Your Midweek Creative Thought

It’s your Midweek Creative Thought.

Writing Wednesday


I have a question for all you Creative types out. Not just authors But all: Dancers, Painters, sculptors, Chefs, Bakers, Musicians, quilters, Graffitiers (Not sure that’s a word) anyone who uses a creative artistic talent… Whether as a hobby or for a chosen career path.

Here it is: What is the worst advice you’ve ever been given….? 

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50 Short Fiction Markets

50 Short Fiction Markets, I honestly didn’t think I would find that many. But you’d be surprised how many there are out there, and how many are willing to pay some decent amounts.

I was first introduced to science fiction through the short works of Ray Bradbury. The Fireman, which later was expanded from a short story to become Fahrenheit 451, was one of the first by the legend I ever read. The Illustrated Man, the Martian Chronicles, The Rocket, Bradbury knew the art form better than most. So naturally, when I started writing that’s where I started.

I would write like fire, submit, then get rejected. This cycle continued and continued until eventually I got a few sales, but very little money rolled in. However, you’d be surprised how many authors write short fiction and walk away with $1,200 or more through out the year by selling three or four stories a year.

For some- That could be a trip to Realm Makers or your favorite con. Pay for editing, cover design, or just a nice vacation.

I love the art form- And in my mind it’s worth the effort. Especially if you make a couple hundred bucks. So here are 50 Short Fiction Markets I’ve learned about.

Note: This list was first given to me by H.A. Titus: Over the past two years I’ve added to it off and on as I come across a new market. Also- please read each markets guidelines- They can change from time to time. So I hope you enjoy.

Analog: Science fiction: 2,000-7,000 for short stories; 10,000-20,000 for novelettes, and 40,000-80,000 for serials. NO REPRINTS. Pays 7-9 cents/word up to 7,500 words, $525-675 between 7,500-10,000 words, 7-7,5 cents/word for longer material, and 5 cents/word for serials.


Aliterate: science fiction, fantasy, westerns, pulps, thrillers, horror and romance. Has a sci-fi/fantasy lean. 2,500 and 8,000 words pays 6 cents per word.


Asimov’s: Science fiction up to 20,000 words. NO REPRINTS. First English Language serial rights plus non-exclusive rights. 8-10 cents/word up to 7,500 words and 8-8.5 cents/word for longer material.


Aurealis: Science fiction, fantasy, and horror between 2,000-8,000 words. NO REPRINTS. Buys First Electronic Rights and non-exclusive anthology rights. Rights revert back to the author 1 year after publication. Pays $20-$60/1,000 words.


Apex Magazine: Science Fiction, fantasy, and horror magazine. Up to 7,500 words. Pay $0.06 per word.


Beneath Ceaseless Skies: accepts fantasy with a strong emphasis on the literary feel of a piece. NO REPRINTS. First World Serial rights, First World Electronic rights, non-exclusive World Audio rights, and an option to purchase non-exclusive World Anthology rights, up to 180 days after publication. Pays 6 cents/word.


Betwixt Magazine: Speculative fiction. NO REPRINTS. 1,000-30,000 words range, but preferred length is 4-7,000. 3 cents/word up to $225. Reading periods: Oct 1–Nov 30; January 1-Feb 28; April 1-May 31; July 1-Aug 31. (Not sure if this Mag is coming back)


BuzzyMag: Science fiction and fantasy up to 10,000 words. ACCEPTS REPRINTS. 10 cents/word for first rights, 2 cents/word for non-exclusive reprint rights.


Castlepod: fantasy. ACCEPTS REPRINTS. Audio and electronic rights, and a Creative Commons license. 0.05/0.03 cents per word.


Canadian Science Fiction Review: science fiction between 500-3,000 words. NO REPRINTS. Buys First Serial, First Electronic, and non-exclusive audio rights, and a Creative Commons license. Pays 6 cents/word.


Cicada: A YA lit/comics magazine fascinated with lyric and strange and committed to work that speaks to teens’ truths. Flash fic to novellas; up to 9,000 words – pays up to 25 cents a word.


Clarkesworld: Science fiction and fantasy between 1,000-8,000 words (preferred is 4,000). NO REPRINTS. First world electronic rights (text and audio), first print rights, and non-exclusive anthology rights. 10 cents/word for the first 4,000 words, 7 cents/word after.


Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores: Science fiction, fantasy, etc, 1,000 words and up though shorter works will be preferred. 6 cents/word for original fiction, 2 cents/word for reprints.


Crossed Genres: Science fiction and fantasy following a theme, between 1,000-6,000 words. NO REPRINTS. First World e-book and print rights as well as non-exclusive anthology and online rights. Pays  6 cents/word.


