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Preview: Angie's Desk

Angie's Desk

Updated: 2017-12-17T17:29:43.171-08:00


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, "Until Filled" markets (if any) 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 guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.***31 December 2017 -- 2019 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide -- ed. Corie and Sean Weaver; Dreaming Robot PressWe’re looking for stories that:== Have a main character that a middle grade reader (ages 8-12) can identify with;== Show a diverse set of real characters;== Are well written, fun to read, and encourage a love of reading science fiction;== Tell of adventure, space, science. Give us rockets, robots and alien encounters, and we’re pretty happy; Steampunk, time travel, weird west and alternate history are all fine;== Are between 3,000 and 6,000 words.To be super clear – we’re looking science fiction, in all its variants. While we love fantasy as well, please don’t submit fantasy stories for this anthology.We’re especially looking for stories:== Of adventure! We love a good dystopia as much as the next robot, but remember – this is the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide;== Where the main character is of a population that has traditionally been under-represented in science fiction, e.g. girls, people of color, differently abled people;== Where the main character has agency, exercises it, and isn’t just along for the ride.We are strong supporters of both the #weneeddiversebooks and #ownvoices movements.We’re not interested in:== Stories where the female characters primarily exist to be rescued or as a prize for the males;== Stories where the primary plot or subplot is romantic in nature;== Stories with graphic violence or any form of sexual activity;== Stories with any violence towards animals;== Stories about the first girl to do X, surprising everyone;== Stories that depict any ethnicity or gender as universally bad or stupid.Please note: although we’re aware kids have a wide and varied vocabulary, we’d prefer not to have swearing in the stories. If your story has swearing, please rephrase before submitting.Submission deadline, mechanics and planned schedule:== Anthology will be open for submissions from July 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017, with a reading period of January and February 2018.== While we prefer original stories, if you have something perfect that had a limited run elsewhere, query us and we’ll talk;== Acceptance notices will be sent by March 30, 2018;== In the summer we will launch a crowd-funding campaign to help with pre-publication costs. Regardless of results of crowd-funding campaign, we are committed to publishing the anthology. We’ve successfully funded the previous three anthologies this way, chances are favorable.Rights and Payments:== Authors will be provided with a complete Anthology Contract for review and consideration with the notice of accepted submissions.== In keeping with SWFA’s guidelines, we pay $0.06/word on final edited word count for one-year exclusive worldwide English rights and nonexclusive right to republish, print, or reprint the complete anthology in any language or format after the first year, print and electronic, and two contributor copies. Payment upon final edit.== If the crowd-funding fails, please note that we are still committed to this anthology, and will find other ways to fund the project. However, there may be delays. If authors feel the need to withdraw their submission due to delays, we understand.== We will provide professional editing, primarily for iss[...]

Wonderful Star Wars Comics


Sad Panda has a seriously wonderful collection of Star Wars comics that are mashups of Star Wars and Calvin and Hobbes, plus a few other bonus strips -- I loved the Peanuts one. :) Definitely check them out. :D

Thanks to Jim Hines for the link.


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, "Until Filled" markets (if any) 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 guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.***30 November 2017 -- Holy C.O.W.! -- ed. D. AvrahamHoly C.O.W.! SF stories from the Center Of the World is an anthology of Speculative Fiction stories rooted in the ancient Fertile Crescent, Levant and the Middle East, but stretch into the near and distant future. Holy C.O.W.! is seeking all styles and sub-genre, including humorous speculative fiction. Addition consideration will also be given to artists who live or are from the region.SUBMISSION WINDOW: November 1 – November 30, 2017LENGTH: 500-6000 words.PAYMENT: $0.07 - $0.10 per word + contributor copy. Payment will be made upon acceptance. Our preferred method of payment is via PayPal, but you may request a check.FORMAT: ODT RTF or DOC. Standard Manuscript Format or some close approximation.SEND TO: Upload your stories via the Submission Link.Please Report your Submission Stats to The Submission Grinder and to Duotrope!Limit of 1 submission per author — even if you receive a response before the submission window closes please do not send another story unless directly invited to do so.Please do not respond to rejections. The email address associated with submissions is not monitored. If you wish to query for any reason, please use the contact form or e-mail us: editor at holycowpublishing dot com.RIGHTS SOUGHT: First Worldwide print and electronic English Language rights. Exclusivity for 90 days from date of release. Non-exclusive print, e-book, and audio rights afterward.POLICIES & RESPONSE TIME: No reprints, multiple or simultaneous submissions please. You may query after 30 days. Please send only one submission per author unless directly invited to send more.WHAT WE WANT: We’re looking for speculative stories rooted in the Fertile Crescent, Levant and the Middle East. The region should be an integral part of the story, and not simply a transplant. For ideal example think of how Mike Resnick's story "Kirinyaga" relates to Africa culture and issues. We welcome quality flash fiction and non-traditional narratives. Authorized English translations of original stories, particularly from regional artists, are also welcomed and encouraged.***1 December 2017 -- Tales from the Lake Volume 5 -- ed. Kenneth W. Cain; Crystal Lake PublishingWHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR:== We want stories that haunt the readers for months to come.== We prefer quiet horror and dark fiction with a literary bent. Don’t use gore for the sake of grossing us out. Use it sparingly, and only to further the story.== Stories should be no longer than 6000 words, but that doesn’t mean the story should use all 6000 words. Use the word count it takes to write YOUR story. The sweet spot will likely be closer to 4000 words.== Ground your stories in the REAL world.== Create believable, three-dimensional characters just as real as your friends and neighbors. The world these characters inhabit should be equally authentic, hitting all the senses.== Originality is important—we don’t want your version of someone else’s story from yesteryear.== Although our arms are wide open, we’re more interested in fiction that reflects the modern. Kelly Link, Karen Russell, Joe Hill, Damien Angelica Walters, and Mercedes M. Yardley are prime examples of current dark fiction wri[...]

