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Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Steamfunk, Sword & Soul, Horror, Commentary, Reviews, and more . . .

The Diverse Writers & Artists of Speculative Fiction

Strap in and enter worlds of wonder in Chosen Realities: Summer 2020. The Journal contains a dazzling array of short stories, scripts, interviews, and more! Stroll through fantastical universes, rocket through science fiction landscapes, and muse on poetry in this jam-packed introductory volume of the Journal of Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction. Entertainment and enlightenment await!

Read the Reviews!

This is an essential #ownvoices journal -- the first issue from the Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction (DWASF) -- which contains commentaries, essays, fiction, poetry, and more. This should be as widely available as possible, particularly in public, school, and academic libraries. The poetry in particular was heart-wrenching and heart-breaking.

The poems had a huge impact on me from K Ceres Wright, John Edward Lawson (some of whose breathtaking photography is also featured within), Scott Key, in particular, but all of them were thought-provoking, challenging, and cut deep. LH Moore's commentary on what it is like to be a Black writer of speculative fiction was an illuminating and eye-opening read that deserves as wide of an audience as possible. L. Marie Wood's pieces, "Horror and Romance" and "All Stories are Horror Stories" were fascinating. For readers wanting to diversify their palettes, particularly with more AfroFuturism, this journal issue is an excellent place to start. The authors featured within have such evocative work -- everyone should buy a copy of this issue. ~ Eva, reader on

Chosen Realities, the Summer 2020 Journal of the Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction, has something for every lover of speculative fiction. With immersive and imaginative short stories, impactful poetry, commentary on the genre, and peppered with interviews, this collection is a must read. ~ Kenesha Williams, Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Black Girl Magic Literary Magazine

How Do You Build a World?

Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe. Developing an imaginary setting with coherent qualities such as a history, geography, and ecology is a key task for many science fiction or fantasy writers. Worldbuilding often involves the creation of maps, a backstory, and races, including social customs and, in some cases, an invented language for a world. (Wikipedia)

K. Ceres Wright discusses Worldbuilding with AFROFuturists LH Moore and William Jones who share their insights about realistic and entertaining stories for readers and writers.

Sectornauts by Mshindo9

You may be looking for some Afrofuturistic art for your project. Click the links to the artist and contact them on Deviant Art to collaborate!


Grist is a nonprofit online magazine that publishes news and commentary on the environment. Their solutions lab, Fix, posts stories about innovative ideas and solutions and facilitates networking among fixers. To that end, Grist is looking to change the narrative on climate change by working “toward a new framework rooted in environmental justice and equitable climate solutions, while amplifying voices that have and continue to be affected by systems of oppression, including structural racism and white supremacy, heteronormativity, xenophobia, misogyny, and ableism."

They are sponsoring a short story contest, which will launch January 2021.

Story length: 3,000 to 5,000 words

Submission period: January–April 2021

Judges: An interdisciplinary board of four literary experts and four Fix employees

Award date: July2021

Awards: First-, second-, and third-prize winners will be awarded $3,000; $2000; and $1,000, respectively. Nine finalists will receive a $300 honorarium. Winners and finalists will be published in a stunning, immersive digital collection on the new Fix website and will be celebrated in a public-facing virtual event.

Stay tuned for more information closer to the launch date!

The Realm by L. Marie Wood

You thought you were dead.

Waking up and looking all around you, you realize all you learned about The Afterlife was a fantasy. You don't know where you are, but you do know it's not a pleasant or suitable place. You need to run. Hard and fast.

Eventually, you meet others doomed to live in this terrifying Realm with you. Here are gathered the newly dead from all over the universe. A formidable race of giant beasts hunts them. The likes of which have never been seen by those in the living world. This place is like nothing you ever learned about in life - neither Heaven nor Hell, neither Purgatory nor Sheol.

You encounter clusters of people huddled together for safety. You're a lone wolf – they don't trust you, nor you them. Perhaps with good reason.

Patrick is key to the future of The Realm. He must right old wrongs and fight against all the terrors it has in store. He must fight to save his family and, most importantly, all of his descendants. His revelations will impact the living world, as well as what comes next.

Patrick is the future of humanity. Can he succeed?

Get your copy of The Realm here!

Top 20 Places to Submit Speculative Fiction

Looking for places to submit your science fiction, fantasy, or horror stories? We've got you covered. Check out this article:

Roswell Award: Short Fiction

The 6th Annual Roswell Award short science fiction writing competition is open for submissions. Deadline is December 15, 2020. Get the low down:

Featured Writer: Andrea Hairston

Andrea Hairston is a playwright, novelist, and scholar. She has published three novels: Will Do Magic For Small Change, a finalist for the Mythopoeic, Lambda, and Tiptree Awards, a Massachusetts Must Read, and a New York Times Editor’s pick; Redwood and Wildfire, winner of the Tiptree and Carl Brandon Awards; Mindscape, winner of the Carl Brandon Award. Lonely Stardust, a collection of essays and plays, was published by Aqueduct press. Her play, Thunderbird at the Next World Theatre, appears in Geek Theater15 Plays by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers. “Griots of the Galaxy,” a short story, appears in So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Visions of the Future. A novelette, “Saltwater Railroad,” was published by Lightspeed Magazine. “Dumb House,” a short story appears in New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color. Andrea has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her next novel, Master of Poisons, will be published by Tor/Macmillan in 2020. In her spare time, Andrea is the Louise Wolff Kahn 1931 Professor of Theatre and Africana Studies at Smith College and the Artistic Director of Chrysalis Theatre. She bikes at night year round, meeting bears, multi-legged creatures of light and breath, and the occasional shooting star.

