20 Themed Calls for Submissions for February 2020

Written by S. Kalekar

These are 20 themed submission calls for writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in the 16 markets listed here. Some themes are: publishing, inverted fairy tales & folklore, an adventure anthology of Queer ladies, sky, stripes, extinction, Twenty Thousand Leagues Remembered, horses, cocktails, and romantic disasters at sea. All pay writers and none charge a submission fee. There are some themed writing contests at the end.

THEMED SUBMISSIONS

WordWorks: Publishing
This quarterly magazine for the Federation of BC Writers accepts articles by members and non-members (a portion of the payment will go towards membership, for non-members). It is for those interested in literature. They accept creative work (poems and prose). They also accept articles discussing the craft or business of writing, and welcome both queries and completed articles. For the Spring 2020 issue, the theme is ‘Publishing’.

Deadline: 11 February 2020
Length: 60 lines for poetry, up to 3 poems
Pay: $50 per poem or creative prose piece, $0.25/word for articles, $50 for reprints, $100 for cover art, and $25 for interior art
Details here and here

Goal Publications: Inverted Fairy Tales & Folklore (Title Pending)
They want inverted fairy tales for this anthropomorphic fantasy anthology. Their guidelines say, “We’ve all heard the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, the Princess and the Pea, and other faithful classics. We’re sure that more than a few are familiar with the mythology of ancient Greece, Egypt, and others.
Great! That’s NOT what we’re looking for, with a few exceptions.​
We’re looking for folklore, mythology, or fairy tales from other places, and fantasy stories that invoke these, that can have a furry (anthropomorphic animal) twist. Have a story about Baba Yaga? Toss it over here. One about Raw Head and Blood Bones? Sure, would love to see it! We want tales that have been lost to time, but we want you to twist it into being your own story.” They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 16 February 2020
Length: 1,000-8,000 words
Pay: $0.04/word (up to $100)
Details here.


Cantina Publishing: Silk & Steel – An Adventure Anthology of Queer Ladies

For this fiction anthology, they want “stories of high adventure that feature one weapon-wielding woman and one woman whose strengths lie in softer skills, but who is just as powerful in her own right. You’re free to choose any setting – from historical to modern to wildly futuristic.” Their guidelines also say, “Yes, this is an f/f anthology, but that doesn’t mean your women need to be fighting against homophobia! While this is one option, it’s not the only one. Consider also having them fight for their countries, their loves, or their right to wash their cars on Wednesdays in flagrant disregard of their HOA’s rules. Silk and Steel is about romance and optimism, so moving on to the next big fight after homophobia will be a much easier sell.”
Deadline: 22 February 2020
Length: 3,000-7,000 words recommended
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Claw & Blossom: Stripes
This is a quarterly online journal of short prose and poems that touch upon the natural world. They are reading work for issue 4 (the Equinox issue), and the theme is ‘Stripes’. 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: 24 February 2020
Length: Up to 1,000 words for prose (one piece or linked micros); one poem
Pay: $25
Details here.

Metaphorosis Books: Best Vegan SFF of the Year
This is a reprint anthology for Vegan science fiction and fantasy stories published in the previous year, in venues that paid $0.01/word or more. They want stories happen to be vegan – no meat, no hunting, no horse-riding, no leather. Stories don’t have to be about veganism (though the editors don’t mind that). Stories must be entirely vegan, and they must have been vegan when originally published (i.e. they cannot be ‘veganized’ for this anthology. Writers can send up to two stories.
Deadline: 28 February 2020
Length: 1,000-8,000 words
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.

The Were-Traveler: Superfreak – Freakpunk Issue 2
The editor wants weird fiction where the setting is a carnival, theme park, circus or fair/festival. “Clowns can be part of the story, but they don’t have to be. A creepy carny is just as good”, according to guidelines. Also see future themes that open for submissions later in the year, including People of Color Destroy Lovecraft, and water monster horror.
Deadline: 28 February 2020 (can close earlier as their submission system can only accept 100 submissions during a reading period)
Length: 700-1,500 words for flash, 100 words for drabbles
Pay: $10 for flash, $1 for drabbles
Details here.

Stonecrop Review: Sky
This is a journal of urban nature writing, art, and photography. For their third issue, they are reading works on the Sky theme. Their guidelines say, “Whether it’s light pollution, the weather, or bird flight, look up and tell us what you see. Have you experienced a fierce storm or stopped to appreciate a sunset over the city? Perhaps you’ve had the chance to witness the city from above, how did it shape the way you think about the city and nature?” They accept creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, Reader’s Corner, photography, and art submissions. They are also reading general submissions on topics related to urban nature. Writers can send up to three submissions.
Deadline: 29 February 2020
Length: 500-5,000 words for fiction and creative nonfiction, up to 1,000 words for Reader’s Corner
Pay: $20
Details here.