Have You Signed Up For Health Care Yet?


Comic by Keith Knight, shared with permission.

Spread the word! Keith says:

I did a week of dailies informing folks to sign up for health care by Dec. 15th. Our Dotard-in-Chief has cut the ad budget by 99% (and the time to sign-up in half) in an effort to destroy Obamacare. Spread this comic around the interwebs as an eff-you to King Cheeto!

Fleeing Into November


So, October sucked and I'm very glad it's over.About a week and a half into the month, my gastroparesis flared up, and off to the ER we went. This is bad enough -- having your stomach working at turning itself inside-out with enough determination as to require intravenous meds is pretty sucktastic. We got that straightened out, I came home and collapsed, and then took most of a week to recover. My stomach was mostly fine as of the next day, but being that sick sucks the energy right out of me, and it usually takes five or six days to get back to my old activity level, with enough energy to actually spend most of each day conscious.[The upside of this is that it was my first ER visit in about eleven months. Two or three years ago, my husband worked out that we had to run to the ER on the average of every four weeks, for the whole year. Yeah, I'll take an eleven-month gap and be pretty happy about it.]Then about a week before Halloween, I snapped an incisor. :/ I was chewing on something, then felt this SNAP! and one of my (thankfully root-canalled and crowned) incisors was just sort of sitting in its socket, not actually attached any more. Crap.This happened to me before, a few years ago. (The other large incisor, the one right next to the one that broke off this time.) I just went to the dentist on Wednesday, because we'd cancelled our dental insurance (this has been a tight year financially) and had to sign back up again. The renewed insurance didn't kick in till the first of the month, so holding pattern until then.Even if everything goes perfectly, this is going to take months to resolve. I'm getting another implant, which is fine, but it comes in several steps, with months between each step for thorough healing before progressing on. So I've got this hole in my face (again) and I'm going to be dealing with it until, probably, some time this coming summer. Late spring at the earliest.I decided to skip the temporary, cosmetic not-really-replacement thing this time. Last time, I got an ultra-temporary fake tooth cemented in, because I was two days from dashing off to a workshop, and there was no time to do the long-term temporary replacement at that point. The ultra-temporary was so fragile, my dentist told me not even to brush while I had it. When your dentist says not to brush, that's Fragile with a capital F. :P And it fell out three days later anyway, so that was $800 wasted.The long-term temporary thing was what's called a "flipper," which is basically a denture-y thing with only one tooth on it. You have to remove it to eat, and although they told me I'd get used to talking with it in, I never did. And after I got my implant post put in, the periodontist did some drilling at the base of the fake tooth in my flipper so it'd fit over the cap at the top of the post, but it never did fit right, so it was even more annoying to wear and I hardly ever did. I don't remember what the flipper cost, but it was somewhere in the $$$$ range. I've decided to bail on that one too. Way too much expense for a purely cosmetic deal that's non-functional and uncomfortable. Nah, I'll skip it. If people want to stare at the hole in my face, they're welcome to do so.At least this time when I went to the dentist for the preliminary look-around (which was basically for the purpose of saying, "Yep, you need an implant,") she mentioned that I have a very deep bite, which means when I close my jaw, my upper teeth overlap my lower teeth almost completely. That apparently puts a lot of pressure on those upper teeth, which is why I've had the breakage problem. Okay, well, there's nothing I can do about it, but I guess it's good to know why this keeps happening. :/So, that was October. Good riddance.Now it's November, and I'm doing NaNoWriMo. I'm AngiePen on the site, if you're playing too and want to Buddy me. I'm working on a romance novel, and things are going well so far. I've had about 46K words of this one sitting on my hard drive f[...]

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, "Until Filled" markets (if any) 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 guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.***31 October 2017 -- This Side of the Divide -- ed. Baobab PressBaobab Press and the University of Nevada, Reno MFA Program in Creative Writing are partnering to publish This Side of the Divide, an anthology of short fiction by emerging and established authors exploring the United States West.This exciting project will speak to the West’s newness, vastness, sense of territoriality and transience, spanning from untouched wilderness to hyper-urban settings. We’re seeking fresh, original views of the western U.S. Our aim is to capture this region’s unique essence in all of its cultural and geographic diversity.All submissions will be reviewed, and accepted works will be edited by a committee of readers from Baobab Press and the UNR MFA Program in Creative Writing. Selected writers will receive a complimentary copy of the book and a payment of $100. Submitted stories should be around 3,000 to 5,000 words, and will need to be submitted for review no later than October 31st, 2017. Please send us your story via Submittable.***31 October 2017 -- Lost Films -- ed. Max Booth IIIAttention, writers of horror fiction.We’re currently seeking short stories for an upcoming anthology titled Lost Films. In 2016 we released Lost Signals, which has done very well for us. Think of Lost Films as its sequel.We are looking for horror stories involving films, Hollywood, projectors & projectionists, home movies, webcams, television, documentaries, and other themes involving recorded visual disturbances. We want these stories to be weird and terrifying.Some good examples of what we’re after: Cigarette Burns by John Carpenter, Starry Eyes by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, Experimental Film by Gemma Files, House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, “Ardor” by Laird Barron, Videodrome by David Cronenberg, Angel of the Abyss by Ed Kurtz, and everything else discussed in this LitReactor article.Deadline: October 31, 2017Payment: $0.02 per wordWord count: 1,000-8,000Reprints: NoSend all submissions to with “LOST FILMS – [STORY] by [AUTHOR]” in the subject line. If you haven’t heard back from us by December 1st, feel free to query. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.***1 November 2017 -- TROUBLE THE WATERS: Tales from the Deep Blue -- ed. Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan, and Troy L. Wiggins; Rosarium PublishingShe moves with deliberate grace.Mami Wata, Momu Watu, La Sirene, Sedna, Coventina, Suijin, Mother of WatersShe is the water between us, the water within us, the water that slakes thirst, from which we were born. Water is the natural and the sacred, the functional and the necessary. All over the world, in cultures young and old, water is life and from this force, great adventures, quests, and legacies begin. And whether it is still, moves, rises, or falls, water fills us. Imagine what stories and strange tales can be told from the depths of its depths.TROUBLE THE WATERS: Tales from the Deep Blue will be a new anthology of water-themed speculative short stories that explore all kinds of water lore and deities, ancient and new as well as unimagined tales. We want stor[...]

