19 Themed Submissions Calls for November 2019

Written by S. Kalekar

There are 19 themes in the 15 markets listed here for writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the themes are: persistence, supernatural, my battery is running low and it is getting dark, ghastly gastronomy, after sundown, horror, immigrant fiction, phobia, and whigmaleeries & wives’ tales. None of these charge a submission fee, and all of them pay writers, from token to pro rates. Also see this list for more upcoming themed submission calls. There are also some themed contests, grants, and fellowships for writers at the end of this list, and deadlines are approaching quickly.

SUBMISSION CALLS

The First Line
For this journal, they want a short story or poem beginning with a pre-set first line. To celebrate 20 years of the journal, they are inviting writers to select any one of the first lines from their previous journals (Volume 16, Issue 1 to Volume 20, Issue 4 for Winter 2019). They also accept nonfiction.
Some of the first lines are:
— Carlos discovered _______ [fill in the blank] under a pile of shoes in the back of his grandmother’s closet.
— Fifty miles west of Bloomington lies Hillsboro, a monument to middle-class malaise.
— We went as far as the car would take us.
— Fairy tales hardly ever come true for quiet girls.
— Laura liked to think she was honest with herself; it was everyone else she lied to.
— “Unfortunately, there is no mistake,” she said, closing the file.
— By the fifteenth month of the drought, the lake no longer held her secrets.
— In the six years I spent tracking David Addley, it never occurred to me that he didn’t exist.
— The window was open just enough to let in the cool night air.
Deadline: 1 November 2019
Length: 300-5,000 words
Pay: $25-50 for fiction, $5-10 for poetry, $25 for nonfiction
Details here.

Flame Tree Publishing: After Sundown – A New Collection of Horror Stories
They want horror stories for this anthology, which will be “an eclectic, vibrant collection of tales by contemporary writers, both established and new.” They will accept a few submissions from their online call for this anthology, which will be published in hardcover and paperback. Also see details of two forthcoming calls on their guidelines page – Bodies in the Library (Crime & Mystery), and Footsteps in the Dark (Horror & Suspense) – both calls will open 11 November, close on 1 December 2019, and will pay pro rates.  
Deadline: 3 November 2019
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Pay: “Our standard rates apply”
Details here.

PseudoPod: Horror fiction
This horror audio magazine is open for a brief submission period. They accept horror in all forms (though writers are better off avoiding vampires, zombies, and other recognizable horror tropes unless these have a really unique spin). What matters most is that stories be dark and compelling. They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 3 November 2019
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here and here.


Shooter Literary Magazine: Supernatural
They want literary fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, narrative journalism, and artwork on the ‘Supernatural’ theme for their eleventh issue. Their guidelines say, “Send us stories, essays, reported narratives, memoirs and poetry on anything to do with the occult. Psychological spookiness, eerie suspense, weird mysteries and unexplained phenomena are welcome elements, as well as the more obvious demons, angels, witches and ghosts. Religious themes are also relevant. Writing must be of a literary standard, not genre fare trading on shocks or gore.” The theme is open to wide interpretation.  
Deadline: 17 November 2019
Length: 2,000-7,500 words for prose; up to three poems
Pay: £25 per story and £5 per poem; either cash payment or a copy of the magazine for non-UK contributors
Details here.

Claw & Blossom: Rings
This is a quarterly online journal of short prose and poems that touch upon the natural world. They are reading work for issue 3, and the theme is ‘Rings’. 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.
Deadline: 25 November 2019
Length: Up to 1,000 words for prose (one piece or linked micros); one poem
Pay: $25
Details here.

Black Beacon Books: The Black Beacon Book of Mystery
According to their guidelines, “This anthology will combine the best new mysteries with classic reprints from yesteryear, so give us a masterful tale. You’ll need an engaging and memorable protagonist who can hold his or her own against Sherlock Holmes and Auguste Dupin. Above all, we want a clever puzzle the reader can try to solve. Throw in clues and red herrings, make our readers work their “little grey cells”, as Hercule Poirot puts it. The mystery could be a crime, but it could also be a historical or archaeological investigation, a treasure hunt, getting to the bottom of a local legend… it’s up to you, but it must be a mystery the reader can delve into and try to solve before your protagonist. Think Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Inspector Morse, Jonathan Creek, even Nancy Drew or Scooby Doo…” They also accept reprints. Black Beacon Books is based in France but publishes in English. They accept submissions in both English and French. Any French submissions accepted will be translated into English for publication.  
Deadline: 30 November 2019
Length: 2,500-7,000 words for short fiction; up to 25,000 words for novellas
Pay: £0.01/word for short fiction; £100 for novellas
Details here.

