Open the Door and Write: Monday Markets & More #amwriting

Giant Red DoorI’m in mind of doors. That is, forays, entrances, portals, and openings, rather than egresses or exits.

Monday gives rise to that vein, though, doesn’t it? We can sweep away the old (“last”) week and begin anew, or we can take on a previous project in a new way and add to it through accretion.

Hence, I wanted to bring you (all) some more writing markets (#amwriting) as links, reminders, and a little bit more; these are not endorsements by me per se, but more like nudges toward what seem to me to be worthwhile causes, markets, and publishers. I strongly encourage you to read their publications, buy a subscription if you’re able, and support and engage with them before submitting. I know several of you readers ply the trade, so to speak, as I do, and I want to make this blog feature a more regular endeavor for myself than in the previous years.

I hope you will drop me a line when you’ve found a market you like, a stellar editor, and/or other publishing successes.


  1. February 15, 2016 (6 p.m. GMT): Win accommodations in Provence, one of the jewels on the tiara that is France. Need I say more? Oh, then, if I must . . . Finish or embellish on a cat-themed extract provided by “indie” author Curtis Bausse, from his first in a series of Magali Rousseau detective-fiction books, One Green Bottle. Two thousand words maximum; prompt is at the first link. No entry fee (a rarity these days). Check out his blog for more contest details and just for the sheer joy and education of it all; do spread the good word to all your writerly friends!
  2. March 8, 2016: As part of the Robert J. Carr Visiting Authors Series, Richard Hoffman, poet and fiction writer, will be speaking at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana this spring. Hoffman is author of Half the House: a Memoir and several poetry collections, including Without Paradise. He also has a new memoir out. Visit the U of I’s creative writing department site for more information on this event, which is free and open to the public.
  3. March 15-April 15: Mascara Literary Review, a New South Wales (Australia)-based publication, both seeks and offers a diversity of authors, particularly from the Oceania region (broadly defined), with a distinct interest in the political, from eco-poetry to “diaspora dialogues” to “aboriginal” and bilingual writing to essays by refugees. They might not be able to pay at this time, which is a shame, but perhaps with some donations and subscriptions . . . ? Their 19th (special) issue is about Animals (poetry), but do read some back issues to familiarize yourself with their criteria, needs, and so on.
  4. Ongoing: This is more a “save this information” note than a deadline. Shade Mountain Press is a feminist press I recently discovered for myself when I happened upon the intriguing title The Female Complaint: Tales of Unruly Women. As such, SMP depends on donations to subsist, but they thrive in publishing the unseen, unheard, and under-represented, that is, “literature by women, especially women of color, women with disabilities, women from working-class backgrounds, and lesbian/bisexual/queer women.” Give them a read sometime!
  5. Continuous/Rolling: The Indiana Voice Journal, a currently nonpaying market (but no reading fees and free subscriptions) that drops monthly, is accepting work now for its March 2016 publication, themed for music, including visual art, some fiction forms (no erotica or science fiction), essays/creative nonfiction (CNF), and poetry. They look for “work that breathes and moves and is alive. We believe that ‘good art’ comes forth from the spirit to reveal, to comfort, to heal, to bring joy, to surprise!” Janine Pickett is the founding editor. If this looks like it’s up your literary alley, check them out, subscribe, and best wishes from me to you!
  6. Evergreen. Fiction writer Dave Farmer was good enough to post an interview with speculative fiction author Sarah Potter on his blog today. Sarah just released, in December 2015, her novel Desiccation and, although I’m biased (I was a beta-reader of the novel), I do think it’s something special, and well worth picking up for your e-reader and/or paperback. Do check out the post and consider Dave’s work (like The Range) as well, especially if you’re into zombies (figuratively into, I mean!), the supernatural, or speculative fiction.
  7. Evergreen. The International Association of Professional Writers and Editors offers memberships (there is a fee) that offer a gateway to writing resources, a job board, and more. In their own words, they are “dedicated to bringing the most updated, legitimate and vetted writing and editing job opportunities to its members.”


You know the aphorism ‘sometimes you have to spend money to make money’; well, it’s no less true with writers or the writing profession, so consider sliding a few dollars, bitcoins, Euros, yen, etc. to help your favorite literary magazine or publisher thrive in the “everything for free” era.