Delousing the Computer


Or, Explaining How I Was Recently An IdiotSo, I'm going along, minding my own online business, when I get a pop-up saying that Firefox urgently needs to update. Sure, whatever. I hate updating -- too often, something I like breaks, or crap I hate appears, or occasionally they'll reset everything to default which means I have to waste however much time trying to remember which options and customizations and whatever-the-bleep-else I need to go digging into to get things back the way I like them. So I blew it off.It appeared again a while later, though. I wasn't as busy and figured they'd keep bugging me (as they always do) so I figured, bleep it, and let it update.Except this "update" opened a DOS window and code started scrolling up.I've never seen a Firefox update that looked like that. Not being completely stupid (although clearly I'm at least a little stupid, since I let this happen) I CTRL-ALT-DELed it's ass and stopped the process. Enough had installed, though, that I started to get the occasional credit card commercial playing on my computer. Audio only. There was no credit card commercial running in any of my browser windows, so clearly I'd let something nasty onto my computer. [sigh]I Googled the "urgent Firefox update" thing, and saw that something had infected my computer earlier to make that appear. Which is weird. This is a new laptop, I haven't loaded much stuff onto it, or done much random browsing -- mostly I go to the same batch of websites on a regular basis. But I caught a bug somewhere.Okay, so a web site that talked about the Firefox update malware gave instructions on how to deal with it. Go here, look there, search for these files or anything else that looks squirrely and delete them. Except there wasn't anything at all on my computer that looked weird. Like I said, not much there at all at this point. I sorted the file list by install date, and nothing -- everything looked legit.Next advice was to install something called Malwarebytes. I Googled Malwarebytes just in case, and it had good comments and reviews on various industry sites, so okay, I grabbed the free copy, downloaded, installed... except it didn't seem to be completely there. :/ The web site giving instructions said it'd do this, do that, download, open up and ask you to do X and confirm Y and then it'd ask if you wanted it to do a scan and you should say yes... but it didn't do any of that. It seemed to download and install okay, but it never opened. Doubleclicking on it didn't open it. There was a Malwarebytes icon in my systray, and doubleclicking on that didn't open it either.I finally figured out I could have it do a scan by right-clicking on the desktop icon. Nothing seemed to happen, but a few minutes later, a box popped up to say everything was fine.:/From that point on, Malwarebytes would periodically open a window (sometimes two or three or six in a row) to tell me that it'd blocked my OS from sending data to a website.So much for Nothing Bad On Your System. :PAt this point, I got my husband, a retired IT pro, involved. He confirmed that Malwarebytes is well known and highly regarded. Okay, good. He/we worked on my laptop for the rest of the day, but he couldn't find anything either. He said the next step was doing a complete reset -- basically reformatting the hard drive, reinstalling software and starting over.[headdesk]I really hate doing that. I just got this damn machine set up the way I want it, figuring out which options and customizations and whatever-the-bleep-else I need to go digging into, in every freaking program I use, plus the OS, to get things back the way I like them. Sorry, I griped about that before. :( But you know? So I let it go for the rest of the evening, just closing the Malwarebytes notification windows whenever they popped up.Until, late last night, I got a message saying that Malwarebytes couldn't run anymore, and Windows would let me kno[...]

Real Life Steampunk


Okay, this is pretty awesome. :) The video shows the Kempton Park (England) big triple steam engine starting up. First they start a small engine to one side, then engage it with one of the flywheels and the big engine starts up. When I first started watching, I thought the small one was the the thing, and was all, "Okay, that's kinda cool..." Then the big one started. Whee!

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I have no idea what the engineer who's running the thing is saying when he talks; I can only make out a few words here and there, between his accent and the noise of the engine. No big deal -- it's still very cool to watch.

Makes me want to write some more steampunk, this time with some really big engines. :D


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, "Until Filled" markets (if any) 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 guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.***29 September 2017 -- Alien Invasion -- Flame Tree PublishingVisitors from other planets have long obsessed us. H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds spawned a huge wave of speculative fiction but the roots of such fears run deep in our literature, where the mysteries of other cultures have long threatened the familiar and the comfortable. Did aliens build the ancient pyramids? Do they live amongst us today? What happens when they invade? Would it be an inevitable act of aggression, one of assistance and care, or simply a reminder of our paltry existence in a crowded universe?We are looking for new and recent short stories. We do not require exclusivity. You hold copyright, licensing us just for this publication. We don’t mind if your story has been previously published online or in print (though we do need to know publication and date). Simultaneous submissions are fine, but you must have the right to license your story in an anthology.Word length is most likely to be successful at 2000–4000, but we will still read stories slightly outside this range. Submit by email to Fees, Copyright and Other Terms== We pay Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) rates of 6 cents per word.== We would prefer to pay via PAYPAL because bank charges to the US and Canada in particular can be crippling for all concerned.== Payment will be made within 30 days of the final advertised publication date (see our website, for details), although we might choose to pay some early.== Submission does not imply the right to publication. Each story will be read and assessed by the selection panel.== Please submit in .doc or .rtf formats, double spaced, with your name and email address in the footer or header of each page.== We will aim to read each story and confirm its status within 30 working days of the submission deadline.== The anthologies will be published worldwide, available online and to bookstores worldwide, in print and ebook formats.== You can submit more than one story, and to each collection.Submit by email only to: 2017@flametreepublishing.comSELECTION PANELThe selection will be made by our group of life-long, in-house enthusiasts: Nick Wells (Publisher), Laura Bulbeck (Senior Editor) and Josie Mitchell, Gillian Whitaker and Cat Taylor. If required, the final selection will be mediated by our series editors. We try to keep everyone up-to-date as much as possible with occasional email updates.A WORD ABOUT THE SFWATo confirm, we became an SFWA qualifying market last year, so being published by us will help your status with them of course, but also with other readers and writers.***29 September 2017 -- Endless Apocalypse -- Flame Tree PublishingStories of the end of civilized life have always fascinated us, from the mythological world endings – Armageddon and Ragnarok – to the flood stories from across the Ancient world. They make us wonder what we would do if all around us came to an end – no transport, no fuel, no communications, a retreat into the desperation, the onslaug[...]

