25 Themed Calls for Submissions for March 2019

Written by S. Kalekar

These are more than 25 themed submission calls for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and scripts from 17 markets. Some of the themes are libraries & bookstores, sports & games, border noir, missed connections, grumpy old gods, journey, clothes, mid-century murder, cozy noir crime stories, epistolary horror, epic fantasy, queer families, space force, the clumsy gardener, enchanted forest, and home for the holidays. All of these pay writers, whether royalties, token, or pro rates. — S. Kalekar

Riddled With Arrows: Libraries & Bookstores
They are looking for metafiction, poetry and nonfiction on the theme of Libraries & Bookstores. Their guidelines say, “we seek writing-related fiction and metafiction, ars poetica, creative essays, non-classifiable written objects and visual art exploring the relationships between writing and the places where writing congregates. We want to check out your libraries personal, public, and digital (think Project Gutenberg). We want to spend too much in your bookstores. We want to run through the busy textbook depots and tiptoe amongst ancient archives.

We are open to any and all genres and styles of writing, so long as it takes us to surprising places within the familiar shelves, aisles and boxes where writing resides. In particular, we seek their sensory realities (the librarian’s shhhh, the creak of the card catalog, the flip of the microfiche and, oh yes, please, that old book smell) as well as the unreal or super-real worlds contained therein.” The writing has to be overtly or subtly meta – the work should be about writing, or comments on itself in interesting and meaningful ways. They are open to all writing categories and styles. They accept reprints.
Deadline: 8 March 2019
Length: Up to 1,500 words for prose, up to 4 poems
Pay: $0.03/word, up to $25
Details here.

Mslexia: Clothes; Journey
They accept writing by women writers, and want fiction, poetry, and scripts on two themes.
Clothes. They want stories, poems, and scripts about clothes: “Uniforms; costumes; the clothes maketh the woman; the clothes of the future versus the clothes of the past; why wearing clothes is the best; why not wearing clothes is even better; the material, the sewing; throwing away that favourite jacket…”
Journey. They want stories, poems, and scripts on the theme of journey: “Hard roads, walks, leaps of faith, holidays, moving home, migration, running away, climbing mountains, diving deep, returns…”
Deadline: 11 March 2019 for Clothes, 10 June for Journey
Length: Stories of up to 2,200 words, poems of up to 40 lines, scripts of up to 1,000 words
Pay: $25
Details here.

PodCastle: Fantasy stories
­­­­­They publish fantasy short fiction on their website and as a podcast. They are open to all the sub-genres of fantasy, from magical realism to urban fantasy to slipstream to high fantasy. Fantastical or non-real content should be meaningful to the story. Their guidelines also say, “We hope to publish fiction reflecting the full range of settings and tropes found in fantasy fiction. We’d particularly like to see more stories set outside America, and stories that feature characters who represent a range of backgrounds and ethnicities.”
Deadline: 15 March 2019
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.06/word for original; $100 for reprints, $20 for flash fiction reprints
Details here.

Eye to the Telescope: Sports & Games
This is a journal of speculative poetry and they are accepting work on the theme of Sports & Games. Their guidelines say, “Sports and games have been played since ancient times, and have continually evolved. From a speculative viewpoint, I’m interested in what they might look like or morph into in the future, or along some alternate timeline or universe. Time travel, magic, science—the field is wide open, as long as it involves the theme.” The editor is, ideally, not looking for items taken from other authors’ universes, though modifying existing or historical sports and games is fair game.
Deadline: 15 March 2019
Length: Up to 3 poems
Pay: $0.03/word, up to $25
Details here.

Greene Country Creative: Sorghum and Spear – The Way of Silk and Stone
They are looking for original works that fit the fantasy world of their comic book series, featuring girls and women in all walks of life as they are influenced by their roles in the Forever War. Their guidelines say, “The tenet, “Pray for Peace but Prepare for War.” is weaved deep into the culture of the An’Fre women. Sorghum & Spear speaks to the global diaspora, African, Latin, Asian and Indigenous. Stories that highlight or reveal a new perspective of fantasy in this rich, inclusive world are ideal. We seek works that explore love in all its forms, diversity, fate vs choice, self-discovery, and supernatural talents, and original works that portray the strength, sisterhood, and diversity of women—hallmarks of our world-building efforts. Given the unique guidelines of our world, we ask that you review Sorghum & Spear and its world-building rules carefully prior to submission.”  A copy of their worldbuilder guide and comic are available on request. Special consideration will be given to women and writers of color for this anthology.
Deadline: 15 March 2019
Length: 2,000-7,500 words
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

