Sunday, August 26, 2018

Musing About Childhood Games

I just saw one of those little margin surveys on a web site, and it got me reminiscing. :)

It asks, what's the best childhood game? and offers kickball, capture the flag, hide-and-seek, or other.

For me, remembering how we played those games, it depends.

In the daytime, it's capture the flag, hands-down. At school, we played capture the flag on the soccer field, with extra-large chalkboard erasers as the flags. The 50-yard line divided the field in half, and jumpropes marked out huge circles at either end of the field, two on each end, one where your side's flag hung out, and one as the "jail" where captured players from the other side hung out.

For anyone who never played, the point is to get over the border, through/past the other team, grab their flag, and then carry it back across the border to your side, all without getting tagged. This, as you can imagine, is very difficult and takes considerable cunning.

If you're tagged while on the other team's side (or if kids from the other side could lean over the border and grab you -- without moving both their feet onto your side -- and drag you over the border so both of your feet were on their side) then you were captured and had to go to their jail. I have a feeling the grab-and-drag part of the program probably wouldn't be allowed in today's elementary schools. [cough]

If you could make your way past the other team without getting tagged and get to their jail, you got a free walk back with some one person who was in jail -- you could "rescue" them. You had to walk back holding hands, or grabbing their wrist, or whatever your childish ego would allow. :)

An out-and-out win was rare, and when it happened it took cunning. One of my favorite tricks was to wait until nobody was watching me, then step over the border and start walking, all slumped down and dejected-looking, toward the jail. Most of the time, anyone who saw you were assume you'd been captured, and you might get some jeers, but rarely would anyone bother tagging you. When I got to the jail, it was all, "Hah-HAH!" and "Losers!" as I walked back with one of my teammates.

Alternately, I'd walk dejectedly to jail, but then stay there, as though I'd actually been captured, whether or not there was anyone from my team legitimately there. Rescue wasn't the point. Then from jail, where I was free to leave whenever I wanted since I hadn't actually been captured, I'd watch the other team. Most of their attention was usually facing away, toward the border and my side, as they watched for incursions from the front. I'd wait until some other of my teammates were making a push to get over the border, and when all the enemies were fully engaged elsewhere, I'd dash over from the jail to the flag circle, grab the flag and hotfoot it to the border, passing enemies from behind. I actually made it a few times, which was pretty awesome. :D

Out of school, the kids on my block played a sorta similar game we called British Bulldog. We played on a large lawn, the adjoining yards between two houses. Each house had a concrete walk leading from the front door, along the side of the garage, then a short jog back (away from most of the lawn) to the driveway, which continued on to the sidewalk and the curb. We played between Tommy and Jimmy Tousignant's house, and Jimmy Ramirez's house, because there were no intervening trees or bushes, just a big expanse of lawn from one walkway/driveway to the other.

Someone started as the Bulldog, and went in the middle of the lawn. Everyone else lined up on the walk or the driveway, which were Base, a safe zone. The sidewalk was out of bounds. The Bulldog yelled, "British Bulldog" (I don't know why, that's just what it was) and everyone tried to dash across the lawn to get to the walk/driveway Base on the other side.

While this happened, the Bulldog would try to "get" someone. They had to get the person they were after down on their butt on the grass. How they did this was up to them. Pretty much anything was allowed -- tackling, pushing, grabbing and arm and doing the swing-and-slam... whatever. Yeah, it was a rough game. I think that's why we liked it so much. (Yeah, I was the only girl playing.)

If the Bulldog successfully got someone down on their butt, they were captured, and they stayed in the middle. Now there were two people trying to "get" the kids still running across. The game continued until everyone had been captured except one person, and that person got to be the new Bulldog for the next game.

No flags or anything, but there are similarities, and it was one of our favorite games to play in the daytime. :) The fact that it required no equipment at all was probably a major plus.

At night, though, hide-and-seek was king. We played in the daytime sometimes, but twilight and after dark were the best times. The shadows were your friends, and you could be a lot more creative with your hiding places.

