Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Writing Characters Who Aren't Like You

Someone on a mailing list posted this link (thanks Lyn!) and I had to pass it on. Daniel Jose Older, an SFF writer and editor, wrote an article called 12 Fundamentals of Writing "The Other" (And The Self). If you write, or have considered writing, about characters who are different from you in some basic way, this'll give you some good stuff to think about.

I particularly like #5 -- "Racist writing is craft failure." Absolutely. It's easy to reach for obvious traits or characteristics without thinking about it, and have your hand fall onto a racist (sexist, homophobic, etc.) cliche. If bigoted cliches end up in your story, they're like any other cliches and make the writing weaker and more shallow.

Good stuff, check it out.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Shooting Open Locks

So you're a writer and your character wants to shoot a lock off a gate or a door or something, to get to where they need to be. Does that actually work? What kind of gun/ammo would you need? How many shots? Let's find out!

Seriously, this is a fun video. :)

Also, that dude is a pretty awesome shot. O_O


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Loosed Upon the World Is Out

Loosed Upon the World, the cli-fi (climate fiction) SF anthology edited by John Joseph Adams, released today. I have a story in it, along with a bunch of other great writers.

The table of contents has a lot of great names in it, including Paolo Bacigalupi, Robert Silverberg, Tobias Buckell, Margaret Atwood, Nancy Kress, and more. This is a beefy collection of stories, and everyone should find a lot of good stuff in it.

Available to Order:

in hardcover from Amazon
in paperback from Amazon
in e-book from Amazon
in hardcover from B&N
in paperback from B&N
in e-book from B&N
in e-book from Kobo
in e-book from OmniLit

So far as I can tell, it's not up in the Apple store yet.

This is my first reprint. Getting a letter from the editor asking if he could have my story for an up-coming anthology was just as exciting as my first story acceptance almost ten years ago. Having a well-known editor come to me for a story, rather than me having to beg and plead submit something? That's completely awesome. :)


Monday, September 14, 2015

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 (although there aren't any this month). 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 guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.

Note that It's Come to Our Attention, a Third Flatiron anthology, has had its deadline pushed back. They're currently closed to submissions; don't send anything in until 15 October.


1 October 2015 -- Myriad Lands -- ed. David Stokes; Guardbridge Books

An Anthology of Non-Western Fantasy

Beyond the familiar tropes of knights and dragons, there is a whole world of possibilities for fantasy literature.

This collection seeks to explore the stories available in non-traditional fantasy.

We are looking for secondary world fantasy, where the world building and story telling is based on sources other than medieval Europe.

These can be based on other Earth cultures, examples such as Barry Hughart's fantasy China in Bridge of Birds, or Aliette de Bodard's magical Aztec Empire in Servant of the Underworld. Alternately, they could have a totally original setting, such as M.A.R. Barker's Tekumel, N.K. Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, or China Mieville's Bas-Lag.

LENGTH: 1000-6000 words. We will consider a select few longer works, but query first.

RIGHTS SOUGHT: First Worldwide print and electronic English Language rights. Exclusivity for 1 year from date of release. Non-exclusive rights to keep the anthology in print afterwards.

PAYMENT: £0.03/word (approx. 5¢/word US). Contributor's copy. Payment will be made when story line-up is finalized.

PROCEDURE: attach an RTF or DOC or Plain Text file in an email. Send to

In the e-mail include your:
== Legal Name (to whom a payment would be made out)
== Pen Name (if any - how you would like to be credited in print)
== Mailing Address
== Word Count
== Brief summary of publication credits (no need to list them all)

We will judge submissions based on the writing, not on your cover letter, so don't spend too much effort trying to impress us with it.

Please make the file name the same as the title of the story. (ex. TheLordOfTheRings.rtf, although, please, keep your stories shorter than that!)

Please, no simultaneous or multiple submissions. In other words, don't send them to me while you are sending them to someone else, and send only one story at a time.

We will review stories continuously as they come in. If we reject one submission and there is still time, you may submit another. If we like your story, we may ask to hold for final consideration once all submissions are in.

