Explore the Dollhouse

Even though my current favorite show, Dollhouse, has been officially canceled1, the folks over at Smart Pop are running a Dollhouse Essay Contest.

We love Dollhouse. And we know from Buffy and Firefly that Joss Whedon fans are across-the-board smart, insightful, and involved.

So we’ve teamed up with Jane Espenson, Dollhouse writer and Mutant Enemy veteran, to put out an essay anthology on Dollhouse composed entirely of fan-written essays. Everyone, novice to seasoned writer, is eligible to enter; the only requirement is that you are fan of Dollhouse!

Write a great essay on Dollhouse, send it to us, and your essay could be published in a Smart Pop book edited by Jane.

I usually shy away from non-fiction but I might give this a shot. I’m a huge fan of Dollhouse (and of Joss Whedon in general) and I have very strong feelings about what Joss and team are trying to do with the show.

1There is a glimmer of hope that Fox will reconsider the decision to cancel the show, if the ratings for the last aired episodes makes a miraculous turnaround. One would hope they would learn their mistakes from Firefly and simply Trust In Joss.

Markets & Anthology ruminations

Writing is fluid but deadlines are not. Looking ahead six months or so, there are several upcoming anthologies and contests that I have my eye on. Previously, when there’s a hard deadline involved I’ve ended up submitting at the last possible minute (literally). This year I want to plan ahead and submit early. It’s less stressful and will, hopefully, produce better quality work.


Space Cops – I have a story perfect for the theme. Deadline is January 30th, 2009.

Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest – Also co-sponsored by the National Space Society, who co-sponsored the Return to Luna contest last year. Near-future manned space exploration. Deadline is April 1st, 2009.

PARSEC SF/F Short Story Contest – This year’s theme is “Dark Glass”. I just missed the cut last year. Hopefully this year will be better, but my money is on Andrea. She’s got a great story ready for it. Deadline is April 15th, 2009.

SHINE Anthology – Optimistic, near-future SF. Lots of ideas for this one. Submissions accepted May and June 2009.

Anything by Hadley Rille Books, because I love everything they do.

These are the ones that have caught my interest. You can find more anthologies on Duotrope, Ralan’s. or the list I maintain on Absolute Write.


People say that short fiction is dying, but I disagree. It’s transforming. Magazines are making the transition from print to electronic and vice versa. I have yet to see my ideal zine business model implemented but I think we’re getting closer.

There are quite a few great markets both large and small to submit to. Some people start with the best paying and work there way down while others submit to the smaller, non-paying markets because the odds of acceptance appear to be higher. There are a few markets I’d like to get into as a badge of honor. The rest are markets that I’ve read and enjoyed. Ultimately, it boils down to who I think is the best fit regardless of rate.

Apex Magazine – One of the few magazines that I’ve read cover to cover (before they went online) that I thoroughly loved.

Abyss & Apex – Another great market that publishers great works.

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (ASIM) – The first electronic market I ever submitted to. I sent them a Feghoot, before I knew what it was and why they should be kept locked in a trunk.

Byzarium – I love their flash fiction contests.

Clarkesworld – I used to be afraid of these guys (Nick Mamatas can be intimidating, but a) he’s moved on and b) anyone who publicly talks about wrestling is alright in my book). They only publish two fiction pieces a month, but they’re good pieces.

Strange Horizons – What can I say? SH is awesome.

Electric Velocipede – My current favorite market. The first issue I read was #14 and I read it cover to cover. I can’t wait to sit down and read the #15/16 double issue, which also has a story by Michelle Muenzler.

Fantasy Magazine – Another wonderful market I hope to crack one day.

Futurismic – Near-future science fiction and fact. Read it for the news, stay for the stories.

Lone Star Stories – Good stories and the fastest response time on the market.

The Big Three – Asimov’s, Analog, and Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF). All very prestigious markets. I haven’t read much of Analog in recent years, but I just let my subscription to Asimov and F&SF lapse. I’ve found that I only enjoy one or two stories per issue. I will probably re-subscribe after the move, though.

Markets I need to get copies of

Andrea and I scour every bookstore we pass for SF/F magazines. We’ve managed to pick up some rarities, such as Space and Time and Weird Tales. It’s a constant hunt for a new small press SF/F magazine we haven’t seen or read yet and I’m open to suggestions for what I should be reading.