Read her new book, Master of Poisons:

7 Paying SFF Markets

by Avery Springwood

There are loads of paying science fiction and fantasy markets out there. You’ve probably heard of long-established giants like Asimov’s Science Fiction, Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF), Apex, Analog Science Fiction & Fact, and Clarkesworld, but here are seven more markets that pay SFWA professional rates of 8c/word, or more.

Happy speculative fiction writing everyone!

Cossmass Infinities is a SF and fantasy magazine, paying 8c/word for 2000-10000 word stories. They publish some stories online and some only in their ebook and print editions, and welcome stories from new writers and stories from Black, Asian, Latin, LGBTQ+ and other under-represented authors. The magazine has a regular submissions window which runs from the 1st to the 7th of every month (which opens/ closes at midnight UTC). Average response time: rejections = 25 days, acceptances = 66 days, but allow 3 months before querying.

Examples of accepted stories online are worth studying.

Full guidelines:

Daily Science Fiction pays 8c/word for speculative fiction stories of 100-1,500 words. They accept all sub-genres/styles of fantasy and SF. Every accepted story is available to read for free online, and you can also subscribe to receive a new story every weekday by email if you wish, also for free. Their accepted stories can be browsed, by topic, HERE.

Average response time: rejections = 21 days, acceptances = 63 days, but allow up to 3 months before querying.

Full guidelines:

Dark Matter Magazine is a SF market that aims to ‘bring you stories that explore the shadow side of reality.’ They welcome dark science fiction and darkly humorous science fiction stories (in a wide range of sub-genres) of 1000-5000 words, and pay 8c/ word on acceptance. Average response is 14 days, but allow 30 days before querying.

Full guidelines:

Escape Pod is an audio magazine that pays 8c/word for science fiction stories of 1,500-6,000 words. They are ‘fairly flexible on what counts as science’ and ‘want stories that center on science, technology, future projections, and/or alternate history, and how any or all of these things intersect with people’.

They are open to submissions annually for 9 months of the year, from Sep 1st – May 31st. Average response time: rejections = 12 days, acceptances = 86 days, but allow up to 3 months before querying.

Full guidelines:

Fantasy Magazine is a market that pays 8c/word for 1500-7500 word fantasy and dark fantasy stories. ‘No subject should be considered off-limits, and we encourage writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope. If you’re not sure whether your story is fantasy (vs. horror or science fiction) go ahead and submit and let the editors decide.’

The magazine has a regular submissions window which runs from the 1st to the 7th of every month. Average response time: rejections = 36 days, acceptances = 63 days, but allow up to 3 months before querying.

Full guidelines:

Podcastle is an audio magazine, that pays 8c/word for fantasy stories of up to 6,000 words, published by the same publishers as Escape Pod. They’re open to ‘open to all sub-genres of fantasy, from magical realism to urban fantasy to slipstream to high fantasy, and everything in between’, They are open to submissions four months of the year, in March, June, September, and December. Average response time: rejections = 28 days, acceptances = 84 days, but allow up to 3 months before querying.

Full guidelines:

Strange Horizons is a speculative fiction magazine that pays 10c/ word for stories up to 10,000 words (they prefer stories under 5000 words). They favor literary science fiction and fantasy stories, and are open to submissions once a week, between Monday 1600 UTC and Tuesday 1600 UTC.

Average response time: rejections = 51 days, acceptances = 66 days, but allow up to 3 months before querying.

Full guidelines:

Original article:

6 Common Publishing Myths

by Emily Harstone

As a writer who receives multiple emails each week about publishing, there are a number of myths about publishing that I encounter repeatedly. Different writers tell them to me as if they are fact. Some myths are ones I believed when I was starting out. Some contain truth. Many are entirely false.

Believing in one or more of these myths could seriously hurt your chances of having a book published by the right publisher.

You need a literary agent. Literary agents are great. Many authors rely on them. However, they are hard to find and they can’t always find a publisher for your book. I know several authors who got their book published with a good publisher after their agent failed to get that same book published.

In fact a lot of smaller publishers, including most established and respected ones, accept unsolicited manuscripts directly from authors. Not only that but most larger traditional publishers have at least one imprint or digital first branch that is open to unsolicited submissions.

When I wrote fiction I used to think it was about finding the right agent, now I know that I would submit my work to a few of my favorite publishers directly before trying to find an agent, even though my work would end up in the slush pile.

