Monday, January 31, 2011

Flashquake News

Well, Flashquake seems to have made a comeback. They're open to submissions for their Spring issue until February 15. They're looking for flash fiction up to 1000 words. Pay is $5 to $25. They also have a contest open with a $5 fee to enter. You can check them out here

Answering the E-Pub Questions

For those of you thinking about dipping your toes into the waters of e-publishing, Spinetingler will be posting interviews with the following authors in an attempt to help us understand this new medium.

Chuck Wendig, author of Irregular Creatures
Chris Holm, author of 8 Pounds
Anthony Neil Smith, author of Choke on Your Lies
Allan Guthrie, author of Bye Bye Baby
Tom Piccirilli, author of Nightjack
Dave Zeltserman, author of Blood Crimes
Lee Goldberg

Sunday, January 30, 2011

And One More

Sean Wallace, founder and editor of Prime Books has put out an anthology call for "The Mammoth Book of Steampunk". He's looking for original stories of 2000 to 8000 words with an April 1 deadline. Pay is 5cents a word. for details. If you have any questions drop them in the comments at the site as he's been answering other questions there.

A Few Markets

Poets and Writers classified ads are a good source for finding all manner of anthology calls from non-fiction to poetry While looking around on the site I found an anthology call from Bona Fide Books The anthology is called Tahoe Blues and they're looking for submissions of 500 words or less in any genre with a Lake Tahoe theme. The deadline is May 1. I couldn't find any mention of pay so that is something you'll have to find out from the editors. has posted their January call for submissions list. One that might be of interest here is from Press 53 for the new Surreal South anthology. "Surreal South 2011: Ghost and Monsters" is looking for shorts of 1000 to 7000 words. Authors must be Southern and the work must contain surreal elements. The deadline is March 15. Pay is one copy plus $50 website credit from Press 53.

If you're a native or resident of Singapore. World SF is putting together an anthology of Singapore SF Stories with the theme Hybrid. They're looking for spec-fic stories of 2000 to 6500 words with an April 30 deadline. This is a non-paying market, their purpose is to showcase sci-fi from Singapore writers.

And I found a new market source that I will be putting in the column to the right. The site is called Femministas and they showcase women's markets both fiction and non-fiction.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Voice of Experience

One of the best things about the community of writers on the Internet is their willingness to share their own experiences in the world of writing. Through them, we newbies can discover some of the pitfalls, learn how to climb the mountains, and realize that our dream of writing isn't necessarily what our reality of writing is going to be. "Alone in a Room" by Kent Harrington is a wonderful essay that every writer, both new and old should take a few minutes to read and absorb.

Hat tip to Michael Bracken for the link!

A New Market Coming

There's a new quarterly zine getting ready to set up shop on the web. "The Writer and the White Cat" will be edited by Rick Moore and will be opening for submissions on February 15. The genres they'll be looking at are mystery, suspense, horror, western, fantasy, and sci-fi. Top word count will be 2500 and the pay will be 5cents a word. For more details go here Mr. Moore will have the submission guidelines up later this week.

Good luck and much success, Mr. Moore!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Catching Up

I know, I haven't been posting much this week. My excuse? I've had a very sucky week. But I have been collecting links!

First though, is a reminder to all you zine and anthology editors and publishers out there that the deadline for submitting mystery/crime stories that you have published for the Derringer Awards is January 31. You can find all the details for submitting at

A recent article about branding has spawned all sorts of responses around the 'net but one of the best ones is by Theodora Goss.

Weird Tales magazine has posted about the changes at their magazine on their blog. Along with a new online submission form, they've raised their pay rates.

Jeff Vandermeer has posted an interesting look at the life of a short story.

Cullen Gallagher has a fun interview up with short story writer, Libby Cudmore.

If you haven't heard already, short story writer, Vicki Hendricks, has started blogging. From the looks, she'll be posting fiction writing tips for beginners and she's looking for questions and topics that you'd like to learn about so drop on over.