I'm going to assume everyone knows how to play hide-and-seek. In the daytime, you have to actually hide someplace where you're hidden. As the light faded, though, you could be sneaky. We played in the front yards of five or six adjacent houses along our street, so there was quite a lot of territory to go through. One neighbor had a row of loose bushes running down the border between their yard and the next; in the dim or dark, you could kneel down on all fours between two bushes and fade into the ragged row of foliage, whereas in the daytime you'd be laughably visible. And once (but only once!) I successfully hid by standing up, straight and still, against a neighbor's garage, along a line of tall, straight, juniper bushes that grew there, a few feet apart. The kid searching didn't notice that two pairs of bushes were twice as close together as all the others. [grin]

Ninjas weren't really a thing at that time in popular kid-culture, in the early- to mid-seventies, but we were totally ninjas on those summer nights, hiding from each other in the shadows and the dim-blurred yards.

What games did you play as a kid?


Saturday, August 18, 2018

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. If you want to get an e-mail notification when the listing is posted, get the list a week early, or get a full listing of everything I've found (as opposed to the two months' worth I post here) a week early, you can support my Patreon.

Markets with specific deadlines are listed first, with "Always Open" and "Until Filled" markets (if any) at the bottom.

Markets open only to writers in a limited demographic are marked with a [NOTE:] from me, in italics, right after the main header.

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.


1 September 2018 -- Burnt Fur -- ed. Ken Macgregor; Blood Bound Books

Furry: 'noun informal 1. an enthusiast for animal characters with human characteristics, in particular a person who dresses up in costume as such a character or uses one as an avatar online.'

Furry can also mean actual anthropomorphic animal characters. Real animals acting like people (ie. Watership Down) or half-human/half-animal hybrids (ie. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

We’re looking for stories from the dark underbelly of Furry life. The Pooka who is not only invisible to everyone but Elwood Dowd ("Harvey"), but who is also slaughtering the neighborhood pets. The talking porcupine who uses an ancient form of acupuncture to mind-control the humans into a sex/blood cult. The couple who dress up as wolves, go to Furry cons, and actually eat people dressed as prey animals. You get the idea.

Show us the corruption of innocence. Give us fur matted with blood and semen. Make us squirm as we read. But, please, make sure you have a story to go with your gory. Please include a plot with your cum shot. If it’s all shock and no substance, we’ll likely pass.

What we’re looking for:

Genres: All sub-genres of horror accepted—extreme, bizzaro, erotic, new weird, splatterpunk—if it’s dark and it’s furry, we want it!

Stories must be previously unpublished in any form


Length: 1,500 words up to 7K

Multiple Submissions: No

Simultaneous Submissions: No

Payment: 3 cents/word


1 September 2018 -- Release the Virgins -- ed. Michael A. Ventrella

Through a kickstarter campaign, we were able to raise enough to go ahead with this project, and we have confirmations from authors David Gerrold, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Jody Lynn Nye, Allen Steele, Steve Miller, Sharon Lee, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Gail Z. Martin, Cecilia Tan, Patrick Thomas, Shariann Lewitt, Alex Shvartsman, Hildy Silverman, and Daniel M. Kimmel.

We should have room for a few extra stories as well. But only a few.

Submissions are open for short stories that include, somewhere in the story, the phrase "Release the Virgins."

The story should be no more than 5,000 words. This should be sufficient for what should most likely be a somewhat humorous tale. The payment is 5 cents a word. Do not take this as an invitation to pad your story in order to earn a few more bucks. If your story is complete at 3,000 words, then end it. A good but padded story may get rejected over a concise, fast-moving one, because we want to fit in as many stories as possible.

Unpublished authors are encouraged to submit, but will still face the same standards for submissions as the published authors. (Hint: Don’t send me a submission full of spelling and grammatical errors.)

An email proposal is required to make sure you are not duplicating an idea already reserved by one of the accepted authors. Send to

Once that is approved, your story should be double-spaced in rtf format with 12 point Times Roman font. There should be no spacing after the paragraphs. The first page must contain the name of the story, the word count, and your name, address, email, and phone number. Your cover letter should list any previous publications.


I’m getting a lot of proposed story ideas for the anthology and if they all submit stories, I’ll have to reject a lot (or hold them in case we do a second book).

But here’s some advice:

1. Avoid unicorns. I’ve already had a bunch of proposals about unicorns and even if the submitted stories are all good, I’m not going to want to have more than one or two unicorn stories in the anthology. We want variety.

2. Be creative. If it looks like you just took a story you already had and found a way to work the phrase into the story in such a way that I could remove the phrase completely and it wouldn’t hurt the story, then I will probably not accept it. The phrase should be relevant and necessary to the story.

