WorldCon Part 3

Another panel I went to was “Editing Anthologies.” The panelists took a poll right at the beginning and discovered that about 2/3 of the audience (including me) were there because they were writers looking for insights on what editors were looking for. The other third was there because they were editing or planning to edit an anthology in the future. To that one third of the audience, the panel universally said, “Don’t!” LOL!

This one pretty much went over familiar territory, except for some comments by Ellen Datlow, the only panelist who does invitation-only anthologies. The pattern I’m used to is that when an anthology reading period ends at a certain date, the editor sends firm NO responses during the period, but saves stories they’d like to use until after the deadline. Then, with a stack of good stories, they do their final selection and put together a TOC, then send “Sorry, not quite” rejections for the stories that didn’t quite make it and contracts for the stories that did. This makes logical sense to me — if you’re doing a steampunk antho, you might get a really excellent story about pirate who attacks ships in his steam-powered mechanical squid, but then three weeks later get a seriously awesome story about a pirate who attacks AIRships in his flying mechanical squid. Wouldn’t it have sucked to have bought the first one already? ‘Cause both of those stories would really be too much steam-powered mechanical squiddage for one anthology, right? Or whatever.

Ms. Datlow buys stories as they come in, though. I was sort of o_O when she said that, although if she talks to all her invited authors about what they plan to write ahead of time, so she can head off any too-close duplication before the stories have been written then I guess I can see how that works. It was sort of startling, though — something I didn’t know about invite-only anthologies. I wonder if other editors doing anthos by invitation work the same way?

John Joseph Adams was there too — he edited The Way of the Wizard, which I had on the antho listing for a few months. He said he did the book both ways, specifically inviting a group of writers to submit for it, and opening a handful of slots to be filled through open submission. He got about 900 slush-pile stories for the book, which… wow. [blinkblink] This is why pro-pay books are usually invite-only; there’s no way the editor is going to make even a dollar an hour if they have to read through 900 slush pile submissions, especially if they only get half a dozen usable stories out of them. I knew the pro-pay anthos got a lot of submissions, but I had no idea the numbers were up that high. Unless that’s an outlier — and I don’t think it is — I’m exponentially more appreciative of the editors who do open up submissions to their pro-paying anthologies, or even books in the upper end of semipro.

One thing I learned at WorldCon this year is something about myself rather than about conventions, and that is that there are certain panels I just shouldn’t go to anymore.

I went to a few panels that taught me more about myself this year than about the subject matter. I’ll usually look through the program guide and mark panels on topics I’m interested in. Makes sense, right? But I’ve found over the last couple of years that I’m learning less and less at panels on topics I’m into, and thinking more and more about how I’d contribute to the conversation if I could. If I’m sitting there listening to what’s going on, but most of the buzz in my head is about what I’d say, how I’d answer that question, how I disagree with that panelist or how this panelist here has an interesting approach but I did it differently, then I think it’s safe to say I’m not getting much out of the panel.

At least I’m not one of those people in the audience who insists on actually verbalizing all these thoughts — when someone on the panel has to tell an audience member to stuff a sock in it, however diplomatically they phrase the request, you know that’s someone who shouldn’t have come to hear that panel. Maybe these are panels I should be on, I don’t know; it depends whether anyone else would think my running commentary was interesting. But either way, it’s really not a productive use of my own time, aside from the frustration factor.

I think part of the problem is that most convention panels are at the 101 level. It’s pretty rare to see Advanced Whatever in an SF con program book. Even when the general topic is something fairly technical, the presenters tend to feel like they should explain it all for the beginners anyway (which I greatly appreciate when I’m one of the beginners) and they might not get through all their planned material because they’re backing and filling and answering questions. It’s not like conventions could have prerequisites for panel attendance, but the (generous and inclusive) wish of the speakers to make sure everyone is following the conversation rather pins that conversation down to a beginner level. I’m not sure what can be done about this, or if anything should be. Maybe panel discussions all should be at the 101 level, and anyone interested in more can exercise their Google-fu and find advanced resources on their own?

At any rate, if I’m going to be sitting there wishing I could talk rather than actually learning anything new, I’m probably better off in another panel. I need to start asking myself, “Will I learn anything in that panel?” rather than “Am I interested in that panel topic?”

