Wednesday, June 27, 2012

From the Depths - online zine

Haunted Waters Press is seeking submissions for the fall issue of their online zine, "From the Depths".  The theme is "Horror:  Dark and Dreadful", deadline is August 31.  Also with the same deadline is their Penny Fiction Flash Fiction Competition.  Here they're seeking flash of exactly 13 words with the theme of horror, supernatural, or suspersition.  Both of these calls are non-paying.  If you click on From the Depths at the top of the page you'll find back issues of their zine so you can get a feel for what they're looking for.  You'll also need to click on Guidelines for their formatting and copyright requirements.

Atomic Noir - Short Story Contest

Out of the Gutter magazine and the folks at Noir Con are sponsoring a short story contest called Atomic Noir.  They're looking for shorts of 5000 to 8000 words that reflect the Goodis era of noir writing.  The contest will run monthly from July to October with one story being selected each month.  Winners will receive $50 and publication in the Atomic Noir anthology.  I didn't notice a fee being charged for this contest (but I was skimming through the contest rules).  You'll find all the details here

RIP Nora Ephron

She made you believe that a woman could make it in a man's world.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

WGI Winners

The judges have made their decisions and the winners of the Watery Grave Invitational have been announced.  We're Snoopy dancing here at the Corner for Chris LaTray, Mike Wilkerson, Ian Ayris, Keith Rawson, and John Higgins.  Naomi usually posts the winners after the contest so be on the look out for some great reading coming your way.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Writing What You Read

Been a while since I tossed a question out here.  But I was wondering, do you find your writing changing with your reading habits?  I've been reading more of what's tagged literary.  Writers like Dorothy Allison and Daniel Woodrell.  And I find little bits of their lushness of language creeping into my stories.  Now, I'm not on their level, and probably never will be, but I like what's growing in my writing.

How about you, does your writing reflect what you're reading?  And  do you like when this happens?

Friday, June 22, 2012

New emagazine - Lamplight

Lamplight is a new quarterly horror emagazine set to launch in September.  They're paying $150 for shorts of 2000 words and up.  Flash of 1000 words and under are paid $50.  They've set up deadlines for each issue and if September's issue is the fall issue you have until July 15 to get a story to them.  You can find all the details here

Hat tip to Horror Tree  They have a bunch of other new markets listed, most non-paying. 

Pen Names

I've often considered creating a male pen name for myself.  Nothing new for me, I always wanted to be a boy when I was growing up.  Why?  I got tired of being told that climbing trees wasn't lady-like.  As for the male pen name, I thought maybe that might help to crack a few markets I'd like to see my work published in.  And yes, for whatever reason, there does seem to be a bit of a boy's club out there.  It is changing, but so does sand on the desert.  One grain at a time.

Of course creating a new writing persona can be quite complicated as explained in this thought provoking essay

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Free Stories

I stop over at 52Stories every so often to read the stories they have posted in their archives.  They haven't added any new content until now.  Right now you can download a free pdf copy of 40 new stories by some great writers.

Just Because

It's a beautiful, wonderful post.

Hat tip to Brian Lindenmuth's twitter feed!

Interstellar Fiction

Interstellar Fiction is a new zine looking to launch soon.  They're looking for all types of sci-fi stories in the 1500 to 4000 word range.  Payment is 2cents a word up to 2000 words and a penny a word for all words above 2000.  You can find the website and submission details here

They also have a blog with much more information than the website has right now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Looks like Thieves Jargon is closing up shop and moving into new digs called Nickelsteak.  You can find all the details here.  This is a non-paying market.

Paying the Bills with Shorts

Michael Bracken finds some of the best links for short story writers!!  At this link, Dean Wesley Smith breaks down how you can make a living with your short fiction.  Depending on how good of a writer you are, this could work.

Angie's Desk - Anthology Calls

Angie has posted her anthology calls list for June!!

New Zine - Insatiable

White Cat Publications is launching a new quarterly magazine called "Insatiable - the Magazine of Paranormal Desires".  They're looking for stories up to 5000 words with romance as a plot element.  Payment is 3cents a word and 1cent a word for reprints.  You can find all the details here

Hat tip to Charles Gramlich's Razored Zen blog.

