Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Konrath's New Year's Resolutions for Writers

J.A. Konrath has been posting New Year's resolutions for writers since 2006. Rather than changing the list each year, he just adds to it. There are now seven sets of resolutions, and they're a great read. A sampling of my favorites:

From 2006

== I will start/finish the damn book
== I will refuse to get discouraged, because I know JA Konrath wrote 9 novels, received almost 500 rejections, and penned over 1 million words before he sold a thing--and I'm a lot more talented than that guy

From 2007

== Find Your Own Way. Advice is cheap, and the Internet abounds with people telling you how to do things. Question everything. The only advice you should take is the advice that makes sense to you. And if it doesn't work, don't be afraid to ditch it.

== Set Attainable Goals. Saying you'll find an agent, or sell 30,000 books, isn't attainable, because it involves things out of your control. Saying you'll query 50 agents next month, or do signings at 20 bookstores, is within your power and fully attainable.

From 2008

== The only difference between routine and rut is spelling.

== No one is going to hand you anything in this business. You have to be smart, be good, work hard, and get lucky.

From 2010

== I've tried to be forward-thinking in my career, rather than being content with my role as a cog in a broken machine. Your best chance for longevity is to question everything, test boundaries, experiment with new ideas, and be willing to change your mind and learn from your mistakes.

== You are the hero in the story of your life. Act like it.

From 2011

== Self-pubbing is not the kiddie pool, where you learn how to swim. You need to be an excellent swimmer before you jump in.

== Self-publishing is a wonderful opportunity to learn and to grow. This means you MUST try new things.

From 2012

== If you learn something, share it. If you have some success, show others how to follow your lead. If you fail miserably, warn your peers.

== This is a marathon, not a sprint. You're a writer. You're in this until the day you die. As long as you continue to write good books, you'll find readers.

There's more, and it's all worth reading. Definitely click through and check out the rest.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

But it Was Only One Time....

So on Monday I headed over to the Barnes and Noble across the street, laptop bag in hand, to do some writing with Tara, a woman I met through NaNoWriMo this year. I get a lot of writing done at the bookstore, probably because I don't trust coffee shop internet -- it tends to have all the security of a dessicated sponge -- so I have far fewer distractions while I'm there. Good deal, right?

Except Monday was the day I was driving the bus over at my publisher's blog. I figured one time wouldn't hurt [eyeroll] so when I got there, before getting down to the fiction writing, I wrote up my evening blog post, then went online to post it, and stayed online to watch for comments.

Bad move.

I was online there in the B&N cafe for probably an hour and a quarter, in there somewhere, before I packed it in and went home. All seemed well, but under cover of that seemingly normal activity, malware was oozing through my system, getting a good grip before it showed itself.

All drama aside, I'm assuming something infected on to my system, then received some sort of activation order a couple of days later. Or heck, maybe it did take that long to get ready to pounce, I don't know. But a couple of days after, I started hearing weird noises, like the sounds the system makes when it finishes something, or runs into a problem. Except there was nothing going on, just the noise.

Then on Thursday night, I was reading e-mail (an advertising thing from an e-book store) and suddenly a new window popped up, something about men's health. I was all, WTF? :/ and some perky voice started babbling. I closed the new window, but the voice kept going. So I figured the window had been one thing, but the soundtrack was just a coincidental thing, from some auto-play ad on another page. So I scrolled up and down the ad-mail I was looking at, hunting for the video, but there was nothing -- just the usual static ads for books. I clicked on the other windows that'd been minimized and checked all of them too, but nothing. The soundtrack was just babbling on. So I figured, well damn, I'll just wait till it's done. Except it didn't finish. :( It just kept babbling on and on, like a freaking infomercial or something. I had to shut down my browser to get rid of the blathering commercial soundtrack.

I restarted the computer just for the heck of it, opened the browsers again, and was going along reading the usual stuff, and every now and then it'd pop up an extra window. I killed most of them before the graphics all loaded, and I never got another ghost soundtrack, but something was clearly borked. I ran the security program I had on there, AVG, but it didn't turn up much. I even updated Firefox -- and I hate updating stuff, because things I like and am used to always vanish or break -- and restarted again. I was still getting periodic windows popping up on their own.

I told my husband, who's a computer geek at work and handles stuff like this professionally, about it when he got up, and after he got to work he poked around and sent me links to some other free security programs. I downloaded Panda, which looked good and Jim said was well thought of, and ran that. It hopped online to update its virus database thing, and... froze. [headdesk] Even CTRL-ALT-DEL didn't work; I had to do a crash-shutdown with the power button. Started up again, started Panda again, and it started running. About 45 minutes later, it was 12% through and had found like 78 infected files. By then it was way past my bedtime, so I figured it wouldn't need me for a while, and I left it running while I went to bed.

Jim got out the flamethrower when he got home and fiddled with it for a while. He said something in there wouldn't let him load the page for Microsoft updates, so clearly whatever was in there was programmed to defend itself. (And that was after he'd run Panda through it for a second time.) He deleted Firefox all together (I'd saved my bookmarks before I went to bed, on his advice) and downloaded a fresh copy. The bottom line, though, is that I don't trust my laptop anymore; if there's something in there that can prevent my updating my OS, then it's got to be deep and a fresh browser -- even switching to another browser -- likely wouldn't get rid of it. Add to that the fact that it's six years old and the touchpad/mouse button thing is starting to wear out in a weird way which seems to be partially hardware and partially software, and that its weight -- while giving it a full size keyboard and a nice big screen -- is harder on my joints than is used to be, and I had to agree it's time to abandon this sinking ship.

