20 Themed Calls for Submissions for September 2019

Written by S. Kalekar

These are 20 themed submission calls in the 14 markets listed here for writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Some of the themes are classics remixed, fierce, mystery, urban nature and the environmental challenges of cities, classic fairy tales populated with gay Bears, AfroMyth, the magic of dogs (and cats), Christmas, me-time, Anne of Green Gables, and witches, warriors and wyverns.

All but one of these calls are paid, from token to pro rates. Some of the publishers have not announced deadlines, and are open until filled.

At the end the list there is also a list of 4 contests for writers – all of them have themed calls, give cash prizes, and none charge an entry fee.

Claw & Blossom: Fierce
They want fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. For the September Equinox issue, the theme is ‘Fierce’. All work must also contain elements of the natural world. For poetry, they are partial to free verse, and not so keen on the more traditional forms. Prose can be one piece or linked micros, and genre work is a tough sell.
Deadline: 8 September 2019
Length: Prose up to 1,000 words; one poem
Pay: $25
Details here.

Fantastic Books: Horror for the Throne – One-Sitting Reads
­­­­­They want horror reprints for this anthology, on any theme. However, they do not want bathroom horror.    
Deadline: 15 September 2019
Length: 500-2,000 words
Pay: $20
Details here.


Reckoning: Urban nature and the environmental challenges of cities
They want fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry on environmental justice, and welcome writing that is personal. They are currently reading work on urban nature and the environmental challenges of cities. See submission requirements by the editors of fiction and creative nonfiction, and poetry. They specially want work from Indigenous writers, writers of color, queer and transgender writers, and anyone who has suffered the consequences of society’s systemic disconnect with and mistreatment of the natural world.
Deadline: Autumn equinox (23 September 2019)
Length: Up to 45,000 words
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

AfroMyth 2: A Fantasy Collection
They want adult stories (no erotica, though some romance is acceptable). They want stories about magic, gods, mysticism, and mythical creatures; old fairy tales with an Afrocentric twist. The main character should be of indigenous African descent. Their guidelines also say, “You aren’t restricted in your chosen setting, but priority will be given to stories featuring human characters who live in this world, or some version of it.”  
Deadline: 30 September 2019
Length: 1,000-7,500 words
Pay: 1.5 cents/word
Details here.