Sparking Ideas

I ran across an anthology call yesterday over at Duotrope that brought to mind a picture I'd clipped out of the Reader's Digest years ago.  The picture was of a young boy, maybe eight or ten years old, hung horizontally on a clothesline.  I always thought there was a great story in that picture.  If I were to write my story though, I doubt I'd submit it to this anthology because, 1. I think they're looking for more literary work than the story I've imagined and 2. because there's no payment, not even a copy of the book.  It's not that I haven't written for no payment before, I have.  But I believe that a press, no matter how small, should at least give the authors a copy of the anthology.  But that's just my two cents.

Here's the idea behind this call and the link:

"My mother always loved laundry lines; not because she enjoyed the task of hanging laundry, but because she loved the stories they had to tell. The history of a family as told by the work worn knees of a father’s coveralls, a pair of mended socks, a mother’s Sunday dress. The deception and lies behind a small stain on a child’s tee-shirt."

One thing about anthology calls, even if you don't care to submit to a particular call for whatever reason, there's nothing stopping you from using that idea to spark a story for another market.  Literary markets are especially good for grabbing ideas that fit perfectly into genre stories.

And if any of you genre publishers out there are up for it, I'd love to see an anthology of crime stories sparked by that clothesline idea.  You could even throw in a bit of Western and Horror, maybe with a dash of Fantasy. :)  Maybe call it "Hung out to Dry".

On Writing

Interesting look at first person narration.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Learning how to write well is an ongoing process and reading work by other authors is a big part of that process.  One of the "rules" of writing is to start off with a bang, either first sentence or first paragraph.  I've been thinking lately that maybe that isn't always the smart way to unfold your story.  Reading this except from Charles Dodd White's upcoming novel, "Benediction" is a grand lesson in unfolding your story.  He manages to show you character, setting, emotions, well, just plain everything without beating you upside the head with action and big bangs.  What he does is make you care about the character by letting you step into her shoes.  A truly beautiful way to set up a story.  You can read his opening here

Snubnose Press

A look at Snubnose Press one year later.

On Writing

That tricky middle got you down?  Here's a few tips to help you navigate the treacherous waters of that slumping middle of your story.

A big thank you to Michael Bracken for sending along the link!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Anthology Call - Urban Occult

Anachron Press is seeking submissions for a new anthology called "Urban Occult-Weird/Horror Anthology".  Stories must be 4000 to 8000 words.  Deadline November 1.  Payment is 10pounds plus a print copy.  You can find all the details here

The Drabble Challenge

Today is posting day for Patti Abbott's drabble challenge.  A drabble is a story of exactly 100 words.  You'll find links to all the stories on her blog

And here's mine.  The final product is nowhere near what I started out writing, but that often happens with drabbles as you cut and trim, and choose just one word to replace three.  Drabbles are perfect for learning how to write tight.

by Sandra Seamans

Frankie entered eternity knowing heaven was not his destination. The men, whose lives he'd stolen, had sealed his fate long ago. But a wisp of heavenly music whispered hope.

He followed the hymns to an abandoned church, stained glass windows shattered and doors blown open. Yet, the choir created an aura of life around the abandoned building. Inside, a woman stood beneath the cross of Christ, her face hidden behind a black veil.

"Who are you?" asked Frankie.

"Your escort."


Sweat beaded his forehead as flames licked their way across the floor.

"Yes, I dance the damned into Hell."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Nightmare Magazine

"Nightmare" is a new ebook magazine that will be edited by John Joseph Adams and published by Creeping Hemlock Press.  They are set to launch in October as a monthly zine, with this issue already lined up.  Each issue will contain two original stories and two reprints along with articles and artwork.  They were supposed to open for submissions today but the link for their online submissions isn't up yet. (At least when I visited)

They're looking for original stories of 1500 to 7500 words in every type of horror you can imagine.  Payment is 5cents a word.  Reprints are 1cent a word.  You can find all the details here.

Marketing Short Stories

I've heard a few complaints lately about the lack of markets for short crime fiction, both paying and non-paying. But I don't think there's a lack of markets, only tunnel vision on the part of the genre’s writers. They tend to look down the tunnel and see Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock as the only paying markets. Along the tunnel length there's online zines like A Twist of Noir, Plots with Guns, and Spinetingler (And yes, there's others, too numerous to mention.) There's also a few print magazines along that tunnel like Needle, Pulp Modern, and Big Pulp. And, of course, there's the very few crime anthologies out there that beckon but many of those slots go to the name authors who can attract sales. What bothers me about this tunnel vision is that mystery/crime writers are failing to use their imagination. They write themselves into a box and refuse to claw their way out.