The second myth, big six or bust, is actually related to the first myth. Many believe that one of the big six publishers (which is now actually only five) need to accept their book in order for the book to sell well, so that the book can find its rightful place in brick and mortar bookstores and libraries.

This is not true. This is why knowing who your publisher’s distributor is, is so important. In fact many smaller publishers have the same distributors as the big five publishers.

Most publishing companies that have a good distributor are very upfront about it. If you go into a book store or a library regularly you will probably have a good idea of which publishers have good distribution, because you see them on the shelves.

An incomplete manuscript can be accepted is only a myth when it comes to fiction. Many nonfiction research based books are accepted before completion. When it comes to fiction, all successful legitimate publishers that I know of require that the manuscript is complete on submission. So even if they request just the first three chapters, the rest of your book should already be finished.

Having a legitimate publisher means that you don’t have to self- promote. This might have been true at one point, but it has not been true for a long time. Ten years ago I took a class with a New York Times bestselling author. He told me the best thing he did for his first book was independently hire a publicist, even though his book was published by a major (big five) publisher.

Most publishers that you can submit to directly want to know your marketing plan (or your author platform) before accepting your book for publication. They want to know that you are committed to promoting your work. That you know who your potential audience is and you are willing to connect with them. This does not mean the publisher is less legitimate or that they won’t help with marketing. They just need to know that you are serious about supporting your own book.

You have to pay a traditional publisher. If you have a traditional publisher, you do not pay them anything. They pay you. However, over the past few years many traditional and established publishing houses such Harlequin, Thomas Nelson, and Hay House have partnered with companies such as Authors Solutions Inc. to create self-publishing branches associated with these presses. Sometimes if the traditional branches of these presses have contests, the contests are even redirected to the self-publishing branch. This can confuse a lot of people.

For example in India, Penguin/Random House, one of the big five and one of the best known publishers in the world, runs a company called Partridge. However, Partridge is purely a vanity publisher. They charge all their writers.

It is no wonder that myth is becoming more substantial, not less.

Self-publishing is easy. There is truth to this myth. With a little time and minimal effort, any person can publish their book with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). However, that does not mean that anyone will buy or read that book. The majority of self-published books sell under 10 copies. Like traditional publishing, self-publishing requires a lot of work if you want to be successful, it is just a different kind of work.

Original article:

27 Themed Submissions Calls for May 2021

Written by S. Kalekar

There are 27 themed submission calls and contests listed here, for writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Most of the calls pay writers, and none of the contests charge a fee. Some of the themes are: the hero’s journey; love; humans are the problem (a monsters anthology); Wight Christmas; night frights; fire; humorous mysteries; partners in crime; and escapism. One of the anthologies will open for submissions later in the month.


This is a speculative fiction anthology open to writers of African descent only. Their guidelines say, “Africa Risen will take readers on a fantastical Pan-African journey inspired by indigenous African lore, and the richness found in immigrant and Diasporan narratives, gathering new tales of alien entities, scientists, spiritual guides, priests, and deities.

Ideal contributors will craft tales that reveal all the rich cultural diversity found on the African continent and every corner of our world, for Africa’s reach is wide and expansive, revealing that Africa is not rising; it’s already here.” also accepts pitches for unthemed non-fiction (do not send unsolicited submissions); pay is unspecified, and submissions are ongoing for those – see this link for details.

Deadline: 14 May 2021

Length: Up to 5,000 words

Pay: $0.08/word

Details here and here.

Heroic: The Hero’s Journey

Heroic is a fantasy fiction publisher. They want submissions for ‘The Hero’s Journey’ fantasy anthology. Their guidelines say, “We are looking for short stories with the theme of ‘The Hero’s Journey’ at their core. Whilst we’re not averse to traditional interpretations, we’re especially interested in explorations that take us into ‘unusual’ territories and subversions that give new life to this classic narrative.”

Deadline: 14 May 2021

Length: 750-5,000 words

Pay: £50

Details here.

Women Slaying Modern Gothic Horror

This horror anthology is open to women writers only – trans, cis, femme-identifying, all are welcome. They want fiction that explores “the grand traditions and tropes of Gothic Horror, reimagined and contemporized for this generation and beyond. … We’re not interested in rewrites of the classics; rather, stories inspired by Gothic moods, subtexts and themes. Take your breast-beating, ghost-plagued protagonists out of the Victorian manor and inject them into outer space; the plague-soaked, paranoiac world outside your window; under the sea; into a splatterpunk meta-fiction; or better yet, surprise us!” Submit shorter stories and poems; query for long stories. They will also consider poetry, especially if it comes with a strong horror narrative. While this is a Kickstarter-funded anthology, writers will be paid, whether or not the Kickstarter funds; writers will be paid a $25 holding fee, and the rest after the Kickstarter campaign.

Deadline: 15 May 2021

Length: 1,000-15,000 words

Pay: $0.04/word

Details here.