And just because, in the course of this sucky week, Joe R. Lansdale's lovely words brought a little sunshine into my life.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Pair of Contests

From Naomi Johnson we have the 2011 Selected Shorts Writing Contest. The deadline for this contest is March 1 and there is a $25 fee. First prize is $1000. They want 750 words with the theme restaurants and bars. You can find all the details and more about the sponsor, Symphony Space, at

Fred Zackel dropped me this contest lead. The sci-fi/fantasy site, Suvudu along with DelRey Publishing is sponsoring a contest for a 50,000 to 150,000 sci-fi, fantasy, horror, or paranormal manuscript. The grand prize is a full edit of your work plus a selection of books from the publisher. There are no entry fees for this one. You can find the rules for entering at

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Anthology Calls

Courtesy of the lovely Michael Bracken we have three anthology calls.

The first two are charity anthologies

One is giving the proceeds to the Brisbane RSPC in Queensland, Australia to help care for the animals that have been displaced by the recent flooding. The deadline is February 28 for stories in any genre of 1000 to 2000 words.

The second opens on March 1 and closes March 31 for shorts of 1000 to 2000 words in any genre. Proceeds from this anthology will go to the Vancouver branch of Dress for Success.

The third anthology is called "UnConventional" and they're looking for shorts of 3000 to 7000. The setting for the stories must be a fantasy or sci-fi convention that is a cover for something supernatural or fantastic. The deadline is July 1 and the pay is a $10 advance plus a percentage of the royalties. You can find all the details at

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Sunday Morning Epiphany

I love epiphanies. I was thinking about a story cupboard post when this question popped into my head, "What will you do to survive?". Hmmm. Every story, in every genre, is about survival in some shape or form. Our characters, both good and bad are trying to survive. No, really, think about it.

In mystery/crime you have characters trying to evade the cops (or the PI, amateur sleuth, etc.) so they don't have to go to jail, cops are trying to catch the bad guy without getting killed. They're each trying to survive in their own way.

In sci-fi, you've got your lost in space survivals, surviving the Apocalypse or an alien invasion, or being taken over by machines. Will they fight back or just crumble in a heap and die? What will they sacrifice to save themselves or their families?

With Westerns or adventure stories, sometimes it's just a matter of trying to survive nature, then you toss in the Natives or the bad guys and it's a matter of surviving a gun fight or hanging onto your scalp or stepping out of the way of a poisoned dart.

Romance and literary work also have the same survival patterns but on a lesser level. Will she survive if she doesn't find love? Will she survive if she does? And with literary will your character survive her angst?

Even Fantasy is about survival, think about Alice when she fell down the rabbit hole or stepped into the looking glass. Her whole journey in both of these setting was surviving so she could return home.

With a survival scenario you have to ask your character what will they do to survive? How far can you push them before they start to push back or break down? Will a woman trade her body or a man his honor to survive? Will you kill for the person you're with or just walk away? This is your character's conflict, it's what makes a story move and engages the reader.

So if your story is stuck, go ahead and ask "what if?" but also toss in the question "what will this character do to survive?" Push them, see what they're made of. Surviving life and what it throws at you is always surprising.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

And a Contest

The 2011 Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award contest has opened for submissions. The deadline for essays and short stories about fly-fishing is May 16th. Max word count is 3500. There is no fee to enter. 1st prize is $2000, 2nd $750, and 3rd $250. You can find all the details at

Flash Fiction Offensive Update

It should be noted that David Barber, the new editor of the Flash Fiction Offensive, has announced that they're open for submissions. For those who don't know the FFO is an off-shoot of Out of the Gutter magazine and some of the stories published here are picked up for the print issue of OOTG.

Anthology Call

I ran across this call at Hell Notes. The anthology is called "Bride of the Golem" and the editor is looking for humorous Jewish horror stories. You can find all the details, along with an interview with the editor, at

One thing you should note is that while the payment is stated as $500 per story, there is no publisher attached to this anthology yet. I've been involved in anthologies that start out with good intentions but if there is no publisher it could takes many years for anything to come of this. So if you have a story, you'll need to have a great deal of patience before this gets off the ground.

And the Winners Are...

1. Nigel Bird
2. Jack Bates
3. Loren Eaton

Congratulations to the winners of John Kenyon's Fairytale/Crime contest!! There were some great stories submitted and if you haven't taken the time to read them, you really should.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

An Evening Quote

Some of the blogs I click on have little yellow boxes with writing tips. Today's tip is well worth sharing, even without the little box.

