Monday Markets: The Taxing Spring Edition

April—what some say is the cruellest month—might also be one of the busiest.

See what you think, poets and fictionists and essayists (oh my). . .

  1. April 15: WordPress poet Bob Okaji and friends will be reading their works in Austin, Texas, at Malvern Books. Here’s the full scoop on how you can make Tax Day (better than) great again by injecting it with some lively  lines.

    Lawn Needs Trimming

    Fortunately, I love purple. As for mowing grass, not so much.

  2. April 15: Earth’s Daughters, which might be the longest-extant feminist literary arts journal in the United States, is seeking poetry and prose on the theme of Ebb, which itself includes themes of “cycles, rhythm, continuation, or cascades.” Up to 3 poems and/or one 500-word fiction piece; they harvest first rights only, but it might take upwards of 2 months for them to read all submissions. Make sure you peruse their complete guidelines—or, better yet, subscribe to them if you like what you see on their site, including poets Denise Levertov and Marge Piercy and those whose names you don’t know (yet)!
  3. April 15: This is a popular date for submission deadlines, and I’m not even including several Hungry birdother good ones. Whortleberry Press, who thrive on speculative fiction, are looking for sci-fi, fantasy, and light horror works for their “Strange Mysteries #7” anthology. Short stories must be 4,000 words or fewer. You’ll also want to read their brief stylebook with your full attention.
  4. April 22 deadline: If you’ve got something to say about Mother’s Day, then you might like to contribute to the 200 CCs story site stewarded by writer Paul A. Hamilton. So, you need a story of +/- 200 words, that’s “punchy, memorable, and complete if possible rather than vignettes.” This is a paying market, but it does request some rights from authors, so familiarize yourself with that, as well as what he has already published. Then, good luck!
  5. Starting April 30 (multiple deadlines): The people who do the Chicken Soup books are looking for a bevy of stories, from tales about dogs and cats to blended families to teachers and teaching. Wouldn’t it be fun to make it into one of these well-known branded books?
  6. May 12: If you’ve got a completed dark manuscript lurking about, with strands of ambitious saliva dripping from its fangs, then the #PitDark Twitter contest/party could be right up your menacing alley. Writers of dark literature, including fantasy, horror, YA, and murder mystery, this note’s for you. Check out writer Jason Huebinger’s site for the specifics on how you can pitch agents and publishers in the genre and—one lives in hope—receive a request for a partial or full manuscript afterward.

AND NOW: I see you, but do you see me?

Peekaboo

Humans are such meddling, nosy creatures.

Limerick Challenge: Week 14

Pear tree

Our pear tree, minus partridges.

This is for the latest limerick challenge at Mind & Life Matters, which I’m having trouble linking to (Inlinkz-wise) just now. So, go read ’em, and thanks for reading mine!

Resilience

Within every green or gravid thing,

something rests on sublime wing.

One sapient heart can never know

the pain of the taproot, or the furrow.

“When I’ve light,” says the coal-trapping girl, “I sing.”


 Oh, also, I’m sorry for the “Daily Fail” link about the coal trapper (ignore all that celebrity junk in the page gutter); that’s the place I found the quote, hanging there as it is. As you can perhaps intuit, I’ve been doing research on child welfare/child labor in the 19th century, and from this, I’ve concocted a “soft” horror story. (It’s out for submission . . . wish me luck!) Also, I #amwriting something in the Steampunk vein; it’s been an education so far. How about you?

Pear close-up

I’m ready for my close-up.

A Winter Tirade, with Photos

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Snow-city panorama

The day is a diffuse white, blunted to gray. Periodically, birds burst from ledges or eaves or from the last spent leaves (ah, yes, bright, but still spent). Their bodies strafe the eye. Confused snowflakes cavort with, shuffle by, skitter, shimmy against, bump into, and bend with the now-visible air. If the winter air were malleable matter, I think it would be a blooming sort of smoldering steam: an extra-spectral substance of an inhuman colour, nebulous, neither white nor gray nor blue. Nor any other.