Weird Little Worlds: Humans Are The Problem

This is a horror fiction anthology. Their guidelines say, “Monsters are losing their place in a world flooded with technology and false movie representation. Their hunting grounds are diminishing in an “always-on” world. These are the stories of how monsters are adapting to the 21st century and fighting back to regain their place of power.

Bring us your tired tropes reimagined for the new world. Tell us the story that no one has told from the monster that we all think we know. Funny, smart, sad…but always scary.” Also, “All of the stories will have a supernatural element. They might be psychological horror, eldritch, gothic, and more. They will not be slasher/splatter horror, erotic horror, or anything that contains gratuitous violent and/or sexual elements.” This is a Kickstarter-funded anthology, and at the time of writing, the first stretch goal has been met; they will pay more if the second stretch goal is met.

Deadline: 15 May 2021

Length: 1,000-3,500 words

Pay: $0.06/word

Details here.

All Worlds Wayfarer: Prismatic Dreams

This is a speculative fiction anthology featuring LGBTQIA+ characters. Stories can be fantasy, SF, horror, magical realism, fabulist, slipstream, paranormal, surrealism, weird fiction, or any other style with speculative elements.

Deadline: 15 May 2021 (may be open for longer – see guidelines)

Length: 1,500-5,000 words

Pay: $20

Details here.

Claw & Blossom: Screens

This is a quarterly online journal of poetry and short literary prose, that touches upon the natural world. They are reading work for issue 9 (the June Solstice issue), and the theme is ‘Screens’. Their guidelines say, “The editor hopes to see explorations that relate meaningful personal struggles not only to a larger picture of humanity but beyond, to the context of other species and the state of the planet. The editor is partial to work that is layered and shows reflective complexity, and they are particularly fond of pieces that utilize emotional movement or narrative tension. Portraits and odes are unlikely to be a good fit.” The work must contain elements of the natural world – this need not be the main focus, but it should have a distinct and relevant narrative presence. Regarding poetry, they are partial to free verse, and aren’t keen on traditional forms.

Deadline: 23 May 2021

Length: Up to 1,000 words for prose, one poem

Pay: $25

Details here.

Classic Monsters Unleashed

This is a fiction anthology. Their guidelines say, “We’re looking for dark, scary stories featuring a classic monster or monsters (think famous creatures from pre-1960 horror movies). While we prefer new angles that subvert or re-imagine the monster, we are also interested in really good traditional monster stories. Stories can also star secondary characters, such as a well-known sidekick, assistant or love interest, from the classic monster universe.” They do not want general monster types, such as a Cyclops, Bigfoot, Dragon or Zombie. Nor are they necessarily looking for mythological monsters or old monsters, or for obscure characters. See guidelines for character suggestions; also, do not send Dracula stories.

Deadline: 30 May 2021

Length: 1,000-5,000 words

Pay: $0.08/word

Details here.

TDotSpec: Wight Christmas, and other themes

This is an anthology of holiday horror, and in particular stories that subvert Christmas tropes and seasonal clichés. “We are seeking dark reinterpretations of seasonal traditions, and stories that reimagine holiday characters as ghosts, demons, spirits, supernatural entities, or other paranormal phenomena.

Fantasy and science fiction genres are both okay, but in all cases, submissions are more likely to be successful if they are dark and subversive.

No Krampus.” They also accept reprints. They will also publish poetry, and poetry reprints.

Deadline: 31 May 2021

Length: Up to 5,000 words

Pay: Half a cent per word (Canadian) for fiction

Details here (scroll down).

(They are also reading for two other fiction anthologies: Strange Religion – speculative fiction of spirituality, belief, and practice; and Strange Wars – speculative fiction of coalitions in conflict. These are Kickstarter-funded, and at the time of writing, more than 75% of the goal had been reached; the submission deadline for writers is 31 May 2021, and if the Kickstarter funds, writers will be paid CAD0.02/word for stories up to 7,500 words; they’ll also accept reprints.)The Dread Machine: Darkness Blooms

The Dread Machine is a magazine, publishing house, and community of writers and fans of dread-inspiring fiction, according to their website. For the ‘Darkness Blooms’ fiction anthology their guidelines say, “Identity, security, and community are inexorably entwined.

We’re looking for stories touching on at least one of these themes. We want you to explore the boundaries of who we are, what makes us feel safe (and at what cost), with whom we choose to surround ourselves, and our darkest secrets.” All submissions must inspire dread. See their extensive guidelines for details, including their wish list, hard sells, and hard passes. Writers can submit up to three stories.

Deadline: 31 May 2021

Length: 2,000-10,000 words

Pay: $0.08/word

Details here.

Dark Moon Digest: Night Frights Issue #2

This call is for the annual young adult edition of horror fiction, titled Night Frights. Their guidelines say, “We want to introduce young minds to the fabulous world of horror fiction. … We want stories with complex characters and new ideas. Scare us. But also, inspire young readers into a lifelong obsession with the genre.

