written by disabled authors for Mighty. Speculative fiction. Cross-genre welcome. 500 to 3500 words. Pays $.08CAD/word. Deadline November 14. 

Eerie River Publishing is seeking cosmic horror stories. 2000 to 7000 words. Pays $.01CAD/word. Deadline November 15.

Word West Revue is seeking stories about the west. Up to 5000 words. Pays $25 to $100, depending on whether it's accepted for print or online. Deadline November 15. 

Dragon Soul Press is seeking science fiction romance for Union (3000 to 15,000 words) and monster romance for Beastly Tales (3000 to 20,000 words). Pays in royalties. Deadline November 30. 

Pride Book Cafe is seeking horror, suspense, and supernatural short stories by diverse authors for Fable. 1000 to 39,999 words. Pays $.08/word for the first 1000 words, then $.01/word after. Deadline November 30.

Abandon Journal is seeking a variety of submission types with the theme Abandon Love. Work count varies per submission type. Pays $15. Deadline November 30.

From Beyond Press is seeking horror stories about bugs. 500 to 5000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline November 30.

April Bradley is seeking flash narratives on chronic illness for Flare. Up to 750 words. Pays $10. Deadline November 30.

Any November submission calls to share? Any of these of interest?

May you find your Muse.


Wednesday, October 5, 2022

IWSG - Horror Commentary & Recent/Upcoming Appearances

It's time for the October Insecure Writer's Support Group!


Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG exists for writers to get and give support about their insecurities and struggles in the writing world. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and put your blog on the linky list.

The co-hosts this month are: Tonja Drecker, Victoria Marie Lees, Mary Aalgaard, and Sandra Cox.

This month's optional question is: What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

Something people often don't realize is how horror addresses societal ills and issues. It's one of the first genres to cover current events, even though it's often doing so through a modified lens. It can be political, social commentary, or an attempt at healing, but it aims to thrill and entertain at the same time.

Keeping it brief today, but I do have a couple podcast appearances I don't think I've posted about today, and I've got some upcoming in-person appearances.

Living the Dream podcast

I was on the Living the Dream podcast in August (scrolled back, but didn't see that I'd shared it), where we talked about the business of writing, goals, and how to achieve them.

You can listen on Spotify and Apple.

Paranormal: The New Normal podcast

I was also interviewed on Paranormal: The New Normal, where we talked about ghosts, cryptids, and X-Files. The episode isn't live as a podcast yet, but you can watch the video of the interview on the Facebook page.

Neither of these are book/writer podcasts, so it was fun to do something new. I also recorded with Bookshelf Odyssey, which is scheduled to come out the week of Halloween, so I'll link to that when it comes out. This one is a writing podcast!

In addition, I'll be in-person at the following events for those who live in Colorado:

HWA: Scary Stories & a Movie

I'll be doing a short reading and selling books at Scary Stories & a Movie. Afterward, there's a viewing of Trick r' Treat. All of this is at The Lyric in Fort Collins October 6, starting at 6:30 PM. The film is $10, and there will be concessions.

PPW: Best of Both Worlds: Writing Horror Comedy

I'll be presenting a half-day (four-hour) workshop on writing comedy, horror, and horror comedy via Pikes Peak Writers on October 15, noon to 4 PM at Ruth Holley Library in the meeting room. Best of Both Worlds: Writing Horror Comedy. Cost is $10 in advance, $20 at the door.


Finally, I'll be at MileHiCon the weekend of October 21 to 23. I've got four panels: Avoiding Cultural Appropriation in Art, Monsters Tell the Truth, Creating Content for Social Media When You're the Product, and True Crime Stories: What is the Appeal? It's a nice mix, and I'm looking forward to it!

I'm curious of my fellow bloggers will be at the 20 Books to 50k conference in Las Vegas next month? Let me know, and maybe we can meet up!

Okay, time for my submission roundup. I do this each month to keep myself accountable.

In September my stats were:

13 submissions

1 acceptance (My story "A Few of His Favorites" will be in the next issue of Indecent Magazine)

10 rejections

19 stories still out on submission

1 invitation to submit to an anthology

What are your insecurities? How are you feeling about writing this month? Are you submitting? Going to MileHiCon or 20 Books to 50k?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Super Late Submission Roundup

It's late, but it's here! Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Late September Deadlines

Night Terror Novels is seeking flash fiction pieces for The Theatre Phantasmagoria. The theme for October is "Something Wicked." Stories should be centered around fall/Halloween. Up to 2000 words. Pays a flat rate of 10 pounds. Deadline September 30.

