Monday Markets: The Spiders Spinning the Moon Edition

Long time, no blog. Well, a couple weeks. An eon in interwebs years perhaps.


Can you spot the second spider? The first certainly seems bigger than the moon.

Despite the annus miserabilis (yep, I meant that) on many fronts, there are good things about, too. Thank goodness.

I’ll do “markets” a little different this time. Once I get more sophisticated (maybe someday ponying up for the cost of a ‘real’ WordPress or other writing site), perhaps this might grow and improve and transmogrify. First:

Things to Read

Apart from your posts, which I’m still trying to catch up on after the Great Computer-Cord Fry-Up of August 2016, in which the little adapter box thing went bzzt (and my battery had no juice), here’s some notable writing (news and otherwise) you might enjoy or find helpful:

  • Surviving the Death Railway: A POW’s Memoir and Letters from Home, editor Hilary Custance Green’s very personal book about Far East POWs—with an endearing and enduring love story wrapped therein—is out now. Has been out for awhile. Do consider it for your reading list. Even better? It’s in hardback!
  • Another fellow WordPresser, Sarah Potter, just last week released her second book in a year. Wow! This one, Noah Padgett and the Dog-People, while written for the youthful crowd, approximately age 10 (up to and beyond age 100), features a boy with all the resources of Harry Potter, minus the wand. So, by his wits alone, he must survive and navigate a bracing crab of a stepmother and another dimension, called Zyx, ruled by Canis sapiens, or upright-walking, clothes-wearing, English-speaking dog-people. And with all the foibles of humans, spun into a new view, from a (nearly?) megalomaniacal poodle to a fretful golden retriever with a hidden beauty secret. Can Noah save his real dog, Bluebell, from Monsieur Percival Poodle and get out alive? Although I was a beta reader on this, I can confirm it was a quite enjoyable book. As an adult or, I would think, a dog-loving or imaginative child. Here’s where you can get it on the Kindle.
  • Take a look at a post by Diabolical Plots titled “Negotiating Short Story Contracts.” I won’t give away the keys to this kingdom, but when you sell a story, ask for a contract and actually read it. That’s one of the most basic tips for any writer. But get more insights from the diabolical personage himself, David Steffen, here.
  • If you like epic stories and the storytellers who execute them, then you’ll probably enjoy this Powell’s (bookstore) interview with Annie Proulx as much as I did.
  • And, finally, a survey of the psychologically “deep” short stories of British horror writer Robert Aickman.


Things to Write: Markets & Submissions

  • National Lampoon is looking for humor writers. This is a well-known, and paying market, but, I’ll presume, pretty competitive. If you submit, you absolutely must bring your funniest stuff. Otherwise, you’re schtick out of luck.
  • If you aim for the top, you’ll find Tin House, among others, sitting astride it. And, by the by, they are accepting submissions the entire month of September 2016, for several issues slated for 2017. One story or essay and up to five poems per submission. So, in September at TH: there’s an open-publication (no theme); there’s a rehab-themed issue; and then there’s a true crime issue. Many submit, but few, alas, are chosen. See more here.
  • Rejectomancer and author Aeryn Rudel has announced he will be a judge in an upcoming flash fiction contest run by Red Sun Magazine. There’s a small entry fee for submitting your fiction under 1K, and the deadline is Sept. 23. Prizing and other salient criteria are at RSM’s site here. And, if you’re a speculative fiction writer, aspiring or otherwise, you owe it to yourself to follow Rudel, whose name rightly appears persistently among the rolls of winning stories.
  • As this is a long post already and it’s almost bus-time, I’ll share one last one. Tacitus Publishing is seeking short fiction, 1500 to 5K, on the theme of shattered space. I’ll let them tell you: “[the story] takes place in space and has a strong horror element.  This can include aliens, ghosts, or disturbing circumstance[s].  The key to success, as with all strong writing, is the human struggle and relatable characters. . . . . ” Your story is due Oct. 31, and, as always, it would behoove you to know your market before submitting.

As ever, let’s go out there and  . . . get rejected! And, a la Samuel Beckett, get rejected better the next time.





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?


Humans are such meddling, nosy creatures.

Limerick Challenge, Week 12—Dream

Long time, no see, dear readers. I hope spring (or autumn, if you’re in the Southern hemisphere) is treating you well.

I’ve just come out of editing land for a brief fly-over of this blog, and a limerick has settled in my mind. So that’s what you get for this posting. You have the Doc to thank (or not!) for inspiring this limerick. It’s part of the Limerick Challenge, week 12, orchestrated by the wonderful Rashmi at Mind & Life Matters. Do follow her for limericks, novel updates, and much more, and be sure to read the limericks she has on offer.

I don’t deviate too far from the ‘original’ limerick idea—insulting, bawdy, etc. But that’s my impression.  What do you think?


