Do you miss summer already, too? (A ramble and a flash fiction piece)

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A small mantis watches me & vice versa.

Let’s see. In summary, my summer’s been about parenting, copywriting, parenting, parenting some more, mowing grass, seeing a few critters here and there, working at weeding, parenting again, a too-short vacation and time with my husband, and, (unfortunately) a car wreck (bright spot is that no one was injured beyond minor aches).

I hope your hot or dry or windy or wet season has been much more fruitful or at least enjoyable. How’d you spend it?

Here’s today’s vignette, followed by a flash fiction piece . . .

As tides of laughter and shrill screams cascade over LEGOs and reverberate off walls into my writing room (a.k.a., the couch; tomorrow, it might be the kitchen table), I realize, with some mush of sadness and trepidation, that yet another summer is ending.

But I’m ready. It was a busy season; not necessarily a creative writing-productive summer, although I did do a bit of copywriting for the dough.

In a few days, I hope to have a few fascinatin’ features and facts about my friends’ endeavors (like this one) the last few months, as I (I hope) fall into a more regular pattern of blogging about all things literary, spec-fic, ghosty, dystopian, horror-ific, and whatever fancy strikes me in the head that day. [Also, in short, I’ve missed reading & commenting on your blogs! What can I say; full-time, full-on summertime parenting takes precedence.]

Anyway, less rambling and more story-ilization, right? Here’s an odd little throw-away that I hope you’ll enjoy; coincidentally, it has both fire and fury in it (but was written months ago for a 100-word challenge I couldn’t cut enough for).

*****++++*****

Hot Fur

GENRE: Weird, futuristic, dystopian

By Leigh Ward-Smith

“As you know, we’re here to commemorate the crumbling of 21st century institutions. To a man, you each had a role in slaying the dragon that is—or should I say was?—the prevailing mentality.”

The crowd bellows a series of whoops and howls, but fidgety coughs, footshuffles, and unholstered AugReal guns give them away.

Rich, you’re losing ’em. Do something dramatic.

I pull out the cannister hidden behind the flag-strewn lectern. “You all know what this is!” I waggle the can to massive cheers.

“And this.” The realization of the clear tub’s contents spread like our accustomed rolling blackouts.

The chant went up: “Pour it, pour it!” From there, the spark was mere formality.

BLOG_anarchy bear by Gerry Lauzon

Image by Gerry Lauzon, Creative Commons license 4.0 (CC By 4.0).

“Gentlemen, witness the death rasp of the 21st century and all her attendant scum!”

As flames lick the air, I pull a fast-disintegrating specimen out with tongs. I shake a clump loose, and the pallid throng wriggle onto its fallen char.

“It’s Burn-a-Bear Workshop now, ain’t it, boys?!”

END

Terrific Tuesday to You: Writing Updates, Shout-Outs, and Some Markets

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And to think: I actually dimmed this somewhat to take down the brightness.

Well, hello there! I shall have been returning and I have returned. (?)

But seriously, welcome (back)! I’m glad to have you visiting me.

On top of the busted ankle, so to speak, I’ve been doing copywriting out of my ears. Not titillating writing, but it certainly helps with the bills. And the Randys, Adams, Jakes, Simons, etc. (Or should I say with the GEs, Maytags, and fine furniture everywhere on the Internetz and on this great little dot we call a planet?)

Anyway, since I love doing the writing market posts, I figured what the heck. I’m behind in weekly posting once again. This is a good way to go, methinks.

Perhaps these will help you? I do hope so. Continue reading

Feminism + Bicycles + Fiction — How You Can Help Support One or All

blog_feminist-family-bicycling

My Feminist Family on the Prairie (yes, men can be feminists, too)

Believe it or not, there is a connection between feminism, bicycles, and fiction. Witness the fiction anthology Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures from Microcosm Publishing, an anthology now in its fourth incarnation. I am proud to be an author in the fourth Biketopia, and I’ve got a favor to ask on behalf of all the authors and the publisher.