"Always take the attitude of a learner in your writing and be open to new insights from any source."

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang! Review

When I'm looking for new markets, it's their title as much as anything that makes me click on a site. Seeing this title, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang! Review" I was sure I had found a new mystery market. What I found instead was a new pulp market with a twist on their submission guidelines. Each issue will be inspired by a classic pulp story and writers are invited to submit a story that riffs off the original. For their first issue Robert E. Howard's "The Frost Giant's Daughter" is the story theme. There is a link to the story with the submission guidelines. If you click on their library link you'll find links to more of Howard's stories. The deadline for the first issue is March 30. This is a non-paying market. They're also looking for artwork, poetry, anything inspired by the story.

Shock Totem News

For those of you who are considering Shock Totem as a market you should know that they are in the process of creating a new website. I've changed the link to the left, but on the site they say that it will be going in and out as they work on it. And they will be open for subs on February 1st, so keep that in mind.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Congratulations, Evan Lewis!!

I just read through the Edgar nominations and lo and behold there was was friend of the blog, Evan Lewis' name! Evan is the winner of the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for his short story, "Skyler Hobbs and the Rabbit Man".

We're Snoopy Dancing for Evan here at the Corner today!!

Lazy Day Links

Well, the links today are all over the place with a pair of them courtesy of the lovely Brian Lindenmuth. And yes, I'm suffering a severe case of the lazies splashed with a bit of cabin fever. But January is almost over and Spring is just over the horizon.

Over at Hell Notes there's a very interesting interview with Joe R. Lansdale.

If your characters are looking like cardboard cutouts, this essay may help. It's about showing character through the story instead of deciding if your character likes peanut butter and Miracle Whip sandwiches for breakfast.

Robin D. Laws has an essay that looks at the myth of "killing your darlings". He has the best explanation for this stage of writing that I've read in a long time.

And NPR is sponsoring its newest three minute fiction contest. The deadline, January 23, is coming up fast but the 600 max word count should make it easy to make if you're a flash writer. The story must also contain one character telling a joke and another crying. For all the other details go here

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Genre Bending

Here's an interesting look at the PI genre called "Gumshoes of the Night" by David MacDowell Blue. Of course, I read an article yesterday that said Vampires are a dying genre also.

Have you ever noticed that every genre is dying until someone comes along and puts a fresh spin on it?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Three Cheers for Jon Jordan!

Mr. Jordan is hosting the "Spirit of Short Fiction" contest as part of Bouchercon 2011!! He's looking for short crime stories up to 5000 words. The stories must take place in St. Louis and contain a mention of BBQ. The deadline is May 1. The winner receives $100, publication in the Bouchercon program book and 2 Bouchercon 2011 passes. You can find all the details at

Something I missed on my first read through. This contest is open to unpublished writers under the age of 18.

And a hat tip to Brian Lindenmuth for passing along the link!

Submission Calls

In looking around the 'net for anthology calls I found this post over at the Hayden's Ferry Review blog which lists several contests, a poetry antho, magazine calls and an anthology call.

May December Publications is an e-book publisher looking for novelettes and novellas in the horror genre for which there is payment. They also have 8 anthology calls listed for 2011, with deadlines extending throughout the year. Some are paying and others pay with a copy only.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Musing

Let me preface this by saying that I'm not a sports fan and don't know the rules of football, or any other sports for that matter, except that you need to put a ball somewhere. But last night while waiting for NCIS to come on I caught the last few minutes of the Steelers/Ravens game and was totally shocked.

While the clock was ticking down, the Steelers were walking around congratulating themselves on winning and the Ravens were crying into their laps. Now my question is, why did they stop playing before the game was over. What's happened to the "hail Mary" pass and last minute plays to shove a game into overtime? Why quit before the game is done?

That's like reading a book and finding the last page has been torn out.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Warning!! Warning!!

I feel like the robot from Lost in Space!

For those of you who have seen First One Digital Publishing's contest please check out the following links before you consider entering.