Of course, there are certain assumptions made about the audience as a whole. I went to Joan Slonczewski’s panel “Microbial Madness: How I made Money off Biowarfare and other True Adventures” (which was excellent, BTW) and toward the beginning when she was explaining how microbes multiply, she said something like “One, two, four… you all get the math so I’ll move on.” One can generally assume that an SF fan audience does indeed get a certain level of math, at least conceptually. 🙂

(I highly recommend her fiction, by the way. She writes hard SF but from a biological point of view rather than the more traditional hardware/physics point of view. Great writer, with a fresh angle.)


WorldCon Part 2

Another panel I made it to was John Scalzi’s “A Trip to the Creation Museum.” I’d previously read Scalzi’s blog post about the visit and had a great time reading it. I knew it’d be even more fun in a room full of like-minded folk, so I made sure to get there to hear it live — I even managed to get a seat. 🙂

Scalzi explained in the panel how this came about. The Creation Museum (which is exactly what you think it is) was built within a reasonable distance of Scalzi’s home, and someone asked if he was going to go. He explained exactly how unlikely it would ever be that he’d visit such a place, even under considerable duress. A bunch of people thought it’d be hilarious for him to go, though, so he finally made a deal — he’d go if the people who thought it’d be hilarious raised $250, which he would donate to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. He says on his blog:

As of 11:59 and 59 seconds (Pacific Time) last night, the “Drag Scalzi’s Ass to the Creation Museum” donation drive raised $5,118.36. That’s 256 times the admission price to Creation Museum, a multiple I find both amusing (from a dork point of view) and gratifying, since it means what tiny bit of income the creationists running the museum gain by having me pass through the door will be utterly swamped by the amount I’m going to send to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Would that it worked that way for every admission to that place.

For those of you who were wondering, some statistics: The first milestone for this fundraiser, the $250 to get me to go at all, got passed within the first hour of posting the challenge. The $1000 mark got passed about 12 hours later. The $5,000 marker got passed last night sometime between 6 and 11pm, while I was out on a date with my wife, celebrating our anniversary. I’m particularly pleased about hitting the $5k mark. The least amount donated was $1; the most was $300. More than one person donated more than $250, usually with the notation “Ha! Now you HAVE to go!” Multiples and variations of $6.66 were amusingly common, although the $5 suggested amount was the amount most received.

The people at Americans United were reportedly delighted by the donation, if a bit bemused by the curiously specific amount. 🙂

The panel was indeed humorously awesome and I’m very glad I went. The visit report is funny too, scaled down a bit to take the solo experience into consideration. Highly recommended.

I went to another panel that I’m not going to name specifically, since I want to do a bit of constructive analysis, although I suppose anyone who gets ahold of the program book could figure out which one it was, since I have to give some detail to get my point across. :/

All right, fine, it was on world creation for writers, how to create a realistic world for your science fiction story. I’ve been to such panels before, and they’ve all gone pretty much the same way, which isn’t a compliment. What tends to happen is that there are several scientist types on the panel, one or two who are into the astronomy and planet creation end of things, and one or two who are into the smaller scale geology and biology end. The logical thing to do is to start out with the creation of the star system and the planets, talking about dust clouds and star spectra and magnetic fields and galactic arms and gravity and such. You have to have all that before you can have any small scale geology, much less anything biological, so starting with the bigger picture makes sense.

The problem is that the panelists get used to the idea that the stars-and-planets people are doing all the talking at the beginning, and… they usually just keep on doing all the talking. One person in particular has been on every similar panel I’ve ever attended; this individual really likes to talk, to jump in, and even to interrupt. To give the person credit, they’re a good speaker and know a lot about the subject and are very eager to share that knowledge, which is cool. But, as has often happened before, this person plus the other stars-and-planets person ended up doing about 85% of the talking. The biolologist did about another 10-12%, and the geologist squeezed in whatever shards of speakage were left.

This isn’t an ideal way to run a panel, and the moderator did nothing to get things under control.