But first, a little bit about the latter. Microcosm Publishing, whom you can find on Duotrope, on their Web site, and all around the social media sphere, occupies a subversive publishing space—if feminism, LGBT rights, veganism, mental health, and a punk attitude qualify as such. Book titles upcoming or already published by this Portland, Ore., company include: Trump: A Graphic Biography; Cats I’ve Known; Out of the Basement: From Cheap Trick to DIY Punk in Rockford, IL, 1973-2005; Bikequity: Money & Class; and The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism. For myself, I was drawn to a publishing company that’s been around more than 20 years and supports women who write while making a statement of engagement with our environment, politics, music, feminism, do-it yourself, relationships, and so much more.

Support a Feminist Fiction Endeavor (That I Happen to be Included In)

But there’s a small hitch to Biketopia four. It’s not completely funded. Not yet.

This is where you come in!

There’s a crowdfunding campaign at this very moment to ensure it makes its way into the world. Featuring 11 stories and a batch of reviews that are dystopian or sometimes even utopian,  Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures awaits full funding.

I cannot speak for the authors in this anthology, but as a writer among their number, I can say that my story focuses on a dystopian future in arid, desolate Colorado. Inspired possibly by subliminal crossflow from too many “Twilight Zone” marathons, I wrote about a protagonist who owns and runs a dusty diner alone but for two canine sidekicks. Then, she meets someone, and everything changes from there. So, pretty simple plot, without giving too much away.

Looking at the other story synopses, I am stoked to read Biketopia four, which includes a few comics within as well. Here are a few story blurbs from the Kickstarter fundraising page:

  • In the solarpunk future, will robots have rights, too?
  • What is the secret behind some people’s seemingly random plague immunity, and is it okay for them to take your bike?
  • When your health is closely monitored during a pregnancy, who gets to decide if bicycling is healthy or dangerous for your unborn child? (text by Microcosm Publishing)

May the Fourth Be With Us, and How You, Too, Can Submit

Please consider supporting Biketopia four via the Kickstarter drive; with a minimum of $10 you get the latest anthology. With a donation of $25 or above, you get all four Biketopia anthologies. The goodies abound, with a variety of levels from which to chose.

I’d be ever so pleased, not just for myself but for the mission of Microcosm, if you’d consider donating to the campaign and checking out Microcosm’s site. In addition to the previous book titles mentioned in the intro, you’ll see that MP offers up ezines to coloring books to stickers for your bike and all kinds of books including self-help and vegan recipes inspired by Morrissey (whose band, The Smiths, are no relation to me, sadly).

Finally, Biketopia five is, ahem, gearing up for action, too. Through March 1, you can submit your feminist-inspired science fiction (though you need not be female or identify as such) stories of 2-6K words, to Biketopia five, with a theme of “Intersections.” In fact, they say “We especially welcome submissions from writers of color and transgender and nonbinary writers, and seek stories that portray more diverse perspectives than are classically found in sci fi.”

So, get on that seat and ride your creativity into worlds unimagined!

Hallo-ween Lite: A Twictional Experiment

Is everyone excited for Halloween? I know I am, and probably more than when I was a kid. And, for my friends in India or who have celebrated elsewhere, here’s wishing you a joyous, if belated, Diwali. 🙂

Anyway, as most people are probably reaching for the blood, guts, and gore in their fiction today, I’m going to switch it up. BGG I can do anyday; in fact, I do it pretty often here on the blog and in writing submissions. I’m going to treat you today, however. Free fiction, and, it is my hope, some smiles or laughter.

So, if you can follow this . . . I hope the formatting’s not too bad . . . here’s a(nother) merger of Twitter and fiction (Twiction) that I worked on for a recent submission cycle and which was (sniff, sniff) rejected.

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Our little paladin. And Artoo. (Pre-Halloween, at a con)

I’m biased of course, but I think the ending’s worth at least scrolling through to.

Thank you, sit back, and enjoy.