Huge Contest


I don't usually pay attention to writing contests, but this is for a short (up to 5K words) story in a particular theme (explained on the site) with a grand prize of $12,000 and at least three Short List prizes of $1000 each. So, yeah, that got my attention. :)

Not sure if I'll come up with a story idea, but I thought I'd toss it out there for anyone else who might be interested. Check it out.

Into the Black: A Short Fiction Contest


Something Uplifting


Let's start the month with something bright and beautiful. The MarySue blog has a post collecting pics and videos of people being completely awesome down in Texas today.

Spiderman visits kids in an evacuation center, a huge line of people wait in the rain so they can sign up to volunteer to help, and a bunch of random people form a human chain into the racing flood waters to rescue an elderly man.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that people are still mostly made of awesome. Check it out.


Gaming the Times List


So, someone tried to game the New York Times Book Review list. What else is new, I know. But the story of how it happened and why, and how it was thwarted, is all in one convenient post on Pajiba.

Thanks to Kris Rusch, who blogged about this, and has some excellent comments and perspective. She talks about how this plot wouldn't have worked anyway, to achieve its apparent goal of getting the book's writer a movie deal. Worth a read for every writer who wants to keep up with how the business works.




Today is my anniversary -- my marriage is now old enough to drink. :)

Jim and I have actually been together for 28 years; it just took us a while to settle down and do the ring thing.

We met playing GemStoneII, an online multi-player fantasy game, back in '89. (Yes, there were multi-player games back in the eighties. Yes, there was internet back in the eighties. Whenever I hear someone talking about how things were "before the internet, in the early 90s," I just have to eyeroll.) I played for a few months before meeting Jim, although we were both fighters, and he was the assistant guildmaster of the fighters; I saw him around, but it took a while for us to stop and talk. We hit it off pretty quickly, and before the game shut down to make way for the next generation, our characters, Swiftkill and Callista, got married in an event online, surrounded by friends in armor. Of course the wedding was interrupted by a monster attack -- that many players gathered in one spot attracted the ogre magi :) -- and Swiftkill showed why he chose that name by killing the thing with one blow before anyone else could even draw a weapon.

Later, in GemStoneIII, we were both brought on staff within a couple of months of each other (although I was first [cough]). We worked in GS3 together for a few years, then I moved on to another game the same company did. We came together again in another, newer fantasy game called DragonRealms, and worked there for a few years before leaving the company. Being a gamemaster in an online multi-player game is a high-stress job with low pay and a lot of burnout, but was mostly fun -- building areas, designing quests, coding puzzles and traps, roleplaying with the players. Seriously, watching the first batch of players find and explore an area I built, listening to them comment to each other about it, and have fun discovering things -- it's freaking awesome. :) Jim and I did that together for about a decade, first from a few hundred miles away, then after we got married in realspace, sitting on opposite sides of the computer room. That made it a lot easier to chat and kibitz back and forth, rather than having to type comments to each other, although we did that too, LOL!

I was basically alone for the first 33 years of my life. I had the occasional boyfriend, but never for more than a few months, and although I generally stayed friends with guys after we broke up, one or two ended pretty badly. It was never really serious until Jim, though. There were times when I just felt so incredibly lonely, and wondered if I'd ever find someone to be with for the rest of my life. It was worth the wait, though, because Jim is my soulmate. He's not perfect, but our flaws sort of complement each other, and at the end of the day we love each other deeply. I literally can't imagine being married to anyone else.

Love you, hon.

Angie, looking forward to another 21 years together

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, "Until Filled" markets (if any) 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 guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.***31 August 2017 -- Hidden Animals: A Collection of Cryptids -- The Dragon's Roost PressCRYPTOZOOLOGY: the study of and search for animals and especially legendary animals (such as Sasquatch) usually in order to evaluate the possibility of their existenceCRYPTID: an animal whose existence or survival to the present day is disputed or unsubstantiated; any animal of interest to a cryptozoologistWe’ve explored loneliness, isolation, and solitude in our first anthology. We Put the Love Back in Lovecraft in our second anthology. Now we are looking for stories involving the creatures which hide in the shadows -- the monsters of cryptozoology.Bigfoot, Nessie, el Chupacabra, The Jersey Devil -- cryptids so well known that they have become part of the cultural zeitgeist.For our new anthology, tentatively entitled Hidden Animals: A Collection of Cryptids, we are looking for lesser known cryptids, creatures of the dark corners of cryptozoology. They can be the antagonist, the protagonist, the creeping dread which drives the story, but they must be present.What We Want:Finely crafted works of Dark Speculative fiction which feature one (or more) of the lesser known, but established cryptids. Authors are encouraged to put their own spin on the classic creature. Make them terrifying. Make them sympathetic. Make them humorous. Above all, make them feel real.What We Don’t Want:Non-fiction. We want fictional stories with a plot and a well defined story arc. While we are interested in hearing about your own personal experience, or that of your friend or family member, this is not the book for that.New Monsters. While we appreciate your creativity, we are looking for stories which feature creatures that readers will have at least a passing knowledge of. Give us your giant cats, dogboys, and lake creatures, but please do not create your own creature.[Note: There are plenty of website which describe various cryptids. A brief list appears here.]Stories where nothing happens. Keep the creatures in the shadows if you like, but give us something. There’s a reason that we don’t watch that show where they look for but never actually find Bigfoot.Retreads of established stories. This is going to be a little tougher. We do want stories based on "actual encounters." Feel free to incorporate material from real life sightings. Sprinkle the history of the creature in your prose. Do not simply give us a fictionalized version of a story that you read in another book or saw on the big or little screen.We don’t like being sued.Aliens. Yes, there is some overlap between the study of some cryptids (e.g., el chupacabra) and extraterrestrial beings, we are not looking for stories that exclusively feature visitors from other worlds. Maybe in a future anthology, but not this one.Important Note: We are going for cryptozoological diversity. Towards this end, we will only accept ONE story featuring each cryptid. Authors may cons[...]