Parsec Ink: Triangulation – Extinction
This is a speculative fiction anthology, and they’re now in their 16th year. Their guidelines say, “Every day, another species creeps closer to extinction, often brought on by things out of their control. The world changes every time an insect, a rhino, a macaw ceases to exist. These changes are tangible. Tell us about them. Bring us stories of imposing threats, extraordinary creatures brought low, stories of those warriors who fight tooth and nail for their survival. What does extinction mean to you? We like our stories to be profound, relatable, poignant yet familiar. Tell a tale for the ages. Also, “We don’t want to read a hundred stories about dinosaurs and asteroids; we want gritty commentaries and hopeful ruminations.” While they love creative interpretations of the theme, the stories do need to be a solid fit. They like SF, fantasy, and horror, and stories that are an intelligent blend of all three. Stories that aren’t speculative will not be considered.
Deadline: 29 February 2020
Length: Up to 5,000 words (the sweet spot is 3,000)
Pay: $0.03/word
Details here.

Midnight Street Anthology #4: Strange Days
This is a sci-fi, horror, slipstream, and weird fiction anthology that sums up the precariousness of modern existence. Their guidelines say, “The world is in a mess. It seems that from a human perspective, we’re pretty well screwed. … Maybe the generation that comes after ours will be able to save the planet for human habitation. Who knows? It seems that this generation has pretty well fucked up everything that would ensure the long-term survival of humanity. Why is that? Greed, political imperatives, narrow-minded thinking, poverty, ignorance. There are many reasons.

It remains true that we are experiencing very strange days. There’s a mass extinction happening and it may well include our species.

What do you think? Can you come up with an original story that reflects this approaching catastrophe?” They also accept reprints.
Deadline: End-February 2020
Length: 2,000-8,000 words
Pay: £50
Details here.

Grain Magazine: Queer Issue
This Canadian literary magazine has a call for LGBTQ2S+ writers. They want fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry. Queries for submissions of work in other forms (i.e. short plays, comics, etc.) are welcome. Apart from the special issue, they are also accepting work for a regular issue. They accept work from Canadians and from writers around the world. Artwork submission is mainly by invitation, but artists are welcome to query.
Deadline: 29 February 2020 for the LGBTQ2S+ issue, 15 May 2020 for the general issue
Length: Up to six pages for poetry, up to 3,500 words for fiction and literary nonfiction
Pay: CAD50/page up to CAD250 for writing, up to CAD500 for art
Details here and here.

Beatdom #20
This magazine publishes annually. For their 20th issue, they want essays, interviews, reviews, poetry, and art related to the Beat Generation. They are not looking for fiction in this round.
Deadline: 1 March 2020
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Pay: $50 for essays
Details here and here.

Hybrid: Three anthologies
They are publishing fiction anthologies on three themes. Writers can send up to two entries for each anthology. They also accept previously published stories.

Acethetic: explores “the lives of our asexual friends and family. The stories should focus on characters anywhere on the specturm of asexuality.” Aromantic characters are also welcome. There is no restriction on genre; literary fiction, speculative fiction, shifters, furries – all are welcome. They’re looking for G-R ratings for the stories. Submissions for this anthology close on 1 March 2020.
Genderful: is a furry fiction anthology in two parts which aims to explore how furry and gender interact. They want submissions that explore the implications of non-cisgender life within the context of furry. The anthology is in two parts – Green and Gold is the general side, and Blue and Silver is the adult side. Their guidelines say, “Genderful: Green and Gold — How would those in a such a world explore their gender in a day-to-day context? What are the mechanics of hormone replacement therapy – transdermal patches obviously being out of the question – or of gender affirming surgery? What are the social implications of gender transition in a society already differentiated by species?
Genderful: Blue and Silver — How would those in a such a world explore their gender in a sexual context? What are the effects of hormone replacement therapy or of gender affirming surgery on one’s sexuality? How does sex and sexuality work in a setting with complex scents and sensitive noses? Dating, already scary, gains a new layer of tension; romance, already complex, gains a new layer of difficulty; and sex, already fraught with gender, becomes even more complicated.” They’re looking for stories with G-X rating. The deadline is 1 March 2020 for this anthology.
Future//Tense: Gender: is an anthology of transfuturistic science-fiction. The stories within will explore the way gender, transition, and trans issues may change over time, from the near future to far, on Earth or other planets, in humans or those from the stars. They want submissions that explore the shape of gender and identity in the decades and centuries to come. Stories should have G-R rating. The submission deadline is 1 April 2020 for this anthology.
Deadlines: Various (see above)
Length: 2,000-15,000 words for Acethetic and Genderful; 5,000-15,000 words for Future//Tense: Gender.
Pay: 2½¢ per word, up to $100
Details here (also see their other anthology calls on this page, with later deadlines).


Pole to Pole Publishing: Twenty Thousand Leagues Remembered
They are seeking fictional short stories for an upcoming anthology, ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Remembered’, to be published in June 2020, on the sesquicentennial of Jules Verne’s classic. The anthology will contain short stories that pay tribute in some way to Jules Verne’s ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’. Their guidelines say, “Set your story in any time or place; use characters from Verne’s novel or make up your own. You need not write in Verne’s style. The mood of your story need not be dark, as other Pole to Pole Publishing anthologies have been. Aim to capture, in your own way, the sense of wonder and adventure for which Jules Verne is famous. The connection between your story and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea must be obvious and significant, and your story must not disparage either the novel or its author.” They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 30 April 2020 or until filled
Length: 3,000-5,000 words
Pay: $0.02/word
Details here.