JayHenge Publishing: Three themes
Sensory Perceptions –
This is a speculative fiction collection or erotic stories. They want plot-focused stories where the erotica and romance enhance the story rather than being the main goal. The deadline for this anthology is 30 November 2019.
Whigmaleeries & Wives’ Tales – Their guidelines say, “Superstitions, Legends, Folklore and Old Wives’ Tales–where do they come from? How did they get started? What’s the “real” reason we throw spilled salt over our shoulder or avoid stepping on a crack? What were the old women really afraid of when someone broke a mirror? Delve into your imagination and tell us your theories!” The deadline is unspecified.
Sunshine Superhighway – Their guidelines say, “Solarpunk, cyberpunk with a hopeful outlook, futuristic fantasy, we’re looking for your spec-fic stories of all kinds that leave us with the idea that despite the doom and gloom in the universe, things can possibly work out if we strive to make life better, even if in a small way.” The deadline is unspecified.   
Deadline: Various
Length: From flash length to 20,000 words
Pay: $5 per 1,000 words
Details here and here.

Neon Hemlock: Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World That Wouldn’t Die
They want short fiction for the anthology, ‘Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World That Wouldn’t Die’. Their guidelines say, “We are looking for speculative stories that explore ramifications of the apocalypse through queer narratives. We want queer stories and we want trans stories and we want indefinable stories. We welcome a broad interpretation of the post-apocalyptic genre; give us your scraps of hope in every ruined future (we love genre elements from fantasy, horror and science fiction). Throughout, we’re looking for rich, varied and nuanced understandings of gender, family and ethnicity.”  
Deadline: 30 November 2019
Length: Under 6,000 words (1,000-4,000 words is the sweet spot)
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

Slice: Persistence
This magazine wants work on the theme of ‘Persistence’ – work that plays off the theme, particularly in unexpected ways. They are particularly enthusiastic about championing emerging voices. They publish short fiction, essays, and poetry.
Deadline: 1 December 2019
Length: Up to 5,000 words; up to 5 poems, 2 stories, 5 flash fiction pieces, and 2 essays
Pay: $400 for stories and essays, $150 for flash fiction, $100 for poetry
Details here.

Speculative City: Horror
They want speculative fiction, poetry, and essays within the horror genre. All works should be centered within a cityscape. 
Deadline: 2 December 2019
Length: Up to 5,500 words for prose
Pay: $20-75
Details here.

Zombies Need Brains: Three themes
They need stories for three science fiction and fantasy anthologies: ‘Apocalyptic’, ‘Galactic Stew’, and ‘My Battery is Low and it is Getting Dark’. They are looking for a range of tones, from humorous all the way up to dark. They want stories which use the theme in an unusual and unexpected way, and those will get preference. See additional editor comments for all anthologies in the guidelines.
— Apocalyptic willfeature science fiction or fantasy stories set during or after an apocalypse.  Stories featuring more interesting apocalypses, settings, and twists on the typical apocalypse will receive more attention than those that use standard tropes.  They are interested in all kinds of apocalypses:  zombies, meteors, flus, robots, climate changes, space critters, alien invasions, etc. 