Crystal Lake Publishing is seeking horror stories that address the horror that grows from successes/progress in the LGBTQ+ community. The pendulum, in other words. Up to 6000 words. Pays $.10/word. Deadline September 30.

Rhonda Parrish is seeking stories about women and the sea for an anthology. Up to 7500 words. Pays $50 CAD. Deadline September 30.

Mocha Memoirs Press is seeking F/SF tales of robots/AI have gone off their programming for Crack in the Code. Up to 7500 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline September 30.

Clan Destine Press is seeking stories of Sherlock as a female for Sherlock is a Girl's Name. Up to 5000 words (paid). Pays $.05AUD/word. Deadline September 30.

Brigid's Gate Press is seeking gothic romances with an emphasis on both the horror and the romance. Must have a HEA. 2000 to 6000 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline September 30.

Kenyon Review is seeking short fiction, poetry, plays, and essays with the broad themes of food and women's health. Up to 7500 words. This is a paying market, but pay is not specified until a contract is offered. Deadline September 30.

October Deadlines

The Evil Cookie Publishing is seeking extreme horror stories dealing with water for Dead & Bloated. Up to 3000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline October 1.

The Last Line is seeking stories that end with the line: "The shredder roared to life, grinding the letter into tiny pieces of confetti." 300 to 5000 words. Pays $20-$40. Deadline October 1.

Quill & Crow Publishing House is seeking "gothic tales of dark magic and wizardry" for Rituals & Grimoires. 5000 to 8000 words. $40 per story. Deadline October 1.

Mythulu is seeking co-authored speculative fiction for Symbiosis. 500 to 2800 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline October 2.

TDOTSPEC is seeking SF tarot stories for The Science Fiction Tarot. Must give a premise for a SF tarot card design. Up to 7500 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline October 4.

Wordfire Press is seeking dark mermaid stories for Merciless Mermaids: Tails From the Deep. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline October 7. 

Translunar Travelers Lounge is seeking F/SF stories. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline October 15.

The Other Stories (a podcast) is seeking horror stories with the theme Possession. Must be right around 2000 words. Pays 15 GBP. Deadline October 15.

Stormbird Press is seeking fiction and nonfiction showing our oceans are worth fighting for for Our Ocean'd Earth. 1000 to 3000 words. Pays 200 euros. Deadline October 30.

Black Beacon Books is seeking mystery short stories. 3000 to 9000 words. Pays 20 euros. Deadline October 31.

Horroraddicts.net is seeking horror stories set in one house of the same manor, set between 1880 and 1980. 2000 to 3500 words. Pays $10. Deadline October 31.

Ontology Books is seeking postmodern horror for A Darkness Visible. 3000 to 8000 words. Pays 80 pounds. Deadline October 31.

No Deadlines

The Vanishing Point is seeking dark speculative fiction. 1500 to 6000 words. Pays $15. No set deadlines.

Shrapnel Magazine is seeking fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and essays. No specific word limit. Pays $30 to $60, depending upon piece submitted. No set deadlines.

Uncharted Magazine is seeking F/SF, Horror/Thriller, and Mystery/Crime. 1000 to 5000 words. Pays $200. No set deadlines.

Go Nomad is accepting pitches for travel stories. 1200 to 2000 words (on average). Pays $25. No set deadlines.

The Sunlight Press is seeking essays, poetry, and fiction. Up to 2000 words, depending upon category. Pays $15 to $40, depending upon category. No set deadlines.

That's it for this month. Any of these of interest? Have you been published by any of these publishers and have recommendations or words of caution? Anything else to share?

May you find your Muse.






Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Guest Post - The Long & Winding Road of Research - Deniz Bevan

Today I welcome Deniz Bevan! I asked her to talk about research and her upcoming release, Druid's Moon.

The Long and Winding Road of Research

A guest post by Deniz Bevan

Every time I finish a story, I think to myself, “next time I’ll write something contemporary, set in the town I live in, so that I don’t have to do any research!”

In over three decades of writing, this has still yet to happen!