Fun for Kidz: Three themes
This is a magazine for children from 6 to 13 years, with 8, 9, and 10 the specific target age. The ideal length of nonfiction piece is up to 300-325 words for a one-page magazine article or up to 600-650 words for a two-page magazine article. Articles that are accompanied by strong high-resolution photos are far more likely to be accepted than those requiring illustration. They have a few upcoming themes listed, for which they’re accepting nonfiction submissions: Horses (July 2020); Native Americans (September 2020); and Animals Up Close and Personal (November 2020). Submissions have to be mailed. The cost of postage for contributor copies will be deducted from the payment for contributors outside the US.
Deadlines: Unspecified
Length: 300-325 words for a one-page article; 600-625 words for a two-page article
Pay: Minimum $0.05/word for fiction and nonfiction; $10 for poetry and puzzles; variable rates for games, simple carpentry projects, etc.; $25-35 for art
Details here and here.

Paper Angel Press: Heartwreck – Romantic Disasters at Sea
Their guidelines say, “Life at sea presents many challenges, and finding (and keeping) love is one of the biggest. Heartwreck: Romantic Disasters at Sea is a collection of true and semi-true stories about love gone wrong on the high seas… Rough weather, small spaces, long days in the boatyard, and an eclectic mix of personalities make personal relationships among the seafaring community challenging and rife with struggles. We’re looking for personal essays and memoir/creative nonfiction pieces about your experiences. … Maybe a relationship fell apart and you got stuck with a boat you didn’t think you wanted. Maybe, after five days at sea with a partner and five months to go, you realized you can’t possibly live with that person on a small boat. Whatever the disaster, if it happened on or around boats, we want to read about it.”
Deadline: 30 July 2020
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Pay: $0.02/word
Details here.

Lackington’s: Cocktails
They want speculative fiction on the theme of Cocktails. Their guidelines say, “A whiskey sour with egg white? A French or Munich Negroni? The newfangled basil smash that’s so hard not to adore? Or how ‘bout a nip of genever, green-apple syrup and elderberry with a drop of bitters? You can write about favourite drinks, or you can take a less literal approach to “Cocktails” for this issue. Think chemistry, medicine, potions, poisons, hormonal reactions, or planets with atmospheres so foreign they’d kill us. Send us alchemical stories—infuse our systems.” The spec element can be overt or subtle. Stories that experiment with prose and structure are especially welcome – they love works that incorporate elements from poetic or dramatic forms. Second-person POV narratives are a hard sell. They accept translations and some reprints (see guidelines), as well. They also commission artwork for stories.
Deadline: Open now (will announce on Twitter once they’re a week or two away from closing)
Length: 1,500-5,000 words
Pay: CAD0.01/word (CAD25 minimum)
Details here.

WRITING CONTESTS

NYU Journalism: Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award and Reporting Award
They offer two awards, and writers do not have to be US citizens to apply.
— The Reporting Award is for a significant work of journalism, in any medium, on an under-reported subject in the public interest. The deadline is 18 February 2020 for this award.  
— The Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award is for promising early-career nonfiction writers to research and write an article that tells the truth about a human condition. Two people can jointly apply also. The deadline for proposals is 19 February 2020 for this award.
Value: Up to $12,500 for each award
Proposal deadlines: See above
Open for: All journalists, early career nonfiction writers
Details here.

Speculative Literature Foundation Working Class Writers Grant
This international speculative literature grant is for working class, blue-collar, poor, and homeless writers who have been historically underrepresented in speculative fiction. Writers are to send a work sample (up to 10 pages of poetry, 10 pages of drama, or 5,000 words of fiction or creative nonfiction), and a short statement.
Value: $1,000
Deadline: 29 February 2020
Open for: Writers from a working class background (see guidelines)
Details here.


Quantum Shorts
This flash fiction contest is accepting stories up to 1,000 words that draw from the ideas or themes of quantum physics. Stories must also include the phrase “things used to be so simple”. 
Value: $1,500, $1,000; $500 people’s choice award; $100 for 10 runners up
Deadline: 29 February 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

The Fountain Essay Contest
They want an essay of 1,500-2,500 on this topic ‘Facing challenges’. Their guidelines say, “We all face new challenges in our lives. They can be massive undertakings, such as moving across a country and beginning a new school. Or sometimes the more routine tasks, such as getting out of the bed in the morning while undergoing depression, can themselves be massive challenges.
We want to hear about your challenges and how you mentally, physically, and/or spiritually prepare for them.” Writers should read terms and conditions, which state that any of the entries may be published, whether or not they win the prize.
Value: $1,000, $500, $300; two prizes of $150 each
Deadline: 1 March 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.


Author Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She is the author of 182 Short Fiction Publishers. She can be reached here.

 

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