And then get out there (or in there, pants to chair, as the case may be) to some good writing–your own or another person’s. Open that door as only you can!



A Gallery of Stripes; with a Tip o’ the Hat to Hugh’s Views and News

Welcome to my writing blog! And what better way to start the week on a writing blog, she chirps absurdly, than with a photographic gallery?

It turns out, you probably have photos of stripes you never even remembered! As it happens, most of my patterned stripey ones are family and nature (some very subtle on the theme, I think!). All were taken with a digital camera of moderate to low quality (especially as I’d had it for several years). I probably should have, but I don’t like working with Photoshop and photography programs as they make me dither, so these are straightforward, uncropped, unadjusted, hopefully not too unfocused or unbalanced, and so on.

If you enjoy these photos and/or want to play along, you’ve not got long. They’re incredibly fun, so do check out the dapper Mr. Hugh at Hugh’s Views and News for his stripes photography challenge. But don’t stop there: he also provides blogging tips and other photo challenges, including a weekly “Doors” prompt (the household type, not the band!).

In the meanwhile, please do visit me again and enjoy your week, wherever you are!

Rise of the Monday Markets: Where to Submit Your Writing

Papa writing

Papa advises: Just go write!

Because I really enjoy connecting people with information, which perhaps stems from my background in journalism, I have long been wanting to continue or resurrect market listings. These listings have appeared from time to time on the blog: (as) Monday Markets and Submission Sundays, if I recall correctly.

I read multiple magazines, newsletters, blogs, and university Web sites, as well as subscribe to Duotrope for $5 basic membership a month, to receive and cull these markets for your use. If you have enjoyed or benefited in any way from these posts, please consider following me here, on Facebook, and/or Twitter. [Oh, and I’d love to hear of your writing or art-related successes in literature!]

I hope you will enjoy today’s eclectic collection. #amwriting

  • January 15: Bring out your dead! World Weaver Press is seeking tales of the uncanny, under 10,000 words. They may be reprints or new stories. Payment: $10 + paperback copy of the anthology. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but you may only send one story per anthology. #specfic #supernatural #fiction
  • January 15: If you’re a runner who writes or a writer who runs, you’re set for this theme. Tree-Lion Press awaits your speculative fiction inspired by long-distance running, 500 to 10,000 words. N.B.: “We tend toward (soft) Science Fiction and Fantasy,” but well-written horror without gore and meeting the other guidelines is okay. Follow their guidelines exactly! This is for the “Keeping Pace with Eternity” anthology. #running
  • January 20 (absolute latest): Put on your honorary fedora and chart your most winding adventures for benefit of Popshot magazine, a UK publication. Poems on adventure are accepted (up to 25 lines). Short fiction addressing the theme must be 2,500 words or fewer. You may obtain a copy for £6 plus postage or a yearly subscription starting at only £10. #fiction #poetry
  • February 1: Has Nature ever been your tutor? If you can craft a creative nonfiction story about your education at the pedestal of the wild, using “research and reportage . . . at least to some degree,” then you might like to consider Creative Nonfiction magazine’s themed call/contest “Learning from Nature.” Submit online ($3/story) or by regular mail. #essays #writingcontest
  • February 19: Use words wisely! Daisy-chain your best 91 bons mots into a memoir and win a free class with Gotham Writers. #memoir
  • October 1 to May 1: It’s not an easy road, considering a (short)list of publishees in the last 3 years—Joyce Carol Oates, Albert Goldbarth, “Charles” Simić, Alice Hoffman, and Anis Shivani—but should you decide to take the road-to-publication not taken, you might like to consider the literary magazine Boulevard. Published by St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), Boulevard seeks your fiction, poetry, and essays through May 1, 2016. No e-mail submissions are accepted; however, you can submit online via Submittable ($3 fee) and via regular mail (no fee, but mailing cost). Familiarize yourself with the magazine by buying a copy or subscription (or perusing it at your local library). They do post a few excerpts, such as this stunning Billy Collins (poetry) gem from Spring 2015 (at the bottom of the page): “Poem to the First Generation of People to Exist After the Death of the English Language.”