Always read the fine print, the world is full of sharks!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fairy Tale Crime

Here's my entry for John Kenyon's fairy tale/crime contest. You can find links to the other entries at and the fairy tale my story is based on is here

By Sandra Seamans

Once upon a time if you needed a job done you enlisted Soldier. His name was legend through the dark trenches of the dimly lit bars and bedbug infested hotels inhabited by the underworld. When men and situations got out of line, you could trust Soldier to set them right. Permanently. The one man army that was Soldier worked steadily until the day Simon King passed the word that Soldier had let a hit walk.

With the work dried up, his forced retirement found Soldier biding his time at the Black Dwarf Café. He was nursing a second cup of coffee one morning when two ogres lumbered in, eyeballing the small diner for trouble spots. Finding no danger spots, a petite woman stepped out from behind them. She walked toward Soldier’s table, waving her bodyguards outside where they took up positions on either side of the door. Soldier had seen her around before, and the café wasn’t her usual breakfast stop. Ruby Wishbone conducted her business out of the Mickey D’s on Wells Street over in the East Witch District of Grimm City.

Ruby worked the walk toward his table, sex and power oozing with every step. “May I sit down?” she purred.

Soldier pushed the chair out with his toe. As she eased her slender body into the chair, the waitress slid a cup of coffee on the table in front of her and asked if she’d care for anything else. Ruby shook her head, her dreadlocks free-flying around her ebony face. Soldier shook out a cigarette and Ruby leaned across the table, a long flame stretching from her blue Bic.

Soldier leaned into the flame until the end of his cigarette glowed red. He took a deep drag and blew smoke rings into the air above his head, “Business or pleasure?” he asked.

Ruby smiled. “I’ve heard you’re a strictly business kind of guy.”

“Yeah, but business has been slow lately.”

“I’d like to hire you for a job, if you’re not enjoying retirement too much.”

“Before we discuss business, you need to know that I have three rules. No women. No children. And no cops. If you can work with those rules, then you can lay out the job, otherwise, just walk away.”

“You’re pretty choosy for a man with no prospects.”

“In my line of work a man has to draw the line somewhere. You can’t live with the rules, feel free to shove off. No hard feelings.”

“I can work with your rules. I’ve got several jobs in need of your special talents but I don’t want fingers pointing in my direction when they’re done. Can you do that?”

“I take the legal notion of client privilege more serious than a lawyer.”

Another smile danced across her lips, but no sign of humor reached her dark eyes. “There’s a new supplier in town tying to move in on my territory. You take care of him without a hitch, then we’ll discuss the second. I have to make sure you can handle the work. King’s dropped the word that you don’t keep up your end of a deal.”

“King didn’t like my rules,” said Soldier, stubbing out his cigarette. “I only work one job at time and if the employer isn’t satisfied? Well, the next job is up to her.”

“Your fee the same as always?”

“Nothing’s changed.”

“Except you don’t work for Simon King anymore.”

“I don’t discuss my employers.”

Ruby slid an envelope across the table, watched Soldier pick it up and slide it into the inside pocket of his suit coat. She nodded, tossed a five dollar bill on the table for the waitress and walked out.

Three days later she returned to the diner. This time she didn’t come to the table alone, her bodyguards were bookending her.

Soldier looked up. “Bad investment?”

“Nothing I can’t handle.” She tossed another envelope on the table. “This hit’s a little closer to home for you. If there’s a problem, say so, and I’ll hire someone else to do the work.”

Soldier opened the envelope and glanced at the picture inside. The target was King’s lawyer. “He’s not a problem.”

“You make sure King doesn’t come after me for this one and I’ll double your pay on the last job.”

“He won’t know you had anything to do with it, unless you or one of your ‘friends’ here start flapping your jaws in the wrong place. King keeps his ear to the ground, doesn’t much happen in Grimm City that he isn’t aware of.”

Ruby was a little slower putting the third job in Soldier’s capable hands. King was on the rampage since the hit on his lawyer, especially when private files went missing from the office at the same time. He was scrambling to find those files before they wound up in the legal system, or worse, in the hands of one of his enemies. When her name didn’t come up in connection with the incident, she once again approached Soldier.