Nice to Know It's Not Just Us?


It seems Norwegian racists are just as idiotic as their American counterparts.

A Norwegian troll named Johan Slåttavik posted a pic of a bunch of empty bus seats to an anti-immigrant web site called "Fedrelandet viktigst" which means "Fatherland First." The geniuses on the group interpreted the tall, padded bus seats as burqas, and the comments were pretty much what you'd expect from that kind of person. Check it out.

Not only is this racist and Islamophobic, it's yet another case of a bunch of dudes trying to police what women wear. If there are Islamic women who don't want to wear a burqa, or a hijab, or whatever, then sure, support them. But plenty of Islamic women are perfectly happy covering up, and in fact feel uncomfortable in public without their traditional garments. They should be able to wear what they want, just like everyone else.


How to Write Fiction Sales Copy by Dean Wesley Smith


How to Write Fiction Sales Copy by Dean Wesley SmithMy rating: 4 of 5 starsDean Wesley Smith is one of the gurus of indie publishing. He's been making his living at writing and publishing for over thirty years now, has owned two publishing houses (still owns WMG Publishing, with his wife Kris Rusch) and basically knows how all the fiddly bits work and fit together.A lot of indie writers have a hard time writing sales copy, the text that goes on the book's sales page on a vendor site, or the sales blurb on the back of a paperback book. I'll admit I hate writing that stuff myself; it's hard to come up with something that sounds good, and I've seen publishers make a mess of it.A couple of years ago, Dean challenged himself to write a story for every day in July. He actually ended up with 32 stories. He did covers for them, and had to come up with sales copy. A couple of folks asked about that part, so he blogged about it as he did it, explaining what and how and why as he went. The posts are still up on his blog, but I'd rather have them all in one place, so I bought the book.The first seven chapters look aat seven different structures for sales blurbs, with a few examples from the July stories for each one. He gives the cover of a book, then the blurb, then he analyzes the structure to show how he came up with that blurb.So Chapter One starts with a page of explanation of what he's doing, then dives in. One of the covers is for a book called "A Bad Patch of Humanity," subtitled "A Seeders Universe Story," because it's part of an on-going series, which is one more thing you have to deal with in your sales copy. I'm just going to give you the whole shebang, so you can see what Dean's doing here:Most of humanity died one ugly day four years before. Now the survivors want to rebuild.Angie Park's job consisted of telling survivors outside of Portland, Oregon, of the plans to rebuild. But some survivors wanted nothing to do with civilization.And some thought killing worth the price to pay to stay alone.In the galaxy-spanning Seeders Universe, "A Bad Patch of Humanity" focuses down on an early event in AngiePark's life, an event that starts her on her path to becoming a woman of legend in a hundred galaxies.Blurb Pattern: BasicParagraph one: Character or world summary. Interesting. And nails genre if possible.Paragraph two: One very short paragraph with short sentences about the first page of the plot.Paragraph three: Plot kicker line.Paragraph four: Why readers will want to rea the story (mostly using tags).That is a structure that works well for short stories and most novels. It isn't the only structure by a long ways, but it is a standby basic structure to fall back on.My Thinking About [the] Story...I needed the blurb to address in a fashion the questions of those who read the Seeders Universe novels.So first paragraph set the scene.Second paragraph introduced the character and the plot.Third paragraph raised the stakes.Fourth paragraph told the reader this was standalone, but also how this story fit into the larger Seeders Universe. This time the last paragraph set the genre.And readers love start-of-legend stories.There's also some discussion of what Dean calls the "Author Problem," which is the tendency of a writer to want to tell too much of the plot in the story blurb, and to use passive voice while doing it.Each of the first seven chapters gives a different blurb structure, with a few examples, analyzed to show you how they fit with the structure. In Chapters Eight and Nine, he goes through the remaining stories, using whatever structure seems appropriate.This is very much a down-in-the-trenches sort of book. It's hea[...]

On Ghostwriting


Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff posted on Bookview Cafe on when to break up with your ghostwriting client, which also applies to editing clients and writer-writer collaborations.

I've never done a ghostwriting job, but I've collaborated on writing projects and I absolutely agree with her that you have to be able to trust your partner. If your collaborator or client starts going squirrely on you, it's time to bail.

Note that Maya was getting paid for her work regardless of whether the books got published, but bailed because she didn't want to deal with the squirrely client, money or no money. Sounds like she made the right choice.

Check it out..