Flame Tree Publishing: Detective Mysteries; Epic Fantasy
They want new and recent short stories for two anthologies. Writers can submit more than one story, and to each anthology. They accept reprints.
Detective Mysteries. Their guidelines say, “Private Eyes with eagle eyes and rare skills, PIs and gumshoes, bloodhounds and sleuths: the shadowy arts of the detective have intrigued us since tales of the Pinkerton Detective Agency and Sherlock Holmes. Add some treachery, intimacy, and a little murder to the mix and you’ll find a powerful series of dark stories from classic and contemporary writers.”
— Epic Fantasy. Their guidelines say, “George R.R. Martin drew on Tolkien, who was inspired by William Morris, Medieval epics, and Norse mythology. This new collection of epic fantasy tales explores the classic themes of good vs. evil, the low-born hero, and the arrogant overlord, lacing them with a taste of sorcery that reaches back to the early sources and stirring them in with the brand new storytellers of today.”
Deadline: 24 March 2019
Length: 2,000-4,000 words are most likely to be successful; will read slightly outside this rage
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

Grumpy Old Gods Anthology Volume 2
This is a second call to submissions on this theme – they want speculative fiction stories about gods gone AWOL. Their guidelines say, “We invite you to re-imagine old myths, mine your local retirement home for things that tickle your fancy, and invite your Muse to go wild.” The only requirement is that the god or goddess in question (or whole pantheon) must be retired, retiring, waning in power, or ignoring their responsibilities. Humor is welcome and they want PG-13 to PG-17 stories.
Deadline: 30 March 2019
Length: 3,000-4,000 words
Pay: A portion of the profits
Details here.

Orbannin Books: Letters from the Grave – A Collection of Epistolary Horror
They want epistolary horror. Their guidelines say, “The epistolary form has a long, proud tradition in the horror genre. From the classics such as Frankenstein and Dracula, through modern classics like World War Z. We want to see your fresh takes on the idea. Remember that the epistolary genre doesn’t just include letters. It can be stories created from nearly any kinds or combinations of documents, i.e. crime scene reports, diary entries, interview transcripts, etc. This can include modern electronic and digital “documents” such as texts, voicemails, Tweets, blog posts, and more.” See guidelines for tropes they won’t accept.
Deadline (extended): 31 March 2019
Length: Up to 10,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Darkhouse Books: Mid-Century Murder; A Murder of Crows
— Mid-Century Murder. For this theme, they want cozy to cozy-noir crime stories set in the late forties through the very early sixties. They want stories that evoke the era, though its fashions, homes, furniture and furnishings, vehicles, restaurants, stores and products, music, movies, radio and television. For authors on Facebook, they have pointed to two groups that could be useful for grokking the era (see guidelines). They accept reprints.
— A Murder of Crows. This is a call for cozy to cozy-noir crime stories, set in any time, from dinosaurs to the present, using the collective names of groups of animals which includes mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, and insects, or names of authors’ invention. Their guidelines also say, “Earth animals/birds only, none from outer space or invented animals. You can put your animals in jeopardy but animal cruelty or killing an animal is an automatic rejection. Choosing an animal/bird that is a little different may give you an edge on being chosen. We don’t want multiple stories using the same species! Your animals should be an integral part of the crime, not just a mention as part of the story.”
Deadline: 31 March 2019 for Mid-Century Murder; 30 April for A Murder of Crows
Length: 2,500-6,000 words
Pay: Royalties
Details here and here.

Quommunicate Publishing: Queer Around the World Too; More Queer Families
Queer Around the World Too. They want true stories around the themes of travel, immigration, or multiculturalism from an LGBTQ+ perspective. They accept creative nonfiction (essay, memoir); they will accept poetry and scripts also, as long as these are true stories. Erotica and work aimed at children will not be considered.
More Queer Families. They want short personal prose and poetry memoirs from queer parents, children, spouses and extended family about life in their families. They should be true stories, and they should be by and about LGBTQ+ people.
Deadline: 31 March 2019
Length: Up to 3,000 words of prose, up to three pages of poetry, up to five pages of script
Pay: $5/printed page
Details here and here.

JMS Books: Missed Connections
This LGBTQ+ romance publisher is looking for romance stories about missed connections. Their guidelines say, “Maybe your character wrote down someone’s phone number wrong and now has to try to find him or her. Or a sudden romance blooms when your character misses a connecting flight or has to take a later train and finds Mr. or Ms. Right? Perhaps someone types in the wrong email address and, intrigued, the recipient replies?” Stories must all be LGBTQ+ romance, and can be in any sub-genre. They do not want young adult stories. Work above 60,000 words will also receive a print run. They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 31 March 2019
Length: 12,000 words and up
Pay: Royalties
Details here.