“This last job should be smooth as ice for you, Soldier,” she said. “His name is Manny Kinny and he works for me. He’s been skimming the profits at The Well, my tittie bar out on Keyser Ave and I need to make an example of him.” She slid the envelope across the table and left.

Soldier didn’t like the smile that was playing across her lips as she left the diner. He opened the envelope and studied the picture inside wondering why people felt the need to break his rules.

Soldier entered The Well, walked up to the bar and ordered a beer. He watched the dancers seducing the poles for a while, his eyes skimming over the customers in the room, picking out Ruby’s men. He finished his beer and headed for the men’s room, slipping into an open doorway to see who followed.

He felt the poke of a gun in his back. “Manny?”


“You know who I am?”

“I’ve heard and you don’t impress me much.”

“You don’t need to be impressed, all you need to know is that I have three rules about taking jobs. I don’t do women, kids or cops. I’m guessing you’re the third one because Ruby’s got her men out there ready to take me down once I kill you. She doesn’t want the heat of killing a cop falling on her. I expect by using me, she’s hoping the heat will fall on King. Now, can you get us out of here or do we need to shoot our way out?”

“I figured I’d need a quick exit someday. Let me grab a couple of things and we’ll go”

“Well, hurry up about it, they won’t wait long to see if I’ve done my job.”

Manny opened a small safe under the desk and slid some ledgers and computer discs into a briefcase.

“C’mon, in here,” said Manny leading the way into a small closet. As he slid open a panel in the back they could hear someone pounding on the office door. Grabbing a flashlight off the shelf, he led the way down a staircase, through a short passage and into the sewers that ran under the city.

“You know these tunnels pretty well,” said Soldier.

“My grandfather used the tunnels during prohibition. He spent hours walking me through them when I was kid. He said you never know when a good tunnel would come in handy.”

“Your grandfather was right,” said Soldier as they came up out of the sewer near the police station.

“You’d best get out of town,” said Manny. “Ruby will be screaming like a wild-cat once the DA lays charges against her.”

“You should know that she’s been working to take down King’s organization, and she’ll want to make a deal.”

“I take it she has the lawyer’s files?”

“Heard about that, did you?” Solider pulled a key from his pocket and handed it to Manny. “Whatever Ruby’s got won’t do her much good once you use this key. Inside my safety deposit box you’ll find everything you need to take down King.”

“I thought you and King were friends from way back? Why flip on him now?”

“We’ve been friends since our playground days. Fought our way up to the top of this ugly business together. He thought that entitled him to break my rules.” Soldier paused to light a cigarette. His face took on a hard look as he blew smoke into the cold night air. “King wanted me to kill his daughter, Emily. He found out he’d raised a child that wasn’t his own blood and didn’t like the idea of being cuckolded.”

“I take it you’ve got her tucked away safe somewhere?”

“I don’t kill women or children and to me, she was both.”


“Emily is my daughter. King killed her mother because he found out she was having an affair, he just didn’t know it was with me.”

Anthology Call

Kerlak Publishing has listed their new story call. The anthology will be called "Dreams of Steam II: of Brass & Bolts". Deadline for submitting your steampunk shorts is May 31. Top word count is 9000 words and the pay is $20. You can find all the details at

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Learning Process

Do you ever sit back when you've finished writing a story and ask yourself what you've learned? I've been doing that quite a bit lately and I've found that each new piece I write teaches me something new about myself and writing.

Except for a few finishing touches, I've just finished my fairytale into crime story for John Kenyon's contest. What an interesting project that was! First, I picked a fairytale, printed it off and studied how the story unfolded and highlighted the major points of the story. With all of its twists and turns, it boiled down to a simple revenge story.

Then came the decision to keep it a straight crime story or attempt a paranormal mystery because you know, all fairy tales have magic in them. I decided to keep it straight which made the ending a bit of a problem as magic is the key component in the protag's getting his revenge.

I also found that taking another writer's story and making it your own can be a difficult. While you're trying to stay true to the outline of the story, you also have to change things to make it your own and not simply an imitation of the original. On paper I outlined the basics of the story but I discovered that I hate outlines. The story just didn't want to conform to the lines I'd drawn for it. In the end, I used about half of the outline and just tossed the rest, letting the story unfold the way it needed to be a new story and not just a copy.