Estate Planning for Authors by M.L. Buchman


Estate Planning for Authors by M.L. BuchmanMy rating: 5 of 5 starsMatt Buchman is one of the most organized, business-oriented writers I know. He was one of the instructors at the Publishing Master Class I took last October, and he talked a bit then about estate planning for writers. He was working on this book at the time, and I eagerly preordered a copy. It came out just a few days ago, and it's got me adding line items to my to-do list like crazy.If you're a writer, or in any other profession where you're creating and holding the rights to IP, you need to read this book. The full title is Estate Planning for Authors: Your Final Letter (and why you need to write it now). It's not just about how you need a will (although you do), but rather it's about how to organize your business so someone else can pick it up when you're gone, and how to write a letter to your heir(s) so they can find what they need, learn what they need to know, and manage your IP estate without cussing you out, or giving up in disgust and letting your IP go dormant and fade from the public eye because straightening out the tangle is (in their opinion) more work than it's worth. Seriously, your heirs will be delighted if you read this book, and leave them a copy along with your will, your final letter, and all your files.CONTENTS:PART I: Getting StartedPART II: IMPORTANT TERMSPART III: Managing the IPPART IV: Where's the Money?PART V: Organizing It AllPART VI: The Final LetterTHE FINAL LETTERPART VII: A Plan of ActionPART VIII: Suggested Reading (for the author, not so much for the heir)One of the first pages, right after the dedication, is a section called, "Purpose of this book." It says:Your Will states who gets what.Your Final Letter tells them what they can, and should, do with it once they have it.This book is about the second bit. It suggests a method to write a "Final Letter" that will organize your literary estate and educate your heirs. Or, if the creator behind the estate didn't write one, this book can act as a guide for their heirs to understand what options exist to manage a literary estate.That's the point of this book -- helping your heirs figure out what this whole writing/publishing thing is about, what they've just inherited, where it all is, and what to do with it. The book addresses different situations, from an average writer passing their books and stories down directly to their kid, to a much busier writer who owns multiple corporations and sets up a charitable trust.You won't find step-by-step details in how to do something like set up a trust, but you'll find basic info on what the options are, why you might want to make a particular choice, and what kind of professional (CPA, IP attorney, that sort of person) to consult about it.There are also examples of what happened in various real life cases, such as how Elvis Presley left a soon-to-be bankrupt estate and what his ex, Priscilla, did to turn that around. Or how Jane Austen's heirs sold all the copyrights to her novels for the price of 250 hardcover copies of her books, because they had no clue what they had or what it was worth.I particularly like the story of Lucia Berlin, a short story writer who never made much money while she was alive. After her death, her heirs put together a collection of her short stories, which was published and hit the New York Times Bestseller List.How many of you reading this are writers who think your work isn't worth much, financially? Lucia Berlin probably thought the same thing. Luckily her heirs were smart enough to manage her IP well and not only make some money from it, but get M[...]

Rejection, Romance and Royalties by Laura Resnick


Rejection, Romance and Royalties by Laura ResnickMy rating: 5 of 5 starsLaura Resnick is a multi-genre writer who's been making her living at this writing thing for quite a while. She's written regular columns for the official publications of multiple writers' organizations, and this book is a collection of columns on a variety of topics. They were all written for an audience of writers, I've enjoyed this book very much, enough to read it more than once.CONTENTS:The Luck MythThe Reader's Mighty PenPassionCopy Edits We Have Known and HatedTrue Believer...Does Not Meet Our Needs at This Time...ResolutionsThe Best Bad AdviceEnlarge Your PenisThe Unfinished ConversationThe Long HaulOw! Ow! Owwww!I'll Just Sit Here in the DarkLabelismizationIt Can Happen Here -- And Often DoesNurturing the NatureThose Who Are About to Reboot, We Salute You!Vive La France!Back in the DayThe Wages of ObsessionOrphans of the StormIn Praise of Old FriendsGoing PublicHow Long Does It Take?JablaLet's Face the MusicThe Artist's KnifeHabit FormingWhat I've Learned from WillSelling Elsewhere Is the Best RevengeGunkLions By NightThe most memorable thing about this book, for me at least, is how wonderfully readable Laura Resnick's writing is. She has an easy, flowing style that carries you right along. Her pacing is pretty much perfect, making this an ideal book to read for relaxation. This isn't the sort of book you have to focus on, as if you're going to be taking notes. Instead it's the kind of book you read because it's fun, because it'll make you laugh, or smirk, or go "Huh" over something interesting, something you didn't know before.One of my favorite essays here is one I've talked about before, It Can Happen Here -- And Often Does. If you've been reading my blog since early 2013, you might've read that post already. If not, click through and check it out, seriously, because the story is hilarious in a horrifying sort of way. The TL;DR is that, very late in the publication process, an editor went through and changed a character in a book from an adolescent boy to a raccoon. It was too late to fix it, too late to cancel the book, and it went out that way, over the strong protests of the writer and her agent. Really, you've got to read that if you haven't. (IMO, this one article is a good reason all by itself to get this book.)As a writer who's had their blood pressure spike over especially egregious copyedits a time or two, "Copy Edits We Have Known and Hated" made me wish (for just a moment) that we still worked edits on paper, because Laura relates how her father once handled a particularly awful copyedit and I was envious for a minute or two.Perhaps the most volatile reaction to a copy edit that I ever saw was that of my father, science fiction writer Mike Resnick. He wrote a novel in which the narrative describes one character, a leprechaun, as having an Irish accent. The copy editor went through the entire manuscript and changed every single word the character spoke which ended in ing to in'. Showin' a surprisin' streak of practicality, Pop went out and had a "stet" stamp made at the local print shop, rather than writin' stet ("let it stand") a thousand times. And when he sent the heavily stetted manuscript back to the publisher, he phoned the executive editor and warned him that if he didn't make these (stet) changes, Pop would personally fly to New York and rip his heart out of his chest.Any writer who's worked a particularly awful set of edits in MS Word, one at a time, is probably with me in feeling a twinge of envy for Mr. Resnick's "stet" stamp. [cough]"[...]