A genie or?

Limerick for the Loveless

I once met the man of my dreams

But what he was, was not what he seems

Said he’d grant wishes

(Including doing the dishes)

In retrospect, I shoulda reached for Jim Beam.


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!


Haiku Thursday: On a Theme of Release

October has become a candypalooza in many parts of the world. But for just a few minutes, why don’t we imagine something different. Perhaps even an Octo-beer. And in that vein, hope you enjoy these haiku drafted written for Haiku Horizons.


Frost, Fall, Leaves_20141022_1256


Do these trees release

willingly, in warm wisdom

learning to let go?


Laws of all

We learned from our souls’

terminal velocity

to embrace the Fall.



And I will free it

so I can soar, roar, risk it

all and fall, to rise.


Lush language

Writer, gulper of

overheard wisdom stolen

from wide-open taps.


Writer, brewer

What is writing, if

not distilling strong mood-shine.

Reader, want a jar?















777 Challenge: An Excerpt Concerning Bones and Balloons

Wow, would you look at that! I have been invited to take part in the 777 Challenge by the ever-so-thoughtful Norma, who writes and artifies over at the Emovere blog. I’m chuffed to have been asked. Thank you, Norma.letter_writi_24714_md

The premise of this challenge is that you go to page 7, line 7, of your work in progress. From there, quote the next 7 lines in a blog post on your Web site like so . .  .

Be sure to check out Norma’s slice of 777 heaven, and you can also view her other nominees’ links there.

My novel-in-progress’ page seven is a bit of a dud. It’s mid-dialogue, and I’m afraid it might not be easy to follow what’s going on. Instead, I have selected an excerpt from a longer short story that I wrote a couple of years ago and would still love to develop. It has flown through several title incarnations and has currently landed at “Wallow,” but I’m apt to change that.

I’ve given you an extra line or so at the end.

Without further ado, here it is.

. . . One time, I’d found a miniscule skull next to the stone ledge just under the pipe, as if the animal had recently put its head down only to rest and had decided, instead, to die. The bony head was so white next to the muddy ledge, and I’d accidentally tipped its ribcage over the edge with my toe before I saw all of the body. You couldn’t even see them slip silently like white strings of confetti dragged below the churning water’s surface; it was as if they’d never even been there.

Soon enough, I reached the pipe. I didn’t know what to do; I just knew I needed to get as far away from home, from my parents and all the reminders of the sister-who-never-was, as I could. Maybe I could go up to the abandoned barn my faraway friends and I’d found in the woods last summer. It was our makeshift clubhouse for a time, owl droppings, eerie noises, and all.

As soon as my foot was out on the slick, black metal, I began to slip.  . . .

Part of the 777 challenge is also tagging several other writer friends who might be interested in sharing 7 lines from a current, forthcoming, or, methinks, previous work (as long as it doesn’t violate any copyright or contractual obligations of course). From what I understand, you may alter the lines and tinker with them, in the event you want to get them published as never-before-seen text in the future.

I would like to nominate the following writers, and there is absolutely NO OBLIGATION to participate. It’s for fun, y’all. 🙂

Stephen at Stephen Thom Writing (if he’s not too busy with touring!)

Sarah at Sarah Potter Writes (she’s a busy writer who’s at work on a science fantasy novel, so she might be unavailable)

Andreé at One Starving Activist & Scribe’s Cave (she has a soon-to-be released title called After that you’ll want to see more about)

Ali Abbas, who has published two books so far: a collection of short stories, called Image and Other Stories, and Hajj – My Pilgrimage, which is a nonfiction account of his journey with his family to the holy city of Mecca

Dr. Joe in enchanting Dublin (hey, Joe, have you got any longer stories or poems you’d like to share?)

Syd Dent, who enthralls with his steampunk stories, including The Finder’s Saga, and shares author influences and more on his blog

Andrea Stephenson, who holds many awards and publication credits for her phenomenal short stories and who blogs at Harvesting Hecate


Sharing My World: Week 21

ED NOTE: Oopsies! I meant Cee Neuner’s Share Your World challenge, Week 21, but her wife Chris’ post is awesome, too!

If you could make a 15-second speech to the entire world, what would you say?

As much as possible, be kind to animals, including the human kind, and the planet. Keep your mind and body moving. Laugh & smile liberally. And finally, love unveils strength, not weakness. Embrace it.

Photograph of Machu Picchu, in Peru, by Martin St-Amant - Wikipedia - CC-BY-SA-3.0

Photograph of Machu Picchu, in Peru, by Martin St-Amant – Wikipedia – CC-BY-SA-3.0.

If you could take a photograph, paint a picture or write a story of any place in the world, what and where would it be?

