Anthology prompts

A friend recently pointed out the strange danger of anthology prompts, which I hadn’t given much thought to since it’s only recently that I’ve written anything specifically for a theme anthology.  Mostly I write what I’ve a mind to.  If I see an anthology where it might fit, I’ll submit, but the pieces weren’t intended for an audience that knows what to expect going in.

Of course, the problem with writing pieces specifically for theme anthologies is what you’ll do with it if the editors don’t pick it up.  How much rewriting can the story stand to make it suitable for a general publication?  How much of a niche interest is it?  How much might you, the author, be leaving unsaid because you made the assumption during the writing process that readers would know before they even started that your story would be about villainous pickles or hapless sadsacks with malfunctioning robots or whatever weirdness it is that’s caught your eye in a prompt?

It’s an odd blindspot to generate, especially since again, as authors, you already know where your story is going.  Of course the narrator is a felonious condiment.  It’s obvious to anyone, right?  (Meanwhile the editor of some normal publication is reading your story and going “Well, this was one wild ride, but we’ll pass, thanks.”)

Quick reminder

This reading period for Aliterate (fledgling market, professional rates for SFF) is closing at the end of the month.  They do blind submissions, and I heard back from them about my piece in under a week.  If you’re interested, get in while the getting’s good!

3,000 to 12,000 words, no reprints, $0.06 per word.  Simultaneous submissions okay, but with a turnaround that fast, why bother?

Good luck!

OPEN SUBMISSIONS: Monster Brawl!

The Sirens Song

Sirens Call Publications is pleased to announce a new open submission for a horror anthology titled Monster Brawl!

The Call: It’s time to let the monsters loose!

Monster_Brawl_phWe’re looking for stories of monsters, either classical or spawned from your own imagination, fighting other monsters. Make the scale as grand or as simple as you like, however there must be a clear winner at the end – one of your creatures must die!

Nothing says you have to pit a single monster against another. Get creative, make this a fight for the ages! Go campy or serious; just make sure you’re not infringing on the copyright or trademark of others. And please, no fan fiction that points directly to a specific pre-defined trope. A descendant of Van Helsing versus a werewolf or a vampire won’t make the cut for this one.

It’s time to get your game face on and craft…

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Baba Yaga’s Assistant

I heard about Marika McCoola’s new book, Baba Yaga’s Assistant, almost by accident.  I had mentioned Anya’s Ghost to a friend, and she thought I might like Baba Yaga’s Assistant as well.

Illustrated by Emily Carroll (whose Through the Woods is fantastic and also highly recommended!), the narrative is a fantastic weave of past and present, and the art lends itself perfectly to the idea of growing up through tragedy and fantasy.

It’s a quick read, but you’ll definitely want to take time to get lost in the artwork!

Good news, everyone!

We’re coming up on the end of April, which means that Alban Lake‘s Confessions of a Shapeshifter anthology should be out very soon. I’m also pleased to say that this isn’t an unbiased announcement.

I’ve got a piece in it–“About Last Night”–and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on my contributor’s copy so I can read everyone else’s entries.

Six of Crows

I can’t believe I waited so long to pick up Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows. (Do you need to read her Grisha trilogy first?  No, you do not.) With the sequel, Crooked Kingdom, due out in September, now seemed like a perfect time to dive in.

This novel has everything: Revenge. Complicated finances. Scam artists. Dysfunctional relationships. Terrible people. Magicians riding tanks. A plot that goes like a runaway train.

What more could a reader possibly ask for? Not much, and the book probably still managed to work it in somewhere.

If you’re not often interested in YA, I’d recommend giving it a try anyway. The cast of characters is young, but their circumstances have forced them to grow up quickly, and there aren’t many YA hallmarks to their behavior.