Reprints of previously published material might be considered for exceptional stories, depending on original publication and copyright issues. Please make it very clear in your cover e-mail if your story is already published elsewhere. We will not include many of these and payment will be negotiated individually.

If there are additional elements, like special formatting, illustrations or maps, absolutely necessary for the story, please mention them in the e-mail.

We welcome submissions from writers from a diversity of communities. Writers with experience of Asian, African, Latin American, Oceanic, or indigenous cultures are especially encouraged to apply.


== Stereotypes or clich├ęd portrayal of cultures.
== Stories based purely on showing the strangeness or exoticism of a culture.
== Standard sword-and-sorcery plots with foreign sounding names.
== Explicit and excessive depictions of violence, torture, or rape. (A fight scene is fine, a full page describing the blood and entrails pouring from a wound is excessive.)
== Modern day or urban-fantasy.


== Engaging stories with interesting characters.
== Unique stories that flow from the modes of life in their subject cultures.
== Social structures and Governments other than medieval European feudalism/monarchy, cultural traditions other than European.
== Vivid descriptions of lands, peoples, customs (but avoid infodumps or travelogues where possible).

If you have any questions, contact .

I hope to see lots of great stories. Good Luck!


1 October 2015 -- Untethered: A Magic iPhone Anthology -- ed. Janine A. Southard; Cantina Publishing

iPhones are magic.

I mean, do you know how yours works? Could you take it apart and put it back together? We can’t go out without our smartphones. They organize our lives, find our locations, and sync with all our other tech. We sleep with them beside our pillows. Yet… their workings are a mystery.

What does “magic iPhone” mean to you? Consider the supervillain who mind-controls a city’s populace, or the employee who stamps the runes that make your iPhone 8s so lightweight.

This anthology is based on the success of anthology editor Janine A. Southard’s recent novel, Cracked! A Magic iPhone Story, which stars an explicitly magical iPhone (found by story gamers in modern-day Seattle). That iPhone comes pre-loaded with a romance finder app of dubious morality that not only sends its users on terrible dates, but also sucks their life forces.

Editor’s Note: I’m looking for stories that cleverly incorporate the idea of a “magic iPhone” into any setting you like. I will, of course, be psyched to read variations on my crazy romance app, but I’m also excited to read something totally different. I’m accepting all genres except straight-up erotica or hard-core horror. (We’re aiming this anthology at general audiences, after all.) I think the idea lends itself well to comedy and dark fantasy, but… I guess that was obvious already.

How to submit: Send your story in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format to Janine A. Southard at

Note about brands: In Cracked! A Magic iPhone Story the titular device was, clearly, an iPhone. Cantina Publishing acknowledges that not everyone rates an iPhone as their favorite device, but the concept of the magic iPhone is the element which will tie together stories in this anthology. You are welcome to feature alternate devices in addition to the iPhone, but be respectful in the event of brand/model comparisons. “iPhone” is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.; Cantina Publishing is not affiliated with Apple Inc. (aside from having listings in the Apple iBooks Store); Cantina Publishing has received no incentive from Apple Inc. for featuring their product in this anthology.

Rights and compensation: Originals only, no reprints. We will purchase first publishing rights for inclusion in this anthology (ebook and print) and one year of exclusivity for $100 (further funding may be possible, subject to Kickstarter project fund availability). Authors retain the rights to the individual stories; Cantina Publishing exercises rights to the anthology as a whole. Each author will also receive a POD copy of the finished work.

General Guidelines:

Do send:
Your story with your contact details, name (and pseudonym, if applicable), and word count on the first page of a .doc, .docx, or .rtf document. Please use italics instead of underlining. Cantina Publishing recommends using a really common workhorse font like Times New Roman or Calibri at whatever the default setting is for your word processor. (Font selections are subject to change before publication. Still, the submissions reader will remember you as “the jerk who sent something all in wingdings.” So we don’t recommend that particular level of creativity.) 3,000-7,000 words recommended.