Again, there was a lot of great info presented here, but it was frustrating to watch all the same. And judging by the look on the geologist’s face through the last third or so of the panel, that person might well be thinking twice next time an invitation shows up to be on panels. Or maybe their lunch didn’t agree with them. At any rate, they didn’t seem to be having a great time.

I think (if anyone cares what I think) that in future it’d be better to split this panel into two. Let the stars-and-planets people have a panel all to themselves. They’ll do a great job with it, and it’ll end up being essentially the same panel they’ve given for however many years, without the bother of having to talk over and interrupt those other folks. Give the smaller-scale geologists and the biologists — maybe add a botanist and an oceanographer to round things out — their own panel, talking about smaller scale landforms, climates, biomes, and what sorts of life might develop under different conditions. That’d be at least as useful to SF writers as the stars-and-planets panel, and separating them out seems to be the only way to give the smaller scale planetbuilding speakers a chance to get more than five sentences in edgeways. Everyone wins.


I’m Back! WorldCon Part 1

WorldCon in Reno was a lot of fun, and one of the best run conventions I’ve attended. I’ve worked almost 50 conventions and conferences, so I can often spot problems from the front of the house. I didn’t spot anything here; even the Masquerade and Hugo Ceremony both started within a few minutes of their scheduled times, which is pretty amazing. 🙂 I got to hang with friends, went to more panels than I usually go to in half a dozen conventions, and generally had a great time.

Jim and I flew in on Tuesday, got our badges, and had the evening free to relax and check out the program schedule before things officially started on Wednesday. We stayed at the Atlantis, the main convention hotel, which is attached to the convention center with a (very very) long skyway. It was quite a hike from our room to the panels and such at the CC, but I was happy not to have to walk outside, where the temperatures were distinctly uncomfortable, especially for someone who’s become acclimated to Seattle weather. Although in contrast with the heat outside, looking out the skyway windows we could see the hills above Reno, and one of them still had snow on it. O_O Wow. Reno itself is about four thousand feet up, so the top of that hill (which is probably a mountain, officially) is probably a mile up or close to it; that must be why the shaded slopes were still snowy. Still, it’s an odd sight in the northern hemisphere in August, especially when one is wishing for more AC.

The first panel I attended was the most useful — Mary Robinette Kowal, who’s a puppeteer and voice actor as well as a writer, did a panel called “Giving an Effective Reading.” It was opposite the Opening Ceremony, but it was a wonderful panel and I’m very glad I went. I thought I had a general idea of reading aloud — I’d done it in school, after all, as I’m sure everyone has — but I was still nervous about my ability to read my own work in front of an audience.

She started with story selection, looking at things like the number of characters, the way the language lends itself to interpretive reading, and making sure your selection is a complete whole, even if it’s a chunk of some larger story. When she got into using the voice like an instrument, Ms. Kowal had us go through a number of exercises, demonstrating different aspects of voice, including things I’d never heard of or thought about, like the placement of your voice — which part of your mouth resonates when you’re speaking. This was very ?? when she first described it, but the results were cool.

The panel was less than an hour long so she sort of rushed through a number of topics, but she has a great collection of posts on reading aloud on her blog. Highly recommended for any writer who might want to read their work to an audience. Hint: Don’t wait till the night before to click through the link. 🙂

That’s a good wrap for now — more next time. [wave]


Sorting Through More Submission Calls

Dear Editor,

If you want submissions from any writer who isn’t a newbie him- or herself, you have to demonstrate that you know what you’re doing, that you know how the business works, and that you know the customary nomenclature. Specifically, something like this:

By submitting the story to the [We’reAllNewbies] Publishing, the writer transfers all print and electronic publication rights to the [We’reAllNewbies] Publishing editorial team. If the work is not chosen for publication, at the time the author is informed of this, all rights revert to the author. If the work is chosen, the author may not republish the story in print or electronic format until one year after the date of publication of the full anthology.

you’ve guaranteed that I and likely many other writers will never submit anything to you, ever.

Look, the last line shows that your heart is (probably) in the right place, sort of. I’m pretty sure I know what you mean — that if you choose Joe’s story, you expect him to sign a contract granting you exclusive rights for a year, so he doesn’t, say, post the story for free on his web site, making your anthology worth that little bit less to readers. I’m even willing to assume that you only mean to take English language rights, even though that’s not what you’re saying.