I really, really want to pick up a copy of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet (LCRW) and while linking this discovered they have a map of bookstores that carry them on their website. There are three in the Chicagoland area that may have them in stock. I think a road trip is in order very soon.

Return to Luna

I’m happy to announce (a few days late) that the Return to Luna anthology has been released by Hadley Rille Books. The anthology contains stories from eighteen up and coming writers, including my story “Misdirected”. The forward is written by Harrison H. Schmitt, an Apollo astronaut and the last man to step foot on the moon.

Return to Luna

You can buy it direct from the publisher for a discounted price of $12.95 or from Amazon.com (although at the time of writing, it is out of stock).

“Bring it on”, said the tortoise to the hare.

I’ve been doing fairly well with my writing schedule. I’ve managed to write every day this week, and all but two days for the month. My pace is slower than I’d like, averaging just under 300 words/day but the key is consistency, not speed.

I’ve been mostly writing in bursts at the end of the day. I’m going to try splitting up my sessions throughout the day — morning, lunch, after work, and late evening. I seem to really hit my stride late in the day so I don’t know if this will be productive or not. One way to find out.

My Tesla story, “Man out of Time”, is at 3,500 words now and at the halfway point. I expect to wrap this up somewhere around 7,000 words, which will make it one of my longer story to date. I should have the first draft finished this week.

The Footprints anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Eric T. Reynolds is open for submissions until November 15th, 2008. The guidelines for this are a little restrictive, clarifying that the human race is gone and the explorers that find out footprints on the moon are not our descendants. This should make for an interesting mix of stories when it’s finished. I have a pretty solid plan for the story I want to write for this. I’ll be starting on this one shortly.

New artwork for the Byzarium Flash Fiction contest has been posted. The image is, as usual, beautiful. The deadline is November 16th. I’m noodling on a few ideas for this one. My last submission to the contest turned out to be a bigger idea than could fit in 500 words — one worth exploring in a longer draft down the road. I’ll probably put something together for this month’s image and see what sticks.

Contests and Anthologies

The Weird Tales Spam contest is now closed to submissions. They received 150 submissions, and the winners will be announced on Saturday at WorldCon. The winners of the Return to Luna contest will also be announced on Saturday at 4PM, also at WorldCon. We aren’t able to make the trip to Denver this year but I’ll be keeping an eye out for both announcements. I have a horse in both races.

This was a busy weekend for announcements. Two new contests and two new anthologies are on the horizon, all of which have peaked my interest. Details are below.

Shroud Magazine is holding a Halloween haiku horror contest. Better hurry, though. The deadline is August 8th.

Byzarium announced their latest Flash Fiction contest. The prompt for the contest is “Rebuilding” by Kiriko Moth. It’s a fabulous piece of art and should provide for some interesting stories.

John Joseph Adams, assistant editor of F&SF and editor of several of the anthologies on my bookshelf, has announced his latest project: Federations.

From Star Trek to Star Wars, from Dune to Foundation, science fiction has a rich history of exploring the idea of vast intergalactic societies, and the challenges facing those living in or trying to manage such societies. The stories in Federations will continue that tradition.

I’m fairly excited about this anthology. I have a few ideas bouncing around my head that may fit the theme. The reading period opens on November 1st and ends January 1st, 2009.

Hadley Rille Books has announced Footprints, an anthology to be edited by Jay Lake and Eric T. Reynolds.

Long after our species and all its works have turned to dust, the moon landing sites will still show evidence of our time here on Earth. Imagine future explorers from among the stars interpreting that. The astronauts’ footprints should last longer than the fossils in the Olduvai Gorge have.

Return to Luna

The Return to Luna contest is officially closed.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to get my story finished in time. I wrote the first draft longhand a few weeks ago. I was in the middle of typing that up when work exploded. Between sixteen hour work days and sleeping in four hour shifts I somehow managed to bang out a semi-decent draft.

Friday night I sat down and started some serious revisions. Saturday night I had something close enough to get some feedback on. Thanks again to Adam, Will, and Carolyn for commenting on short notice. Special thanks to Andrea, who suffered through three or four drafts and patiently listened to me babble about the story for weeks.

The results won’t be in until late summer, but best of luck to everyone who submitted.