3. Don’t send me a proposal with spelling and grammatical errors. I mean, duh.



15 September 2018 -- Non-Themed Horror Anthologies -- Corpus Press

Corpus Press is now accepting submissions for non-themed horror anthologies with a publication target of 2019. Submissions will be accepted according to our publishing needs, regardless of author publication history, status, race, creed, gender, sexual preferences or any other identity factor. Submissions should be story-driven and appeal to a wide adult audience.

What we ARE looking for:

== Not previously published short stories of 2,500-4,500 words. We are seeking stories that can be characterized as being within the broad category of “horror” fiction.
== Successful submissions will be highly original, well written and cleanly edited.
== Stories may be frightening, thought-provoking, atmospheric, humorous and/or satirical (or any combination thereof), but MUST contain a complete tale.

What we ARE NOT looking for:

== We are not seeking “extreme horror” or “Splatterpunk” material. We discourage submissions that have a singular purpose of shocking the audience with explicit language, sexuality and/or violence. Explicit language, sexuality and violence are acceptable, however, if handled in a tasteful manner and in service to a well-plotted, engaging story.
== Abstract mood pieces, vignettes, and highly experimental approaches to literature are discouraged. We are not accepting poems.
== Stories featuring exaggerated dialects, colloquialisms or excessive references to pop culture or current fads are discouraged.
== Not seeking stories featuring vampires, werewolves or zombies.
== Epistolary fiction will not be accepted.

Document Requirements: Submissions must be in an editable format sent via the publisher’s submission portal. No PDFs or scanned documents sent as image files will be accepted. Preference is for author name, email address and word count information to be placed only at the end of the document to assist with blinded review process.

Submission window: June 1, 2018 until midnight EST September 15, 2018.

Please no multiple or simultaneous submissions. Notifications of acceptance / rejection will be sent no later than October 30, 2018, with publication target of 2019.


Pay Rate: $.03 per word.
Payment will be capped at $150 USD for accepted submissions (2,500-4,500 words). Two (2) free contributor copies (paperback) will be provided upon publication, with contributors having the option to buy additional quantities at cost post-publication. Payment on publication.

Anthology target length: Approximately 250-300 pages. Title TBD.

Please note: Final contract required to be signed upon acceptance which may contain additional terms and conditions.


15 September 2018 -- The Cockroach Conservatory Vol. 2: Glory of Man: The Rise and Fall of the Reality Soldier -- ed. Trey Hudson and Andrew Hilbert; The Cockroach Conservatory

Pitiful humans!

It is time again to open submissions in celebration of our Lord Commander Patagonia! His second volume of holy texts will be titled: Glory of Man: The Rise and Fall of the Reality Soldier.

As always, the naming conventions of our infallible Lord Commander Patagonia enlightens as much as it obfuscates. Allow me, his perfect instrument of perfect judgement, to give some clarifying points.

As you may know, Lord Commander Patagonia was attracted to your puny planet by way of its music. One such song that struck him so was The Minutemen's Glory of Man.

[Click through for a video of the song.]

Themes we are looking for to further entwine the fate of our two planets, Earthagonia and Black Hole Duffel, are:

Fake News

In anticipation of silly questions and to lessen the chances that my Slap of Judgement be administered unto your face, allow me to be clear.

Fake News should make no mention of whatever current political climate your country is facing now. Absorb the themes of your time into fiction but we are not looking for your long winded diatribes about what you believe this way or that way. We are followers of Lord Commander Patagonia and we have no leader before him. Therefore, we care not for the gripes of your world.

You must not have a character named "Reality Soldier." The Reality Soldier is aboard our very expensive ship and does not take kindly to misrepresentation of his character.

We appreciate weird. We appreciate humorous. We appreciate absurdity. To get an idea of what we publish, take a look at our first volume available on Amazon here. We realize we are a new market and you may not want to shell out the bucks for the first volume. Fine, heathen. Think Joe Lansdale, Kelly Luce, or Etgar Keret. Think R. Crumb or Junji Ito. Or think none of that. We are going to accept what we like. We do not adhere to a strict set of regulations in terms of genre or literature. To get a feel of how we approach things, listen to the Spacecast here.