Eastern Iowa Review: All Things Anne
Their tagline is “a journal of good spaces”. They are reading fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry on Anne of Green Gables (the books, not the film), and are also accepting artwork. Their guidelines say, “Fiction must be about some aspect of Anne Shirley, Green Gables, or the many related characters of the 8 book series. … Your timeline can be original or current or even futuristic, and even a pre-Anne timeline would be interesting. New settings are welcome but please have enough Anne (and/or friends) in them to satisfy the Anne lover. Anne on Mars? Why not? Gilbert and Moody Spurgeon or Roy Gardner in a land battle against the dinosaurs? That would be fun! Tell us a little backstory about Miss Stacey, or…”. For creative nonfiction, they want work about Lucy Maud Montgomery or Prince Edward Island or anything related to the actual history of the series. They also accept poetry and artwork on the theme. There is no monetary payment, though one piece may be chosen for an award.
Deadline: 30 September 2019
Length: Unlimited
Pay: One piece may be chosen for an Editor’s Choice Award of $25
Details here.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Eight themes
They want inspirational, true stories and poems about ordinary people having extraordinary experiences. The anecdotes should be told in the first person, and have a beginning, middle, and end. They have several upcoming themes: 
– Laughter Is the Best Medicine (changed from: I Can’t Stop Laughing!):Their guidelines say, “We are looking for stories about something that happened to you in your life – in your relationship with a partner or spouse, a parent or child, a family member or friend, at work or at home – that made you and the people around you laugh out loud.” Some suggested topics are: obsessions, annoying habits, embarrassing moments, and family foibles. The deadline is 30 September 2019 (extended).
The Golden Years or Second Wind: They want humorous or serious stories of life after 60. Some of the suggested topics are: time for a new career, trying new things, bucket lists and adventure, the wisdom of age, new passions, and raising grandchildren… or still raising grown children! The deadline for this is 30 September 2019 (extended).
You Go, Girl: They want work about today’s woman, who is is independent, self-confident and feisty but at the same time, nurturing, loving and caring. They want true stories on how you are running your life, how you became empowered and achieved independence. Some suggested topics are: sexual harassment and how you fought back, self-esteem – understanding that you are terrific and can do anything, being brave enough to take educated risks, equality in the workplace, in promotions, job responsibilities and pay, girls and women in sports – at school, college, professionally, Olympics; and balancing marriage, kids and your own independence. The deadline is 15 December 2019.
Stories About Self-care and Me Time: They want stories about self-care, which is not just about physical health but includes your emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing. They want stories about how you neglected your self-care and then how you realized its importance and so you now engage in it. The deadline is 31 December 2019.
The Magic of Cats: They want stories about the magic of your cat or the magic of a cat you know. Stories can be serious or humorous, or both. The deadline is 15 January 2020.
The Magic of Dogs: They want work about all the heartwarming, inspirational, and magical stories you have about a dog and the magic that dog brings to your life or the life of your family. The deadline is 15 January 2020. 
Stories about Christmas: They are collecting stories for their Holiday 2020 book and are looking for stories about the entire December holiday season, including Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and New Year’s festivities. Stories should be “Santa safe”. Some suggested topics are: holiday traditions, holiday humor, memories of the holiday season, and the love of family. The deadline is 30 January 2020.
Listen to Your Dreams: Their guidelines say, “When we are asleep, we dream. Are dreams a connection to the unconscious mind? Are they omens of things to come—both good and bad? Dreams are often the way we tap into our own inner wisdom. … We want to know about your dreams. What have you learned from your dreams? …Did any of your dreams come true? Did a dream strengthen your faith or help you change the direction your life was headed in?” Some suggested topics are: dreams about finding love, dreams that saved you or a loved one from danger/death, dreams that changed the direction of your life, dream journaling and how to use your dreams more effectively, and learning to trust your inner guidance. The deadline is 28 February 2020.
Deadlines: Various
Length: Up to 1,200 words
Pay: $200
Details here (book topics) and here (guidelines).

Black Beacon Books: The Black Beacon Book of Mystery
­­­­­They want stories for a mystery anthology. Their guidelines say, “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, but be damned clever about it!” They will accept stories in English and French. They also accept reprints.    
Deadline: 30 November 2019
Length: 2,500-7,000 words; novellas up to 25,000 words
Pay: £0.01/word for short stories; £100 for novellas
Details here.


Excalibur 2020: Tales From Beyond Tomorrow Volume 3
This anthology celebrates the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The editors are looking for speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, or horror). Their guidelines say, “The work must have a thematic connection to Japan and/or the Olympics. This could include:

Works set in cities during their Olympic years; for example – Paris 1924, Berlin 1936, the first Tokyo Olympics in 1964, Barcelona 1992, Beijing 2008, London 2012, and so on (We are also willing to accept non-fiction memoirs of Olympic years, depending on the circumstances).

Works of fiction with a theme and setting of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics specifically.

Works mainly based on aspects of Japanese society and culture with a tangential connection to the Olympics.” For writers who have an idea for a story connected to Japan or the Olympics that doesn’t fit any of the points above, the editors are willing to discuss the story over email. They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 31 December 2019
Length: 2,500-10,000 words
Pay: $100
Details here.

Lackington’s: Birds
­­­­­This Canadian speculative fiction magazine wants stories on the ‘Birds’ theme. Their guidelines say, “Do you have a story about soaring through the sky, about harbingers or omens, about feathered folk or folktale fodder? Birds are possibly the creatures we see most often day to day—we certainly tend to hear them. Help us put together an issue that demonstrates their range, colour, character, and wit, whether they preen themselves on Earth or someplace you’ve created.” Also, “The “spec” element can be overt or subtle (so blow us away with realism if it possesses the merest twinge of strangeness). Fantasy, SF, slipstream, post-apocalyptic, magic realism, mythopoeia, folktale, grimdark, weird, or any flavour of ‘punk, it’s all good … meeting our style preference is our foremost demand. We prefer stories with experimental prose and structures, but second-person POV narratives have become a hard sell”. They like stories that experiment with structure, and which incorporate elements from poetic or dramatic forms. They welcome translations, and certain reprints. They pay for illustrations.
Deadline: Open now (will announce on Twitter a week or two before they close)
Length: 1,500-5,000 words
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.