Cool it on the profanities, no sexual situations, nothing too graphic.”

Deadline: 31 May 2021

Length: Up to 3,500 words

Pay: $0.03/word

Details here.

The Antihumanist

Their tagline is ‘Flash Fiction and Philosophy’. They publish fiction and essays on the antihuman theme, and also commission artwork. Their guidelines say, “We want fiction that challenges human centred narratives, that forces us to confront our place in the universe, that makes us question: Who are we? Why are we here? Is there a purpose? Historically, weird fiction has best captured this goal. However, we are willing to accept submissions from speculative, horror, and literary writers that meet the above criteria.” For nonfiction, “We want essays and letters that challenge human centred narratives, that force us to confront our place in the universe, that make us question: Who are we? Why are we here? Is there a purpose?

Equally, we are willing to accept essays that challenge the antihumanist project and explicitly refute antihumanist assumptions and presuppositions.”

Deadline: Open now

Length: Up to 1,000 words for fiction, 750-1,500 words for essays, up to 350 words for letters

Pay: $0.05/word for prose; $150 for cover art

Details here (fiction guidelines) and here (essay guidelines).

Mystery Weekly Magazine: Die Laughing – An Anthology of Humorous Mysteries

This magazine publishes mystery stories, and they are reading work for mysteries with a humour element for an anthology. They want “stories with off-beat characters, bungling detectives, or funny premises. Be creative, but make it about a mystery/crime, and make us laugh!” They want fiction and B&W comics. They also accept general mystery stories (unthemed).

Deadline: 1 June 2021

Length: 1,000-8,000 words

Pay: $0.02/word for fiction, $25 for black and white comics

Details here.

Parabola: Fire

This is a quarterly journal that explores the quest for meaning as it is expressed in the world’s myths, symbols, and religious traditions, with particular emphasis on the relationship between this store of wisdom and our modern life. They are open for work on the ‘Fire’ theme. Apart from poetry, and retellings of traditional stories (they do not publish original fiction, only retellings), they publish articles/essays (including translations), book reviews, and forum contributions. Their guidelines say, “We look for lively, penetrating material unencumbered by jargon or academic argument. We prefer well-researched, objective, and unsentimental pieces that are grounded in one or more religious or cultural tradition; articles that focus on dreams, visions, or other very personal experiences are unlikely to be accepted.”

Deadline: 1 June 2021

Length: 500-1,500 words for retellings of traditional stories, up to 5 poems, 1,000-3,000 words for articles, up to 500 words for book reviews and forum contributions

Pay: Unspecified

Details here.

The Best of New True Crime Stories: Two anthologies

They are looking for submissions for two non-fiction, true crime anthologies. Send a pitch first. The editor selects material on an on-going basis; writers who submit work in advance often have a better chance of acceptance.

— Partners in Crime: Their guidelines say, “Nonfiction, true crime accounts featuring lawbreaking couples who have joined forces to commit crime. These couples can be married, domestic partners, or lovers. Stories can take place anywhere in the world and be from any time period. I’m interested in material covering a wide range of criminal activity. First-person accounts are especially welcome from writers with a connection to their cases. Add something new to the story, a different viewpoint or angle.”

— Unsolved Crimes & Mysteries: Their guidelines say, “Seeking nonfiction, true crime accounts of unsolved criminal cases and mysteries that can take place anywhere in the world and be from any time period. Material can cover a wide range of criminal activity. First-person accounts are especially welcome from writers with a connection to their cases. Add something new to the story, a different viewpoint or angle.”

Final submission deadlines: 1 June 2021, or until filled, for Partners in Crime; 1 September 2021, or until filled, for Unsolved Crimes and Mysteries; query first

Length: 4,000-7,000 words

Pay: $130 for both anthologies

Details here.

Apparition Lit: Contamination

They accept speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, horror, literary) and poetry and they will open submissions for the ‘Contamination’ theme during mid-May. They have extended their reading period by a week for BIPOC writers only. Their next reading period is in August, for another theme. (They also have a monthly themed flash fiction challenge, which runs from the 1st to the 15th of every month, and pays $30.)

Reading period: 15-31 May 2021 for general submissions; 1-7 June 2021 for BIPOC-only submissions

Length: 1,000-5,000 words for fiction, up to five poems

Pay: $0.03/word for prose, $30/poem

Details here.

Mslexia: Roots

This magazine accepts poetry, short stories, and plays by female-identifying authors and they are reading on the ‘Roots’ theme. “Our Issue 91 theme is about hidden depths and ancestry, about what nourishes and anchors plants and humans alike.” They accept up to 4 poems, 2 short stories, and 2 scripts per entrant. They have also posted some exercises to get you started on the theme. They also accept unthemed work in many genres. Earlier there used to be payment information on their website, but now it’s unclear whether submissions are paid.

Deadline: 7 June 2021 for the themed issue

Length: 2,200 words for stories, up to 40 lines for poetry, scripts of up to 1,000 words

Details here and here.