Oh, and go buy my latest work!

Continue reading

Want to read good stuff and enter to win more? Then I’ve got your giveaway right here

. . . to have a larger perception of surrounding facts, and to care for knowledge that was tinged with the unfamiliar.—Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Well, friends and new visitors to The Wordsmithery, the time has come for me to do some self-promoting and I’d like to offer you something in return for reading my latest work (beyond my continual wellspring of gratitude, which you already have access to). If I could offer this small token to each of you, I would.

That said, in conjunction with the launch of the Ghosts, Gears, and Grimoires #steampunk

ghost-gears-grimoires

You can buy me NOW!

#horror anthology that I have a story in now, I’m taking part in an author tea party on Sunday, 30 October, from 2 to 6 p.m. CST.

If you have a spare moment, I and the other Continue reading

Galloping, Ghoulish Microfiction

Hello, y’all. This post is two-fold (or more; I’m sure I can summon other valid reasons).

First, for those who don’t know of them and who enjoy writing micro- or flash fiction, I’d like to point you to Grammar Ghoul Press. They sponsor weekly prompts of varying microfiction lengths that usually feature a word, phrase, and/or photograph to get your creative ichor flowing (within or without, if you write horror fiction). Full disclosure: GGP were kind enough to publish a poem of mine in their magazine last year.

Second, I was really snared by their call for 39-word stories, book of dinosaursfrom last week, because of the following large photograph. I had a ride-on horse, back in the day, at home who looked very similar to this chestnut store model. So, even though I missed the fiction call and didn’t honestly want to interfere with the voting process (since concluded), I’ve decided I would still like to publish what I wrote. It is heavily influenced by one of the books I’ve been reading lately, with a doozy of a long title: The American Museum of Natural History’s Book of Dinosaurs and Other Ancient Creatures. In particular, I looked to the Equus scotti entry. This genus contains the so-called modern horse. Here’s a brief taste of more information on the North American wild horse’s disappearance and the resurgence of the horse on the continent.

And now, here’s the photograph, posted by Tony at Grammar Ghoul, for the “Shapeshifting 13” challenge #59. Be sure to participate in GGP’s new challenge running through July 3rd—challenge #60—with an entirely fresh prompt. Following this photo by an unknown artist, my brief story (which actually is different than what I had written; due to a computer glitch and end-user failure, I lost the original copy). Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

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Bridled and warehoused

I should be grateful for preservation, but I’m not.

I used to be alive. Now I’m lame. In darkness. Dust clots my nostrils.

When I regain corporeal form, I will lead my species in rampage. Equines will prevail again.

FF: Don’t Feed the Black Dog

Don’t Feed the Black Dog*

 Genre: Realistic fiction, (dark) humour

Word count: 151 (sorry, Rochelle, I tried!)

 

She sends a photograph skittering across the caramel-colored desk.

emmylgant-friday fictioneers. 3.11.16

This beautiful photograph is by Emmy L. Gant; sorry I took it in a different direction, Emmy.

“What do you see?”

“What’s this, some new version of the Rorschach?” I crack a joke about Welcome Back, Kotter, conflating Horshack and Rorschach. Ah, before her time. Shouldn’t have said that.

“Jennifer, basically I just want to gauge how you’re feeling before we start the assessment.”

“Okay, but I think musically sometimes. Heavy cloud, but . . . no rain?” I offer my best Sting impression.

Silence.

Another flopper. Why can’t I get this right? Fecking feck. She probably thinks I have multiple personalities now.

“Unh-huh.” She scribbles down something I can’t see. “In your own words, what’s your mood today?”

I find myself counting the indentations on the ceiling. 23-24-25.

“Uhhh? I’m a resilient mess. Most of the time. I guess.” You indecisive moron!

“I see. Can we proceed to the PHQ-9 now?”

“Sure. I got nothin’ better to do.”


*Note: I much prefer the metaphor and idea of “miasma” for describing depression to that of the “black dog,” because I love dogs, but many people do connect with it. Hence the titling.

