20 Themed Calls for Submissions (Fiction, Essays, Poetry, & Plays)

Written by S. Kalekar

These are themed calls for writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and plays. Themes include an unimagined world, romance, unthemed mysteries, mysteries involving libraries and librarians and magical crime scene investigation, Florida crime stories, science fiction and fantasy, sanctuary, works centered around Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, and inspired by a Bosch triptych, Christmas and holidays, lesbian historic fiction, mothers, maps and love, advice, empowered women, illness and death, horrors beneath the waves, Baba Yaga, dreams, nightmares and hallucinations, issues affecting the youth, rescue dogs, and outsiders and social misfits.

Left Hand Publishers: A World Unimagined (working title)

They want stories on the theme, broadly interpreted. The editors will look at the quality of the story based on characterization, conflict, twist at the end, how engaging it is and how well it fits with the theme. The genres are speculative fiction, suspense/thriller, supernatural/horror, science fiction or any combination of these. No romance/erotica, middle school, biographical, autobiographical, memoirs, poetry, non-fiction, western, or pornography.
Deadline: 21 January 2018
Length: 4,000-9,000 words (or two shorter submissions to make up the minimum word count – see guidelines)
Pay: $25
Details here.

Alpennia: Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast Fiction Special

They want short stories in the lesbian historic fiction genre, to be produced in audio format for the podcast, as well as published in text on the website. The editors want to see actual historic culture and the plot and characters should be firmly rooted in that time and place. Stories must be set before 1900; the editors would like to see stories that reach beyond the popular settings of 19th century America and England. Romance is optional – meaning story lines focusing on the establishment of a new romantic relationship – and romance stories should have some other strong element in addition to the romance. No time-travel, past memories, supernatural elements, erotica or tragic endings.
Deadline: 31 January 2018
Length: 5,000 words
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

NonBinary Review 16: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

They want poetry, fiction, essays and art around the above theme. Authors can re-write a familiar story from a new point of view, mash genres together, or write a personal essay about some aspect of the theme. All submissions must have a clear and obvious relationship to some specific aspect of the source text (a character, episode, or setting). Submissions only related by a vague, general, thematic similarity are unlikely to be accepted. They are looking for pieces that relate to the 1943 book only, not the movies or cartoon.
Deadline: 31 January 2018
Length: Up to 5,000 words for fiction and nonfiction; up to three pages for poetry
Pay: $0.01c/word for prose; $10 for poetry
Details here.

Carrion Blue 555: Honey and Sulphur

The editors want work inspired by the famed Bosch triptych, “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” Pieces can be accounts of scenes occurring in the painting, further adventures of the denizens of the painting, bizarre odes to the painting itself, or something entirely different. They want writers to push limits of plot, structure, and form. They prefer surreal, absurd, and gut-wrenching writing. The genres are fiction, poetry, plays, and any other format; for creative nonfiction, query first.
Deadline: 31 January 2018
Length: Up to 7,000 words (query for longer)
Pay: Half cent a word; $5 minimum
Details here.

Otter Libris: MCSI – Magical Crime Scene Investigation

They want urban fantasy stories that involve a crime scene and require the investigator to use magic or engage the aid of a magical being to solve the crime. They like comedy and diverse protagonists. Stories should qualify for a PG, PG-13 or R rating. They accept reprints.
Deadline: 31 January 2018
Length: 3,000-10,000 words
Pay: $25
Details here.

Chicken Soup for the Soul

They accept true personal stories of up to 1,200 words, and poems. There are several upcoming themes with various deadlines, some of which have been extended: Christmas and Holiday Collection, Stories about My Mom, The Best Advice I Ever Heard and The Empowered Woman.
Deadline: Various, see guidelines
Length: 1,200 words for prose
Pay: $200
Details here.

Sunny Places, Shady People: Bouchercon 2018 Anthology

They want crime-oriented stories set in, or inspired by, Florida. The editors are looking for diverse voices and characters, tales of darkness and violence, whether they are noir, cozy, hard-boiled or suspense. The stories don’t have to actually be set in Florida, but can be inspired by it—so a character can be from here, it can be built around a piece of music about Florida; etc.
Deadline: 1 February 2018
Length: 1,500-5,000 words
Pay: $75
Details here.

Abyss & Apex

This award-winning speculative & imaginative fiction and poetry magazine will be open for fiction submissions during the first week of February. See guidelines for their preferred aesthetic and hard sells.
Reading period: First week of February
Length: Up to 10,000 words
Pay: $0.06/word up to 1,250 words; $75 for longer works
Details here.

Smoking Pen Press: A Kiss and a Promise (working title)

They want romance stories for this anthology. The stories can be contemporary, regency, futuristic, paranormal, historical, fantasy, humor or any other kind of romance, except erotica.
Deadline: 14 February 2018
Length: 7,000-12,000 words
Pay: $25 or copies
Details here.