Compelling Science Fiction: Publishes Science Fiction between 1,000 – 10,000 words. Pays up 6 cents a word.


Daily Science Fiction: Science fiction and fantasy up to 1,500 words. Accepts flash fiction series. NO REPRINTS. First worldwide rights and nonexclusive reprint rights with an option to be included in an anthology. 8 cents/word with additional payment if included in an anthology.


Diabolical Plots: A sci-fi/fantasy zine – 3500 words or less- 8 cents per word (more than the minimum professional rate as deemed by SFWA)


Deep Magic: Accepts clean fantasy and science fiction stories. Pays 8 cents a word for up to 5,000 words and 6 cents per word from 5,001 – 16,000.


Escape Pod: science fiction. ACCEPTS REPRINTS. 2,000-6,000 words. Audio and electronic rights and a Creative Commons license. 0.05/0.03 cents per word.


Everyday Fiction: All genres up to 1,000 words. NO REPRINTS. First rights with an option for First Anthology rights. $3/story with an additional dollar if chosen for an anthology.


Fantastic Stories of the Imagination: fantasy and sci-fi up to 3,000 words. REPRINTS ACCEPTED. Pays 15 cents/word for original stories, and 1 cent/word for reprints, min of $25 and max of $100. Licenses rights for web, print, and anthologies.


Fantasy and Science Fiction: Fantasy and science fiction up to 25,000 words. NO REPRINTS. First North American and foreign serial rights, and an option for anthology rights. 7-12 cents per word.


Far Fetched Fables: pays $50 flat rate per story. Fantasy stories.


Fireside Fiction: We accept flash fiction of up to 1,000 words, and short stories from 1,000 to 4,000 words. pays 12.5 cents per word


Farstrider Magazine: accepts fantasy with a sense of humor. NO REPRINTS. 500-4,000 words. 3 cents/word. First electronic rights as well as inclusive in an annual anthology.


Flash Fiction Online: Any genre between 500-1,000 words. REPRINTS ACCEPTED. $60/story, 2 cents/word for reprints. First electronic rights, including audio. Non-exlcusive one-time anthology rights.


Flame Tree Publishing anthology calls: Flame Tree Publishing anthology calls- only accept short stories for specific anthologies which are announced on our website, our blog and through Facebook, Twitter and Google.


Gamut: An online magazine of neo-noir, spec fic with a literary bent. word range is about 500-5,000 with the sweet spot being 3,000. Pays 10 cents per word.


GrimDark: GrimDark fantasy and science fiction between 1,500-4,000 words. Serials are accepted but must be completed before acceptance. NO REPRINTS. First World rights, reverted 1 year after the contract is signed, after which they maintain non-exclusive distribution rights. Pays 6 cents/word.


Havok: Science fiction and fantasy between 500-1,000 words. NO REPRINTS. First rights for six months and reprint rights for perpetuity. Small stipend for payment depending on length of story. Issues are themed.


Heroic Fantasy Quarterly: epic/sword and sorcery fantasy up to 10,000 words, though willing to serialize a max of 50,000 over four issues. NO REPRINTS. First World English electronic rights, exclusive electronic rights for 90 days, archival rights for 12 months, and excerpt rights. Submission periods are: March, June, September, December. Pays $100 for stories.


Inscription Magazine: speculative fiction for teenagers 500-9,000 words in length. 6 cents/word. First worldwide rights and exclsuive reprint rights. ACCEPTS REPRINTS.


Intergalactic Medicine Show: Science fiction and fantasy of any length. ACCEPTS REPRINTS if obscure. All rights exclusive for one year, nonexclusive rights in perpetuity, as well as non-exclusive print and audio rights for anthologies. Pays 6 cents/word, with advances and royalties if included in an anthology.


Kasma Magazine: speculative fiction. 1,000-5,000 words in length, though consider longer stories (and shorter in very rare cases).2 cents/word. REPRINTS ACCEPTED. Non-exclusive digital rights.


Lamplight Magazine: A literary magazine of dark fiction, both short stories and flash fiction. Accepts originals and reprints up to 7,000 words and pays 3 cents per word or $150 max.


Lightspeed: science fiction and fantasy between 1,500-7,500 words, stories under 5,000 preferred. ACCEPTS REPRINTS, but only if not online in any form. Pays 8 cents/word for first rights, 2 cents/word for reprints.


Liminal Stories: An online literary magazine publishing the beautiful, heartbreaking and strange. Will consider up to 10,000 words, and pays 6 cents a word.