Because what you’re saying is that as soon as Joe sends you his story, you own (not have an option on, but own) ALL print and electronic rights — serial, anthology, e-book, webzine, arguably audio, everything — immediately, in ALL languages, EVERYWHERE. Do your homework; the big kids don’t play this way. Assuming this would even hold up in court, this is an outrageous rights grab that only a clueless newbie writer would submit to. And it’s an outrageous rights grab that only a publisher who’s a blatant predator or a clueless newbie would attempt.

I’m willing to be generous and bet you’re just clueless. Making yourself look this clueless, though, when you’re trying to get experienced writers to submit their work to you is a bad idea. Don’t do it. Learn how things are done and what the customary practices are in this business, then ask people to trust you with their fiction and their money.

Unless of course you actually are a blatant predator and are hoping clueless newbies will fall for your trick.

[Just FYI, your antho theme looked interesting. I’m not touching it, though, nor am I linking to it.]


Anthology Markets

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

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

Non-erotica/romance writers: check out the Fish-Themed Fantasy Antho, Uncle John’s Flush Fiction, Apocalypse Hope, Rocket Science, Damnation and Dames, Horror Library, Mortis Operandi, the Fantastic Stories Anthology and the Wuxia Anthology.


31 August 2011 — To-Be-Named Fish-Themed Fantasy Anthology — Dagan Books

Our next open anthology will begin accepting submissions on June 1, 2011, and we will take stories until August 30, 2011. The theme of this anthology is “Fish”. We want your mythic adventures and modern retellings. We want Dagan, not of Lovecraft but of the Phillistines. We want Ku-ula, of Hawaii, and Hatmehyt, and Nereus with his bounty. We want magic koi in ancient ponds and the street shaman with his fishy avatar, stalking the streets in some odd future. We want sharks, hunting far out at sea. We want carnival goldfish with short-lived secrets.

Send us something beautiful.

Submit stories of up to 4,000 words (flash of under 1000 is also encouraged) to:

Stories must be sent as a .doc attachment. Do not double space after the end of sentences. Do use paragraphs and tab indents. Do not add an extra line after each paragraph.

Subject heading must have: [FISH] Story Title, Author Last Name

This project pays 1 cent per word plus 1% royalty, paid quarterly, for the first two years of the book’s life.

Cover art by Galen Dara will be available June 1, 2011.


31 August 2011 — Uncle John’s Flush Fiction — ed. Amy Miller, Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers

Uncle John’s Flush Fiction wants your short story! We’re looking for entertaining short fiction, suitable for bathroom (or anyroom) reading, maximum 1,000 words. Send us your best Western, mystery, horror, sci-fi, literary story, parody—all we ask is that it’s entertaining.

== All themes, styles, and hybrids considered.
== Humor is appreciated, but not mandatory.
== Does not have to be bathroom-related, but if you have a tasteful and imaginative take on a bathroom topic, we’d like to see that too.

Uncle John’s Flush Fiction will be a print anthology edited by the team behind the bestselling Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series. With over 20 years of publishing experience and more than 13 million books sold, we’re now looking for the best, most entertaining short fiction to bring to our loyal readers. Flush Fiction will go on sale in major bookstores and via Amazon and other internet retailers in spring 2012.

Simultaneous submissions OK; previously published acceptable if you retain copyright (please tell us where it was published). Each accepted author will receive an honorarium of $50, paid upon publication, plus two copies of Flush Fiction. Byline given.

We purchase North American Serial Rights, and Electronic Rights for an e-book version of the anthology. Entries must be postmarked by
August 31, 2011. Entries accepted via snail mail only; no e-mail entries. If your work is accepted, you will be notified in early 2012. No phone calls or e-mails, please. Please note that the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series is family-friendly. Edgy’s fine; erotica, not so much.

Please send submission, a cover letter with name, address, phone number, email address, and a brief bio (50 words max), and an SASE with sufficient postage for return of manuscript to:

Amy Miller, Staff Editor
Flush Fiction
Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers
PO Box 1117
Ashland, OR 97520


1 September 2011 — Super Hero Anthology — ed. Sasha Knight, Samhain Publishing

It’s up, up and away we go, to a world of superheroes and supervillains, where heroes and/or heroines with special abilities and crime-fighting prowess protect the public…and fall in love.