Although I am a writer at heart and, as such, I love plotting and planning, daydreaming and nightdreaming, I immediately discarded writing and painting for photography (painting is fun; no umbrage meant!). I felt that photographing a place would be a more visceral, significant experience of the place with the literal equipment that I have as well as the mental and emotional machinery. Ah, but so many places vied for attention. First, Heaven/Paradise/Valhalla/the Afterlife. If I could photograph that, presuming it really exists, and yet come back to Earth afterward for at least a few more years . . . eureka! That would be cool. Failing that and if I weren’t chicken, how ’bout these: Jupiter, Middle Earth, Narnia, Xanth, China, India (okay, all of Asia), Machu Picchu, Alaska, Scotland, and Yellowstone.

If you had to spend one weekend alone in a single store but could remove nothing, which store would you pick?

Reading my fellow introverts’ much-better answers here makes me feel either really unpragmatic or terribly survivalist, because I didn’t plan anything for food the entire weekend. D’Oh! Here are my thoughts. If I were looking at the “busy/active factor,” I would go for a running, camping, biking, art/crafting, antiques, or toy store. If I were more introspective, I would gravitate to the local bookstore (which is in an older two-level home) or any other bookstore or library, an art museum or gallery, or a store in a museum or zoo.

If you were given a boat or yacht today, what would you name it?  (You can always sell the yacht later)

I would call it (the) Raymond Luxury-Yacht, but it would have to be pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove. 🙂

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

  1. Ah, so many things to be grateful for. My family’s love and patience buttresses it all. Specifics? I’m glad we’ve had a cold/allergies because it’s a signal we’re alive and kicking; it could have been much worse; and I think it makes us more aware and appreciative of good-health moments.
  2. Looking forward to: Smiling and laughing, Kid #1’s graduation/carnival; not having a cold anymore; gardening and, I hope, seeing some new life sprouting; running; reading and writing; and spending time with the family.

From perspiration to creation

Hands strain, bone on blank wood. Limbering the lines demands a gymnast agile to what waits. To satisfy any critic is a balance; words, an avoirdupois. Writing is a willingness to be bruised.


Gymnast Dorina Böczögő performs a one-arm press hold on the balance beam mount. From Wikimedia Commons, by user Alby.1412. Please consider purchasing some of his amazing sports photography, which includes winter sports.

Flash fiction written for the last one-word Trifecta Challenge, week 114.

Flash Fiction: If the Sea Spoke

Written for Friday Fictioneers

RedPavilionPhoto-Adam Ickes

Photograph by writer Adam Ickes. Be sure to visit his site!

GENRE(S): Flash fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, romance


If the Sea Spoke . . .

When Helena McArdle reached rickety boards, she almost turned, with no fanfare and nary a flounce ruffled, back toward home. Father would be no wiser.

Instead, her footfalls hastened her forward. The inlet waits just beyond the pavilion flitted across her mind, a firefly waltzing with air.

At 17 years and ninety-eight pounds when not encased in a cage crinoline, she did not welcome the avoirdupois of womanhood. No one will make me marry Lucas Parish–that human Cerberus!

Still, the sound of waves slapping chert beaconed. “Hurry to me,” slipped from the swollen lips of the whitecaps, whose promises were lies.

Friday Fictioneers: On the letters of Shelley


Photograph by Danny Bowman, of Ol Doinyo Lengai in Tanzania, Africa, “the only volcano in the world that erupts natrocarbonatite lava,” according to NASA. The lava is “extremely cool . . . and relatively fluid.” Note that I did not use the actual location of the photograph (and I imagined “Hornmouth”) to write my flash fiction. In fact, I noticed the location only after I had written this story and when I downloaded Mr. Bowman’s photograph for the Friday Fictioneers flash fiction challenge.

Lovers’ subduction and the letters of Shelley

GENRE: Flash fiction, modern fiction, slightly speculative

Word Count: approximately 146

Bringing a bird up here is daft.

James knew he shouldn’t have let Gavin wheedle him into it. Not only was it a difficult hike—if they legged it, some 12 kilometers from Hornmouth—but would anything come of it?


Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who wrote “Ozymandias.”

“The letters of Shelley,” Gavin had said then chuckled.

In reality nobody knew where the famed lost letters of the dead Romantic poet were buried.

“C’mon, love,” James gestured to today’s scrummy date, Trudi.

Finally the mist stopped long enough to reveal that the crater-sprinkled ground had subducted in some spots. Nearby a miniature mountain, several Sisyphus-sized boulders were strewn, but one erect column adjacent demanded their eyes.

As the couple neared, they could begin to make out the etching.

The word Ozymandias and more text snaked down the earth-upshooting.

Taking out his mobile for a snap, James concluded, “Blymie, who knew Shelley was a vandal?”


I go over the word limit, but this flash fiction was nonetheless written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers’ Challenge of 7 March 2014. I encourage you to take part!