I backed up my writing before I went to the coffee shop on Monday, and I did another backup of everything I want to save off the old laptop (onto a different flash drive, so in case the infection snuck aboard, I'll have a clean copy of my writing at least) and have (mostly) switched over to another, newer and lighter, laptop we bought when we moved, so we'd both have something to work on simultaneously while we were living in hotels and most of our stuff was in storage.

I don't like it. It has Windows 7, which I've been resisting (I never had Vista, either; I was still using XP and perfectly satisfied with it) but am now forced to deal with. I'm also fully updated on Firefox. Both have points of suckitude that are annoying me, but upgrading always sucks so I've been grumpily aware that it was coming. At least my bookmarks transferred over just fine. The plus side is that I'd been "temporarily" using IE as my second browser ever since the whole edema thing forced me onto the laptop most of the time, and I didn't have any significant bookmarks there. I've been planning to try Chrome for a while, and that should be a relatively painless transition; at least I don't have to worry about it eating my bookmarks.

The smaller laptop is smaller, with a keyboard that I keep wanting to put my hands down on one key to the right of where they should be. The screen is smaller, which is very annoying, and it also has a very narrow optimal viewing angle, so it goes dark and fuzzy if you're not Right There in front of it. And its touchpad is less sensitive than the old one, which gets frustrating.

It's not infected, though, so I'm dealing. And I'm not logging in from Barnes and Noble again, like, ever. :(

Anyway. Don't use coffee shop wireless.

Angie, who's going to be grumpy for a while

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Teenager Develops Possible Cancer Cure

You know, if anyone wrote a book about this girl, it'd be labelled pure genre -- fantastical, unrealistic, a popcorn sort of story. But it's real. Angela Zhang won a $100,000 prize in a science competition for her project, "Design of Image-guided, Photo-thermal Controlled Drug Releasing Multifunctional Nanosystem for the Treatment of Cancer Stem Cells." Wow. Check out the article on TheMarySue.

As someone in comments over there said, this is potential Nobel Prize stuff. Not bad for someone who's not old enough to vote yet. Heck, I'd let her vote!

What's weirdly cool about this is that she goes to my little brother's old high school -- Monta Vista in Cupertino. (Not mine, though -- we moved right after I graduated, and he's seven years younger than I am.)

Anyway, I'll just get back to, umm, writing my urban fantasy novel. Yeah.

Seriously, though, massive kudos to Angela Zhang, from another Angela who'll never make half as much of an impact on the world. Props, hon.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Blogging at Torquere

I'm hosting my publisher's blog today, and I'll be giving a $10 Torquere gift certificate to one of the commenters. Check out my first post for details, and a discussion of holiday and climate and assumptions. There'll be more posts later in the day for more chances to win. (Except I'm going to bed as soon as I have all this posted, so the next one won't be for a while. :) )


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Anthology Markets

If you've just wandered in off the internet, hi and welcome. :) I do these posts every month, so if this post isn't dated in the same month you're in, click here to make sure you're seeing the most recent one.

Markets with specific deadlines are listed first, "Until Filled" markets are at the bottom. There are usually more details on the original site; always click through and read the full guidelines before submitting. Note that some publishers list multiple antho guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.

Non-erotica/romance writers: check out Inferno, Shanghai Steam, Dark Faith Two, King David and the Spiders from Mars, the Professor Challenger Anthology, Horror Library, Mortis Operandi, the Fantastic Stories Anthology, and the Wuxia Anthology.


4 January 2012 -- Private Dicks -- Less Than three Press

The life of a private investigator is boring more often than it is exciting—tracking debtors, tailing cheating spouses, and long hours of surveillance do not add up to a sizzling life of mystery and romance.

But every now and then there comes a case that takes all a good PI has to offer and demands still more. A case that requires not just time and effort, but sliding in to another skin to find that clue or witness that will break the case. How far will a PI go to do his job; how high will he climb, how low will he sink?

Give us your stories of private investigators willing to don any guise to break the case.


Stories should be approx 10,000-20,000 words in length (a little longer or shorter is fine).

Stories must have a happily ever after end.

Any genre is acceptable; stories may be contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. There must be a strong element of a private investigator going undercover, but be as creative as you like in executing that theme. We are looking for fun, unique spins on this popular genre.

All usual LT3 submission guidelines apply.

Payment is $200.00, electronic copies, and two copies of the print book.

[NOTE: The call doesn't say so explicitly, but LT3 is a romance press, and so far as I can tell by poking around their site, an m/m romance press. Stories for this antho should probably be m/m romance genre, detective subgenre, rather than genre detective.]


17 January 2012 -- Inferno -- Cool Well Press

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

In the 14th century, the author Dante Alighieri wrote an epic poem called Divine Comedy. It is the story of two travelers taking the journey through Hell. Dante depicted Hell as nine circles of suffering located within the Earth, each one a contrapasso, representing a symbolic instance of poetic justice.

CWP's INFERNO is an anthology based upon these nine circles. These stories are centered in each circle and involve the many creatures of imagination that could reside there.

FIRST CIRCLE (Limbo)—The first circle represents purgatory. It's a deficient form of Heaven, but instead of a world of beauty and creativity, it's a place of preciseness and strict adherence to the rules. Even the landscape has an angular, straight feel to it. The condemned are virtuous, but have lacked the hope for something greater than rational minds can conceive. Speculation does not exist here. Imagination is feared.