Writer Shed Press: Second Thoughts

They publish fiction, creative nonfiction, personal essays, and poetry that is directly or loosely linked to the theme of ‘Second Thoughts’.

Deadline: 15 July 2021

Length: Up to 2,000 words

Pay: $20 (they can only pay through the Venmo app)

Details here.

Moonflake Press: Escapism

They are looking for fiction and poetry for their next print issue, on the ‘Escapism’ theme. “This can be escaping worlds, cities, identities or however else you interpret it.”

Deadline: 1 September 2021

Length: 100-2,500 words for prose, up to two poems

Pay: £25

Details here.

The Deadlands: Death

This is a new magazine and they accept speculative fiction and essays. Their guidelines say, “We are looking for speculative fiction that concerns itself with death–but also everything death may involve. A ghost in a shadowed wood. An afterlife discovered through a rusted door. An abandoned house in the middle of a haunted field. A skeletal figure moving with intent toward something unseen. Death personified. Burials in troubled lands. A raised scythe against a clouded sky. Memento mori. The rivers of the dead. The sprawling underworlds beneath our feet.” See guidelines for the hard sells. They also accept fiction reprints. They are looking for critical, academic, and personal essays, as well, that “explore the relationship between humanity and death. We are looking for a wide range of subjects, including but not limited to: cultural funerary practices, rituals of remembrance, historical explorations of death imagery, death imagery used in art and by artists, death imagery found in graveyards and on tombstones.”

Deadline: Open now

Length: Up to 5,000 words for fiction; 1,000-4,000 words for essays

Pay: $0.10/word for fiction; $100 for essays

Details here.

Wyldblood Press: Runs Like Clockwork – Steampunk Anthology

This is a steampunk fiction anthology. Their guidelines say, “We love steampunk – zeppelins and pith helmets, clockwork men and steam driven monstrosities. What if the world ran on steam? What if science took a radically different turn around the time of the Age of Empire and crinoline dresses? What if we could unearth new stories about legendary (and hitherto unknown) Victorian adventures? What if there was a new age of adventure – and it ran like clockwork?” They also accept reprints.

Deadline: Until filled

Length: Up to 10,000 words

Pay: £0.01 per word up to £75 (approximately $100)

Details here.


Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award

This international grant is for supporting the recipient in crime fiction writing and career development activities. She or he may choose activities that include workshops, seminars, conferences, and retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of the work. This is for an emerging writer (see guidelines). The application process includes a writing sample – an unpublished piece of crime fiction, written with an adult audience in mind. This may be a short story or first chapter(s) of a manuscript in-progress, 2,500 to 5,000 words. Previous writing or publishing experience is not required, but the applicant should include any relevant studies or experience.

Value: $2,000; the winner can choose from a range of activities

Deadline: 15 May 2021

Open for: Writers of color

Details here.

Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest

This is an international fiction contest. While the story should appeal to the audience of this magazine, all themes will be considered. Their readers have interests in music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America. Ideally, stories should not exceed 3,000 words, but those up to 5,000 words will be considered.

Value: $100

Deadline: 31 May 2021

Open for: All writers

Details here.

The Black Orchid Novella Award

They want novellas (15,000-20,000 words) that confirm to the tradition of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series. They should focus on the deductive skills of the sleuth. Their guidelines also say, “We need to stress that a novella is not a padded short story. A novella needs to be as tight and fast-paced as a short story or a novel. Authors need to ensure that the story they want to tell is properly sized for whatever format they choose.” They are not looking for derivatives of the Nero Wolfe series, or the milieu. They accept mailed submissions only.

Value: $1,000 and publication in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

Deadline: 31 May 2021 (postmarked)

Open for: All writers

Details here.

Sapiens Plurum: Healthy Together – Innovations for One Health

Sapiens Plurum conducts an annual short fiction contest, opening on Earth Day of each year. The purpose of the contest is to entice authors to conceive of the future in terms of desirable outcomes, and imagine how we might get there. The topic of this year’s contest is, ‘Healthy Together: Innovations for One Health’. Their guidelines say, “One Health is an effort by the CDC that recognizes the connection among the health of people, animals and the environment to achieve optimal health outcomes. … The One Health concept is the basis for this year’s contest.

The news today is full of stories of disease and environmental destruction. We ask authors to imagine a world in which technology has improved One Health — the health of the environment, humans, and all living things.” (See guidelines for further details). Submissions should be 1,500-3,000 words.

Value: $1,000, $500, $300

Deadline: 31 May 2021

Open for: All writers

Details here and here.

The Navayana Dalit History Fellowship 2021

Navayana is an India-based indie publisher that publishes work on the issue of caste, from an anti-caste perspective. They want submissions for non-fiction book proposals on dalit history; the proposals have to up to 3,000 words, and the completed manuscript must be at least 50,000 words. They will award at least two fellowships. They have extensive guidelines, including: “…we welcome histories of movements, campaigns, local struggles, ideological or cultural movements, histories of organisations or periodicals, biographies, or even stories of individual lives. The ambit of dalit history is wide. We leave it to the applicants to surprise us with their interpretations of the term.” Writers can live anywhere in the world, and dalit writers will be given preference; non-dalits must account for their engagement with dalit history. Early-career scholars are encouraged to apply, as are those working on translations pertaining to dalit history.