This short story/flash fiction was crafted for March 11th’s Friday Fictioneers, which is lovingly curated by Rochelle as always. I hope you’ll stop by her post(s)—this lady’s got novels and short stories galore—and take some time to read other FF posts. With the variety of stories, it’s easy for me to make this promise: you’ll be amused, surprised, entertained, moved, and, very possibly, shocked. .

Literary Q & A with a Presidential Candidate: Donald J. Trump

Caution: Some readers may find this satire and its interviewee crass, condescending, racist, sexist, and/or otherwise offensive. Look up his ‘real’ interviews, Twitter feed, or Webpage if you’re so inclined.


 

Literary Q & A with a 2016 Presidential Candidate

©Leigh Ward-Smith, 2016

Interviewer: Good morning, Mr. Trump. Thank you for speaking with me, here in my own kitch—

Trump, interrupting: It’s shabby, but it’ll do.

Interviewer: Okay then. You’re a very busy man, so let’s get right to it.

Trump: You’ve no idea. B-yutiful Bombardier Global 6000.

Interviewer: Uhhh, what?

Trumpkin

U.S. Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump(kin)

Trump: My business jet. They had to clear several gates for me at your penny-ante Lambert Airport. Lightweights, just like Rubio!

Interviewer: Well, uh . . .

Trump: Can you get me a coffee?

Interviewer: Excuse me?

Trump: I said, go get me a coffee. Tall latte.

Interviewer, wondering if she looks like a barista: Um, okay. (gestures to husband to get the Keurig going)

Interviewer: Let me start with this, Mr. Trump. I’m a Southerner and a woman—

Trump, interrupting: Yeah, I noticed. You know, if you’d just smile more, add some make-up, fix up your hair. My b-yutiful daughter Ivanka could give you some great tips. You’ve probably never even heard of her line of Trump cosmetics, called Bella. I’m told it’s Italian for b-yutiful.

Interviewer, continuing: Yes, well, I’d like to focus on Virginia Woolf’s idea of “a room of one’s own,” that each woman needs—and must demand—a space of her own, whether it’s creative and imagined or in the business world, like your daughter Ivanka has done [hurriedly, so as not to be cut off], so what do you say at this moment to women voters? Is there a war on women?

Trump, fixing hair: Was there a question?

Interviewer: Yes, I was talking about a room of one’s own and—

Trump: Oh, yeah, Ivanka has a helluva lot of those. They’re great. I’ve given her five houses, you know. That’s just this year.

Interviewer: Yes, well, what I asked is, how do you talk to regular people, the voters? In particular women?

Trump: Like I would anybody else. [Looks at his watch]

Interviewer: Can you please be more specific?

Trump: It’s a Richard Mille, you know.

Interviewer: Who is?

Trump: The watch. But you wouldn’t know that. Kick-ass timepiece. Wonderful. Very expensive. About $600,000. Chump change.

Interviewer: Okay. Moving along. I’m a former English major, so I have some literary questions for you.

Trump: I love speaking English. Fire away.

Interviewer: There are many sociopolitical books of merit. Just in the 20th century in the English language, to mention but a few, we had All the King’s Men, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm, Elie Wiesel’s Night, Catch-22, The Handmaid’s Tale, Brave New World, even Babbit or The Great Gatsby

Trump: Oh, yeah, that was terrible.

Interviewer: I agree, the totalitarian world of Animal Farm, with some animals more equal than others, was frightening. As was The Handmaid’s

Trump: No. What he did there. With the women. With the drugs in the drinks.

Interviewer: Pardon?

Trump: What are you, retarded? The black guy, hey-hey-hey [attempts “Fat Albert” impression, sounds more like Gilbert Gottfried], with the drugs. . .

Interviewer: Oh, you must be referring to Bill Cosby.

Trump: Bingo!

Interviewer: I don’t think I mentioned Bill Cosby.