Druid’s Moon started out with an idea from a dream: A man and a woman in a storeroom in a cave, with the door barred, and antagonists on the other side of the door, doing their darndest to get in. Somehow, I knew that the man had been a beast, and that there were even more evil creatures in the depths of the cave, and they had to be defeated.

The fantasy aspect was easy to create! Then came all the bits and pieces of the plot and character backgrounds, and suddenly I had a research list of more than 10 all-encompassing items.

Here are a few:

Kraken: How to merge previous legends with mine
Archaeology: Daily life on a dig, qualifications, language
Cornwall: Locations and languages
Noble families of England, Scotland and Wales: A plausible name and ancestry for Frederick
Fairy tales: Genre staples for Beauty and the Beast tales

There were other items I read up on, including druids and their tombs and Welsh and Cornish myths and legends, that I found I didn’t need as much after all, but everything that had the right sort of flavour, I would read. The most exciting part is always the serendipity of research something and realising that you got it exactly right, or that your story and setting have dovetailed nicely into the history of that location.

The historical aspects of some of my research areas were the ones that really sent me down rabbit holes. The history of shipping, the history of Cornwall... Even ancient art depicting retellings of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale would pique my interest. I’d go to the university library and come back with two stacks of books!

While I’m in the midst of drafting and editing, I try not to read fiction set in my time or place, as I don’t want to be unduly influenced. Later, when edits are nearly complete, I might turn to fiction, to see how other authors have addressed the same location or central idea.

Eventually, there comes a moment when I realise I’m using research as an excuse to procrastinate on edits.

When that happens, focusing on the characters themselves generally gets me back into the story. Some of the most fun research is keeping an eye out for character faces!

Here are Lyne and Frederick:



Frederick is a photo of Romain Grosjean that I came across in my local newspaper; and Lyne is an unnamed screenshot from a survey I was in the middle of taking!

You just never know where the research road will take you...



Druid’s Moon
By Deniz Bevan

Beauty to his Beast…

Lyne Vanlith, an archaeologist who seeks a logical explanation to any mystery, discovers an ancient Druidic curse on her first dig. When the signs foretold by the curse descend on her, Lyne can’t find a reasonable interpretation.

And that’s even before a Beast rescues her from a monstrous sea-creature. She drops a grateful kiss on the snout of the Beast, who transforms into a man, Frederick Cunnick, Baron of Lansladron. Lyne is meant to be Beauty to his Beast—and break the curse forever.

Now both spellkeeper and monster are targeting Lyne. She must take up her legendary role, to defeat the curse and save Frederick—and herself. Instead of logic, for the first time, Lyne must trust her heart.

Release date – September 20, 2022
$14.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 226 pages
Fantasy – Romance (FIC009090) / Paranormal (FIC009050) / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology (FIC010000)
Print ISBN 9781939844866 / EBook ISBN 9781939844873
$4.99 EBook available in all formats


A firm believer in burning the candle at both ends, Deniz Bevan is generally writing a new novel while editing another and blogging about her reading and research adventures. Other days, she tries to stay off the web altogether, as she delves into the history, mystery, and romance of her characters’ lives. http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/

Apple | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Scribd | Amazon UK | Goodreads  

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

IWSG - Winds of Change

It's that time again.


The first Wednesday of each month is when we all gather our neuroses for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. The IWSG exists so we can share our insecurities and support each other. Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, anyone can join. Simply click on his name and put your blog on the linky list. Then hop around and visit your fellow insecure writers.

The co-hosts this month are: 

Kim Lajevardi, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguirre, Olga Godim, Michelle Wallace, and Louise - Fundy Blue. Be sure to stop by and give them a visit as thanks for co-hosting!

This month's optional question is: 

What genre would be the worst for you to tackle, and why?

I'm skipping this month's question. I feel like the bulk of the answers will be horror and romance, and honestly I'm not in the mood for more anti-horror stuff right now.

After a lot of thinking, I'm going to be making some changes to my writing career in the coming months. I don't completely know what that's going to look like yet, but I have an idea. A few ideas. Unfortunately, drama in the horror writing world has started tainting how I feel about horror, and I'm not okay with that. I'm not going to stop writing horror, and I have some long-term projects in the works, but my focus will be elsewhere for a while. There are other worlds to explore, basically, and it's time I branched out more.