SECOND CIRCLE (Lust)—The second circle is where those who are overcome by unbridled appetites are condemned. There are many types of things one can lust for such as power, money and yes, love. A strong wind blows through the second circle, symbolizing the power of lust to blow one about aimlessly. Here, desire is never satiated, even though there is abundance of food, money, and companionship. Please, no overtly sexual stories.

THIRD CIRCLE (Gluttony)—Those who are self-indulgent are forced to live in a place where the ground is filled with sewage slush and where an icy rain continually falls. A large dump comprises the landscape. Nothing grows here and the condemned must constantly try to find food, comfort and companionship, all of which eludes them. It's a place of scarcity and deep desire.

FOURTH CIRCLE (Greed)—The fourth circle of condemned are those who are avaricious or miserly, who hoarded or squandered possessions and wealth. These people did not show compassion for their fellow man or animals and therefore must constantly spar with the reality of unrelenting poverty and lack of empathy. Here, gravity is heavy, a symbol of the great weight of greed.

FIFTH CIRCLE (Anger)—The Stygian Marsh surrounds the river Styx, where the wrathful continually argue, curse, and victimize. The city of Dis is found in the Fifth Circle, the walls of which encompass the lower levels of Hell. These walls are guarded by Fallen Angels and their evil compatriots, the Furies. These creatures constantly attack the citizens of Dis. Guilt and anger rule the people.

SIXTH CIRCLE (Heresy)—Those whose souls die with the body are trapped in a world of heat and oppression. The people remember their lives on Earth and they know what will come in its future, but can do nothing to change the events. They are disbelievers and take nothing as the truth. This circle is full of shadows and things that might be, where the eternal challenge is to figure out what is real and what is not.

SEVENTH CIRCLE (Violence)—In this circle, we find the people who are condemned to a place of blood and fire, where war is continually waged. Murderers share the space with rampaging soldiers and mad men are driven into a frenzy of violence. The landscape is torn and pitted and bodies litter the streets. The continual battle cry is to justify the reasons why they have killed others.

EIGHTH CIRCLE (Fraud)—The fraudulent, those guilty of exploitation in all its forms, find themselves in a crowded world of filth and disease, where they are continually driven to do the bidding of the creatures who incite the passions of the condemned. You will find among them all manner of frauds, including panderers, sorcerers, false prophets, thieves, hypocrites and corrupt politicians. Men look for cures to their ills but find only deceit.

NINTH CIRCLE (Treachery)—This place is choked with ice, barren land and frigid winds, symbolizing the icy hell of betrayal. Those who have committed treason in all forms lurk here, forced to share their souls with dark creatures who are full of pride and self-serving righteousness. In the very center of the circle, you'll find Lumiel, the creature that committed the ultimate act of treachery and who rules the Nine Circles of Hell.

COOL WELL PRESS has opened a call for submissions for their new young adult anthology, INFERNO. Stories should be set within the worlds of the Nine Circles and targeted for 16 to 18 year old readers. These should have paranormal flare and be 5,000 to 8,000 words. Deadline is January 17th, 2012. We will select one story for each Circle.

Please follow the submission guidelines when preparing your manuscript. Send completed submission to and mark the subject of the email as INFERNO.

Authors whose stories are accepted will be sent a contract. Compensation will be a one-time payment at .10 per word and a copy of each format of the final anthology.


23 January 2012 -- Shanghai Steam -- ed. Calvin Jim, Renee Bennett, Ann Cooney and Anna Maria Bortolotto; Absolute X-Press, imprint of Hades Publishing

Shanghai Steam aims to celebrate a crossover of wuxia literature and the steampunk genre. We invite authors from every culture, continent and genre to explore and create new worlds melded from history, culture, and imagination.

We want exciting, unique stories that explore the possibilities of Asian style steampunk. Political issues addressed in complex and nuanced ways are acceptable but we don’t want simplistic, heavy-handed, or preachy approaches.

All stories must have both a steampunk element and a wuxia element.

We want short fiction only: no poetry, plays, novel excerpts, essays, etc. Flash fiction is okay, but we will not be accepting many stories of this length.

We are looking for new stories. Stories which have been previously published (including on the Internet) in English will not be considered. We are not interested in reprints. No simultaneous submissions, please. Multiple submissions (in separate emails) are acceptable.

All stories must be written in English.


Genre: Steampunk Wuxia (Fantasy)

Length: 3,000 words or less, but with special circumstance, we will accept stories up to 5,000 words long.

Manuscripts: must be submitted to the email address:

In the subject line of your email please type in your LAST NAME followed by the story title. For example: WILSON White Crane’s Shadow

We cannot be responsible for submissions lost in transit.

Manuscript Style: must be submitted in .rtf (rich text) format only. Formatting must follow William Shunn’s Proper Manuscript Format.

Please, no query letters. When asking for more information or for clarification, send an email to the above address with the subject line INFORMATION REQUEST.

Payment: $.03 cent a word up to 3,000 words and $.02 cents a word over 3,000 up to a maximum of 5,000 words. Free contributor’s copy upon publication.

Rights: Absolute Xpress Publishing buys exclusive world rights for paper and electronic publishing for a period of one year after the date of publication. Contributors retain the right to market their individual entries outside the anthology after this period.