Trump: Yeah you did. The Great Cosby you said. I heard you. The books. [Color rising to bright orange] THE BOOKS!

Interviewer: Oh, yes. (sighing) The Great Gats-by.

Trump: Whatever. You knew what I meant. Hey, is that coffee ready yet?

Interviewer to husband: Is it ready, hon?

Husband, speechless or incensed, brings over a mug of French vanilla light-roast and sits it at the four-person table.

Interviewer: This’s the best we got. No latte. Um, sorry [to self: I guess].

Trump: It’ll do, but I bet it’s terrible. [Hands it to an aide, presumably for poison-testing.]

Interviewer: Well, then, let’s move forward with a few more questions, if we can.

Trump: Good. Make sure you get me from the right-hand side.

Interviewer: Okay, will do. Are there any modern characters, television shows, anything, with whom you identify?

Trump: Oh, sure. What’s-his-face. The guy.

Interviewer: What guy?

The DudeTrump: The dude.

Interviewer: Oh, you mean Jeff Lebowski, in The Big Lebowski movie.

Trump: No, no, no. Jesus, don’t you people ever get out?

Interviewer, getting annoyed: What do you mean by that “you people”?

Trump: You female-type people, with brains coming out of your—

Interviewer: Now, wait a minute, there’s no reason for ad hominem here.

Trump: Whatever. I don’t even know what that means.

Interviewer, to self: Clearly.

Interviewer: Um. But back to the question.

Trump: Oh, yes. My . . . what-do-you-call-it . . . servant . . .

Interviewer, offering: Aide? Assistant?

Trump: Yeah, yeah, yeah. They watched for me. About Bannister, the dragon show. That’s it.

Interviewer: Oh, Lannister? From A Game of Thrones. You identify with Tyrion Lannister?

Trump: No, no, not the nipple-high one. [Makes a horizontal hand gesture indicating height.] The head honcho. The big cheese. The dad, T-something.

Interviewer: Tywin. You mean Tywin Lannister.

Trump: Hey, don’t get me wrong. I don’t like China, but the blonde chick’s got nice tits.

Interviewer: What? Who? Nevermind. I’ll just take your word on that.

Trump: You should. ’Cause I’m going to be your president soon. You know, America’s gonna be great again. Better than China, better than India, Russia, all those other places.

Interviewer: Yeah, about that. Let’s get into closed-mindedness. There was a high-school basketball game last week, I think, in Iowa, and it got racially charged, with the predominately white audience chanting “Trump” to taunt African-Americans on the opposing team. Did you hear about this?

Trump, smiling: Yeah, I saw it. My aide showed me YouTube. It was great. Like Trump steaks. You ever tried those?

Interviewer: No, I don’t eat beef. As to the important question . . . is a high-school basketball game the best time for racial invect—

Trump: Anytime’s the time to say what I say. Don’t you broads get that yet?

Interviewer: Uh-huh. If so, let’s see what you say about racism and inequality in this country, about building walls.

Trump: That Pope! [rolls eyes] I don’t have time for him. I’ve said what I said, look up my exact words. I stand by it.

Interviewer, to self: For all he knows, I was talking about Stalin.

Trump, soothing hair from a kitchen breeze: Get this straight, missy, ’cause I’m talking to you. I don’t beat around the bush. [smiles] The establishment doesn’t like me. But one thing I’m not doing—what I’ve never, ever done, period—is stalling. None. When I decide, I succeed.

Interviewer: Unh-hunh.

Trump: Anyway, who likes basketball? Mostly freaks.

Interviewer: Excuse you?

Trump: I mean, look at those people. Hormonally challenged. Except that LaBaron James. I like him. One of my sons is named Barron. That big black guy, you know, he could help me make America great again. But, let’s get real. Putting a little ball into a basket. Lemme tell you, with me as president, it’s gonna be amazing. Big balls. All. The. Way.

Interviewer: Sounds like an AC/DC song.