So, I've rewritten my fairytale into a crime story and hopefully it works. But even if it doesn't, I've learned that I don't especially care for rewriting another writer's story and I really dislike outlines. What has your writing taught you lately?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

RIP Joe Gores

In his own words:

"Why I Write Mysteries"

And a list of his work:

Don't Forget

You have two days left to polish your fairytale crime story for John Kenyon's contest. The story must be posted to your blog by midnight, Friday the 14th and the link posted in the comments at John's blog.

If you need a fairytale try

A Pair of Markets

We have a pair of markets today courtesy of the lovely, Michael Bracken, who sent me the links.

Boxfire Press is an e-publisher looking for sci-fi/fantasy short stories of 2000 to 20,000 words. For these they're offering a small advance (to be negotiated) against royalties. They're also looking to start a flash fiction quarterly zine and they want flash under 500 words. Pay for these is 5cents a word with a minimum of $5 and a max of $25. They're also looking for shorts up to 20,000 words for an anthology call. The anthology theme is "There's a red scarf lying in the road. How did it get there?" This too, has a negotiable advance against royalties as payment. All submissions go through Submishmash. You can find out more about them at and at their blog

Aeon Press Books is an Irish publisher that's been in business for several years. They have an anthology call for horror shorts. The title is "Box of Delights", no particular theme. This is a print market paying a 10 pound advance against royalties for 2500 to 8000 words. You can find the details at Looking around the site I found that they have another anthology listed but not open, so keep your eye on the site if this market interests you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Anthology Calls has posted their January calls for submissions On the list you'll find two anthology calls from erotica publisher, Freaky Fountain Press. One is dark Mythology the other Heavenly Bodies the deadlines are April 1.

Over at you'll find a post listing over a dozen anthology calls in the horror genre but don't forget that noir/crime stories can make that crossover. The post also makes a good point that there are a lot of anthology calls out there which says that things are looking up for the short story. I'm thinking that perhaps the anthologies are taking the place of all the pulp magazines that used to be available for readers.

And Anthology News and Reviews has two calls listed on their site

Monday, January 10, 2011

FFO Update

David Barber has just been named the new editor of the Flash Fiction Offensive. You can read about it here

"On the Verge of Madness" by George Wilhite

Yes, I'm back again. Last week I found a new site called Hell Notes (link in the market sources section) which publishes submission calls and reviews of books and films in the horror genre. Over there today is a look at "On the Verge of Madness" a collection of shorts by George Wilhite. There's also a pretty cool trailer for the book. Check it out

Did I mention that my Internet server was out yesterday? Pretty much playing catch-up today.

Anthology Reviews

I'm a regular reader of Bev Vincent's blog and there's a post over there today that suggests several anthologies that might interest readers of this blog. He has a short review of all the anthologies.

Themes and Deadlines

Crossed Genres has listed their monthly themes and submission dates for 2011. January 31 is the deadline for the Superhero theme. During the month of February the theme is Mystery and March is Luck (good or bad). They accept shorts of 1000 to 8000 words with a payment of $10. There is an online submission form at the site. You can find all the details at

Literary Hatchet is open to dark fiction with a March 1 deadline for their April issue. 500 to 3000 words, pay is $15. You can find all the details at

The First Line's starter sentence for their Spring issue is "Sam was a loyal employee.". The deadline is February1 for short stories of 300 to 3000 words, pay is $20. They also have all their starter sentences for 2011 posted.

The Red Penny Papers opens for subs on January 15 and will remain open until February 28 for their next issue. This is a quarterly zine looking for dark stories from 1000 to 5000 words in nearly every genre from light horror to noir and just about every genre in between with either a modern or historical setting. Pay is 1cent a word up to $25. You can find all the details at

Dark Valentine is open to subs for their Spring issue until February 4. They're looking for dark shorts of 500 to 5000 words. The pay is $10. You can find all the details at

And if you're not completely bored with me, you can find me "dancing with myself" over at Nigel Bird's excellent Sea Minor blog.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Market Note

The Flash Fiction Offensive has closed to submissions. Looks to be temporary.