Expected response time is under three months after closing date. We regret that we are unable to give personal critiques.


31 January 2012 -- Dark Faith Two -- Apex Book Company

Apex will be publishing a follow-up to the Nebula, Bram Stoker, and Black Quill-nominated anthology Dark Faith. The book will be 80,000 words and pay five cents a word (up to four thousand words). It will debut late-summer 2012. We buy First World anthology print rights and digital rights (for three years).

We’re looking for the story only you could write, something deeply personal and at the same time universal. Everyone believes in something and we want you to put those beliefs to the test. We’re looking for smart, literate stories that don’t proselytize or stereotype. Stories that make you think, that comment on the human condition and the social order. Stories that are rich in their use of language.

However, as much as we love social commentary, don’t forget to entertain us. The best way to get a feel for what we’re looking for is to read Dark Faith.

Submissions will be accepted from 1/1/2012 until 1/31/2012. Unsolicited stories received outside this timeframe will be deleted, unread.

Please include a cover letter with your submission–even if we know you. Please send no more than one submission at a time. No reprints. Simultaneous submissions will be accepted as long as you tell us up front (and immediately withdraw the story if you sell it).

All submissions must be emailed as an RTF file to Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon at


31 January 2012 -- King David and the Spiders from Mars -- ed. Tim Lieder, Dybbuk Press

Due to the positive response to She Nailed a Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Terror, I will be editing another Bible-themed anthology. Tentatively titled King David & The Spiders from Mars: More Tales of Biblical Terror, this will be a Bible-themed horror anthology specifically based on The Book of Samuel. Some of my favorite stories from the first anthology were David centered including Elissa Malcohn's "Judgement at Naioth" and Christi Krug's "As If Favorites of Their God."

What I'm Looking For: Short stories, ideally between 1000-12000 words. All stories must be based in some way on the book of Samuel (usually edited to be 1 & 2) which is the story about how Israel transitioned from a Judge based society to a kingdom under King David. Even though this is primarily a horror anthology, I'm willing to look at stories that fall into different categories including bizarro, science fiction, fantasy, literary and romance (although if you write a romance between Tamar and Amnon, I'm going to be worried about you and not in a good way). There are several stories within Samuel including the madness of Saul, the end of Eli's family as the major priesthood, David & Goliath and the death of Absalom so feel free to use whatever inspires you. Also, even though the Book of Ruth is a completely different book, it serves as a prequel to the David saga so if you got a great Ruth story, I will read it.

Update: Since I am not getting many stories thus far, I will accept stories from the rest of the Bible so if you have this awesome Elijah or Jonah story, feel free to send it. I will still appreciate the stories from the Book of Samuel more and may give them greater consideration but I won't reject a story because it's from a different part of the Bible.

Check out this Amazon List for reading suggestions. Please at least read the book of Samuel once to get the flavor of the stories. If you only know the story of David & Goliath, you will be at a disadvantage since that's the most popular story in the bunch and you will have a lot of competition.

Also, if you are going to do a David & Goliath story read the original. This is a much more interesting story than the children's books would have you believe and all that "come from behind victory" blather is inaccurate (not to mention boring as hell).

Other Suggestions:
Retellings of Biblical Stories from the perspective of another character.
Kiastic Storytelling
Deconstructionist Commentary akin to Rashi
Biblical stories retold in different literary styles (high adventure, Victorian, Romance, Mystery, etc.)
Modern stories told in the Biblical style (Best use Robert Alter's Art of Biblical Poetry and Art of Biblical Narrative if you want a crash course)
Parodies of Prophets
"Queen Esther vs. The Brain Eating Penis Monster from Outer Space" (note that just sticking this title on a lame story is not going to endear you to me. Write a story that would justify this kind of title and I'm interested)
Biblical Movie Parodies

I am also impressed by the following: original takes on classic stories, strong female characters, stories that actually understand the original tales, style.

Formatting Guidelines: Please use Standard Manuscript format. I am going to be a little more hard on people not using this format since the last time I had stories where I couldn't get back to the writers because they neglected to put their emails on the stories so I had no way of knowing how to tell them that they were rejected. One even made it to the Maybe pile. Please submit in .rtf or .doc.

What I am not Looking For: I have a blog post for the first Bible anthology where I go off on the "do not want" list. It basically comes down to "no preachiness" which is the major pitfall for people tackling these kind of stories. I don't want a story with an agenda - whether it's atheist, Christian or Jewish. I am not interested in other stories in the Bible. Do not set a Sodom & Gomorrah story in San Francisco. Do not send poetry. Do not retell a Bible story from a character's perspective that adds absolutely nothing to the narrative. In the last anthology, I got a bunch of stories that had to stop to tell me that "Jesus is love" but since this one is about King David, I figure there will be less of those in this slush pile. Still, don't do that.

Also note that all snotty replies to rejections will be aired publicly on this blog and mocked mercilessly.

Pay: $50 advance against equal share of royalties - to be paid out no later than publication.

Reading Period: November 1, 2011 - January 31, 2012. All stories submitted before November 1 will be deleted unread. Although that's the best case scenario. If I do read them I will mock them on this blog. I am using a three month window as well as waiting until November 1 because I don't want trunk stories and I doubt anyone has been submitting their awesome King David Rips Off Foreskins story to markets until now. This gives you time to write an original story and send it by November 1 or to spend about 4 months perfecting it until it's ready at the end of January.