1. Stories must be in doc or docx format.
2. Include a short bio in the body of the email.
3. No reprints
4. Maximum word count is 3000.
5. We pay 6 cents a word. Payable upon publication.
6. NO SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS. We respond quickly in comparison to other markets.
7. Limit multiple submissions to three.
8. Your email subject line should be SUBMISSION: [YOUR NAME] [TITLE]
9. Submissions open on August 1st, 2018. They close on September 15, 2018.


1. We pay a flat rate of $10 per poem
2. Include a short bio in the body of the email
3. No reprints
4. No e.e. cummings formatting.
6. Send up to five poems.
7. Your email subject line should be POETRY: [YOUR NAME]
8. Submissions open on August 1st, 2018. They close on September 15, 2018.

Email all submissions to


1 October 2018 -- American Psychos -- ed. Randy Chandler and Cheryl Mullenax; Red Room Press

Note: Anthology updates will be posted in the right hand column [of the web page] (accepted authors, tentative contributors, etc.)

Red Room Press is seeking stories for a new dark crime/thriller/horror anthology, American Psychos: A Serial Killer Anthology. Inspired by the most disturbingly violent and graphic crime thriller novels of our time, including Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, Shane Steven’s By Reason of Insanity, Michael Slade’s Headhunter, our goal is to make American Psychos a brutal, suspenseful, nightmare-inducing hard ride into hell.

Stories must be about a serial killer, obviously. The story can either be based on a real serial killer or a fictional serial killer. Stories should primarily be set in the USA, but the character may travel abroad. We want stories that are brutal, graphic, disturbing and violent. The above referenced books will give you a good idea of what we are looking for. Serial killers must be human; no supernatural elements, monsters, or vampires. They can have supernatural beliefs, however, and they can be any gender or race.

Publication Date: Early 2019

Length: 3500-5500 words.

Response Time: 4-8 weeks

Payment for original stories: $100 ($150 if we meet our crowdfunding campaign goal, See sidebar for details and other anthology updates)

No unsolicited reprints or multiple submissions.

What to Send

In the body of an email:

== Author name
== Story title
== Word Count
== A brief bio
== A short description of the story.
== Attachment of entire manuscript in rtf, doc, or docx format only. Standard formatting.

We’ll send a notification within 48 hours that we received your submission. If you don’t get this, please inquire. We may not have received it.



1 October 2018 -- Crash Code -- ed. Kevin Holton; Blood Bound Books

The future is now. At least, that's what we're told, but the more advanced technology gets, the more ways people find to hurt each other. Many say that technology changes the way we define 'human.' In this anthology, we'll erase the definition entirely.

That's what you'll answer. In Crash Code, we want to see the pinnacle of our technology meeting the depths of our depravity. Let's talk voluntary amputations so we can wear cybernetic limbs as fashion statements. Tell us how commercial interplanetary flight changes human tracking. Show the world what the criminal underworld can do in an age of quantum computers. This anthology is going to focus on just how far human kind is willing to fall in pursuit of the next innovation, whether it's paying for bionic sex in bitcoins, five-year-olds browsing the Dark Web, bar code tattoos, mainstream holographic snuff films, or corrupted neural implants driving their users mad.

Think Neuromancer with even more drugs and crime. Imagine Blade Runner meets Saw. Picture Wrath James White's version of Brave New World. Imagine a test-tube baby made from George Orwell and Jack Ketchum. If your story makes people think American Mary merged with Altered Carbon, we want it.

These are just some ideas. Pick one if you like, or come up with your own sick, twisted future. Just make sure it answers one question:

In a world where everything demands a dollar sign and subscription fees, is humanity something we can afford to lose?

Stories must be previously unpublished in any form


Length: 1,500 words up to 7K

Deadline: October 1st 2018

Multiple Submissions: No

Simultaneous Submissions: No

Payment: 3 cents/word


1 November 2018 -- Unlocking the Magic -- ed. Vivian Caethe

Word limit: 3000-6000 words.

Pay rate: $300/story + royalties

Genre: Fantasy only (no Science Fiction or Horror, although horror elements may be present in the story). Urban Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Steampunk, and other genres of fantasy are all encouraged.

Language: English (translations are welcome).

Submissions close: November 1, 2018

Rights: We claim first world English rights (no reprints). For an excellent break down of what this means, please see Neil Clarke’s post here.

In fantasy, we read about how people with mental illness are more susceptible to magic, closer to breaks in reality, more likely to be able to see the unseen. These stereotypes are harmful and contribute to keeping people from seeing the good in getting help, taking their meds, or talking to someone.