Of course, change is scary. I've dipped my toe in elsewhere and had pretty good luck with it, so far. I'm thinking of writing under a pen name, maybe a couple, so I need to decide about that, as well, before I submit anything more in other genres, so I can keep some consistency. I'll definitely be paying attention to those of you who already publish heavily in multiple genres.

Anyway, wish me luck! I feel a bit like I'm flapping in the wind right now with a loose anchoring rope.

Note that the monthly post on open submissions will likely be delayed by a week, as I have a guest post next week.

Okay, time for a submission recap for the month. I post each month during the IWSG to keep myself accountable.

August Submissions:

12 submissions

0 acceptances

12 rejections (1 shortlisted, 1 invitation to direct email another submission right away, 8 personal rejections)

1 withdrawn story

20 submissions currently out

What's your writing insecurity? Have you ever made a drastic change to your writing career? How'd it go? Are you ready for fall?

May you find your Muse.


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

WEP - Moonlight Sonata - The Special Place


The Special Place

Tagline: Sometimes you need to get away for a bit to find some peace

Carol Anne crept through the reeds, her shoes squelching in the mud and shallow water. A twig snapped behind her, and she froze. Her feet sunk into the marshy ground, water seeping through her shoes. At least sinking was quiet. 

It was dark out here in the marsh, the moon not yet high enough to lend her much light. After a moment where no other sound occurred she continued on her way. She exhaled her held breath as she yanked first one foot out then the other. Mud sucked greedily at her sullied shoes, but relinquished each foot after a hesitation.

From a nearby tree, cicadas set up their raucous chatter. They'd let her know if someone was following her.

Soon, she was far enough to the east to step on solid ground and skirt the marsh. It felt strange to feel a steady surface beneath her. The squishy ground had eased the pain in her ankle a little, but now it throbbed from the workout and the hard impacts.

He hadn't meant to hurt her. It just happened.

She reached across her chest to gently press the bruise on her upper arm. Even though it wasn't visible in the darkness, its precise shape was burned into her mind. All five of his fingers were visible in the deep purple and black circling her upper arm. 

Another accident.

He always told her he was sorry. Not right away, but later. He made it up to her. Cruelty wasn't in his nature, but he was tired, stressed. He wasn't himself sometimes.

A small part of her knew this as the nonsense it was. After all, hadn't she seen cruelty in his eyes, the set of his mouth? She could tell the exact moment where his actions went from unconscious to purposeful. The moment he realized he was hurting her and squeezed a little harder.

This time, he'd kicked at her foot to trip her up, but he'd hit her ankle instead. The pain had blossomed, sharp at first, then subsiding to a dull ache, spreading up her leg and down her foot. He'd caught her before she could fall, grasping the meat of her upper arm.

That was when she'd seen it.

His eyes had narrowed, a hint of a smile twisting lips that could be so soft during the good times, making them look hard and, yes, mean. He'd thought about it before he squeezed. He'd held her eyes with his so he could watch every aspect of her reaction as his fingers tightened. 

She'd fought back, wrenching at his fingers and finally kicking him in the shin. She'd meant to kick him in the knee, but it was hard to aim when you were wrestling someone a good one-hundred pounds bigger than you. And whereas her weight was soft, his was all muscle, solid to the touch.

He was so angry he punched her in the face. That was something he never did. Marking her face was a mistake.

Carol Anne raised tentative fingers to her eye socket, felt the solid puff of the swelling there. It felt like something was broken, shifting around under the skin. It had sounded that way, too. She'd never heard a crunch quite like it.

The ground shifted once more. Lush grass softened her steps, a cushion between her pain and the soil. She was nearly there.

This time was different. She'd had enough. 

After he punched her in the face and knocked her to the ground, he stormed away, kicking a chair away from the kitchen table on his way past it. He went out the door to the backyard. The door had swung around and slammed closed behind him. It spoke of finality. A finality that woke her up.

While she waited for him to return, she cooked dinner. She was limping heavily and could barely see through the damaged eye, but she prepared his favorite grilled cheese sandwich, setting a handful of potato chips on the plate with it. There was a can of tomato soup, so she made that, too, throwing in a couple stale croutons and a pinch of shredded cheese. It all went to his place at the table, along with a glass of milk so cold bubbles frothed on the surface. She set his chair back upright.

With everything in its place, she left through the front door. He'd be in his shed, but she didn't want to chance him seeing her.