Short Stories Framed

Brian Lindenmuth just sent me this link

Be sure to click on the link Mr. Sullivan provides in his piece to read Frank Kovarik's look at 10 years of New Yorker fiction. Interesting reading.

100 Years Ago Story Cupboard

Can't think of anything to write? Grab your local paper or just do a search for "100 Years Ago". And no this doesn't limit you to writing historicals, though setting a story in the past gives you a lot more freedom in some ways. I love reading these columns and sometimes the strangest things will set off the idea alarm bells.

A pair of items about the hobble skirt piqued my interest. One read, "Who said Hop Bottom was behind the times? The hobble skirt is here, also the peach basket hat." Nothing spectacular about that but this one actually made me do a search for the hobble skirt. "The hobble skirt has struck our town for the reason that it makes old maids look five or six years younger, not only than her real age, but the age she claimed to be for that reason I think it will become quite popular in this place."

Now this skirt virtually hobbled a woman's walk, think a Marilyn Monroe skirt with the hobble around the ankles instead of the knees. Baby steps and an exaggerated buttock swing to their walk. A rape story is pretty much out of the question if you set the story a hundred years ago, because the women wore a knee length corset to exaggerate the "look". But imagine a story where women were forced to wear hobble skirts so they couldn't run away. Clothing as a jail cell surely could put a new spin on a story. And, of course, I wondered about those "old maids" putting their "goods" on display. :-)

And this story really set the wheels churning. "The whereabouts of Mrs. Rose Maynard is a mystery. Mr. and Mrs. Maynard went to Binghamton, Tuesday, with two loads of apples. They spent the night in the city and Wednesday morning she left the boarding house saying she would be back soon. Not returning late Wednesday, a search was started by the husband and police, but she has not been found. She is described as short, slender, with brown eyes and brown hair. She is 30 years old and of German parentage. She has a scar on the palm of her left hand, and has three stiff fingers on the same hand. She wore a black skirt and light colored waist."

Oh my, but how I wondered about Rose. Her husband waits until late to begin a search? What was he doing? She's thirty years old and no mention of children? But the scar and three stiff fingers made me wonder what had happened to her. Did she see a chance to escape and ran or did her husband decide he needed a wife who could bear him children? Or did she meet up with a lover or run into foul play? Or was she just tired of being a farm wife and wanted to live in the city?

And then there was the story of 30 year old Alfred Howell who used a 22 caliber Remington rifle and shot his wife in the hip, an inch from the spine. The article noted that she would recover unless complications set in. No surprise that the man was drunk from "new year's debauchery". His wife escaped to her sister's home and he followed, then left saying he'd get the doctor. Instead he went home, got some money and disappeared. He was arrested the next day when he returned full of remorse for his rash deed.

Now that little scenario has the makings of some fine noir. The man was screwed the instant he picked up the gun, but I wonder what his wife said to set him off. And if he intended to kill her, he must have been a lousy shot or seeing double from being drunk. This is one of those stories that could be set in the present - but I doubt the man would return home but then that might put a little humor in the story.

These old news items can open up ideas for crime stories or fantasy or even sci-fi stories, you just have to give your imagination free rein.

Anthology Reviews

"My Life in Clothes" a single author collection by Summer Brenner and reviewed by Ekaterina Sedia

"you're dead and I killed you" a multi author anthology edited by Pablo D'Stair and reviewed by Sean Patrick Reardon

"Philiadelphia Noir" a multi author anthology edited by Carlin Romano and reviewed by Edward Pettit

"Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead" a multi author anthology edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and reviewed by Moonlight. You'll also find a contest to win a copy in the review post.

Friday, January 7, 2011

More Pulp Goodness

Jedidiah Ayres has an interview up with the prolific writer, Robert Randisi.

Pulp Fiction

There's a great discussion going on here about pulp fiction both past and present.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Storyglossia has opened to submissions for issue #42

Science Fiction Trails is an annual print magazine and they have opened to subs for issue #7. They're looking for Western stories of 1000 to 7000 words set in the West of 1850 to 1900 with sci-fi content. The pay is $20. You can find all the details at

L&L Dreamspell is publishing ebook anthologies. The pay per book is 50% of net royalties. They have four open now, one a Steampunk, a Canine Themed call, an erotic call with "Wild Woman" as the theme and Paranormal and Ghost Stories. They also have six more to open soon. You can find all the details at

Fiction Attic Press is a literary press that publishes novellas and story collections along with novels. They pay a $500 advance against royalties.