Reprints. Yes. Same price. Make sure you tell me where it was originally published and that it is available for reprint right sales.

Send to: timlieder1 - at -


31 January 2012 -- Professor Challenger Anthology -- ed. J. R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

Genres: SF, Fantasy, Horror, Steampunk, Adventure

Story Length: Approx. 7,500 words to a maximum of 10,000 words

What we’re after: A broad range of new and original stories built around Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s LOST WORLD character Professor George Edward Challenger. Stories derived from the aftermath of events in the Lost World are welcome, however simply revisiting or rehashing the Lost World without good cause is not. Challenger is a man of science first and foremost, not an explorer. Mash-ups or crossovers with public domain literary characters are welcome.

For inspiration think X-files, Quatermass, Dr. Who, cryptozoology – Yeti, Nessie, etc…, aliens among us, supernatural occurrences, science gone awry in a Dr. Moreau, Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll vein, nature run amuck, monsters large and small, world threatening cataclysm, Lovecraft mythos, think H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, E. R. Burroughs, John Wyndham, Nigel Kneale, alternate history, new lost places, steampunk, whatever.... Be creative.

Mine the potential for all it's worth! Push it out there, get weird, play, have fun!

Notes: This is a professional market. Full rate to 7,500 words, half rate for balance to 10,000 words. One time publication rights. The anthology is part invitation and part open submission. Priority will be given to invited authors, but an invitation to submit is not a guarantee of acceptance. A minimum of two slots will be held for open submissions. Acceptance is based entirely on suitability of story and quality of writing. No reprints.

Submission Format: Email submission in Rich Text Format (.rtf) or Microsoft Word (.doc) attachments only. Use standard manuscript format. (

Send submissions to and/or


29 February 2012 -- In Plain Sight -- Storm Moon Press

Expected Release: July 13, 2012
Genres: Any [Romance -- any subgenre which conforms to the requirements below]
Pairings: Bisexual
HEA or HFN Ending Required? Yes

For the men and women of In Plain Sight, mistaken identity is the story of their lives. They are the assassins, theives, spies, and double agents of the world, and nothing is as it seems around them. They might lead one completely mundane life, but the other side of their life that they keep hidden would shock anyone who catches a glimpse from the outside.

In this anthology, we’re looking for short stories featuring bisexual characters (male or female) who lead two lives, one in plain sight, and the other in the shadows. High action isn’t required, but we’re want to see something exciting with a bit of shock value if it is suddenly revealed to another character. After all, discovering your lover is an assassin or double agent has a different effect than discovering they’re secretly a part-time florist.

The level of their deception to their loved ones is up to you, but you can play with them having different families, a lover they try to keep safely tucked away, or a couple they date who is just as bad-ass as they are if trouble comes calling. They can have old flames they never quite allow to extinguish or business contacts they have flings with on the side. One way or another, their bisexuality must be shown, rather than just hinted at, so make sure they have erotic involvements on both sides of the coin.

Authors will receive royalties as well as an initial payment of $50 for their story. This payment is not an advance and does not have to be earned out before royalties are paid. Royalties on individual e-book releases will be 50% of cover price on direct sales through Storm Moon Press' e-store, and 40% of cover price minus distribution costs for sales through third party vendors. In addition, authors will receive the same percentage royalty on sales of the anthology e-book divided equally among the authors, as well as 25% of cover price on direct sales of the print anthology through Storm Moon Press' e-store, and 20% of cover price minus distribution costs for sales through third party vendors, also divided equally among all authors. All royalties will be paid quarterly.


UNTIL FILLED -- Horror Library, Vol. 5 -- Cutting Block Press

Cutting Block Press is pleased to announce an open submissions period for the 4th Volume of its Horror Anthology Series, +Horror Library+, to be published in trade paperback during 2011.

We're looking for the highest quality examples of all forms of Dark Fiction, running the gamut from traditional horror, supernatural, speculative, psychological thriller, dark satire, including every point between and especially beyond. No Fantasy or Sci-fi unless the horror elements are dominant. Read +Horror Library+ Volumes 1-3 to see what's already pleased us. Special consideration will be given those pieces that we find profoundly disturbing, though blood and violence on their own won't cut it. While we will consider tales of vampires, ghosts and zombies, we tend to roll our eyes at ordinary ones. They're just too plentiful. Your best bet is to surprise us with something that is different, while well conceived and tightly executed.

Guidelines: Stories will range between 1,000 and 6,000 words, though we'll look at longer works of exceptional merit. In that case, query before submission. Buying 1st worldwide anthology rights. No reprints. Paying 1.5 cents per word, plus one contributors copy. For established authors, rates may be negotiable. Response time: six months or sooner. Deadline: We will accept submissions until filled. All Queries to

Manuscript format: 12 point courier font, standard margins, left side of header: name, contact info, right side of header: word count, top of first page: title, author

Variances from traditional manuscript format: single space, NO INDENTS, ONE EXTRA space between paragraphs, use bold, italics and underline as they are to appear in story

Subject box: Short Story submission - title of story

Attach story in MS Word Document or RTF (only). Please paste your cover letter in the body of the e-mail. Send submissions to

[See the web page for a special offer on copies of Horror Library Vol. 1 for writers doing market research.]