A slight hill stood before her. At the top was her special place. It took her longer to climb than usual, the pain in her ankle hindering her some, but she made it. Just as she reached the crown of the hill, the moon rose enough to push glowing fingers between the willow's fronds, illuminating the stump on which she liked to sit. Using her good arm, she pushed the branches aside and disappeared into the safety of her special place.

Settling on the stump, she breathed a sigh of relief at taking the weight off her ankle.

She closed her eyes and listened to the frogs singing their moonlight sonata in the marsh, joining with the chorus of the cicadas and other night insects. 

She wondered if he'd drunk the milk yet, and whether he would be a problem anymore.

887 words, NCCO

Thursday, August 11, 2022

September Submission Roundup

I'm a day late, but the roundup is here!


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

Accepting Submissions:

Inked in Gray is seeking speculative fiction short stories with the theme "Joy is Resistance" for Reclaiming Joy. Up to 8000 words. Pays $45. Deadline August 30.

Wyldblood Press is seeking fantasy short stories involving the sea for From the Depths. 1000-12,000 words (sweet spot is 3000 to 5000). Pays .01 pounds per word. Deadline August 31.

Bert Edens is seeking horror stories based on Alice Cooper's songs. 3000 to 5000 words. Pays $25 with proceeds going to Alice Cooper's charity Solid Rock Teen Centers. Deadline August 31.

Apparition Lit's brief submission window will be open soon. Speculative fiction and poetry with the theme "Nostalgia." 1000 to 5000 words. Pays $.05/word. Submission window open August 15 to 31.

Timber Ghost Press is seeking horror set in the Old West for Harrowing Trails. Up to 6000 words. Pays $10 to $35. Deadline August 31.

The Quiet Ones is seeking horror and dystopian with the theme "Nocturnal Animals." Up to 3000 words. Pay $25. Deadline August 31.

Input/Output Enterprises is seeking vampire horror for And the Dead Shall Sleep No More. Up to 6000 words. Pays $15. Deadline September 1.

Writers Victoria is seeking fiction and nonfiction with the theme "Unravel." Up to 1200 words. Pays $70 to $200. Deadline September 5.

Belanger Books is seeking mysteries involving police who go to Sherlock Holmes for help for The Consultations of Sherlock Holmes. He cannot be the main investigator. 5000 to 10,000 words. Pays $100 or $50 plus a percentage of the Kickstarter proceeds (whichever is more). Deadline September 15. 

Pyre Magazine is seeking dark speculative fiction. Up to 3500 words. Pays $10. Deadline September 18. 

Dragon Soul Press is seeking dragon stories for Reign of Fire. 3000 to 15,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline September 30.

Mocha Memoirs Press is seeking "cybernated stories of rebellion" for Crack the Code. Up to 7500 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline September 30.

The Bombay Literary Magazine is seeking fiction, poetry, and graphic fiction. 2000 to 7000 words. Pays Rs. 5000 (about $65). Deadline September 30.

Brigids Press is seeking gothic romance. Female and nonbinary authors only. 2000 to 6000 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline September 30.

Any of these of interest? Any other calls to share?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

IWSG - Sent to the Corner

 It's August, and time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG serves to give writers a forum to both seek and lend support. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and sign up on the IWSG tab!

This month's co-hosts are:

Tara Tyler

Lisa-Buie Collard

Loni Townsend

Lee Lowery

This month's optional question is: "When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?"

I typically just write whatever comes into my head, so I'd say I try to be original. It's whatever I want to write about.

On an unrelated note (or maybe not...who knows?) I've had my first book returned. Probably I'm lucky it took this long, especially with the TikTok challenge, but it was disappointing to see in the reports on Amazon. Boooo.

Keeping it short this month. I know some of you are unable to leave a comment since whatever weird update sent my Blogger haywire. I'm trying out a suggestion from C. Lee McKenzie, so hopefully it works. Thank you for the idea either way!

I'm feeling discouraged right now with no new short story sales for a few months. But here are my July stats:

13 submissions

14 rejections

0 acceptances

16 currently on submission

That's all, folks! Hope you're having a good day.

Are you submitting? Any news? What are your insecurities? Do you write to the audience?

May you find your Muse.