I know writers hate when you use the phrase transcend the genre, but I think it applies to finding new markets for your short fiction. Joe R. Lansdale is one of those writers who transcend the market box. Consider his story, “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road”  This is a crime story but he’s marketed the story as Horror. And “Torn Away”  another crime story marketed as fantasy. Lansdale has mastered marketing his crime stories by thinking outside of that constricting box of the mystery genre.

The markets are what they are. Whining about getting the “organizations” to do something about the lack of paying markets is useless. That’s not their focus and they don’t give a crap about shorts or their authors. For them, short stories are merely a way to draw attention to the writers in their own membership of novelists.

You want to sell your short stories? Look at the markets that pay in the range you’re happy with. Sci-fi, Spec-fiction, Horror, Romance, Fantasy, and Erotica all have good paying markets, both zines and anthologies. Give yourself the freedom to reimagine your crime stories. Don’t follow the strict rules of the genre. Cut loose and let your imagination run wild. The only one holding you back is yourself.

And, dear God, please stop the whining. If you want to write shorts, write them. If you want to find paying markets, look for them in the unusual places. Make yourself happy, not the genre.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Macavity Award Nominees

A big round of Snoopy dances for the short story nominees for the Macavity Awards.  And a special dance for friends of the Corner Barb Goffman and Kathleen Ryan.  Very cool to see A Twist of Noir story among the nominees!

Best Mystery Short Story:

• “Disarming,” by Dana Cameron (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, June 2011)

• “Facts Exhibiting Wantonness,” by Trina Corey (EQMM, November 2011)

• “Palace by the Lake,” by Daryl Wood Gerber (from Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology, edited by Ramona DeFelice Long; Wildside)

• “Truth and Consequences,” by Barb Goffman (from Mystery Times Ten, edited by MaryChris Bradley; Buddhapuss Ink)

• “Heat of Passion,” by Kathleen Ryan (A Twist of Noir, February 2011)

• “The Man Who Took His Hat Off to the Driver of the Train,” by Peter Turnbull (EQMM, March/April 2011)

You can find the entire list of nominees over at The Rap Sheet

Yellow Mama

The June issue of Yellow Mama has hit the virtual streets with stories from Chris Rhatigan, Jason Duke, Court Merrigan and many many more.  Go read!

Anthology Call - Feminist Speculative Fiction

Ann and Jeff VanderMeer are putting together an anthology of "Feminist Speculative Fiction".  They are looking for reprints from the 1970's onward.  Submissions are open until August 5.  Payment is reprint rates of 1cent to 2cents a word plus royalties.  You can find all the details here

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Out of the Gutter Online

From the folks at Out of the Gutter:

If you haven't heard, Out of the Gutter, "The Modern Journal of Pulp Fiction and Degenerate Literature," is back in action, live online, and taking submissions!

That's right, I said online, meaning that we're publishing direct to the Web, and the best address to catch us at these days is, although we will still answer your clicks at the original address.

And don’t worry, we will be turning out print editions of Out of the Gutter just like in the bad old days, but the material will now be gleaned exclusively from our regular online publication. That means that if we put your story, interview, rant or what-have-you on our website, you may very well wind up in the print journal (which will also be an ebook journal, because we had to move into the digital age sooner or later) and get yourself a little $ and/or an Out of the Gutter Online T-shirt.

In the meantime, we need your comments and shares to kick things off in world-class fashion. Under the editorship of Joe Clifford we have new flash fiction going up twice a week, the latest being "Time Bomb" by Dana C. Kabel, and we have a new BAREKNUCKLES PULP FICTION DEPT. about to launch, with stories going up every Monday, edited by Court Merrigan and taking submissions now.

There are also, either up now or coming soon, reviews, noir news pieces, and author interviews. And if you want to go Gutter on issues of the day, check out the "Opinion Pages," where the views don't necessarily reflect anything any good American is allowed to think about or discuss.

At present there are openings for nonfiction contributors of all kinds, and even more openings for up-and-coming and established pulp writers who would like get their work into circulation and reach our ever-growing audience. If you want to get in on the action, it all starts with visiting

Pulp Modern 3

is now available

The Trending Now Story Cupboard

Yes, another post.  I'm between stories, and banging my head up against a drabble for Patti's challenge, so I'm trolling for story ideas.  Yahoo's home page is a good place to start and their "trending now" can be kind of interesting.  Here's a few that I picked up today.