Metaphorosis Magazine: science fiction and fantasy. 1,000-6,000 words is the sweet spot. NO REPRINTS. 1 cent/word.


Mothership Zeta: speculative fiction stories, emphasis on fun/funny stories. Flash fiction length to 6,000 words, though there will be only one flash fiction story per issue. payment is 6 cents/word. NO REPRINTS (reprints only from Podcastle, Escapepod, and Pseudopod).


New Myths: all speculative fiction exept graphic horror up to 10,000 words. NO REPRINTS. First publication rights. $50/story. Reading periods: June 1-July 31st; January 1-Feb 28th.


Nightmare: a horror and dark fantasy magazine edited by John Joseph Adams. We are open to stories of 1500-7500 words. Stories of 5000 words or less are preferred. Pays 6 cents per word.


Penumbra: Science fiction and fantasy of 3,500 words or less. NO REPRINTS. Pays 5 cents/word. Has issue themes—check website for open themes.


Shimmer: science fiction and fantasy, but more drawn to things like contemporary fantasy, up to 7,500 words, with 4,000 being preferred. NO REPRINTS. First Print and Electronic Rights, with rights reverting back to the author after 4 months, though rights to sell back issues of the magazine/have the story online remain. 5 cents/word.


StarShipSofa: Science Fiction. From soft, social science fiction to weird pulpy stuff to vigorous hard SF and YA. Pays $50 flat rate per story


Strange Horizons: Science fiction and fantasy under 9,000 words, under 5,000 preferred. NO REPRINTS. Buys First English rights, including audio rights. Pays 8 cents/word.


Strange Constellations: speculative fiction between 3,000-7,500 words. Non-execlusive electronic and anthology rights, distributed under a Creative Commons license. REPRINTS ACCEPTED. Flat rate of $30. Reading periods: July 1-Aug 31; Jan 1-Feb 28th.


Superversivepress: Has open calls for anthology shorts- Check their blog. accepts all science fiction and fantasy under 17,500 words—under 12,000 preferred. NO REPRINTS. First electronic, translation, audio, and anthology rights, exclusive for one year, non-exclusive after that. 25 cents/word for the first 5,000 words, 15 cents/word for the next 5,000, and 10 cents/word after that. Additional royalties if chosen for an anthology.

(Very Challenging to get into)


Uncanny Magazine: Science fiction and fantasy between 750-6,000 words. NO UNSOLICITED REPRINTS. First rights including first audio rights. 8 cents/word. Responds within 30 days.


Universe Annex: A section of the Grantville Gazette that publishes general science fiction and fantasy short stories. prefer stories under 15,000 words, with a strong preference for under 10,000 words. Pays 6 cents per word.


Why I Write Dark Fiction: Or Horror

I’m taking a short break from writing. We’re moving in a few weeks and between repairs to our current home that need to be done, and packing, time isn’t all on my side. So I actually may be blogging a lot more over the next few weeks. (Don’t ask how I have time to blog but not write fiction: I may punch you)

Last week I had someone message me after reading my novella “My Friend Louie” with the question- How can Christian’s write horror…? Interesting question- and one that has been explored by a number of folks. But first let me explain…

My Friend Louie is the story of a young boy who has just witnessed his mother leaving him and his father, who has very few friends, and is trying to survive a bully down the street. Through out the course of the story he finds a Baseball bat, who he named Louie, and who he believes is alive and able to speak to him, through his sub-conscious.

It’s Louie who convinces him to use Louie (the bat) on his father and smack him on the head, it’s Louie who tells him to use (Louie the bat) on the bully down the street and go beat that crap out of him.

Told in a raw memoir style, I can say it’s not my best writing by any stretch. There are several that like it and other that don’t. And that’s okay… But that got me thinking about the question asked to me- Why do you write horror?

It’s weird, because I don’t think I do, and I certainly don’t set out to write horror. That’s not my end goal. And I certainly don’t believe I write horrifying things. But I do admit, I may write Dark Things.

Why…? Because I think it’s necessary. I think it’s honest.

Let’s get real. Life doesn’t always end in a happy ending. Bad things happen to good people.

G.K. Chesterton has been quoted dozens of times for having said that- “Fairy tales are more than true… Not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”

This is so true- But yet not entirely true. Because the reality of the world we live in is this-

Sometimes the dragon wins…

That’s is a difficult truth to live with. But it’s reality all the same. Evil exist- Evil wins.

But for those of us who know Christ, we know there is hope.

We live in a broken, dark, dying world, that is full of sin. That’s reality. And there are so many in life that don’t see any sort of light or hope at the end. It’s just an empty void.