Wednesday, July 13, 2022

July Submission Roundup

It's time for the monthly submission roundup! Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Augur is seeking speculative fiction for their regular magazine (Augur) and cozy SF/F stories for Tales & Feathers. They mostly take Canadian/First Nations. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.11/word. Deadline July 31.

Pikes Peak Writers is seeking short stories and poetry that takes the reader to a new world. Up to 6000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline July 31.

Superlative is seeking short fiction with the theme "Futures." Up to 1500 words. Pays 10 pounds. Deadline July 31.

Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing/Ghoulish Books is seeking body horror stories written by transgender and nonbinary authors for Bound in Flesh. 3000 to 5000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline July 31. (Note that I have worked with this press before with their magazine Dark Moon Digest, and they are always a pleasure to work with.)

Black Beacon Books is seeking post-apocalyptic short stories for Tales from the Ruins. 5000 to 10,000 words. Paying market. Deadline July 31. 

Metaphorosis is seeking SF/F short stories about an interesting museum. 1000 to 8000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline July 31.

Three Ravens Publishing is seeking high fantasy short stories for Embers of Corsari, a shared world anthology and horror comedy short stories for It Came from the Trailer Park II. 7000 to 10,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline August 1.

Lethe Press is seeking dark speculative short stories about "gay sexuality, desire, masculinity, and the aesthetics of rough trade" for Brute. 2500 to 10,000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline August 1.

The First Line is seeking fiction, poetry, and critical essays with the first line "Lily unlocked the back door of the thrift store using a key that didn't belong to her." 300 to 5000 words. Pays up to $50.00 depending upon submission type/length. Deadline August 1.

The Last Girls Club Magazine is seeking feminist horror with the theme "Thoughts & Prayers." Up to 2500 words. They also accept poetry and flash fiction. Pays $.01/word. Deadline August 1.

Rayne Hall is seeking horror stories dealing with trains for The Haunted Train. No length restriction. Pay is flat fee of 10 Euro. Deadline August 15.

Ghost Orchid Press is seeking erotic horror fairy tales for Les Petite Morts. 1000 to 5000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline August 30.

Dragon Soul Press is seeking contemporary women's fiction for Life at Its Best and Christmas stories for Magick & Mistletoe. Up to 15,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline August 31. 

Gwyllion is seeking pulp/low-brow speculative fiction. Up to 10,000 words. Pays 10 pounds. Deadline August 31.

Eerie River Publishing is seeking dark short stories for It Calls from Beneath. 2000 to 7000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline September 1 (does not open for submissions until August 1). They are also taking water themed horror for their elements series. 1500 to 7000 words. Same pay. Deadline August 31.

Timber Ghost Press is seeking horror stories set in the Old West for Along Harrowed Trails. Poetry, flash, and short. Up to 6000 words. Pays up to $35. Deadline August 31.

Apparition Literary Magazine is seeking speculative fiction poetry and short stories with the theme "nostalgia." 1000 to 5000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline August 31 (not open for submissions until August 15.) 

War & Whiskey Publishing is seeking horror SF set on another planet for Strange Sunsets. 2500 to 7500 words. Pays $30. Deadline August 31.

Hellbound Books is seeking horror short stories paying homage to Poe for Madame Gray's Poe-Pourri of Terror and space SF horror for Hellbound Sci-Fi. 3000 to 8000 words for Poe and 4000 to 10,000 words for Hellbound. Pays $5. Deadline September 1. (I've been published with this market and had a good experience, but please note that they don't always send out rejections, as far as I know.)

Head Shot is seeking noir short stories for Bang! 2000 to 8000 words. Pays 10 pounds. Deadline September 1.

Orion's Belt is seeking SF stories. Up to 1200 words. Pays $.08.word. Deadline September 1.

Taco Bell Quarterly is seeking literary fiction, poetry, and more that involves Taco Bell in some way. 500 to 1500 words. Pays $100 per piece. Deadline September 5.

Any of these of interest? Any open calls to share? Are you submitting?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

IWSG - Writing and Mental Health

It's time for the July edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group!


Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG is a space for writers to voice their insecurities and get support from their fellow writers. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and sign up on the link list.

The co-hosts this month are J Lenni Dorner, Janet Alcorn, PJ Colando, Jenni Enzor, and Diane Burton. While you're bopping around to visit fellow IWSGers, be sure to say hi to the co-hosts and Alex!