UNTIL FILLED -- Mortis Operandi -- ed. Kfir Luzzatto and Dru Pagliassotti, The Harrow Press

MORTIS OPERANDI is looking for stories that revolve around the investigation of a crime and in which the supernatural plays a central role. While we’re expecting a fair share of murders, we strongly encourage stories that revolve around OTHER kinds of crime — for example, arson, assault, blackmail, bullying, burglary, dowry death, embezzlement, fraud, kidnapping, larceny, libel, piracy, product liability, slavery, smuggling, terrorism, treason, and toxic pollution are all fair game.

By "supernatural" we mean magic, monsters, and/or miracles, but we don’t consider psychic abilities (although the inclusion of a minor character possessing them will not in itself disqualify a story), extraterrestrial life, or UFOs to be supernatural.

Types of stories may include whodunits, police procedurals, hardboiled fiction, and courtroom dramas. All genres and treatments are welcome, including ecclesiastic, fantasy, humor, horror, historical, military, romance, and parody. Settings outside the U.S. and U.K. are welcome. Settings on other worlds aren’t.

We want well-written stories that demonstrate originality of concept and plot. Zombies, vampires, and werewolves will be a hard sell, and romantically inclined vampires will be staked on sight. Think outside of the coffin.

Stories will be judged exclusively on the basis of their literary merit; a history of prior publication is not necessary.

Get more information about our thoughts on this antho at Market Scoop.
Submissions & Queries: anthology [[ at ]]
==No simultaneous submissions. One submission at a time.
==Please attach your stories to your email in Microsoft Word, RTF, or text-only format. Stories pasted in the body of an email will not be read.
==Please include the words “Submission: Mortis Operandi” in the Subject line of your e-mail.
Length: 3,000-6,000 words. Please include an approximate word count in your e-mail submission.
Reprints: No
Language: English
Payment: US $50/story, upon publication, and a free copy of the book
Rights: Exclusive English anthology print and electronic (e-book) rights. Please read our Sample Contract (pdf) for full details.
Submission period: Opens 1.1.11 -- Closes when filled.
Publication Date: 2012


UNTIL FILLED -- Fantastic Stories Anthology -- ed. Warren Lapine, Wilder Publications

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination is a yearly anthology. Edited by Warren Lapine, Wilder Publications Box 10641, Blacksburg, VA 24063

I’m looking for stories that cover the entire science fiction, fantasy, and horror spectrum. I love magic realism (think Tim Powers and Neil Gaiman) and hard sf. I want a story to surprise me and to take me to unexpected places. I love word play, and would like to see stories with a literary bent, though decidedly not a pretentious bent. I could spend some time telling you what I don’t want, but I’ve found that good stories can make me buy them regardless of how many of my rules they violate. Let your imagination run wild, push and blur the limits of genre, or send me something traditional. I want it to see it all. My experience as an editor tells me that over time I’ll develop preferences and that the anthology will take on its own personality. When that happens I’ll change the guidelines to be more specific, but for now I’m going to explore what’s out there before I decide what direction to go in.

Payment: 10 cents per word on acceptance for original stories (maximum of $250.00) or 2 cents per word for reprints (maximum of $100.00). A check will accompany the contract so no simultaneous submissions please. I am purchasing First English Language Book Rights and non-exclusive electronic rights.

Story length, I have no limit on story length but the longer the story is the better it will have to be.

Sorry no e-mail submissions. Why is this? Don’t you know that e-mail submissions is the future? Yes I do know that, but it’s not the way I want to do this. For me the best part of being an editor is having people over to have slush parties and interacting with them during the reading process. Editing on a screen is a thing devoid of fun or joy, I edit for the fun and joy of it.

[Note: definitely click through on this one; there's some very useful info in the comments.]


UNTIL FILLED -- All Access Pass -- ed. Amelia G, Blue Blood Books

Short version of what I’m looking for is: well-crafted fiction or memoir, cool erotica with music and/or music culture as a central theme, $50 first run + reprint rights, $25 reprints. More formal version below.

Call for Submissions: All Access Pass

Backstage Passes editor Amelia G is reading for a sequel to her anthology of rock and roll erotica, called All Access Pass. Below are general fiction guidelines for Blue Blood fiction projects. For this book in specific, music must play a central role in the story. Events could take place at a punk club or an outdoor festival, characters may be musicians, music may just really speak to a particular character, but it needs to be important. Stories ranging from balls-out memoir or entirely fantastical vampire sex are all fine, within the appropriate theme and quality standards.

When submitting electronically, please make the subject of your email ALL ACCESS PASS SUBMISSION.

Before sending anything over, please ask yourself if your work passes the Blue Blood litmus test: Is it intelligent? Is it sexy? Is it edgy/counterculture? Is it cool? Email electronic submissions to For submissions of fiction or nonfiction text, please have your writing in a Word document with a .doc suffix (not .docx), RTF, TXT, InDesign, or Open Office format. It is preferred if you include an author bio or link to your website or online profiles.

The All Access Pass anthology is seeking erotic stories with a counterculture feel — Gothic, industrial, techno, rave, punk, metal, dyke, mystery, gangster, hard-boiled, science fiction, cyberpunk, steampunk, vampire, werewolf, medieval etc. At the moment, our needs are for stories primarily from a male or female heterosexual viewpoint, lesbian viewpoint, or female bisexual viewpoint. Often, we can also place male homosexual and gender bender stories in anthologies. We look for work between 2,000 and 7,500 words. Most accepted fiction is shorter than 4,000 words. Death and horror elements are acceptable so long as they do not prevent the piece from being sex-positive. Characters may die but not as part of the sexuality. Kinky is great — leathersex, bondage, vampirism etc. are all fine. Negative attitudes about sexuality are not fine. All sex must be consensual and arousing. PLEASE DO NOT SEND US STORIES PROMOTING NAZIS, RAPE, INCEST, OR THE SEXUALIZATION OF MURDER. NO SNUFF, RACISM, OR HOMOPHOBIA. If you can write genuinely arousing fiction which still works as a story, do contact us. Payment is net 60 on on-sale date and we generally purchase first worldwide rights (exclusive from acceptance to one year after publication) along with nonexclusive reprint rights.