You see: My life is a life that has been spent living in the darkness of the shadows. I know what it feels like to not have hope. I know what it feels like to not see a way out. I understand the pain of brokenness and despair. I’ve lived that life.

Today I live free. Oh I still live in the shadows, only now I live in the shadow of the cross. It covers me and provides me with the hope I need.

I write not to explore the monsters, but to expose the fact that there are monsters everywhere, and we have to face them. Win, lose, draw… Life isn’t easy. Sometimes the story isn’t about defeating the dragon, but surviving and holding on to the light in the aftermath of the dragon winning a small battle.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that a part of me is the young boy in that story. I would be also lying to you if I didn’t say that a part of me is Louie as well.

So my stories from time to time may be a bit dark with some horrifying elements. They may not end in a happy ending. They may not even be all that Christian in the Christian sense because, there won’t be a solid redemptive story. But I promise you this…

They will be personal. And they will end with hope. And sometimes hope is all we need to get us through to the end.


Writers Lie

Writers flipping lie, man. We lie all the stinking time. We make stuff up and sell it. That’s fiction. We’re good at it. Call it creative thinking call it whatever the heck you want. We lie.

I’ve told some big lies growing up. The dog did it, my brother did it, aliens did it. Lies, lies, lies…

But you know what else I’ve discovered about writers- We Lie to ourselves more than anyone.

I know what your thinking- I don’t lie to myself. Listen, if you said that- You just lied to yourself.

Imagine there is this magical ring of manure circling your head. Every time you lie to yourself a small piece falls. But you can’t wash it away- It stays there, stuck to your skin. Eventually, you walk around covered in manure and realize you missed out because you believed a bunch of GARBAGE about yourself and your writing that wasn’t even true.

Publishing is tough. I know. I’ve been there. Still am. I’ve had countless short stories rejected, been told I couldn’t write, and even had a mom email me mad because she thought my story “My Friend Louie” was a twisted piece of evil… (That’s a bit true: It is a mangled up twisted bit of evil told in a Raw Memoir style about a troubled teen with a psychological disorder who believes his baseball bat is talking to him: Now Go Buy My Book)

But I’ve lied to myself, so many times it’s held me back in what I want to accomplish.

So here they are- In no particular order- Lies we writers tell ourselves. I’ve told these all to myself.

1) I just write for myself- It doesn’t matter if I get published. 

Oh come on, don’t tell me that. I use to say that as well. Until I had a short story published and wondered aloud- I hope someone is buying it..? Do they like it…? What do they think of it…? Writers write to be read. Sure there is the hobbyist, but those are rare- The very act of writing a story is for the purpose of communication.  Saying you only write for yourself is like Jesus saying: I’m going to tell a parable, but it’s only for myself. You write to be read.

2) I don’t have time.

Seriously…? You’re going to tell me that…? I have a full-time job where I’m a senior level executive in a very Busy Marketing Company. I’m involved in church. Have two of the most insane Toddlers. And a wonderful wife. I eat right; I work out daily, I read, watch TV, and still manage to write. Life is about Balance. It’s tough to find because it means sacrifice. Do I get stressed- You bet. Do I get mad and bark at my kids- Sure. Do I forget to tell my wife what she means to me- Yes. I fail. But I have time to do all those things which are important plus write. You have time to write. Turn off Netflix, Hulu, put the book away, tell your friends no, stop sleeping in, and write. 15 minutes a day. 30 minutes a day. Doesn’t matter- Just Write. I always tell people when they can’t find time to work out, read their Bible, or write, then they need to do those things in 25-minute increments. Why…? Because 25 Minutes is only 1% of your day. You can find 1%…

3) I don’t care if it sells.

Oh please, YES YOU DO!!! I don’t know of a single writer who hasn’t checked his / her Amazon rankings. Maybe Stephen King – But he is the exception to the rule. But if you haven’t crashed the Big Bestseller List, then you check them… Trust me- I know. Saying you don’t care if it sales is like my boss saying “J.J. – If this campaign doesn’t work, it’s alright.” We pour a lot of time, creativity, and money into our campaigns. They better work. And if they don’t-  (Trust me- Some haven’t) we have to find out why and fix it.

4) I don’t care if I get Bad Reviews.

Listen, bad reviews come and go. I got one because it was to Christian. Another one said I was evil (The Mad Mommy). Your story isn’t going to connect with everyone. That’s a fact. And in my case some won’t understand your voice. But you care, believe me. You do. You know how many times someone has asked me to vote down a bad review. (Don’t do that by the way- More likely I’ll vote it up) People don’t like to be criticized. They don’t like to see something that they pour time, effort, and energy into. Even if what the reviews are saying are true- We care. I get nervous anytime my wife reads my work- I get anxious when I email a story to a critique partner.  You care, and other writers understand. So pour out your frustration to those who can relate- Stop keeping it locked inside because you want to pretend you can handle it.