Black Hole Hunter - Now this is some kind of machine that NASA is getting set to launch.  Yeah, millions into a black hole.  Putting aside my opinion of NASA spending, there's a few ideas roaming around here.  If you write erotica, it's pretty well laid out there for you (pun intended).  But I was thinking more along the lines of a great adventure.  A bounty hunter perhaps searching out black holes where criminals are hiding.  Kind of an outer space Hole in the Wall?

Vacuum Climber - Not sure why this attracted me.  Seems both the Army and some college kids have invented climbing devices.  The Army, for aiding men to climb walls and the students, small robotic climbers.  The idea just tickled my story bone. 

Volcker Rule - J. P. Morgan was complaining about this, so I expect it's something to do with the financial world.  Yeah, me and my coffee can of pennies gives a crap about J. P. Morgan's woes.  But I like the sound of Volcker and everyone loves when the bad guy, and even the good guy has rules they live by or commit crimes to.

Terracotta Warriors - I've seen the pictures of these Chinese warriors that have been buried for centuries and I always imagine them coming to life with maybe Ghenis Khan leading them.  Total fantasy, but you could also create a crime around them.

What Not to Say When a Woman Tells You She's Pregnant -  Well, this one can take you anywhere.  What if your girl tells you she's pregnant in the middle of a bank robbery?  Or maybe on the eve of 12-21-12?  The possibilities for a humorous situation are endless.

Mettalica helps FBI - Okay, they did a public service announcement for the Feds.  But try to imagine a buttoned down FBI guy or girl on the road with a rock band.  They're undercover as...a member of the band, a groupie, a roadie.


It's always fun to read a list of rules for writers.  They're basically all the same, of course, but still fun to see where your own rules fall in.  This list is from Pixar via Twitter.

Hat tip and a big thanks to Brian Lindenmuth for the link!

The Journal Pulp Contest

The Journal Pulp is hosting a contest for the "Best first sentence for a novel about a genius waitress who discovers the secret to unlocking the power of deuterium — and the customer who loves her, but loves her discovery even more."  There is no fee to enter and the winner receives $100.  For all the details, a link to an explanation of deuterium, and to leave your comment/entry go here
Hat tip and a big thanks to Katherine Tomlinson for the link!

Free Short Story

No, not one of mine :)  Victor Gischler is giving a free pdf copy of his geezer noir short story from the anthology "Damn Near Dead".  You can find out how to get your copy here

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Redstone Science Fiction

Redstone Science Fiction magazine is having a "Show us a Better Way" contest.  The theme is "a hopeful future made better by science".  There is no fee to enter.  Shorts up to 5000 words submitted between June 15 and August 15.  The winner will receive 5cents a word with publication in the September issue.  You can find all the details here

Horror Factory

Crime Factory magazine is getting set to publish a special issue called Horror Factory.  They're looking for shorts up 5000 words.  They're open to any type of horror, but they do request that you query first before submitting.  Deadline is August 31.  You can find all the details here

Big Pulp

Print and ebook magazine, "Big Pulp" is offering its Winter 2010 ebook issue for free.  Now's the time to check it out, folks.

Monday, June 11, 2012

BTaP Round 2

Beat to a Pulp Round 2 is now available as an ebook.  Check out all the details here

Horror Markets

Well, I turned my back for a couple of weeks and posted a whole slew of new markets.  Better late than never :)

The Anthony Awards

And a big round of Snoopy dances for the short story nominees for this year's Anthony Award:

"Disarming" - Dana Cameron, EQMM June'11, p.24

"The Case of Death and Honey" - Neil Gaiman, A Study In Sherlock, p.167 [Bantam]

"Palace by the Lake" - Daryl Wood Gerber, Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology, p.184 [Wildside]

"Truth and Consequences" - Barb Goffman, Mystery Times Ten, ~p.128 [Buddhapuss Ink]

"The Itinerary" - Roberta Isleib, MWA Presents The Rich and The Dead, p.189 [Grand Central]

"Happine$$" - Twist Phelan, MWA Presents The Rich and The Dead, p.276 [Grand Central]

You can read the entire list of nominees here

Hat tip to Janet Rudolph

Luna Station Press

For the ladies out there who write speculative fiction, Luna Station Press is open for submissions of novellas, novels, and short story collections.  Payment is 50% of net.  You can find all the details here

Please note that this press publishes female authors only.