Value: At least two fellowships of Rs.100,000 (approx. $1,300) each

Deadline: 31 May 2021 for proposals

Open for: All writers engaging with dalit history; preference given to dalit writers

Details here.

CNO Naval History Essay Contest

Their website says, “The Chief of Naval Operations invites entrants to submit an essay that applies lessons from throughout naval history to establishing and maintaining (US) maritime superiority in an era of great power competition.” See guidelines for details on the theme. Essays have to be up to 3,500 words. This contest is open to: US and international professional historians (including history museum curators, archivists, history teachers/professors, persons with history-related doctoral degrees; authors of books on naval history (not including self-published works); civilians who have published articles in an established historical or naval journal or magazine.

Value: $5,000, $2,500

Deadline: 31 May 2021

Open for: See above

Details here.

Journals Seeking Very Short Prose and Poetry

By Zebulon Huset

“For Sale: Baby Shoes, never worn.” This is one of the most widely known microfiction pieces, often attributed to Ernest Hemingway, though that attribution is tenuous. William Carlos Williams’ poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” would be an example of one of the best known very short poems clocking in at a debatable 17 words. And while these masterpieces are quite settled in the zeitgeist, minimalist writing in general doesn’t have an easy time finding a place amongst more expansive and fleshed out works that inhabit most literary magazines. Sure you’ll find one or two short prose poems or maybe some linked haiku in your average journal, but a six word story or five-lined poem won’t as often be found just anywhere.

Following are a number of journals that are either dedicated to minimalist works, or who dedicate a fair amount of the space in their journal to the pursuit of the iceberg, the gem—writing that is small in word count but large in impact.

Air/Light, Not exclusively minimalistic, Air/Light has featured numerous short poems in their limited history, especially their first issue. A Los Angeles-based journal that “approaches the literary arts from a Southern California perspective” and is looking for “new and innovative works of literary arts across all mediums and genres.” They read all year.

Blue River Review, An eclectic electronic journal from Creighton University. They certainly don’t only publish short work but their prose tops out at 2000 words maximum, and they frequently publish poems that are shorter than ten lines. They read all year.

Bluepepper, Bluepepper publishes a couple pieces a week at their online blog-style magazine. Not exclusively for short work, their prose limit is 1500 words and they frequently feature poetry that is under ten lines.

Brazenhead Review, Featuring a unique design, Brazenhead Review is an online journal of new writing that emphasizes that seeks “open dialogues on a myriad of topics” and “especially those texts that are uncategorizable, boundary-breaking, and multiplicitous.” They read all year.

Dead Fern Press, Dead Fern Press is a relatively new online journal, they publish a wide variety of work with their prose limited to 3000 words and under, and their newest issue features a number of very short poems and a 400 word story. They read most of the year, closing for April, August and December.

elsewhere, A self-styled ‘journal of prose poetry’, elsewhere is looking for short prose pieces that “that cross, blur, and/or mutilate genre”. Published roughly biannually in both print and online versions, and while their limit is 1000 words, in the newest issue six of the nine pieces were under 300 words. They read all year. (no submission guidelines page, clicking submit takes you to their Submittable page)

Eunoia Review, Eunoia Review publishes new writing every day from one or sometimes two writers at their blog-style magazine. Eclectic, they publish very short and very long work (15,000 word maximum for prose). They DO NOT read simultaneous submissions. They read all year.

Glintmoon, Focused on poetry under ten lines, however Glintmoon is “not partial to traditional forms, such as the haiku or the tanka, nor do we particularly enjoy rhymed or metred work”. They read all year.

Hoot, A ‘postcard review of {mini} poetry’, they publish poems under 10 lines and prose under 150 words monthly, one piece in print and 1-4 online. They read on a rolling basis.

Impossible Task, The online journal of short works from Chicago press Another New Calligraphy, they want “connected in its exploration of conflict, a term open to interpretation though ever present in these increasingly challenging times.” They read all year.

Lucky Jefferson, They say Lucky Jefferson “isn’t your typical literary journal—we generate constructive and interactive conversations around poetry, art, and publishing and redefine the way journals are produced and shared with readers and writers.” They frequently publish very short poetry and in their prose guidelines say “Microfiction is what’s up”. They read for issue deadlines, the current deadline for no-fee ‘early bird’ submissions is February 28, 2021.

Microfiction Monday, Publishing only stories under 100 words on the first Monday of every month, Microfiction Monday believes in the possibilities of tiny texts saying “If done right, microfiction can pack a big punch in a small space, allowing the busy reader the ability to absorb a fantastic story in under a minute.” They read submissions all year.