UNTIL FILLED -- Unnamed Wuxia Anthology -- ed. John Dishon, Genreverse Books

What are you looking for?

You’ve probably guessed it: wuxia. I want wuxia stories. If your story isn’t wuxia, then submitting it here won’t do you any good. Even if your story is really good, the focus of this anthology is the wuxia genre. The anthology is intended for those who have never heard of or read wuxia before, and for those who have. So for the noobs I want to introduce the genre to them properly, and the veterans will know if I haven’t done that. And since the whole point of this project is to promote the wuxia, then I’m going to have to insist that your story be an example of said genre. If it is, then please submit it below. If not, you’re better off submitting it elsewhere.

If you’re not sure what wuxia is, you can read about it here.

Yeah, it’s wuxia. But is it your kind of wuxia?

Yes, it is. Because I don’t have any specific kind of wuxia I’m going for. It can be old school or new school, it can be proto-wuxia, such as some of the chuanqi of the Tang era (an example of that would be “The Kunlun Slave” or “The Curly Bearded Stranger”), or anything else. Maybe you have your own unique style you’d like to try out. Let me have it. I don’t want a book full of Jin Yong rip-offs. Some stories in that vein are fine, and I would like to see some, but I want some variety as well. With the English language we have the opportunity to take the genre in new and unexpected territories, and to use different techniques to tell our stories. We needn’t try to copy Chinese writers. What exactly I mean by that will be left up to the writers. If a standard Jin Yong or Gu Long kind of story is your thing, then send it in. But if you’re trying something new or different, then I want to see that too. The most important consideration is that it is a good story, which means it should have compelling characters put in interesting situations. Your story should have that regardless of the genre.

So I am open to stories set in modern settings as well. The essence of wuxia lies in the values expressed by the two characters that make up the word, 武 and 俠, not the time period the story takes place in. Again, feel free to experiment.

I think it’s wuxia.

Great. Send it in. If your story is a borderline case, or you’re not quite sure if it’s wuxia, then send it in anyway. The worst that can happen is it gets rejected. You don’t need to query first. Make sure you look at the “What is Wuxia?” page linked to above before making your final decision, though. There is some leeway. “Martial arts fiction” is how wuxia is often translated into English, and while that is an over-simplified translation, it’s a good guide. However, the xia part of wuxia deserves attention to. I believe it is possible to have a wuxia story that does not have any fighting in it at all, but there must be a lot of xia in that case. I’ll stop there before I complicate the issue too much. It is a tough genre to define.

How do you want it?

As stated above, all submissions must be made through Hey Publisher. The form is below. The form will accept .doc, .rtf, and .txt files. It will not accept the new .docx format for some reason, so if you are using a newer version of Word, make sure to save it as .doc instead of .docx. Sign up is easy on the form. You can go through one of various social network services, or just create an account with Hey Publisher. Either way, it only takes a few seconds. Do not email me your submission. All email submissions will be deleted without being read, no exceptions.

For proper manuscript formatting, see William Shunn’s Proper Manuscript Format. If you’ve ever submitted a story to a magazine before, then you’re probably already familiar with these formatting guidelines. You don’t need to include your mailing address, if you don’t want to. Make sure you have a valid email address on there, though. One that you regularly check.

How long should it be?

2,000-30,000 words. Anywhere in between there is fine. That means no flash fiction, and no novels. Also, no novel excerpts will be considered. No excerpts of any kind will be considered, actually. I want a complete, self-contained story.

Simultaneous submissions are accepted. I anticipate the submission process to be a long one, so I don’t mind if you submit to more than one place at once. Just make sure the other place(s) you submit your story to feel the same way.

Multiple submissions are accepted. If you only have one story to send, that’s fine. If you have three stories you would like to be considered, that’s fine too. I’m looking for the best wuxia stories I can find, so let me see all of them (well, all the good ones. Don’t submit the bad ones). You can have more than one story published in the anthology.

Previously published stories are accepted. The best stories might not be the newest stories. If your story has been published before, such as in a magazine or on a blog, then you can still send it to me. If it’s a great wuxia story then I want to showcase it to the English-reading world in this anthology. It would be silly to say no just because another magazine had published it already.

What will the submission process be like?

First, write a great story. Edit/rewrite/revise that great story. Make sure someone besides you reads it, so you can be sure it’s good. Then submit it to me, via the form below. Your story will then be sent to me. When I open your submission to read your story you will receive an email saying so. At this point, wait for a bit. How long the wait will be is unknown. If I immediately am not interested in the story, then you will receive a rejection notice pretty soon, probably no more than a week after I start reading it.

If I like your story, then prepare to wait longer. If your story is a “maybe” then I will put it under consideration and you will receive an email saying so. This will likely be the longest wait period, and I can’t begin to say how long that could be. I want to find the best stories, but that could take a while. I’m sure some of the best stories haven’t been written yet as I type this. So hang tight. That’s why simultaneous submissions are allowed. I will update this website frequently to let everyone know how the selection process is going, so you can keep up with my progress that way.