This anthology is about changing the narrative and telling stories of strength and perseverance, of getting help despite the darkness. Not the myth that getting help will kill creativity and magic. Not the story our society tells about mentally ill people: that art and magic must come from suffering.

I want stories that show what can be accomplished when we take care of ourselves and seek help. I want stories that show the reality of being mentally ill within a fantasy setting. I want to see how mental illness and its treatment affects the magic that lies within all of us. I want to read realistic portrayals of mental illness in magical worlds.

Send your stories formatted in Standard Manuscript format attached as a .doc to cuppateaanthologies at gmail dot com. Include your name, byline, email address, mailing address, and approximate word count. In your cover letter, also include the mental illness diagnosis your story addresses (e.g. depression, PTSD, bipolar, etc).

When writing your story, consider that you’re writing about real experiences that real people have, not just something fictional characters have to deal with. Do your research and write with compassion. I am looking for noblebright, not grimdark.

Submissions from diverse individuals and those with mental illnesses are encouraged.


ALWAYS OPEN -- Future Visions Anthology Series -- ed. Brian J Walton; Camton House Publishing

The Future Visions Anthologies is a science fiction anthology series, aiming to deliver excellent and diverse short story collections on a quarterly basis. In the tradition of great television anthology series such as The Twilight Zone, and Black Mirror, the Future Visions Anthologies will broadly explore all genres and traditions of science fiction and speculative fiction, seeking in each story to explore deeply themes that are relevant to a modern audience.


What do you hope the future will bring? What are you afraid we may become? How do our visions of the future inform and give shape to the hopes and fears that we have today?

These questions are what defines anthology series like The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror. Rather than mandating a theme for each publication, (one publication for cyborgs, one for time travelers, etc...) I want authors to feel free to explore these larger questions using any and all of the popular science fiction tropes: new technology, exploration, nightmarish dystopians, alien species, baffling utopias, the list goes on...


The Future Visions Anthologies seeks to bring diversity to all aspects of their publications, from the stories and authors we publish, to the themes and genres we explore. All authors may apply regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or political affiliation.


The Future Visions Anthologies seeks to engage authors with fair and equitable terms through participation in the anthologies. The anthologies will be enrolled in Kindle Unlimited for an initial six-month term, during which stories will be exclusive to the anthology. After this, anthologies will continue be available as an ebook (not in KU) for an additional six-month term. During this term, partial publication rights will return to the author to publish as an ebook, except for in KU. After one year, the ebook will be unpublished, returning all rights to the author.

Payment will be based on a profit-share model with a guaranteed minimum payment of $150. Authors will receive royalties during the first six months of membership. At the end of the royalty period, if the author's royalties do not meet the minimum payment of $150 then the remaining amount will be paid. There is no cap to the amount of royalties that may be earned. Earning reports for the anthology will be provided to all participating authors to ensure complete transparency. Specific terms will be available after initial acceptance of the author's story.

Submission Guidelines:

== Authors must read and be in agreement with the above before submitting.
== There is no fee to submit.
== Submissions must be original, never before published works.
== Submissions may be set in a larger universe, but should be a complete story; do not send excerpts, parts, or volumes.
== Word Count is 2k-7k words (exceptions for up to one story per anthology can be made).
== Submissions should be written to the best of the author's ability. Professional editing is not required but may help in the consideration of your piece. Camton House Publishing will provide professional editing and proofreading, approved by the author, and a final, edited version will be submitted to the author upon publication.
== Adult language and sexual situations are permitted, but no hate speech, erotica or "X-rated" material.
== Formatting: 12pt Times New Roman font with 1.5-line spacing; 1-inch margins on all sides; no extra spaces between paragraphs; leading indentations, but no tabs.
== Include "Future Visions Short Story Submission" in the header and the following information in the body of the email:
o Author Name
o Story Title
o Word Count
o Brief Bio, written in the third person. 100-300 words.
== Submissions should be submitted in docx format as an attachment.
== Submissions should be emailed to

Submissions that do not follow the above guidelines will not be considered.


Submissions are always open. Authors who have submitted will be notified within 4-6 weeks of submission regarding whether their story has been selected.