Cricket Media: Six themes
Cricket Media produces literary magazines for children of various ages – Babybug (for ages 6 months to 3 years), Ladybug (ages 3 to 6), Spider (ages 6 to 9), and Cricket (ages 9 to 14). The magazines have several themes coming up.
Whatever the Weather. For Babybug: “stories, poems, action rhymes, and fingerplays about year-round outdoor play and exploration. What might a baby or toddler appreciate about the natural world in different seasons? Are there memorable games that can only be played at certain times of year?”
A Part of it All. For Ladybug: “short stories, retellings of folk tales, rebus stories, poems, action rhymes, nonfiction, and songs about young children participating in their communities. Welcoming new neighbors, harvesting a shared garden, celebrating a holiday—show us how small children can affect their neighborhoods. We’re interested in explorations of communities across the US and abroad.”
Enchanted Forest. For Spider: “stories, poems, short plays, and activities for the theme “Enchanted Forest.” Show us worlds of magic and wonder, full of unicorns, witches in the woods, mythical beasts, and fairytale castles. Give us a new version of the traditional fairytale cast—what if a princess, prince, knight, or villain did not want to follow the roles assigned to them? Fractured and contemporary fairytales welcome.”
Indigenous Stories. For Cricket, Spider, and Ladybug: “heartfelt stories by and about indigenous peoples of North America, whether you identify as indigenous, Native American, First Nation, or another name. Tell us about special family moments, traditions continued or lost, life on or off a reservation, learning and growing up in the present or past, or an important moment in history.”
Home for the Holidays. For Cricket and Spider: “contemporary and historical fiction, nonfiction, poetry, crafts, and recipes about the celebration or history of holidays around the world. We welcome well-told seasonal stories set against the background of major U.S. holidays, but we also have special interest in holidays and festivals celebrated in other parts of the world that may be less familiar to our young readers.”
Open for Business. For Cricket: “seeks contemporary and historical fiction, biographies, and nonfiction about earning money or starting an enterprise. Fictional stories might be set against the background of a child’s summer job or working in a family business; saving money for an important event; or family struggles with money. Nonfiction might focus on inventors and entrepreneurs, the Industrial Revolution and labor strife, or people with unusual jobs.” These magazines also accept nonfiction, poetry, and craft submissions.
Deadline: 1 April 2019
Length: Various
Pay: Up to $0.25/word for prose, $3/line for poetry
Details here.

Polis Books: Both Sides – An Anthology of Border Noir
This is an anthology of Border Noir. The editor wants 100-word pitches on this theme for now, for stories on this premise: “The border is a powerful place where countries collide. It’s a weird space of dreams, struggles, promises, lies, fear, and redemption. It’s a multicultural and bilingual space where people know that hustling to protect your loved ones or offer them a better life is a drive strong enough to blur ethical codes. Sadly, the border is also a place where drugs make people a lot of money, corruption stains everything, and violence fills the landscape with danger and ghosts. …. “What happens when you cross la frontera is that you shatter, you stop being you and turn into a new person that belongs nowhere, that has no home, no roots. Going back is impossible and moving forward is like jumping into a cave and hoping that it’s not too deep, that the rocks don’t mangle you too much, and that el monstruo that waits for you en la oscuridad is not too hungry.” Now I want some of the most talented authors to visit this space from their perspective. I want them to show the world what they see on both sides.”
Deadline: Pitches due 1 April 2019, stories due 31 July 2019
Length: About 100-word pitches; stories of 5,000-7,000 words
Pay: $75
Details here.

B Cubed Press: Tales from the Space Force
­­­­­This is an anthology around the Space Force. Their guidelines say, “Now that America has an official Space Force, we need to incorporate it into literature.

What to do we want?  Camp? Satire? Bug Eyed Monsters? All good. We’ll do serious stories, too.  Mostly we want good stories. And if I am to confess, we want campy stories. We want the golden age of pulp to live again. … Ask yourself, what would an American Space Force do? Will there be a space wall around the International Space Station? Will NASA and the Space Force get along?” Political bents are allowed, and they also accept poetry. Also check out their other themed calls: Alternative Bedtime Reading for Progressive Parents, and Alternative Apocalypses.
Deadline: 15 April 2019
Length: 500-5,000 words
Pay: $0.02/word and royalties; for flash pieces and poetry, an option of a flat $25 fee
Details here.

Thema: The Clumsy Gardener
They want fiction, poetry, and essays on the theme of The Clumsy Gardener. The premise must be an integral part of the plot, not necessarily the central theme but not incidental. They like a carefully constructed plot, good character delineation, and clever plot twists. They welcome both traditional and experimental stories. They also accept poetry, photographs, and art. Authors in the US must post their work, those outside the US can email it. They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 1 July 2019
Length: Fewer than 20 pages for prose; up to three poems
Pay: $25 for short stories, $10 for flash and poetry
Details here.

Unfit Magazine: AR/VR and the downside to commercialization of technology
They publish fiction: Quantum Fiction, Cyberpunk, Scientific Realism and Augmented Reality, and they want stories with metaphors and emotional ambiance and imaginative descriptive writing. Currently, they’re looking for stories about AR/VR and the downside to the commercialization of technology.
Deadline: Open now
Length: 500-3,000 words
Pay: $0.03/word
Details here.

Unreal Magazine: Unusual creatures and odd experiences
They publish fiction: fantasy, magic realism, and experimental fiction. Currently, they are looking for stories about unusual creatures and odd experiences.
Deadline: Open now
Length: 500-5,000 words
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.

 

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