— Galactic Stew will feature stories involving food, whether it be poisoning, a cultural or societal ritual, a trade meeting over dinner, etc.  They are attempting to fill half of the anthology with science fiction stories and half with fantasy stories. Make certain the story is centered on the food, and they do not want to see stories about cannibalism. 
— My Battery is Low and it is Getting Dark will feature stories where some type of tech has outlived its time and yet, during the course of the story, it discovers a new purpose or is used in a new, purposeful way.  This theme is inspired by the Opportunity rover, which functioned long past its prime.  As an example, they want stories that would take the rather sad fate of Opportunity and give it new life—a new, useful purpose—when we reach Mars, whether it be as a repaired resource for a colony or a critical piece of equipment used by spacecraft crash survivors or whatever.  Submissions don’t need to feature the Opportunity rover.  Submissions also do not need to be set in the future or include any kind of sentient tech.  
Deadline: 31 December 2019
Length: Up to 7,500 words
Pay: Minimum $0.08/word
Details here.

Madness Heart Press: Ghastly Gastronomy – A Horror Cookbook Anthology
They want food-based horror stories. Their guidelines say, “Pizza that causes mutation, a family roast whose stuffing brings your nightmares to life. The odd color that gives you a headache emanating from your left overs. This is not a cannibalism anthology, cannibalism is unlikely to be accepted unless it is completely unique in a fascinating way. Each story should feature a dish. The concept is that the reader will be able to read the story and then recreate the dish from the story (with some liberties for illegal/alien or weird ingredients).”
Deadline: 31 December 2019, or until filled
Length: Minimum 1,500 words preferred
Pay: $5
Details here.

Vestal Review: Short, Vigorous Roots – An Anthology of Immigrant Fiction in the Age of Dissent
For this anthology, they want entries from writers anywhere who are either immigrants/migrants or who have an immigrant/migrant parent. Stories must be fiction or, if drawn on the writer’s experience, fictionalized. Any fiction genre is acceptable, except for children’s literature, porn, or denigrating and hateful fare. A plot is essential. They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 31 December 2019
Length: Up to 1,000 words (excluding title)
Pay: Modest honorarium
Details here.

Pixie Forest Publishing: Phobia! An Anthology of Fear
They want short fiction in any genre for this anthology, except erotica. A phobia needs to be a major element of the story. They ask writers to try to think outside the box; to write on phobias that are rare, or to write in a genre that others may not. They accept some reprints (see guidelines).
Deadline: 15 January 2019
Length: 1,500-4,000 words
Pay: $10
Details here.

Alban Lake Publishing: parABnormal Magazine
This magazine accepts work about the paranormal. This includes ghosts, spectres, haunts, various whisperers, and so forth. It also includes shapeshifters and creatures from various folklores, but not creatures like vampires, werewolves, and zombies. Shapeshifters, for the purpose of this magazine, refer to the spiritual shift, not the physical. Think Native American shaman. Paranormal activity centers around the human, not the creature. They publish fiction, nonfiction (including reviews), poetry, and artwork on the theme. They also accept reprints.
Deadline: Open now
Length: 4,000-8,000 words for fiction, 1-25 lines for poetry, 1,500-7,000 words for articles
Pay: $25 for fiction, $20 for articles, $7 for reviews, $3 per poem
Details here.


THEMED CONTESTS/GRANTS/FELLOWSHIPS

Malice Domestic Grants for Unpublished Writers
This is given to an unpublished writer (see guidelines) in the Malice Domestic genre at each year’s Malice Domestic convention. The grant may be used to offset registration, travel, or other expenses related to attendance at a writers’ conference or workshop within a year of the date of the award. In the case of non-fiction, the grant may be used to offset research expenses. The Malice Domestic genre is loosely described as mystery stories of the Agatha Christie type—i.e. “traditional mysteries.” These works usually feature no excessive gore, gratuitous violence, or explicit sex. See guidelines for additional details and submission requirements. Apart from the cash award, the prize covers a comprehensive registration for the upcoming convention and two nights’ lodging at the convention hotel, but does not include travel to the convention or meals. 
Value: $2,500, and other expenses – see aboveDeadline: 1 November 2019
Open for: Unpublished writers in the Malice Domestic genre
Details here.