Lethe Press: Burly Tales
They want short stories and novellettes that adapt classic fairy tales, but populated with gay Bears – “Strapping heroes are fine as long as they are stout.” All the stories should have a measure of whimsy and/or wonder, and be romantic with a happily ever after or happy-for-now ending. Also, “Erotic content is not a necessity but our burly men should be sex-positive about their lives.” Writers are advised to check the site before sending their stories to avoid doubling up of fairy tale ideas. They also accept reprints. Submissions opened in August, and the closing date has not been specified. Also scroll down the page to see their guidelines for a reprint anthology featuring gay erotica with at least one chubby protagonist.   
Deadline: Open now
Length: 5,000-15,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Unfit Magazine: Stories that bend the rules of science
They publish fiction: Quantum Fiction, Cyberpunk, Alternative Histories and Steampunk. They want stories with metaphors and emotional ambiance and imaginative descriptive writing. Currently, they’re looking for stories that bend the rules of science. They also accept nonfiction, and reprints. Writers will need a URL to submit stories (see guidelines).
Deadline: Open now
Length: 500-3,000 words
Pay: $0.03/word for fiction; $0.01/word for nonfiction
Details here.

Unreal Magazine: Stories that bend the rules of magic
They publish fiction: fantasy, magic realism, and experimental fiction. They also accept nonfiction, and reprints. Currently, they are looking for stories that bend the rules of magic. Writers will need a URL to submit stories (see guidelines).
Deadline: Open now
Length: 500-5,000 words
Pay: $0.03/word; $0.01/word for nonfiction
Details here.

TANSTAAFL Press: Of Witches, Warriors, and Wyverns
­­­­­For this anthology, they want fantasy fiction on the theme, ‘Of Witches, Warriors, and Wyverns’. See guidelines for the detailed list of tropes they do not want (including urban fantasy, and werewolves and vampires). Their target is to have this work available by GenCon 2020. They will read submissions until they have their target word count for the anthology, currently at about 70,000 words.    
Deadline: Open now
Length: Up to 8,000 words; stories above 5,000 words have to be exceptional to be considered
Pay: 2.5c/word; 3c/word for writers who’ve been published before by this press
Details here.

THEMED CONTESTS

The Horne Prize: Australian Life
This prize is for an essay that addresses some part of the theme ‘Australian Life’. Essays should be 2,500 to 3,000 words. Writers need not be published or professional writers, or Australians to enter – they seek insights from all writers who have been engaged with or affected by Australian culture. The essay could be a profile, a reported feature on a particular issue, or a series of vignettes. There are a few kinds of writing they are not looking for, including essays that look on the past without that reflecting on the present or the future, lyric or memoir essays that are purely expositional, or essays about David Horne (see guidelines). The winner must get to Melbourne in December for the prize ceremony; domestic travel and hotel expenses will be met if necessary.
Value: AUD15,000
Deadline: 16 September 2019
Details here and here.

The Val Wood Prize for Creative Writing: Love Letters
They want love letters for this contest. Their guidelines say, “Entries should be in the form of a love letter and entrants are free to write about whatever they wish as long as the theme of love and the form of a letter are adhered to. Each entry can contain more than one letter, provided that the maximum word count is 1500.” The contest is open to anyone aged 16 years or older.    
Value: £100, £50, two prizes of £25 each
Deadline: 21 September 2019
Details here.

The Writers College: My Writing Journey Competition
They want a 600-word piece on ‘The best writing tip I’ve ever received’. The contest is open to writers all over the world. 
Value: AUD200/£100
Deadline: 30 September 2019
Details here.

The Academy for Teachers: Stories Out of School
They want stories, of 6-749 words, about teachers and schools. The story’s protagonist or narrator must be a K-12 teacher. Sentimentality is discouraged and education jargon is forbidden. The stories will be published online by Electric Literature. The contest is open to all adults.   
Value: $1,000, $500
Deadline: 1 October 2019
Details here and here.

 

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