I’m very happy to announce an open call for submissions for a new, yet-to-be-titled spring 2012 superhero romance anthology. For more information on what I’m looking for when I ask for superhero stories, check out these entries on wikipedia.

I’m open to M/F, M/M, F/F, or multiples thereof, any sexual heat level, and the romance must end happily ever after or happy for now.

The novellas must range between 25,000 to 30,000 words in length, no more, no less—please note, only manuscripts that fall in this word count will be considered for this anthology—and will be released individually as ebooks in spring 2012 and in print approximately one year later.

Submissions are open to all authors, published with Samhain or aspiring to be published with Samhain. All submissions must be new material—previously published submissions will not be considered. Additionally, manuscripts previously submitted, whether individually or for past anthologies, will not be considered either. Be aware that manuscripts submitted to this anthology cannot be resubmitted at a later date unless by invitation from an editor.

Please note: fanfiction of popular, trademarked and copyrighted superheroes will not be considered. Only original works please.

To submit a manuscript for consideration, please include:

The full manuscript (of 25,000 to 30,000 words) with a comprehensive 2-5 page synopsis. Also include a letter of introduction/query letter. Full manuscripts are required for this as it is a special project.

As well, when you send your manuscript, be sure to use the naming convention Superhero_Title_MS and Superhero_Title_Synopsis. This will ensure that your submission doesn’t get missed in the many submissions we receive, and makes it easy for me to find in my e-reader.

Submissions are open until September 1, 2011. No submissions will be accepted after this date—no exceptions. A final decision will be made by October 1, 2011. Send your submission to and include Superhero Anthology in the subject line. Questions and queries can be addressed to Sasha Knight ( though do your due diligence and read this anthology call completely and check the Samhain Submission FAQ page before emailing.


30 September 2011 — Shades of Gray — ed. S.L. Armstrong, Storm Moon Press

This is a place where morality takes a backseat and the lines of right and wrong blur. In Shades of Gray, we are looking for short, M/M stories that push the envelope, are dark, sexy, and erotic. Hurt/comfort, dubious consent and forced seduction, imprisonment, angst, sadism, masochism, and perversion, all carefully wrapped in the package of erotic romance. We don’t want to see angst and torture for angst and torture’s sake, but because it will ultimately unite your two heroes who triumph over the darkest times in their lives. We want dark tones with bright rays of hope.

We will even consider sociopaths as main characters along the lines of Dexter and American Pyscho. All torment must be redeemed through romance and eroticism. Will will NOT accept outright rape, disgusting fetishes used as torture, or snuff stories. Dark yes, gross no.

Length of submissions should be between 10,000 and 15,000 words.

Only short stories that still have their First English language rights still attached will be considered, and we do ask for exclusive electronic and print rights for two (2) years, at which time, all rights revert. We do not accept simultaneous submissions.

Payment is $0.013 per word (based on final, edited word count) paid upon publication, plus a PDF copy of the e-book, and two contributor copies of the print book.

We are accepting submissions until September 30th, 2011. Acceptance notifications and contracts will be issued during the month of October. All content to be featured in Shades of Gray will be edited. Planned release for both the e-book and print book is January 31st, 2012.

Again, please, look over our standard submission guidelines for all the details with regards for our lines, anthologies, and requirements.


30 September 2011 — Unmasked & Undressed — ed. Eric Summers, STARbooks Press

Once again, STARbooks Press is putting together a collection of hot, fun, sexy stories about superheroes, their sidekicks, and their fans. What made Unmasked STARbooks Press best-seller of all time were the great characters, steamy sex, and humor! Surely, you have a superhero whose story you want to tell.

Keep in mind: Every superhero has at least one special ability and one secret weakness. Use these to your advantage. If you contributed to Unmasked or Unmasked II, or both, let’s see a sequel!

Your characters need to be at least 18 years old.