Don’t send: Fanfic of any kind. (Unless specified by the call for submissions.) Grotesque horror. Anything over 10,000 words without querying first.


31 October 2015 -- Alien Artifacts and Were- -- ed. Joshua Palmatier; Zombies Need Brains LLC

[NOTE: This is two books with the same editor and publisher, the same deadline, and nearly identical guidelines. I'm listing them together (as the editor did) to save space.]

Zombies Need Brains LLC is accepting submissions to its two science fiction and fantasy anthologies ALIEN ARTIFACTS and WERE-. Stories must be submitted in electronic form as an attachment with the title of the story as the file name in .doc or .docx format. The header of the email should include the name of the anthology the submission is for along with the title of the submission (for example: WERE-: WereJellyfish Gone Wild!). The content of the email should also include which anthology the manuscript is intended for. Please send multiple submissions in separate emails. Manuscripts should be in manuscript format, meaning double-spaced, 12pt font, standard margins on top, bottom and sides, and pages numbered. Please use New Times Roman font. The first page should include the Title of the story, Author’s name, address, and email, and Pseudonym if different from the author’s name. Italics and bold should be in italics and bold.

Stories for this anthology must be original (no reprints or previously published material), no more than 7,500 words in length, and must satisfy the theme of the anthology.

ALIEN ARTIFACTS is to feature stories where some type of left-behind alien tech has been found and how it may affect our society, our humanity, or the characters. It can be an artifact discovered on Earth in our past or during current times, OR PREFERRABLY, an artifact that we run across while exploring space in the future. I want to stress this: the story must feature an alien artifact (not an alien). Aliens can appear in the story, but the genesis of the story must be some kind of alien artifact. Stories featuring more interesting alien artifacts, and twists on how they are discovered or how they affect our society/humanity, while being set in the future, will receive more attention than those set in the present or past. In other words, we don’t want to see 100 stories dealing with an archeological dig discovering a long buried alien artifact. If we do, it’s likely that only one at most would be selected for the anthology. So be creative and choose something different and use it in an unusual and unexpected way. We are looking for a range of tones, from humorous all the way up to dark.

WERE- is to feature stories where some type of were-creature OTHER than a werewolf is the main character. Werewolves can appear in the story, but they cannot be the main character or the central focus of the story. I want to stress this: the story must feature a were-creature! Stories featuring more interesting were-creatures, and twists on how they are integrated into the story, will receive more attention than those with more mundane creatures. In other words, we don’t want to see 100 stories dealing with a were-cat. If we do, it’s likely that only one at most would be selected for the anthology. So be creative and choose something different and use it in an unusual and unexpected way. We are looking for a range of tones, from humorous all the way up to dark.

The deadline for submissions is October 31st, 2015. Decisions on stories should be completed by the end of December 2015. Please send submissions to You will receive a receipt email within a few days of receiving the submission. Notices about decisions on the stories will be sent out no later than the end of January 2016.

If your story is selected for use in the anthology, you should expect a revision letter by the end of January 2016. Revisions and the final draft of the story will be expected no later than the end of February 2016. These dates may change due to the editor’s work schedules. Zombies Need Brains LLC is seeking non-exclusive world anthology rights (including electronic rights) in all languages for the duration of one year after publication/release of the anthology. Your story cannot appear elsewhere during that year. Pay rate will be an advance of a minimum of 6 cents per word for the short stories. For each additional $5000 raised above the Kickstarter minimum of $10,000, we will increase this advance pay rate by 1 cent per word. The anthology will be published as an ebook and an exclusive mass market paperback edition, distributed to the Kickstarter backers. The book would be available after that to the general public in ebook and trade paperback formats. Advances would be immediately earned out by the success of the Kickstarter. Royalties on additional sales beyond the Kickstarter will be 25% of ebook cover price and 10% of trade paperback cover price, both split evenly (not by word count) between the authors in the anthology and the editors of the anthology.

Questions regarding these submission guidelines should be sent to Thank you.