Minnow Literary Magazine, Publishing minnow-sized works, Minnow Literary Magazine is looking for micro-poetry (under 150 words), flash fiction (under 500 words) and personal essays (under 1500 words). They read for issue deadlines, the current deadline being April 16, 2021.

Monkeybicycle While the journal reads stories up to 2000 words for their website, they also have a ‘One-sentence stories’ category where they publish, well, stories that are only one sentence. They read all year. (clicking submit takes you to their Submittable page)

Nailpolish Stories, A ‘Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal’, publishing only stories that are exactly 25 words, Nailpolish Stories expects “emotional impact, wants to be knocked off kilter momentarily by your work, and to enjoy the language along the way.”

Nanoism, A weekly publishing journal of ‘twitter-length fiction’ which is under 140 characters including spaces, with no titles. They encourage short, funky bios, and they read submissions all year.

One Sentence Poems, They discourage semicolons but want your one- sentence poems to have at least one line break and be a grammatically correct sentence—but just one! They read all year.

Press Pause Press, Published online in issues, and averse to social media, Press Pause Press publishes all types of writing, but their newest issue features many short poems and flash/micro fiction pieces. They read all year.

Red Eft Review, This is a blog-style (individual pieces published as opposed to issues) an online publication dedicated to accessible poetry. They DO NOT read simultaneous submissions but they do read all year.

Sassafras Literary Magazine, Dubbing themselves “the littlest litmag in the world”, Sassafras Literary Magazine publishes monthly online issues of minimalist writing. Under 20 lines for poetry and 1000 words for prose, and they read all year.

Shot Glass Journal, In the Muse Pie Press family, Shot Glass Journal is an online journal that publishes issues of poetry under 16 lines. They read all year.

Spartan, An online quarterly journal of minimalist prose, Spartan is closed one month every quarter and while their word limit is 1500, much of what they publish is far lower.

Star 82 Review, While Star 82 Review allows pieces up to 750 words for fiction, the average word count of fiction in their newest issue was 227, and that’s with a 600+ word piece throwing the curve. They publish poems as well in their ‘hidden gems’ section. They read all year.

Tiny Molecules, An online quarterly of flash prose, their word limit is 1000, but many of the pieces they publish are under 300 words. They say “We love flash, we love experimental, we love saying something big in a small space” and read on a rolling basis.

Trouvaille Review, Publishing individual poems frequently in the blog-style journal, Trouvaille Review frequently features poems under ten lines. They also almost always respond in under 24 hours and read all year.

Unbroken, A quarterly online journal of prose poetry and poetic prose (“the block, the paragraph, the unlineated prose”), they aren’t looking for ‘ordinary’, indicating “We want dark and disquieting, we want fanciful and funny, we want surreal and surprising.” They read for six weeks and then take a six-week break, with their current deadline being March 20, 2021.

Versification, A journal of punk microworks, Versification publishes poetry under 5 lines and fiction under 100 words. They aren’t looking for pretty flowers, “we want the grit under your nails. We want to hear about your struggles, your dark, your haunting, or your disturbed.”

Visitant, A blog-style online literary journal with “the goal of nurturing experimental writing and art”, Visitant has a maximum word count of 1500 words but they do publish a fair share of very short work as well. They read submissions all year.

Currently Closed

Alba, A semi-annual journal dedicated to poetry (mostly) under 12 lines mostly free verse, but also forms like cinquain, tanka, haiku and others. They only read submissions during June or December.

Frost Meadow Review, This print journal out of the upper north east region publishes all sorts of writing, but that includes a good amount of short poetry. Their preferred themes include “natural world relationships, New England living, small farms, coastal communities, ecology and hope through darkness”. They read just in January.

Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Publishing “micro fiction, flash fiction, prose poetry, compressed poetry & visual arts, and whatever other forms compression might take.” Their reading periods are 3/15-6/15 and 9/15-12/15.

Molecule, Their word limit including title is 50 words. Molecule is an online journal publishing poetry, prose, plays, interviews, reviews, and visual art of tiny things twice annually. They read submissions from December 1st through January 15th.

The Gravity of the Thing (Six words), They publish short stories up to 3000 words, flash and poetry up to 500 words, but they also have a “Six Word Story” category that minimalists will definitely be excited about. They read on a rolling basis, next opening on March 1, 2021.

50 Word Stories, Publishing one 50-word story every day and then featuring one of those stories as a ‘Story of the month’, 50 Word Stories is for exactly what it says—no more and no less. 51 words, thou shalt not write, and 52 is right out. They read from the first through the fifteen of every month.

Sonic Boom, Publishing three times a year as digital issues, Sonic Boom is looking for “Japanese short-forms of poetry, avant-garde, conceptual, and postmodern works of culture and art.” Their next reading period will be in October, limiting general poetry submissions to under 25 lines and prose under 500 words.

Bonus plug

Coastal Shelf, While the journal itself isn’t dedicated to very short works, their Ceiling 200 Contest is for prose pieces under 200 words which has no fee for the first piece entered and a $250 first prize. Deadline is March 5, 2021.

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