We are seeking well-written stories that are erotic, not just pornographic. There are no limits to the possibilities or scenarios. All we ask is that writers be creative, have fun, and offer our readers something fresh and new. And humor is always greatly appreciated! We want well-developed characters and plots, believable and accurate situations (even if it is fantasy or science fiction, it must make sense), and settings, along with internal consistency. All characters must be at least 18 years of age. Please use lube and not spit.

Feel free to query me about the idea you may have about a story for this anthology at

Thank you,
Eric Summers

Submit your query to in the body of an email. Include a short bio, your name, postal and email addresses, the title and a five-paragraph excerpt of your story. Indicate whether or not your submission has been previously published and, if so, where and when. You don’t need to sell your story in the letter; your work will speak for itself. If your query is accepted, we will be in contact with you about submitting the complete work. The end product should be around eight pages of single spaced 12 pt. type. Occasionally, novellas are accepted, but they must be exceptional. Be sure to edit and proof your query.


30 September 2011 — The Boys of Summer — ed. Mickey Erlach, STARbooks Press

Everyone knows what happens when the thermostat hits 100! Remember those summers between semesters at the lake? How about that camping trip before your senior year in college? Did you have a summer job with a landscaping company to pay for school? Were you a lifeguard at a nude beach?

One cannot help but be horny with all those hot young guys stripped to the waist, sweating and playing or working in the blazing sun. With so little else to remove, getting it on is never easier than on a hot summer night!

Come on and give it to us – those Hot Boys of Summer. We want it steamy; we want it often; we want it good.

Your characters need to be at least 18 years old.

We are seeking well-written stories that are erotic, not just pornographic. There are no limits to the possibilities or scenarios. All we ask is that writers be creative, have fun, and offer our readers something fresh and new. And humor is always greatly appreciated! We want well-developed characters and plots, believable and accurate situations (even if it is fantasy or science fiction, it must make sense), and settings, along with internal consistency. All characters must be at least 18 years of age. Please use lube and not spit.

Feel free to query me about the idea you may have about a story for this anthology at

Thank you,
Mickey Erlach

Submit your query to in the body of an email. Include a short bio, your name, postal and email addresses, the title and a five-paragraph excerpt of your story. Indicate whether or not your submission has been previously published and, if so, where and when. You don’t need to sell your story in the letter; your work will speak for itself. If your query is accepted, we will be in contact with you about submitting the complete work. The end product should be around eight pages of single spaced 12 pt. type. Occasionally, novellas are accepted, but they must be exceptional. Be sure to edit and proof your query.


30 September 2011 — Apocalypse Hope — ed. Tehani Wessely, Fablecroft Publishing

The world is ending: climate change, natural disaster, war and disease threaten to destroy all we know. Predictions of the future are bleak. But does the apocalypse really mean the end of the world? Is there no hope for a future that follows?

FableCroft Publishing is seeking speculative fiction stories on the theme “Apocalypse Hope”. The stories must in some way address the idea that after the apocalypse (whatever and wherever in your universe that might be), there is a future for the peoples who survive it. The rest is up to your imagination.

Stories should be between 2,000 and 8,000 words. Please query the editor before sending stories outside those limits.

Original stories are preferred. Please query for reprints.

No simultaneous submissions please.

For multiple submissions, please query first.

Submissions close: September 30, 2011

Anticipated publication date: June 2012
Electronic submissions only. Please send story as an rtf or doc attachment to fablecroft [at] gmail [dot] com, with the subject line: SUBMISSION: Title of Story

Please ensure your story file includes your contact details including postal address and email address.

Stories should be formatted to usual electronic submission standard. Times New Roman font of 11/12 point preferred, with at least 1.5 spacing.

Please be cautious to only submit final, proofread copy – ensure you have checked all your edits and removed all track changes in your document.

The editor will respond with a submission received email within 48 hours, but story selection may not occur until up to one month after the deadline. This anthology is open to international contributors.

Payment will be AUD$50.00 and one contributor copy of the print book. Further royalties will apply for e-book revenue.


31 October 2011 — Rocket Science — ed. Ian Sales, Mutation Press

Science fiction does take place in a vacuum. Travel more than 100 kilometres vertically from where you’re standing, and you’ll be in space. Where there’s no life-sustaining air; where the cold, and direct sunlight, can kill. There’s no gravity, and background radiation will cause cancer in one in ten people. Yet the future of our species quite possibly lies up there, or somewhere that will require us to cross space to reach.