30 November 2015 -- SNAFU: Unnatural Selection -- ed. Geoff Brown and Amanda J. Spedding; Cohesion Press

Anacondas, piranha, giant crocodiles/alligators/lizards, mutated bears near nuclear power stations, prehistoric sharks. These are a few of my favourite things.

All of these featured heavily in books and films of the 70s and 80s, when bio-horror was at its modern peak. For this anthology of military-bio-horror stories, we are looking for you to take us back to those days.

Think Greg McLean’s Rogue, Lake Placid, Eight-legged Freaks, Anaconda, Meg, Prophecy, Deep Blue Sea, and other modern films/books where people (in this case soldiers) are fighting against mutated or ultra-dangerous animals.

Stories must include a strong military-combat aspect.

We STRONGLY suggest you read some of the earlier SNAFUs to see what it is we like.

~ Payment: AUD4c/word and one contributor copy in each format released
~ Wordcount range: 2,000 – 10,000 words (query for shorter or longer)
~ Submissions open September 1, 2015. Closing date is November 30th, 2015 (anything submitted before or after this time will be deleted without being read or replied to). No selections will be made until after the period closes.

Projected publication date: August 2016

Please follow these guidelines when submitting to us:
1. Please put your full contact details on the first page of the manuscript top left, with word count top right.
2. Standard submission format, with minimal document formatting.
3. Courier or Times New Roman set at 12pt. Italics as they will appear. No underlining.
4. Double spaced.
5. Please don’t use TAB or space bar to indent lines. Use ‘styles’ only. If unsure or using a program that has no styles, do not indent at all. That’s still cool.
7. NO SPACE between paragraphs unless a line-break is required. ONE SPACE after full stops.
8. Please put full contact details on the first page of the manuscript (yes, I said this twice… it’s important).
9. Send your submission to Geoff Brown at as an attachment (.doc/.docx/.rtf).
10. In the subject line of your email, please put Unnatural Selection: [STORY TITLE] (Replace [STORY TITLE] with your actual story title. Yes, unfortunately I do need to state this)


Please include a brief ‘hello, this is who I am’ in your email body as a cover letter.
Blank emails with attachments will be deleted.

For a guide to standard submission format, see:

The only variations to this format are that italics MUST appear as they will be used – no underlining – and again, only one space after a full stop.

Anyone that fails to follow these guidelines will likely see their story gobbled up by giant spider/crocodile hybrids.


15 December 2015 -- It's Come to Our Attention -- Third Flatiron
[***Updated -- was 30 September. Do not submit before 15 October.]

Under the radar: things that are happening quietly, without a lot of fanfare, that may still be extremely significant or make a big difference.

Stories should be submitted in either Microsoft Word (using double spacing), RTF, or plain text. They should be between 1,500 and 3,000 words. Flash humor pieces (Grins and Gurgles) should be short, around 600 words.

Please don't send simultaneous or multiple submissions. If a story has been rejected, you can then send another.

Submit by email to either as an attachment (Word) or in the body of the mail (text).

In the Subject: line of the email, please put flatsubmit:Title_of_Your_Work to avoid being deemed a canned meat product based on ham.

If the work is for the humor section, please note that in the body of your email. A brief bio and a one- or two-sentence synopsis in the body of your email would also be helpful to us.

Your story must be original work, with the digital rights unencumbered. Accepted stories will be paid at the flat rate of 3 cents per word (U.S.), in return for the digital rights to the story for six months after publication. All other rights will remain with the author. We no longer offer royalties. If your story is selected as the lead story, beginning July 1, 2014, we will pay a flat rate of 6 cents per word (SFWA professional rate), in return for the permission to podcast or give the story away as a free sample portion of the anthology.

Third Flatiron will price and market your story to various e-publishing venues. We will format the story for the most popular electronic readers and platforms. You agree that we may distribute a sample (portion of the story) to potential customers.

For non-U.S. submissions, we prefer to pay via PayPal, if you have such an account.

Authors selected for publication will also be entitled to one free online copy of the anthology.