New Writing North: Climate Emergency Writer-in-Residence
New Writing North and Newcastle University have created a new residency post for an exceptional writer for writers of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. Writers can be based anywhere but will need to spend some time in the North East working with New Writing North, Newcastle University and with organisations and communities based there. The writer will play a key role in defining how their organisations can harness the power of arts and culture to respond to the challenge of the climate crisis. They will not only generate new creative work in response to the issue, but will interrogate the role of writers in relation to the crisis. They expect the writer to undertake a period of research and consultation, which will include engaging with scientists, activists, thinkers, students, young people, communities, and fellow writers. This work will manifest in newly commissioned work and the organizers will work with the writer to devise further commissions, events, and actions that make best use of their assets to debate, lobby, and enable positive change.
Value: £10,000
Deadline: 1 November 2019
Open for: Writers with a strong track record of public work and engagement who are excellent public speakers
Details here.

Weird Christmas Fiction Contest
This is a contest for winter holiday short fiction of up to 350 words. Stories should be weird or strange or odd. According to guidelines, “It can be “Haha!” weird or “Oh, Jesus, no!” weird. It can be genre (sf, fantasy, horror/weird, bizarro, etc.) or it can just be off-kilter. Sentimental is fine, but it better be sentimental in a way that leaves me feeling…uncomfortable. As long as it’s something about the holidays we aren’t expecting, it fits.” Try to avoid evil Santa (or monster Santa or Cthulhu Santa or diabolical Santa) stories. Stories will be published on the website and as a podcast.
Value: $50, $25
Deadline: 2 November 2019
Open for: All writers
Details here.

The Bellagio Center Arts & Literary Arts Residency
This residency, by the Rockefeller Foundation, is for composers, fiction and non-fiction writers, playwrights, poets, video/filmmakers, dancers, musicians, and visual artists who share in the Foundation’s mission of promoting the well-being of humankind and whose work is inspired by or relates to global or social issues. There is also space for the writers’ spouses/life partners. Also look at their Practitioner Residency for a variety of people, including journalists.
Value: Room and board at the Bellagio Center in Italy, travel grants on a need basis
Opens on: 15 November 2019
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Washington College: Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship
This is a full-time residential writing fellowship, for writing on American history and culture. Applicants should have a book currently in progress. Their guidelines say, “The project should address the history and/or legacy – broadly defined – of the American Revolution and the nation’s founding ideas. It might focus on the founding era itself, or on the myriad ways the questions that preoccupied the nation’s founders have shaped America’s later history. Work that contributes to ongoing national conversations about America’s past and present, with the potential to reach a wide public, is particularly sought.”
Value: $45,000, other allowances, residency
Deadline: 15 November 2019 (extended)
Open for: Published writers
Details here.

Dappled Things: The J. F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction
Dappled Things is a space for emerging writers to engage the literary world from a Catholic perspective. For this contest, they want stories of up to 8,000 words “with vivid characters who encounter grace in everyday settings—we want to see who, in the age we live in, might have one foot in this world and one in the next.” 
Value: $500, $250
Deadline: 30 November 2019
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Green Stories Writing Competitions: TV/Netflix 6-part series
They are looking for TV/Netflix Series that in some way touch upon ideas around building a sustainable society. They will consider all genres – rom-com, literary fiction, science fiction, mystery, crime etc. – but stories must engage with the idea of environmentally sustainable practices and/or sustainable societies. Most stories set in the future are dystopian – for this contest, they encourage writers to imagine more positive settings and practices for their stories. They want 6 episodes 25-60 minutes each. Submit first episode + 3 page outline of the rest of the episodes. Although they only ask for the first episode in the first instance, it’s a good idea to have the rest written as they’ll probably ask for the whole thing when making decisions about the finalists. Apart from cash prizes, BBC Writers room have agreed to read the top five scripts and follow up with any writers they think have promise. In addition, Red Production Company have agreed to read the winning script and consider it for production. Also see the guidelines for upcoming Green Stories contests in other genres.
Value: £500, £100, £50; plus £50 for best student submission (18-25 years) and £50 for best < 18 year submission. 
Deadline: 30 November 2019
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize
They want an essay which is set in Brooklyn, is about Brooklyn, and/or Brooklyn people/characters. They want work from writers all backgrounds and ages, “who can render Brooklyn’s rich soul and intangible qualities through the writer’s actual experiences in Brooklyn.” 
Value: $500
Deadline: 1 December 2019
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.


Author Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She can be reached here.

 

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