Eventually, I will either accept your story or reject it. If your story is rejected, you will get an email saying so. If it is accepted, you will get an email saying your story has been accepted.

How much does this thing pay?

1-5 cents per word, depending on how much money I raise for the project. I would like to be able to pay everyone 5 cents a word, but that means I would have to raise $5,550 USD. Here’s hoping. But for the purposes of deciding if you want to submit a story to me, plan on 1 cent per word. That’s probably the most realistic guess. Tell everyone you know about this project and ask them to donate so there will be more money to pay the writers.

What rights are you seeking?

Anthology rights. That means I’m buying your story for the purpose of publishing it in an anthology. The anthology will be printed, and it will also be available in electronic format. This anthology will be published globally, so I will be seeking permission to publish it everywhere. However, aside from the print and online versions of the anthology, I don’t want anything else from you. You are and will remain free to publish your story anywhere else you want. You retain the rights to your story; you’re just giving me permission to publish it in my anthology and sell it globally in print and in electronic formats.

I’m not seeking First-anything rights. Even if this anthology is the first place your story will be published.

Wait, there is one more thing I want. I want the exclusive right to publish your story. Meaning that your story can’t be published at the same time as my anthology is published. Obviously, if it’s already been published then that’s fine, but you can publish it anywhere else new while I’m publishing it in my anthology. I am seeking exclusive rights to publish your story for three months after the publication of the anthology. So once the anthology has been out for three months, you can publish your story anywhere you please.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November Stuff

Writing: 60,826 = 29 pts.
Submissions: 1 = 1 pt.
TOTAL = 30 pts WOOT!

Koala Challenge 9 NaNo 2011 Winner

NaNo went wonderfully, as you can probably tell from the above. :) I wrote just over 50K on my NaNo project, which was the third book of my Sentinels series, and another 10K and a bit on book two of the same series. Sentinels 2 (the book that comes right after A Hidden Magic) is almost 85K words and I think I'm about two or three more chapters from finishing.

Doing both at once actually worked out well. The two stories take place at the same time, with most of the team up in Seattle in Book 2, and the guy left home to hold the fort having an adventure of his own back in San Jose in Book 3. I had to go back and do a couple of tweaks on chunks of Book 2 I'd already written to make the timeline work with Book 3, which I wouldn't have been able to do if I'd finished 2 and turned it in (especially if it'd already been published before I got significantly into 3), so I'm glad I decided to start 3 even though 2 wasn't done.

The current plan is to finish Book 2 in December and get it submitted and in the pipeline, then finish Book 3 (maybe before spring?) and submit that. If I can have two novels published in 2012, I will be absolutely delighted.

Jim and I went to Reno to spend Thanksgiving with my mom and brother, and we had a wonderful dinner (on Wednesday, because my brother is a retail manager and worked both Thanksgiving and the day after) at a very nice steakhouse at the Atlantis, the same hotel WorldCon was at this last August. I had American Kobe beef for the first time, and I now understand what all the fuss is about. It's sublimely beefy, tender and flavorful and rich. I could have eaten three of them, except then I wouldn't have had room for the excellent beef-vegetable soup or the great cheesy-buns that came in the bread basket or the very good creamed spinach or the creme brulee (yum!) I had for dessert. The service was great, not at all snooty, and the little extras -- like the coffee service, which came with rock sugar on sticks, cinnamon sticks, white lump sugar, brown lump sugar, chocolate shavings, whipped cream, and I don't remember what-all else to put in your coffee -- made the whole dinner a wonderful experience. It was expensive but very much worth the price. If you're ever at the Atlantis and have a week's food budget to blow [cough] I highly recommend the steak house.

The Friday before Thanksgiving, Jim slipped on an oily metal grate or something on his way home from work, and banged up his knee pretty bad -- all scabby and sore -- so he kept it bandaged and went on with life. A couple of days after we flew to Reno, his leg from the knee down was incredibly swollen and red, and a bit warm to the touch. Mom and I persuaded him to go see a doctor; the local urgent care clinic was on our insurance, so Sean dropped us off on his way to work. The doctor took one look at it and said it looked to her like he had a blood clot, and she wanted him to go to a hospital for an ultrasound immediately. She said that if they found a clot, they'd keep him at least over night, because you don't mess around with those things. We took a cab to the medical center and after some really ridiculous run-around about where we were supposed to be and who we were supposed to see -- the urgent care doctor called and talked to an ultrasound tech and made an appointment for us, but no one else seemed to have ever heard of Jim or of the tech -- we finally got in and he got his ultrasound. She didn't find a clot, which is good but kind of weird; she said that just looking at the leg, she'd have assumed there was a clot too, but no. Apparently it's just an odd case of cellulitis, or however you spell it, and so he's on antibiotics. If it's not back to normal by the time he's out of pills, he promises he'll go see our regular doctor.

That was scary for a while, but it looks like he'll be okay. :/

I did my usual travel-sick thing, which continued after I flew home, yay. I missed going to the movies with the rest of the family, but they saw The Immortals and from all accounts I didn't miss anything. I'm used to the whole post-flight sickness now, though; I'm just glad I have my pills.

I hope everyone else had a great Thanksgiving, or if you're not in the US, had a great November anyway. :)