Still, I can’t drag my eyes away . . .

Breadbox buildings have been dropped down, brick by brick, deposited perhaps a century’s worth ago, from when there was no snow as it is now. Today’s snow—we call it ours—is a (by)product, a staged phenomenon, a commodity, and a managed entropy, made sheerly to be seen. A honeycomb of progress, humming eternalwise, have we created to view it, the perspective extending farther than these eyes can see, perhaps any eyes. Visualized, viralized, winter’s reality—its realness—always in the wings, parade and charade only a click-blink away. Under-thumbed, if you will.

Yesteryear’s snows, it seems to me, were an occurrence. Better still: an event, a surprise, and an opportunity for communion. With each other. And it offers up unparalleled opportunities to link with extraneous aspects of self–atomstuff (or starstuff or plantstuff or any number of substances)–that earlier were perhaps closer to the vest, held to the heart, even.

Now, on a tide of leveraging and mergers, calculated risks and calendars

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A different day; a different cathedral

and broken benefits, winter starts to recede, if such evolution can be eye-tracked.

In places, the spires are hewn, nearly gone, used up, spat out among true detritus. Heretofore, Nature hobbled along, alas, just barely, as we left it alone, keeping our jaundice-ringed cuticles to ourselves. But has it now passed the point of no-intervention, here in the Anthropocene?

The snow, once inescapable, rendered incapable, salted like earth, sewn like the kind of dragon’s teeth that were never intended to grow. Yet, ice-wind can still whistle clean through the ribs, ghost song, so long-gone.

Will we listen, or just push it away and adapt?

What say you?

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This squirrel has found a lunch scrap of old, mustardy bread.

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!

Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Week 8 – Charity Christmas Tree Topper Challenge

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Hello, all. I saw Hugh’s photo challenge, and considering that he would kindly make a £1 donation (up to £250) to The Dogs Trust*, I knew I just had to tag along.

And now, the right jolly old elf who perches atop our tree (apologies for the not-so-clear photo).

Thanks, Hugh, and again, happy holidays to you all, wherever you are!


*The UK’s largest dog-welfare charity. They do great things for canine critters (and the peoplekind who love them); check them out!

Spider Season: A Poem

Spider_small_backSpider Season

What do you do in

spider season?

Enjoy the webs,

never mind the reason(s).

No, not any spider of Frost’s.

Not dimpled, not white.

But fat, and fresh

and stuffed with rendered fright.

Spider_small_belly

I couldn’t get a good angle on this spider, which I think a Neoscona crucifera female (normally nocturnal, but diurnal sometimes in the fall). Anyone with arachnid expertise, please feel free to correct me.

The one that nests there,

outside the screen:

She’s hardly nice

and fuzzily serene.

Tending to her spin,

ignoring huge voyeur eyes,

minding time’s business.

Just wound(ing) infinity, I surmise.


Can anyone tell I’ve been reading (and eyeballing) Edward Gorey’s work lately, not to mention a nifty little book from Tim Burton picked up at the thrift shop recently? Perhaps I’ll share the latter sometime soon.

Magical, Mystical Monday: A Photography Challenge

Hey-lo, friends. Hope you are doing well and you’re ready for this fine Fall week (if you’re in the Northern hemisphere).Cards_wide

I’ve got a challenge and a mystery I’d like your help with, if you please.

This one’s a photo challenge. I picked these cards up at a yard sale at the beginning of the summer, falling in love with their aesthetics more than anything.

The seller said they’re Japanese, World War II era. I think the writing, though I’m obviously no expert, is Chinese.

Any of you like to share with me what these are (they’re all black on the back) and, in the main, what they’re used for? I’m not selling them, by the way.

I picked out several I thought looked very autumnal and that I adore besides.

Cards_box

The box they came in; probably a better clue to those of you who can read the script. Although I believe I’ve placed the white part upside down. Sorry about that!

Your reward? Propagating knowledge! That is to say, many thanks in advance for your guesses or facts.Cards_close-up