Trump: I’ve no idea what you just said. (snaps fingers, assistant comes over)

Trump, to interviewer: We almost done here? I’ve got important places to be.

Interviewer: Well, I—

Trump: You ever see The Apprentice? You’ve got a TV in this dump, right?

Interviewer: I do, but no, I’ve never watched it except clips on the news or that kind of thing.

Trump: Figures. I’d have fired you a long time ago.

Interviewer: Well, my husband and kids seem to think I’m an at-least okay human being, even with brains coming out of my whatever.

Trump, grimacing: I have children, too. Love ’em. Somebody else raised them, of course.

Interviewer: I see. Does this mean that, as president, you would be for a stronger Family Medical Leave Act in America, where fathers, mothers, or caregivers can get paid time off for, say, the birth of a child or the care of a relative?

Trump: Look at the Trump Tower, Trump casinos, Trump University. I hire a shitload of people. Whadda ya think?

Interviewer: I asked you a question. You’re the candidate, not I.

Trump: Not me.

Interviewer: Not me what?

Trump: “Not me” sounds better.

Interviewer: It does?

Trump: To me, it does.

Interviewer: And that’s what matters?

Trump: Of course. Who’s in charge is all that matters. And that’s me.

Interviewer: Ever read Humpty-Dumpty’s dialogue in Through the Looking-Glass?

Trump: I don’t like kiddie lit.

Interviewer: Through the Looking-Glass is by mathematician and writer Lewis Carroll, and it’s not exactly a children’s book. About Alice, the Red Queen, and logic, perception, and reality.

Trump: Carroll who? The comedienne?

Interviewer: Nevermind. Let’s move along.

Trump: Hey, you, we done here? [looking at assistant, who gives an “I don’t know” shrug.]

Interviewer: One last quick question. What’s the “J” in your name stand for?

Trump: John.

Interviewer: Oh, like John the Baptist?

Trump: No, I’m Presbyterian. For fuck’s sake, don’t you people read anything to prep for interviews?

Interviewer: Alrighty, then. We’re done here.

####THE END####

Friday Fictioneers on a Monday: A Mother’s Mettle

chateau-de-sable-ceayr

Photo ©ceayr

A Mother’s Mettle

Genre: Realistic fiction

100 words

Mary Strongheart pushed the stroller up the dusty street, her baby tangled in blankets, silent.

She wanted the senator to see, everybody to see, such that they could no longer turn away.

Hana had given her the gate code, but she’d keep the ruse. A knot of fear fisted in her stomach and seared her throat. She’d never been close to the magnificent home. Will my camera work? Will he listen?

Offering silent prayer to the sky, Mary signaled Hana at the back gate.

Soon, the squealing of plastic wheels dovetailed with shouts and the crackle of the guard’s taser.


 

I don’t get to do too many Friday Fictioneers challenges, but this one kind of sprang from my mind fully formed like Athena. And it dovetailed with this article that a friend had recently pointed out to me (thanks, Brenda).

Most of us, unfortunately, have heard of the horrific water crisis in Flint, Michigan. But you might not have not heard about the contamination of water (and more) in areas of the Southwestern and Western United States (not even to mention the coal mining and shale fracking going on all over the world). Nor is Flint, Michigan, alone, either in the States or the world, with regard to environmental contamination. I did a little further research, discovering that some 15,000 abandoned uranium mines exist in the U.S., and there’s no apparatus set up to get these dangerous sites cleaned. One group, Clean up the Mines, calls this “America’s secret Fukushima.” One activist also notes that the Native American nations of North America are the proverbial ‘canaries in the mine’ for the rest of the United States on this critical environmental issue.

As such, then, I conceived of Mary Strongheart as an indigenous person whose child had been affected in some detrimental fashion by the contamination of their water.

Read and/or link up your own Friday Fictioneers post at this linky, and while you’re there, thank Rochelle for administrating these challenges (and adding her own fiction!) like elegant clockwork every week.

 

 

 

 

 

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!