[Okay, this is different. I'll be treating this one like an "Until Filled" market, in that I'll be checking every month to make sure they're still alive. Unlike a UF, I'll keep posting this so long as it's still alive. (Unless it turns morbid or skeevy, the usual.) Note that this is a royalty split with a guaranteed minimum, which works out to pro rates up to 2500 words, and semi-pro after that. Best practice IMO is to assume that the minimum is all you'll ever get from this market; that way, so long as you do get paid, all your surprises will happy ones.

Interesting business model; it's basically a magazine that's being treated like an antho series, more or less. I'll be keeping an eye on this one, and may revisit the listing in the future.]


UNTIL FILLED -- Black Superheroes Do It Too! -- Black Books Publishing -- First Listed January 2018

We are currently accepting submissions for our Black Erotica/Superhero Anthology (Working Title: Black Superheroes Do It Too!). Submissions should be full stories, not just sex scenes and between 3500 and 10,000 words. Writers, feel free to query to ensure your story idea hasn't already been submitted.

This anthology pays $100US. The submission period will remain open until our goal of a 225+ page anthology has been reached.

Thoroughly edited material has the best chance of acceptance. You don't need to pay someone to edit your material, but if you're serious about your writing, we do recommend it. At a minimum, we suggest you have others read over your work for typos and grammatical errors.

All manuscripts should be in Microsoft Word and should be double spaced with an extra space between each paragraph. THIS EXTRA SPACE SHOULD BE DONE IN MICROSOFT WORD, THROUGH YOUR PARAGRAPH SETTINGS, NOT BY YOU ACTUALLY HITTING "ENTER" TWICE. There should be no indention at the start of each paragraph.

Send to: with "Superhero Erotica" in the subject heading.


If you've found this listing useful, and especially if you've sold a story to a market you found here (score!) I'd love to hear about it. You can e-mail me at angiepen at gmail dot com.

If you'd like to support these listings in a more concrete way, here are a couple of ways to do it:

Become a Patron!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Expanding the Borders

I've decided to make a change in how I choose anthologies to list in my postings.

As you might know, these lists started out as a list on my hard drive, for my own reference. It included anthologies I thought might be interesting to write for; I noted down the vital info, so I could find it easily. I eventually started sharing the lists each month.

The list has grown from its origin in some ways -- I post anthos with all genres of fiction, rather than just genres I write in myself -- but not in others. I don't post poetry anthologies because I haven't written poetry in decades and know nothing about current markets. I don't post flash fiction anthologies because I don't write flash, and besides there are a bajillion flash anthos and they'd be better off collected in a place of their own, by someone who's into flash.

But I've also posted only books that I qualified to write for, unless specifically asked. I've had a few editors write to ask if I'd post some limited-demographic books, and if they otherwise qualified, I've been happy to do so, but I haven't gone looking for those books on my own.
I do come across them, though. And so I've decided that as I find anthologies open only to a limited demographic, if they otherwise qualify, I'll go ahead and post them. The complete post that $5 patrons get has one of these this month, with a December deadline, and I'm sure there'll be more in the future.

To clarify, I'll post info for books that are limited by the age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or ability status of the writer.

I still won't post books limited to writers who are members of a particular organization, or students of a particular school. I figure if you're a member of an organization or a student at a school that's putting an anthology together, you'll hear about it through your org/school's web site or newsletter or whatever.

I'm considering geographical limitations. On the one hand, I can see the utility in posting anthologies only open to Canadians, for example. There are a lot of Canadian writers who wander around the English-speaking writerverse online where my Patreon and my blogs are found. And there are a number of Canadian publishers who receive subsidies from their government, and who are partially or completely limited to publishing Canadian writers because of that, so the question does come up at least once or twice a year. I'm pretty sure there are at least a few Canadians reading this, so those posts would be useful to at least some people.

Would it be useful, though, to post anthologies only open to, say, current citizens or current/past residents of a non-English-speaking country? I see those very occasionally, so they're out there, and they advertise in English. I'm thinking they must have their own places they hang out online, though, where they'd get that kind of news, so there wouldn't be much point in my posting them. On the other hand, there are minority populations who could probably use the signal boost. What do you all think?

And just looking at numbers, I'm wondering whether it'd be worthwhile to post calls for anthologies open only to residents of a particular state of the US. I've seen a few of those around over the years, they do exist, but would it be useful to post those? Would you all like to see them?

I'd love to hear what you think about the geographically limited books in particular, and anything else you'd like to comment on.