Good luck, and keep writing, reading, and learning!


Know Thy Audience, or, What Do You Want from This Blog?

I’m pushing away the pagefright and digging into new territory. Hence, this post. Entirely too long, most likely.

But first, a quick summation might be in order, just so you know where things stand. Everything sucks.

I’m only kidding (mostly).

2015 was ho-hum, if not depressing, globally and personally. I won’t go into unpleasant details. I’m sure many of you remember much of it.

Even with all the good that did actually happen (and that I’m also not going to list), I feel comfortable in closing the book on 2015.

So, then, taking a page—alright, alright, tearing it out, cackling, then running away mischievously—from Donna’s deftly delivered book-o’-blogging (at yadadarcyyada), I’m starting this 2016 post off in song.

But, really. Think about it a moment. What more does a writer want than to be read (or heard, as the case may be in our postmodern podcast era)?  In a very real way, the writing process can be viewed as an artful partnership. It’s art, true, but there can be a palpable aspect to writing, whereby the fruits of the process lead to an exchange of a vision-product (e.g., the book, anthology, short story, podcast file, or novel) with a reader or listener. Many writers, therefore, like to be at least partly mindful of audience. For instance, novelist and WordPresser Curtis Bausse (One Green Bottle, a mystery; French Sally) talks about knowing the target audience vis-à-vis the promotion of your work.

So it is that, with the heralding of a new year, I turn to my readers (and viewers) and ask the open-ended question of what do you want to read (or see) more of here. Leave a comment, tweet me, e-mail me [wordsmithery[dot]email[at]gmail[dot]com], send a smokeless signal, or use semaphore if you wish; I’d love to hear your feedback.

In the meantime, a few stats to amuse or amaze you.

Leigh’s Wordsmithery blog had 40 posts last year (2015) and was viewed approximately 2,400 times. Coincidentally, this mimics the blogger’s lifespan. No, I mean the 40 (years, not decades).

The most visited post was a book review of Robert Okaji’s then-new poetry chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform. Check with Bob himself, at O at the Edges, to find out the latest, greatest way to purchase this peregrination through regret and remembrance.

I don’t have this aspect statistic-ified, but I’ve read hundreds, maybe thousands, of WordPress blog posts this year and commented on as many photographs, ideas/concepts, and stories or novels-in-progress as possible. This was very fruitful, enjoyable, and educational, although I didn’t keep count. Likewise, the number of books I read this year, which, whatever it is, is entirely too few; however, I think I probably should try to be better about demarcating those. [To wit, as of Jan. 4-5: I’m reading Atul Gawande’s “medical literature” title, Better, and a book of writing exercises that was a gift to me from the kidlets.]

This blog’s author also submitted manuscripts various and sundry on 37 occasions (of those logged; there are probably a couple lost to disorganization) in the calendar year 2015. Of those occasions the results are (as of 4 January 2016): 1 hit (aka, an acceptance, publication forthcoming, 2017); 27 misses; 1 non-response; 1 presumed defunct; and 7 results pending.

In the past year on this blog and in freelance submissions, the author has written about the following:

  • A Santa transposition
  • Surviving abuse
  • Xylophones and amnesia (separate prompts)
  • A murderous granny
  • A murderous insect-like alien, possibly female
  • A murderous wife (notice a theme emerging?)
  • A transgender alien riding a “hydrocycle” in a dystopian future
  • Time travel to the “Christmas truce” of 1914
  • 6.66 days of thrilling fiction [on the blog], including Michael Myers Halloween/Halloween fanfiction; marking the longest (8-day) posting streak
  • Wolfish shapeshifters
  • A hearing-impaired superhero
  • Nature and gardening (inclu. introducing the Garden Avenger)
  • Literary fiction on a dysfunctional family plagued by racism
  • Infectious diseases galore!

So, the question remains: would you like to see anything in particular on this blog? Not like to see something? Not care either way? Inquiring minds want to know and writing operators are standing by to log your input, like this pale but cheerful one (on the left, the one with the pen)! If you’ve got an opinion, please feel welcome to share it. And I do hope you’ll come back sometime soon.

Operators are standing by_Cheap Trick