The optional question this month is: If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

I kind of wish I was in Oz right now. At least there evil people can be dealt with fairly. In Oz, there are evil beings, but everyone knows who they are. That last part seems to make a difference. Also, there didn't really seem to be disease there. Then again, it's been a long time since I actually read the books, so it could be I didn't remember those things.

Things weren't all rainbows and sprinkles in Oz. I do remember that. But it was still a place to escape as a kid. Return to Oz isn't anywhere near as popular as The Wizard of Oz, but I always loved it. It spoke to that part of me who is healed by seeing the darkness be overcome. In the beginning, Dorothy is in a...we'll call it a mental health facility. I seem to recall some electroshock, perhaps? While evil witches trying to kill little girls and their dogs is freaky, as are flying monkeys, and, most of all, being far from home with no idea how to get back, the beginning part of Return to Oz (and much that followed) always stuck with me. The princess (?) who could change heads, the wheelers, and people being turned into ornaments and decorations if they didn't play a game right.

I don't remember exactly why the beginning got to me so much. Perhaps because this time Dorothy's family had purposely sent her away. They hadn't believed her, had thought she was sick, and they'd sent her away. Why wouldn't that disturb a child?

This springboards into what I'd thought about posting today. I've never kept it a secret that I deal with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Unfortunately, I've had a series of personal life issues that have retriggered the PTSD, so I've been struggling with that. National events have likely compounded it, as what I think set it off was a sense of helplessness. I don't handle being helpless well. I'm a person who prefers to take things into my own hands and fix them. I'm good at fixing things, but some things cannot be fixed.

What does this have to do with writing? I've seen a lot of friends in the writing world suffering from mental health issues lately. The world is a rough place to be right now. If not all, then many of us are suffering from the drastic life changes that came about from a worldwide pandemic. Our lives changed in myriad ways during this, whatever the reasons, and as humans, that requires coping mechanisms. It also often means that there will be ripples, even if we don't know where those ripples originated or how far out they'll go. 

Often, impactful situations can hurt our creativity. Even if it doesn't touch our creativity, it may hurt our mental and emotional energy. It turns out we need both of those things to write. I know that I struggle to write when things are hard. While a handful of people were posting about all they were getting done during the last two years, many more were posting that they couldn't write, that the words weren't coming, that they couldn't get themselves to focus on work.

I think, in general, things had started feeling lighter, better, different, and that it maybe lulled us into a false sense of security in terms of looking after ourselves. So now when we're suffering, it may take longer to realize that it's happening in the first place, let alone what personal reasons there are for it. As a result, we might try to push ourselves through it instead of taking the time to stop and care for ourselves and cope. We might get frustrated and angry that we're not doing more, meeting writing goals, buckling down, being as productive as we think we should be.

It took me a couple weeks at least to realize the PTSD was active and that's why I was struggling so much. It's not like you can take a test that magically shows something like that. After all, I spent decades suffering it and not knowing what it was. However, I also know that I tend to self-analyze so much that sometimes I can see things like this in myself faster than others might, so it felt important to send out a gentle reminder that...things aren't okay. Not for a lot of people. Don't be hard on yourself if you're not perfect right now. (Or ever, really, because many of us are always hard on ourselves). Figure out what works for you to cope with depression, anxiety, or whatever you may personally suffer from, and take the time to do those things. I know that may feel like ONE.MORE.THING you have to do. Believe me, I know. All I can say is that you're doing your best, and if you can find it in yourself to do one thing for yourself that will help, that one thing might add up and get you through it.

Take care of yourself first. The writing and creativity will follow.

Switching gears, it's time to report my submission stats for June. I do this each IWSG to keep myself accountable.

June:

0 new submissions

7 rejections (5 personal)

0 acceptances

24 stories currently on submission

So how are you doing? What are your insecurities? Are you submitting? Are you taking care of yourself?

May you find your Muse.



Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Media Roundup, New Release, & YouTube TV

Well, between the issues I was having with Blogger and some personal life things, I didn't end up posting the last two weeks, which I find a bit frustrating since I was back in the rhythm of posting consistently and visiting blogs. Oddly, Blogger seems to have fixed itself after I threw my hands up and ignored it for two weeks. I guess we'll see. But it's keeping me signed in again, which it wasn't doing for a while, and it appears to be keeping me signed in when I visit others. Yay? I'll celebrate when it stays consistent. ~gives Blogger the hairy eyeball~


I had some news to share during my unintentional hiatus! My mystery short story "The Class Ring" came out in the Unsettling Reads anthology Summer Bludgeon! It's a nice, thick book with stories from some awesome people, and it's mystery, so those of you who don't like horror would enjoy this one!