Darkhouse Books: Libraries and Librarians

This anthology will feature cozy to cozy-noir stories featuring libraries and librarians. They accept reprints.
Deadline: 28 February 2018
Length: 2,500-5,000 words
Pay: Royalty split
Details here.

Darkhouse Books: Sanctuary

For this anthology they want poetry, flash, short fiction, and creative nonfiction reflecting the theme of sanctuary, refuge, shelter, or asylum, from the perspective of those offering, seeking, denying, or destroying it. They are leaning towards the literary but all genres are accepted. They accept reprints.
Deadline: 28 February 2018
Length: Up to five poems and/or two prose pieces
Pay: Royalty split
Details here.

Things in the Well: Beneath the Waves – Tales from the Deep (working title)

Things in the Well is the publications arm of Oz Horror Con. For this anthology, authors can be inspired by the Lovecraft/Mythos fiction but stories should not be a rehashing of these, or of Greek mythology. The editors want new psychological terrors, new fears, new creatures and new stories of the supernatural. See guidelines for details about further suggestions and the preferred aesthetic.
Deadline: 28 February 2018
Length: 5,000-8,000 words
Pay: AUD50
Details here.

World Weaver Press: Baba Yaga Anthology (working title)

This anthology is about stories around Baba Yaga, the witch from Slavic folklore. Stories can be from Baba Yaga’s point of view, or from those whom she helps or hurts. Stories can be in the past or present and anywhere in the world and can be romance, action, tragedy or comedy. Audience age is 15 and up. The editor does not want sci-fi, dystopian, erotica, high fantasy, time travel, futuristic, space travel, western submissions, or love triangles.
Deadline: 1 March 2018
Length: 7,500-20,000 words
Pay: $50
Details here.

Territory Issue Eight: Love

Territory is a literary project about territories and the maps that fail to capture them. They want work that is about maps and the paradoxes they engender, or are maps of some territory, or respond to maps in some way (like ekphrasis) – construct a narrative that takes place within the map, or write about a specific map, that is, explore its circumstances, history and meaning. Each issue is themed. For issue 8, they want to explore the theme of Love.
Deadline: 1 March 2018
Length: Up to 7,500 words; 4-6 poems or shorter prose works
Pay: Unspecified
Details here and here.

Transmundane Press: Dreams, nightmares, visions and hallucinations anthology

The editors want stories centered upon the mysterious powers of the mind—the images that bewitch us while we sleep, the terrors that make us dread bedtime, the prophecies delivered from the divine, and the illusions that appear tangible.
Deadline: 15 March 2018
Length: 6,000 words
Pay: $5-20
Details here.

Starbooks: The Power of the Paw

They want authors’ dog adoption or rescue stories, along with photos. With this anthology, the editors want to bring awareness and raise funds to support the organizations who help get dogs off the street, into ‘no kill’ shelters, out of abusive situations and shut down puppy mills. This anthology will be the first in a series; next up is Cats, The Power of the Purr.
Deadline: 31 March 2018
Length: Unspecified
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.

Silver Pen Writers: Youth Imagination

They publish fiction stories each month about the youth, in every genre. They particularly like stories exploring their issues: bullying, drugs, romance, school, parents and teachers issues, as well as about the grit and character of teens and young adults. They welcome stories by teens and adults.
Deadline: Rolling
Length: 200-20,000
Pay: $3-15
Details here.

Months to Years

The editors want to cultivate an online space to share creative nonfiction and poetry (as well as art and photography) that explores mortality and terminal illness. They eventually want to provide resources for spouses of the terminally ill, especially younger spouses. Submit creative nonfiction and poetry that explore mortality, death, and dying-related topics.
Deadline: Rolling
Length: Up to 2,500 words for prose
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.

Not One of Us

This magazine publishes stories and poems about people or things out of place with their surroundings, outsiders, social misfits, aliens (in the SF sense) – anyone excluded from society. They like stories with strong characterization. Genres include horror, SF, fantasy, noir, slipstream, Western, mainstream.
Deadline: Rolling
Length: Prefer up to 6,000 words, can accept up to 7,500; prefer poems of 40 lines or less
Pay: Quarter cent a word for fiction, $5 for poetry
Details here.

Over My Dead Body! The Mystery Magazine

They publish a wide variety of mystery-related manuscripts, from cozy to hardboiled, and everything in between. They also accept nonfiction: mystery-related author interviews/ profiles and articles. Mystery-related travel pieces will also be considered. (For example: travel article about the Reichenbach Falls of Sherlock Holmes fame.) Query first.
Deadline: Rolling
Length: Up to 500 words for nonfiction; 750-4,000 words for fiction
Pay: $0.01/word for fiction; $10-25 for nonfiction
Details here.