Sharing Shorts

Got a favorite short story you'd like to share?  Drop on over to the lovely Patti Abbott's blog and tell us about it.  Yeah, it's me, guest blogging.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Power of Short Stories

When Ray Bradbury passed away this past week I clicked around the 'net reading many of the posts about this wonderful writer.  Checking out his biography I discovered that he wrote twenty-seven novels and over 600 short stories.  Of the novels only three were mentioned frequently "Fahrenheit 451",  "The Martian Chronicles" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes". 

Amazingly it was his short stories that resonated with readers.  Stories like "The Veldt", "Dandelion Wine", "All Summer Long", and "A Sound of Thunder" were mentioned over and over.  Chuck Wendig, over on his blog, Terrible Minds, asked people to name their first Bradbury and the overwhelming majority had a short story tale to tell.  You can check it out here

Well written short stories have a sticking power that lasts well beyond their fleeting appearances in magazines.  They live forever in the minds of short story readers.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thought for the Evening

There are days when being a short story writer gives me a deeper understanding for those sheep herders who found themselves smack dab in the middle of cattle country.

Opening Lines

Excellent post by Richard Parks about opening lines.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

They're Open!!!


Last Night's Rant

For those of you searching for last night's rant - I've removed the post.

Now, I'm going to take some good advice that just came my way - "Head down.  Write."

RIP Ray Bradbury

A lovely tribute to Ray Bradbury and his short stories here.

And a Bradbury quote that I try to live up to when I write:

"What can we writers learn from lizards, lift from birds?  In quickness is truth.  The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are.  In hesitation is thought.  In delay comes the effort for a style, instead of leaping upon truth which is the only style worth deadfalling or tiger-trapping."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The State of Short Fiction

If you're going to be in Bethesda, MD today, June 5, the MWA Mid-Atlantic Chapter's June meeting is hosting a panel that will be discussing The State of Short Fiction.  Panel members are Sandra Ruttan, Brian Lindenmuth, Steve Weedle, and Art Taylor.  Details about the meeting and the panel members are here

Monday, June 4, 2012

Getting Answers

Sandra Ruttan has an interesting post up at the Do Some Damage blog about beginning writers and publishing.  And she's taking questions.  I think one thing Sandra overlooked, and I'm not being critical here, is the fact that most new writers don't know what questions to ask.  Which does make us look stupid :)


Looks like Big Daddy Thug is reopening ThugLit next week, folks!  And a paying market this time around.  How cool is that?

Hat tip to Brian Lindenmuth for the link to the announcement.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Drabble Flash Challenge

A new flash challenge from the lovely Patti Abbott.  This one is a drabble challenge - a story of exactly 100 words.  Patti has some pictures up on her blog to nudge your muse.  Posting day is June 16.  If you've never written a drabble you should give it a try.  They're both fun and frustrating.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Tom Piccirilli

I love Tom Piccirilli's essays.  You just never know where he'll take you.  In this post he probes the past and how it impacts our writing of stories.

Anthology Call - Crime Net

For those of you who like to mix a little sci-fi with your crime fiction Anachron Press has an anthology call for you.  "Crime Net" is seeking stories of 4000 to 8000 words "dedicated to tales of cyber crime; crimes on the net, using the net, or inspired by the net."  Print and ebook formats.  The deadline is August 1.  Payment is 10pounds.  You can find all the details here

Friday, June 1, 2012

Blood and Tacos

Issue 2 is here!

Novella Contest

Lee Goldberg's "The Dead Man Series" is looking for a new writer to continue the saga.  So they're holding a contest.  The winner receives a $500 advance, a $500 Amazon gift card, and a work for hire contract.  To enter you must submit a chapter and an outline for a 25,000 word novella by August 1.  You can find all the details and links to more information that you'll need here

Hat tip to Brian Lindenmuth for the contest information.

He also dropped a note to say that all Snubnose Press titles are 99cents for the month of June.  Lots of great collections have been coming out from this new ebook publisher. 

Anthology Call - Deep Cuts

This anthology call is a bit unusual.  They're asking everyone who submits, both men and women, to include a 150 word piece honoring a horror short story written by a woman.  That story along with your own will be included in the anthology if accepted.  They're looking for 1000 to 5000 words with an August 31 deadline.  Payment is 5cents a word.  They also accept reprints.  You can find all the details here

Edward D. Hoch

There's a lovely post over at the new Ellery Queen blog about short story writer, Edward D. Hoch.

Hat tip to Bill Crider.

Writing Ghosts

Ever wondered how to write a believable ghost story?  Check out Cherie Priest's blog post.