Too often, science fiction glosses over the difficulties associated with leaving a planetary surface, travelling billions of kilometres through space, or even living in a radiation-soaked vacuum. The laws of physics are side-stepped in the interests of drama. Yet there’s plenty of drama, plenty of science fiction drama, in overcoming the challenges space presents. Whether it is, for example, an alternate history take on the Apollo Lunar landings; the discovery of an alien artefact on a moon of Jupiter; or the story of a mission to the nearest star.

ROCKET SCIENCE is looking for original stories which realistically depict space travel and its hazards. The reader needs to know what it would be like to be there. This doesn’t mean stories must be set in interplanetary or interstellar space; but the technology and science involved must be present somewhere. It could be a story set in a spacecraft, on an asteroid or space station; or about a mission soon to leave Earth’s surface. It could be a first contact, a rescue against the odds, or a study of some unusual space phenomenon. Whatever suits. Don’t be afraid to be literary.

But no space opera, definitely no space opera.

ROCKET SCIENCE will also feature relevant non-fiction – history, science, technology, perhaps a study of notable books / films / tv. Feel free to submit.

Reading period 1 Aug 2011 to 31 Oct 2011. Do not send before.

Word limit 6k. Payment GBP10.00 per 1k words. No reprints.

Please stick to the theme.

ROCKET SCIENCE, edited by Ian Sales. To be published by Mutation Press in 2012. For more information: visit this page for updates or email


1 November 2011 — Damnation and Dames — ed. Amanda Pillar and Liz Grzyb, Ticonderoga Publications

We are looking for stories which show the paranormal and noir crime worlds colliding. You might find werewolf femme fatales, vampire hardboiled detectives, alcoholic psychic journalists, zombie bankrobbers, ghostly gendarmes, demonic insurance salesmen, down-on-their-luck djinns, double-crossing mummies, or even fae with a love for red herrings.

The anthology will be published by Ticonderoga Publications in 2012.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Send us your best paranormal noir stories.

1. — Story length 1,000 to 7,500 words. (Longer stories may be accepted, although payment is capped at 7,500).
2. — Original stories only: no reprints, multiple, or simultaneous submissions.
3. — Stories may be submitted via email at
4. — Manuscript format: double spaced, large margins, sensible font, Australian English spelling.
5. — The editors reserve the right to use their discretion in selecting stories.
6. — Deadline: 1st November, 2011.
7. — Payment: 2 copies of anthology and Aus 2 cents/word (GST inc., maximum payment $150) on publication.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Subject box: Short Story submission – title of story

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Call for Submissions: All Access Pass

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

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

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

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


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

What are you looking for?

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

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

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

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

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

I think it’s wuxia.

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

How do you want it?

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

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

How long should it be?

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

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

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

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

What will the submission process be like?

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

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

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

How much does this thing pay?

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

What rights are you seeking?

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

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

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

July Stuff (and a bit of early August)

Writing: 7627 words — 2 pts. [sigh]
Editing: 41,093 words — 8 pts.
Submissions: 5 pts.
TOTAL: 15 pts.

Still want more writing, although what I did was all in the last two weeks, after I had enough focus to get back to it. If I could do twice that next month, I’d be pretty happy. [crossed fingers]

And I just want to note that it’s pretty darned annoying to go over a WIP for like the fourth time and still be finding typos and glitches and WTF bits. [headdesk] I think they spawn on their own when I’m not looking.

Edging over into August stuff, I had my first root canal yesterday (Tuesday) and… it wasn’t too bad. The doctor doing them is a root canal specialist; it’s all he does, so it makes sense he’d be good at it. I spent most of the next twenty-four hours unconscious, which I did with the deep cleanings too; I’m blaming that on the drugs. Yay drugs!

My book A Hidden Magic is one of the Books of the Month over on the Goodreads M/M Romance group this month. It’s basically an excuse for the group to read and discuss. You have to be a member of M/M Romance to join in, but if you’re able I hope you’ll come chat.

Also, today is my birthday, yay! I’m forty-eight, which is a pretty cool number — even four times over. 😀