Sunday, July 31, 2011

Some interesting themed opportunities

In a post last December I discussed some of the advantages of pursuing publication in themed publications (or themed issues of publications) -- and perhaps chief among them is the fact that the competition is likely not as fierce as in a general interest publication. I thought I'd pick up that train of thought by looking at a few interesting opportunities currently available, especially for genre and cross-genre writers. These themed publications were found via Duotrope's Digest's weekly email bulletin -- as I've said many times before, an absolute must for poets and writers who are actively seeking outlets for their work.

Perhaps because I saw the new film Cowboys and Aliens this weekend, Pill Hill Press's call for submissions for its contest anthology "Conquest Through Determination" caught my attention. Specifically, Pill Hill is looking for stories in the Sci-Fi subgenre of steampunk. Steampunk, a variation on the term cyberpunk (think Matrix), plays with the idea of advanced technologies in a steam-engine era. The editors discuss the subgenre on their contest page and cite Jules Verne as a pioneer. Wikipedia, meanwhile, provides a thorough entry on steampunk. The editors also stress that they're looking for seasoned voices as well as new ones.

Red Skies Press currently has five anthologies for which they're accepting submissions: First Contact Imminent, Dreams of Duality, Celtic Blade, Frozen Fear Deluxe, and Medieval Nightmares. See the press's website for complete details.

Rune Wright has three themed deadlines fast approaching: Hallows Eve Vol. One, Holiday Spirit & Mayhem Vol. One, and Penny Dread Tales, Vol. Two. Editor Christopher Ficco stresses that the themes should not be taken as rigid, but rather they should inspire creativity. See Rune Wright's submissions page for complete details and deadlines.

Imagination & Place is planning its fourth book, titled "Imagination & Place: Weather," and is wanting fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and essays that explore weather "both interior and exterior, calm and turbulent." Check out the submission details.

There are many, many themed (and non-themed) deadlines in the next couple of months, so visit Duotrope's Digest and other sources, like, to see what's available.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Some summer writing contests to consider

In my January 22, 2011post I talked about the benefits of entering your writing in contests, and while summertime may be a bit slow in terms of available outlets, there are numerous contests that are taking entries.

This line of thought was sparked by my receiving an email from Donna Talarico, the founder and publisher of Hippocampus Magazine, regarding her journal's Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction. See the contest page for complete details, but some highlights include cash prizes, publication, and (maybe best of all) a significant portion of the entry fee will be donated to the Alzheimer's Association. Contact with questions or comments. The deadline is September 15, 2011.

While I'm at it, I'll point out that the journal for which I'm a reader, Quiddity international literary journal and public-radio program, has two contests underway: The Book Trailer Contest for Writers and Small or Independent Presses. As the name implies, there are two categories -- one for writers who are promoting their manuscripts, and the other for small or independent publishers who are promoting books. See guidelines for complete details and a sample trailer. The deadline is December 10, 2011.

Quiddity is also sponsoring the Teresa A. White Literary Award: "Buck-a-Word" Contest. The journal is looking for flash fiction of no more than 500 words, including title. The deadline is October 31, 2011.

These are the proverbial tip of the iceberg. A good resource for finding contests that are currently accepting entries is's contest page. The site, which is a great resource in general, organizes the contest pages (one for magazines, one for books) by deadline month, and several are coming up in July and August.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Three new journals planning fall launches

In my last post I talked about the fact that summer offers fewer publishing opportunities for writers and poets but "fewer" isn't none -- so I wanted to call your attention to some editors/publishers who are currently reading for their inaugural issues, all found courtesy of Duotrope's Digest's email newsletter.

Orange Quarterly caught my eye. It's a brand-new online market "showcas[ing] both emerging and established artists and writers from around the globe." Founded by Allison Leigh Peters, OQ is currently accepting work for their debut issue, which is scheduled to launch this Halloween night just before the clock strikes midnight. As a drama-building tool, the site has a countdown-to-launch clock. The editors are accepting work via email, and as such there are quite a few do's and don't's, so read their submission guidelines carefully. Prose writers should note that they'll read work up to 7,500 words, which is more than many journals are interested in considering. I must say I like the look of OQ's site; it appears professionally constructed and well thought out. In short, it looks to me like an online journal put together by folks who know what they're doing (even though it doesn't appear that any of the "OQ crew" will be applying for their AARP card anytime soon).

Whether you submit or not, Orange Quarterly will be a journal worth keeping track of as the editors get their first issues out into the cyberworld.

Here's another interesting-looking online journal in its embryonic stage: Specter Literary Magazine (also featuring a countdown-to-launch clock -- maybe that's a new trend).  SLM's editors have a somewhat narrower focus than Orange Quarterly's in that they want poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction with "themes rooted in the generation of the 1980s and forward from a multi-cultural/multi-sexual perspective." That sounds intriguing but to be honest I'm not 100 percent sure what it means, and in fact I'm not even certain who "the generation of the 1980s" is.  The editors' guidelines offer some clarifications, and, as you'll see, they're taking work via Submishmash. SLM's blog has links to additional information, like the journal's masthead.

The editors are eager to see your work regardless of background (publishing or otherwise), so check out Specter Literary Magazine. It will be interesting to see how their focus manifests itself once it begins to publish in (let me check) about three months.

Speaking of interesting-looking online journals in their embryonic stage, here's another: S/WORD. Founded by husband and wife Seth and Chelsea McKelvey, S/WORD (which can be pronounced a multitude of ways) has a very, well, philosophical mission regarding text and reader interpretation. Trying to paraphrase it wouldn't do it justice, so please read the editors' about page  -- but it seems to me an important distinction of their journal is that, at the risk of oversimplifying, the editors are interested (even) in pieces that are not necessarily "finished" but are clearly still forming in the author's mind.

S/WORD, too, is accepting work via email. The editors want to see poetry and prose, but they also want to hear about creative work that doesn't quite fit into either of those pigeon holes, which is interesting. See their submission guidelines. S/WORD's site has a sort of New Age feel, but it's visually engaging and easy to maneuver within.

These are just three publishing possibilities. Check out Duotrope's Digest and NewPages for even more opportunities.