Write with Fire by Charles Allen Gramlich


Write with Fire by Charles Allen GramlichMy rating: 4 of 5 starsThis is a partial recycle, since I originally blogged about this book shortly after it came out. That was like eight years ago, though, so most folks reading my blog now probably haven't seen it. If anyone cares, Charles and I have been commenting on each other's blogs for coming up on ten years now. We're friends, more than "Facebook" type friends, but less than people who know each other in realspace, or even e-mail regularly. I like him a lot, but anyone who knows me knows that I never bullshit about writing, so my review of his book (or the book of any other writer I know) is what I actually think, untainted by the delicacies of personal admiration or friendship.PART 1So You Want to Be a WriterFirst WordsWriter's Block No MoreTipping the Odds in Your FavorWriting with PurposeDon't Talk, Write!Writing with ConfidenceRQW3RFive Habits of Publishing WritersQuick Versus Slow SuspenseSix Steps to Creating SuspenseThe Mechanics of SuspenseCreating Sympathetic CharactersCharacters: The Best and the RestHarvesting MemoriesWriting Your Past for Fun and Profit'The First Rule of EndingsThe Curse of the Lazy EndingEndings: What's at StakeThe Physical Side of WritingOne Way to Put a Style TogetherWriting for Excess (with "Barbarian's Bane")Writing with AttitudeSelling and Reselling (with "To the Point")The Working Man's CursePunctuate It and Forget It!Problem WordsA Grammar PrimerRewrite, Rewrite, RewriteBy ExampleBefore You Submit, Don't ForgetPART 2Writing GroupsPage-Turners: What Makes Them, What Breaks ThemIn Praise of the NetBlogging: Pros and ConsPro Versus AmateurExpand Your MindFun with FearWhy HorrorHorror Writers: The Crazy TruthThe Horror ListsDream StoriesCriticism HurtsAn Error in DetailErnest Hemingway: A Writer's Life and DeathJack London: Two-Fisted WriterKen Bulmer: Death in the FamilyWhere Have All the Good Themes Gone?Writing WeatherWhat the Writer WantsRest in Peach: Short StoryFive Years Down the RoadPART 3A Writer on the RunReadin', Writin' and MeDeath by ProseInterviewsKids InsaneFiends by Torchlight IntroductionAbout My NovelsThis book is a stack of essays collected together into a book. I enjoy reading this kind of writing book, because it feels like sitting down with another writer and listening to them talk shop. "This is important, and this is useful, and oh, this funny thing happened to me, and here's what I learned from it. And whatever you do, do not do this, because this is what happened when I did it and it wasn't fun at all...." That kind of thing.So while there's an essay entitled "Creating Sympathetic Characters" which is about what you'd expect it to be about, there's also one called "The Workingman's Curse," which discusses writing around a day job and how to cope when everything goes pear-shaped.I highly recommend the latter essay, by the way, for its entertainment value as well as any actual lessons to be learned. He lists the events of one particular week when he got no writing done at all because of an ever-growing series of crises and calamities, and I have to admit I was LOLing by the end of it -- poor Charles must have desecrated a shrine or something, seriously. :DThere are discussions on punctuation and getting started and work habits, which are fairly typical of writing books, and sections on blogging and criticism and keeping hydrated, which are less so. And the whole thing is written in the very clear and readable style I've come to know while following Charles's Blog for the last ten years. I highly recom[...]

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, "Until Filled" markets (if any) 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 guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.***31 July 2017 -- Chthonic: Weird Tales of Inner Earth -- Martian Migraine PressPelucidar. The Hollow Earth. DEROS, and the Shaver Mysteries. Blue-litten K'n-yan, red Yoth, and black, lightless N’kai. The Amigara Fault. Derinkuyu. Agartha. The world (and worlds) below. Inner earth, a near infinite space of vast, echoing potential … our (possible?) birthplace, and the place where we all return, either as corpses, or something other? … the churning, chaotic underworld, and true home of all that is weird, unconscious, and forbidden. Descend with us in this anthology of weird fiction; descend to the realms CHTHONIC.We are looking for weird fiction that explores the mystique and terror of caverns, abyssal spaces, and subterranean worlds. As with previous MMP anthologies, we will be including a seed story from H. P. Lovecraft’s oeuvre (in this case, The Rats in the Walls, though many of his stories went underground). We want to see bizarre civilizations, mind-boggling physical and biological phenomena, horrific rituals, mad science and madder sorcery. We want to feel the tunnel floors beneath our feet shake with the passage of beasts, machines, and gods that have never seen the light of the sun; sentient oils, intelligent muck, living rock, molemen, formless spawn and Efts of the Prime, worms, Dholes, and ghastlier things. But CHTHONIC won’t be just a serving of pop culture “surface” material, if you’ll pardon the pun. We like to see stories with depth (oh god, another one, sorry!); emotional and psychological explorations of the internal spaces of the human mind and soul, as well as the ground below. Write us stories that induce crushing claustrophobia or open us wide to new dimensions of thought and being. If your story can do both, so much the better.Final story count for the anthology will be determined based on quality and number of submissions. CHTHONIC: Weird Tales of Inner Earth will be released as a softcover paperback and as an electronic book in multiple formats.Submission period closes JULY 31, 2017. The anthology will be released in early December of 2017.SubmittingPlease use Standard Manuscript format when submitting. That’s double spaced, left justified, Times New Roman or Courier or something at least readable, a header on the first page (at least) with your author info and word count and… well, you know the drill. RTF or DOC files preferred, but DOCx and text files also accepted. Obviously, you could send us something that’s not in Standard Manuscript format, but it will lower your chances of it being looked at seriously.We will look at both original work and REPRINTS.To submit a story to CHTHONIC: Weird Tales of Inner Earth send an e-mail (with the story file attached, no[...]

A Cover Branding Trick


Allyson Longuiera is the publisher at WMG Publishing. She also has a Masters in design, and does their covers.

In her publisher blog this week, she talks about using stock art in cover branding, and shows how she took two appropriate but disparate-looking pieces of art and made them match each other well enough to help cover-brand the first two books in a series.

It's one of those things that's simple when you read about it, but I probably wouldn't have thought of it. Check it out.

Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys


Writing to the Point by Algis BudrysMy rating: 4 of 5 starsThis is another classic book about writing, by someone who was well known in the mid- to late-twentieth century as a writer, an editor, and a writing teacher. Algis Budrys, back when he was editing Tomorrow magazine, gave me one of my very best rejections ever, back when I was completely unpublished, so I've always been rather fond of him, despite having never met him. :)Table of Contents:IntroductionChapter One: The Basic BasicsChapter Two: The BasicsChapter Three: Sara Jane and What She MeansChapter Four: The Story and the ManuscriptChapter Five: Creative LonelinessChapter Six: Odd ScrapsChapter Seven: AgentsChapter Eight: How to do a ManuscriptChapter Nine: ReviewAppendices:== Ideas ... How They Work and How to Fix Them== Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy== What a Story isThis book is so incredibly basic, that I think you have to actually be rather far along the road of Becoming A Writer before you can really understand it. Not that it's complicated, but rather because it's so simple it's hard to grasp. I remember reading this back in the day, I think I was in my twenties or maybe my early thirties, and most of it just bounced right off me. I mean, okay, there was obviously some good stuff in here, and yes, that sounds right, fine, but... what do you do with it? It was so incredibly contrary to everything I thought I knew about being a good writer back then, that trying to get practical advice out of this book was like trying to grasp fog. It was there, but I couldn't get a hold of it.Reading it again now, it's not fog anymore, but more like rain or snow. I'm probably still missing a lot, but I can actually catch a couple of good handfuls.Note that the point of this book is to write fiction that sells. Budrys isn't interested in teaching anyone how to write experimental fiction, or high-end literary fiction that's published in a literary magazine and read by eighty-two people. He's interested in the kind of fiction that some significant number of people will want to read, and hopefully pay some money for. This book was written well before indie publishing became a thing (and the chapter on agents, and some other advice about publishers is extremely out of date), but I think "fiction that sells" to editors who are curating a magazine or similar will also likely sell to individual readers.Budrys says in the introduction:I believe that if you do exactly what this book calls for, and do not do anything else, you will sell. If you are already selling, you will improve.This will be harder than it sounds. You will inevitably try to add things you have learned from other books and instructors, and you may also feel that generally you know more than I teach. Perhaps you do, and perhaps the other books and instructors have valuable things to say. But what will happen is that you will confuse the instruction....What should you do?I think you should listen to what I have to say. I think it will help. If you listen to exactly what I have to say, it will help a lot. And you may prove to have a talent for it, as well, which will make things somewhat easier, and somewhat more pleasurable. And if you have a talent for it, you will gradually learn, by yourself, how to bend the rules I give; ultimately you will discover ways of telling stories that have rarely been done before; perhaps never been done before. But you will still cling to the things you first learned in this book, because [...]

Kris Rusch on Marketing Your Books


Actually, this is part of a longer series -- Kris writes a blog post on the business of writing and publishing every Thursday, and it's absolutely worth a read -- but this particular post has some especially shiny gold in it.

She talks about how to use the alsoboughts on your books' sales pages to figure out who's reading your books and what they like about them, which helps you make marketing decisions and decide where to spend your limited time and money.

There's more too. Check it out.


DIY E-Book Covers: Design Principles for Non-Designers by Roz Marshall


DIY E-Book Covers: Design Principles for Non-Designers by Roz MarshallMy rating: 4 of 5 starsThis is not a step-by-step, click-this-and-drag-that book on how to create your own e-book cover. Rather, this is an overview of what a good cover should look like, with discussions of different design elements and techniques. The nitty-gritty of how to execute depends on what tool(s) you're using. Marshall stuck with generalities, likely as opposed to writing a book ten times as long with sections for the popular tools.The design factor is where many people have trouble, though, which makes this book useful. Marshall also discusses how to put what you learn here to use if you decide to hire an artist to do your cover for you, or to choose a pre-made cover that'll work for your book.Table of Contents:1 -- Introduction2 -- Covers matter3 -- Tools4 -- Genre5 -- Content6 -- Layout7 -- Imagery8 -- Color9 -- Typography10 -- Branding11 -- Buying a cover: What to look for12 -- Pulling it all together"Don't judge a book by its cover" is a great saying to use with small children if the lesson you're trying to teach is not to judge people by how they look. When it comes to actual books, though, most of us do judge books by their covers, and any indie pubbing writer who wants to give their books the best possible chance of selling needs to put the best possible cover on their books. Figuring out what "best" means for your particular book is the trick, though, and that's what Marshall focuses on here.Chapter One is basically intro.In Chapter Two, she points out how many new books are published every month, every day, and how a good cover will help your book stand out. And that it has to stand out in thumbnail size, not full size.Chapter Three talks about tools you can use, and skills you need to develop when learning to use your chosen tool, and things like file types, resolution and dimensions. Again, this isn't a book on how to use specific tools, but having a list of skills to learn tells you what to Google when you're looking for lessons, YouTube videos, etc.The overall look and design of your cover depends largely on the genre of the book, and she talks about that in Chapter Four. She gives a few style elements to use for particular genres, but be wary -- specific styles and fads for a given genre change over time. You're better off looking at what the top selling books in your genre look like before you design your cover. As Marshall says, "Genres are developing all the time." Consider what the Harry Potter book covers looked like when the books were first being published, and what they look like now. They're very different, because the style elements that say "fantasy book" have changed. Make sure you do up-to-date research before you design your cover.She also offers a cool trick I hadn't thought of before -- pasting your thumbnail cover over a cover in an array of bestselling books in its genre, to see whether it blends in, or whether it sticks out and looks amateurish, or maybe looks like a good example of a different genre.After talking about some of the things you should put on your cover, Chapter Five talks about what not to put on it. Simple and uncluttered is good. Too many newbie cover designers try to put too much on their covers.You may know what your book is about, but your reader doesn't -- until they've finished the book. So any symbols, clues or elements of the story that you [...]