Friday, August 3, 2018

Birthday Muffins

So, today was my birthday. I'm 55, and finally eligible for some senior discounts, yay. :)

We didn't do anything really special, but I had a good day, which is the whole point, right? I didn't want to make a cake that'd sit there taunting me as leftovers for a week, so I made a batch of muffins. I've made them a bunch of times, and they turned out pretty good.

They're chocolate banana chocolate chip coconut muffins. They're very dark (from all the chocolate) and don't take a great picture, but they're seriously delicious. :) They're easy to make, too.

Chocolate Banana Chocolate Chip Coconut Muffins

3 brown bananas
1/2 stick of butter or margarine
1-2 tbs butter or margarine to grease muffin pan
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup AP flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 bag (12 oz.) chocolate chips
1/2 bag (14 oz. bag, so 7 oz.) shredded coconut (flaked will work too)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Melt the 1/2 stick of butter. I put it in a mug, cover it with a saucer, then microwave it for one minute on 30% power. Your microwave might be different, so be careful.

Grease the muffin tin. I like using margarine; it's softer and you get a thicker layer of stuff on the muffin cups, which makes them easier to remove once they've baked and cooled. Note that you can use either the 12-medium-muffin tin or the 6-large-muffin tin; I've used both, and they work fine, even the baking time is the same.

Mash the bananas thoroughly in a large mixing bowl.

Add the melted butter or margarine, the 1/2 cup sugar, the egg, and the vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly.

Add shredded coconut. Mix thoroughly.

In another mixing bowl (this one can be a bit smaller) put the 1 1/4 cup AP flour, the 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa, the salt, and the baking soda. (I sift my baking soda in a small strainer to get the lumps out of it. If you're the kind of person who thinks baking soda toothpaste makes an awesome ice cream topping, go ahead and just dump your spoonful of soda into the bowl with the flour, etc. No, seriously, there are few "Yuck!" experiences in baking like biting into a muffin and finding that there's a little rock of baking soda in it. :P ) Mix thoroughly.

Add the chocolate chips to the flour mixture. Mix thoroughly.

Dump the flour mixture into the banana mixture.

Mix carefully, with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. The trick here is to thoroughly moisten all the dry ingredients, without over-mixing the batter. I find a folding motion, like when you're folding whipped egg whites into something, alternated with scraping the dry mixture off the sides of the bowl, works best.

Portion the batter out into the muffin tin. I like to use a disher -- one of those half-sphere ice cream scoop things, with a sweeper-arm in it -- but a regular spoon will work. Two spoons, or a spoon and a fork, will work even better. Once all the muffin cups are full, I use a fork to make sure the batter is distributed as evenly as possible.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Let the muffins cool for at least half an hour. If you used a good layer of margarine to grease the muffin tin, you should be able to get them out by hand, with a slow and gentle twisting motion. If they're stubborn, use a butter knife straight down the sides of each cup, all the way down to the bottom, then make a gentle prying motion. Do that 2-4 times in each cup, evenly spaced around the cup, depending on how stubborn the muffins are being.


Regular Banana Muffins -- use 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 cup sugar, and eliminate the baking cocoa, the chocolate chips and the coconut. This is basically banana bread batter; you can use it for either muffins or a loaf of banana bread. (The baking cocoa subbed for 1/4 cup of flour, and the shredded coconut is sweetened, and subs for 1/2 cup of the sugar.)

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins -- make Regular Banana Muffins, but toss a bag of chocolate chips into the flour (and mix) before combining the wet and dry ingredients.

Other Fruit Muffins -- pretty much any fruit sauce/compote will work in place of the mashed bananas. Eyeball how much "stuff" you end up with in the bowl after you mash your bananas, and use about the same amount of other fruit. Chunky applesauce works well, although the apple muffins will be a bit moister. Other fruit compote (fruit seeded/pitted/hulled/chunked as needed, and cooked down with about half a cup of sugar) makes good muffins too. I've made great strawberry, peach, plum, and bing cherry muffins this way, taking advantage of summer fruits. If you use fruit compote/sauce, use 1/2 cup sugar when you make the muffins, to allow for the 1/2 cup of sugar in the compote/sauce. I've never added coconut to fruit compote muffins; I'd probably try them with no added sugar, because the 1/2 cup of sugar in the compote, plus the sweetened coconut, would probably be plenty of sugar.

Seriously, this isn't rocket science, or rocket fuel chemistry -- play with the recipe and see what you get. :)