5) I have to work at building my platform before I can write a book- That away it sells. 

Here is the issue with this. If you spend all your time trying to build your platform, what are you going to say/sell when you step up on that platform. If you’re writing nonfiction and building your brand through blogging- You may be able to get away with this. But a fiction writer- Dude, just write the blasted book. I believed this lie for a long time. Partly because I work in Marketing and it’s branded within my mind. Platform/ Branding- Worry about that junk later. Right now just write. Imagine if a young new man came into your town- Passed out flyers, had a booth at a local health fair, and was telling everyone “I’m opening a new family practice. My name is Dr. Boo.” What would we ask him? Well, where is it…? When does it open…? What kind of insurance does he accept…? What would you do if his response was this: “Well, it’s not open yet. I still have to finish med school then do my residency. But, it’s coming soon.” Most of us are going to laugh, move along, and forget about him. The 4 P’s to Marketing are Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. But you have to have a product first… The horse is your story- The cart is your brand and platform- Go write.

6) I don’t listen to writing experts- They don’t know what they are talking about.

Well, chances are you won’t make it – Or here’s is a news flash – Maybe your listening to the wrong expert. If you are writing Science Fiction, you probably don’t want to always listen to the industry advice of someone that only sells cookbooks. I would even recommend finding experts in the genres you write in. Sure a lot of the industry news is across all genres. But agents that sell only Romance more than likely don’t know much about the Science Fiction market. There are a few great agents that crossover- But still- Sci-fi fans are a different brand of cookie. I don’t think anyone writing Romance would  come to me and say, “Hey, you got any marketing tips.” I would be clueless. One, I don’t read the genre, so I’m not in the target market, and Two, I don’t have a clue what makes Romance readers click. I just don’t. It’s a great genre with great writers but don’t ask me how to fix your plot holes because I’m  clueless when it comes to mainstream Romance. (Both in fiction and in life). There are writing experts out there in your genre- Find them- Listen to them- And learn from them…

7) Writing is too expensive- I can’t do this. 

Man Shazam!!! This is the biggest freaking whopper of them all. Writing is cheap. Just grab a pen and paper and go to work. Publishing is expensive. Editing is expensive. Cover design, advertising, and writers conferences are expensive. Storytelling- Is the cheapest hobby there is. Write it on a chalkboard, on a note card, or draft it on a used tea bag. Just write. Click to Tweet

8) No one is publishing my genre- It doesn’t seem to be salable. 

That isn’t quite as accurate as many think. The big publishers may not be publishing many titles in your genre- But that doesn’t mean small presses aren’t. Don’t be afraid of a small press. They are out there- And some good ones too. Remember,  Bloomsbury was a small, well-respected, independent publisher. They were the only publisher willing to take on a children’s book called: Harry Potter. Look what happened. 

I write this post mainly to me. I’m guilty of all these things- And I’m guilty every day. I have virtually no success as an author. Zero, zilch, zip… But I understand what holds me back. I lie to myself. I’m sure what I say seems arrogant, brash, even a bit pompous.

The truth is I get irritated by people that make excuses- Why? Because I hear them all day long, and normally, I’m the one making them.



Good Stories

I like quick addictive reads. They are fun, exciting, and enjoyable. Some people read to get a deeper meaning out of life, to learn a deep truth- I read for enjoyment.

There are different styles of readers, so whichever you are is fine. However, on both sides, I have found that Dean Koontz story structure method is a formula they all share.

From his out of print How to Write Best Selling Fiction (Writer’s Digest Books), © 1981. I first learned of this on Jerry B Jenkins Blog. Below is how Jenkins summarized it.

  1. Plunge your main character (lead/hero/heroine) into terrible trouble as soon as possible.

The definition of “terrible trouble” differs depending on your genre. For a thriller, it may mean your hero is hanging by his fingernails from a railroad trestle. For a cozy romance, it may mean your heroine must choose between two seemingly perfect suitors, each of whom harbors a dark secret.

2. Everything your character does to get out of the trouble makes it only worse.

The complications must be logical and grow increasingly bad until…

3. The lead’s predicament appears entirely hopeless.

4. Finally, because of what all that conflict has taught the character from the beginning, your lead rises to the occasion and battles out of the trouble, meets the challenge, accomplishes the quest, or completes the journey.