Summer Bludgeon is available from Amazon.

I was also featured on Between the Covers, a sort of talk show for authors produced by Red Penguin Books. My fellow guests were Susan Cole and Amy Bernstein, and our host was Stephanie Larkin.


I was also a showcase author at Mountain of Authors, a program put on by my local library district (Pikes Peak Library District). The keynote was Craig Johnson. He's always a great presence, very laid back, but also personable, and he tells a great story. This was the first writing event I ever intended when I decided to start really doing it, and I have a special fondness for it. It was nice to have this bit of normalcy return after being canceled for the last two years.


I was also supposed to be part of a group book launch for those of us who had released books during the pandemic shutdown, but...I got COVID. Ironic, eh? I made it through two big writing conferences without getting sick, even after people I hung around tested positive, but it took my son coming home at the end of the school year with it for it to spread through our house. Oddly, it was a bit of a relief to finally get something we'd been avoiding for two years. Though now I've heard that the latest versions of Omicron don't actually give you immunity when you get them, so I'm feeling pretty disgruntled about that. I'm just glad we didn't get sick until things had calmed down. We also managed to keep my daughter from getting it, though the rest of us did, which was a relief, as she's prone to pneumonia, and I was really worried about what COVID might do to her. I'm grateful we seem to have weathered it okay, though my husband has a bad, lingering cough. 



Okay, media roundup time! These are some of the standouts of my media intake for the last month or so.

Books

The Sanitorium, by Sarah Pearse


An old sanitorium has been converted into a fancy hotel, but after it opens people start disappearing, with at least one body turning up. A massive snowstorm traps the staff and a couple guests in the hotel after an avalanche takes out the road. Trapped with a killer, an inspector on a dramatic break from her job must figure out who the killer is and what they want before they kill her or someone close to her. Great sense of desolate isolation. There are many secrets slowly revealed over the course of the book. Solid suspense.

The Between, by Tananarive Due


After witnessing his grandmother die then come back to life in his childhood, a man starts having weird dreams and reality seems to shift around him. As he fights for his sanity, and possibly his life, he must also deal with the man stalking his judge wife, who seems to want to destroy the entire family. Great tension that leaves you guessing whether he's crazy or if his world is really shifting the way it seems to be. I thought there were too many dream sequences (not my favorite), but it wasn't enough to deter me from reading the book and overall enjoying it.

Movies

The Man From Toronto - Netflix


Woody Harrelson and Kevin Hart. How could it be bad? It isn't! I enjoyed this quite a bit. Kevin Hart is a man in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now the bad guys think he's the go-to guy to torture information out of suspects. But he's not the Man from Toronto, Woody Harrelson is, and Woody's now got Hart's character on his radar. It's goofy, and there's a hysterical scene that I can't describe because I feel I'd give something away, but it's definitely worth a viewing when you need a laugh.

TV

Snowflake Mountain - Netflix


Okay, so it's "reality" television, but there's something satisfying about seeing some of the most entitled, bratty, twenty-somethings have to learn how to do things for themselves. There's one who seems beyond help, but the others appear to be trying. Good for mind numbing entertainment. These kids have been voluntold by their parents to go to a rugged camp with outhouses and tents. So far, they've had to find their food, dress a deer, learn to cut down trees, etc.

The Boys - Prime


The new season is running on Amazon. I've been looking forward to Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) joining the show, but it's been an odd introduction to him, so far. The boys are back together, but there's strife between them, and trust is hard to come by. They think they've found the ultimate weapon against their apparently unbeatable enemy, but the joke's on them. Plenty of intrigue and tension. There are always tons of things that go wrong, no matter how well they try to plan for it. And the surprises keep coming. It's dark and gritty, but they make sure you can figure out from the first episode of each season if it's the type of show for you or not.

What have you been watching? Any good books read lately? How are you doing on your reading goals for the year?

May you find your Muse.


*Image - Angry Eyes, clker.com, OCAL

*Image - Swoosh Blue MD, clker.com, OCAL