And Naked Snake Press has an open call for dark fiction novels up to 120,000 words. They offer an unspecified advance against royalties. One of their favorite authors is Joe Lansdale, so that will give you an idea of what they're looking for. The call is open until March 31, 2011. You can find all the details at

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Free Samples

Through Charles Tan's blog I found this link to Erin Underwood's site. She has posted links to the sample chapters of 38 sci-fi books. The links include two anthologies and a couple of YA books.

Anthology Call

With a hat tip to we have "Through the Eyes of the Undead II" anthology which is looking for shorts of 3000 to 9000 words with pay at 1cent a word. They want stories told from the zombie's point of view, in other words your protag is a reanimated zombie. for details. Deadline is Apr/May 2011.

DL Snell has an interview with this anthology's editor, Robert Essig, here

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mind Writing

Have you ever gone to open a story file and discovered that the full-blown story in your head hasn't made it to the page yet? I've been piecing together scenes and ideas for a story the last few days and went to do some revisions only to discover that I haven't actually written the darn thing yet. Oh well, at least I know where to begin - just open a file and start typing.

Anthology Reviews

Jedidiah Ayres has a list and short reviews of his favorite 2010 anthologies and collections over at Ransom Notes.

And we have the anthology "Damn Near Dead 2" edited by Bill Crider and reviewed by Chuck Barksdale

Monday, January 3, 2011


As most of you know, I don't stick to just one genre when I write and besides crime fiction, I have a deep love for the Western genre. But the truth is, they can be pretty much interchangeable. Westerns aren't just shoot 'em ups and cattle rustling, they can, in the right hands, be so much more. Edward A. Grainger's short story "Melanie" is a prime example. While it's a Western on the surface, it's noir to the core. You can read it here at

After you've read the story, stick around the blog because Gary Dobbs is hosting Wild West eMonday, with all kinds of Western goodness being posted during the day to show support of the genre.

And if Gary has whet your appetite for Westerns, the 16th issue of Frontier Tales has gone live and includes a short story by friend of the blog, Oscar Case, called "Butch Cassidy and the Thirsty Old Man". However much life changes, human nature remains the same.

This and That

So, we've got a little of this and a little of that today.

Over at the BareBones ezine, they've got more of Fredric Brown and his shorts and novels.

Ekaterina Sedia has posted about editing the anthology, Bewere the Night, that was listed here. There were over 300 submissions and the TOC will be posted soon.

The January issue of All Due Respect is out with "The Ballad of Jimmie Jazz" by Tony Deans

And the 7th issue of 10Flash has gone live. This is one of those zines that just keeps roaring along with great stories in quarterly issues and monthly flash and reviews. And while you're there be sure to check out Jodi MacArthur's story, "The Girl Who Was Chased by an Abominable Snowman with a Machete". It will brighten your day!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday Musing

I'm a big believer in coincidence. That clashing together of fate that opens your eyes to something new and walks you into an unknown world. Last year I read an article about short story writer, Pinckney Benedict, found him mentioned two days later in a blog post by Jedidiah Ayres, then found the book Jedidah mentioned at the monthly book sale. "Town Smokes" by Pinckney Benedict. If you enjoy Larry Brown, you'll love Mr. Benedict's work. He takes you deeper into that well of human despair than you've ever gone but never lets go of your hand. Don't believe me? Try this story, "Pig Helmet and the Wall of Life"

So, how do you find new authors?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Markets Opening Today

For those of you ready to jump on your New Year's resolution to write/submit, Duotrope has a list of 74 markets opening for submissions today. They include:

Necrotic Tissue
DF Underground
Yellow Mama

Listed in the new markets is a site called RuneWright who has submission calls out for six anthologies. This market makes me nervous because it provides services for writers, so proceed with caution if you decide to submit here. That's just my gut-feeling, they could be perfectly legit. After last year, I'm a little leery of markets that suddenly pop up with a large number of calls.