Chicken Soup Celebrates American Kindness

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One of my favorite publishers, Chicken Soup for the Soul, is collecting stories for a new book focusing on kindness in America. They want to hear about the time you helped someone whose car was broken down on the side of the road, or the time a stranger paid for your groceries when you forgot your wallet. They want to know what American kindness means to you, how you’ve embraced it in your life, or seen others do so. They want stories about immigrants, stories about soldiers, stories about everyday people learning to overcome prejudice and fear in order to extend a helping hand.

There’s never been a better time to show the world – and remind ourselves – what truly makes this country great: our kindness.

If you’re interested in submitting, don’t dawdle – this is a last-minute addition to their publication schedule, and the deadline is March 31. Click on the link below for more information about what they’re looking for and how to submit.

http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

Best of luck!

-Gretchen

 

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Feedback Frenzy

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Okay, it’s a little late to say what I’m thankful for, but I’m doing it anyway! As a fangirl, I’m thankful that at least ONE out of the four new shows I fell in love with made it to Season Two. (Long Live Lucifer!) As a writer, I’m grateful to slush readers and editors who take the time to give feedback to those who don’t make the cut.

Being rejected is hard, but being rejected and not having a clue WHY is the worst. So, here’s a little list of magazines that will NEVER leave you wondering what you did wrong or why your story wasn’t chosen. Each of these mags helps aspiring writers by providing those all-important “rejections with a reason.”

 

Every Day Fiction

Publishes: Flash Fiction (all genres)

I talk about this mag a lot because I love it! They tend to give quite a bit of feedback. Usually a short paragraph from each person who read your story. I was so impressed with their rejection of one of my stories, I actually posted the rejection letter here:

https://astheheroflies.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/rejection-letter-revisited/ 

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine

Publishes: Fantasy and Science Fiction (focuses on lighthearted fare)

I’ve also been rejected by this one. My story had made it past the first reader, but was rejected by the second. My feedback was pretty short–just a sentence, I think, but it did give me valuable info on how to improve the story. A writer friend of mine got some longer feedback on his–also very useful.

Untied Shoelaces of the Mind

Publishes: All Genres

It says in their guidelines they will give you the reason why you were rejected, but not a full critique. It has an opt-out option, but I’m not sure why anyone would use it. If you’re too fragile to hear why your story wasn’t picked, then this probably isn’t the right business for you!

Spark

Publishes: Multiple Genres and Genre-Blurring Fiction

This one also has the opt-out option, but don’t use it. Be brave, listen to the truth, and then make your story better based on the comments.

Happy submitting!

~Gretchen

New Interview, Plus Two GREAT Writing Resources

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Many apologies for my recent absence, but I promise it was for a good cause. As my fellow Foreverists know, our beloved show was canceled following the wonderful Season 1 Finale. So, I have been busy trying to #SaveForever and help it get picked up by another venue. If you want to learn more about that effort and what you can do to help, this site usually has up-to-date info:

http://argylepiratewd.tumblr.com/saveforever

Be sure to check out the Facebook pages listed on that site for even more current info. Twitter is also a very happenin’ place when it comes to saving Forever, so look for trending events and other info on there, too.

And now, putting my fangirly stuff aside for a moment (yeah, like I ever really do that), here is my recent interview with Strange Musings Press:

http://giovannivalentino.blogspot.com/2015/04/author-interview-gretchen-bassier.html

We talked about the writing process, rejection, favorite authors, The Muppets, and in the end I went all fangirly (surprise, surprise) on Forever.

Since one of the questions in the interview pertained to writing resources, that sort of smacked me in the head and reminded me that I still haven’t mentioned two of my favorite sites for writers. An oversight that will be rectified right now!

For those just starting out or mired somewhere in the editing process, I cannot give strong enough recommendation for the site Superhero Nation. Don’t let the name fool you. Although Superhero Nation is geared toward helping authors write superhero novels, I have found that the bulk of their advice and articles apply to writing in general. And it’s darn good advice, too. So good that after reading one of their tips, I immediately rewrote a portion of my novel’s first chapter to incorporate their suggestion. As a bonus, this site is for fans, too, and features many reviews of superhero movies and other goodies. Go check out their numerous useful articles (including the awesome 10-part series “Common Mistakes of First-Time Novelists”)!

For those done with editing (does that ever really happen?) and ready to place their work, I highly recommend The Submission Grinder as one of many useful tools in finding the right market for your story/novel. Basically, The Submission Grinder is a free version of Duotrope. It has the same layout and everything. Right now they are only a database for fiction markets, but will soon be adding non-fiction and poetry. And the best part: The Submission Grinder has vowed to remain FREE for all users. I’ve had a lot of luck finding good markets on this site, so definitely worth a look.

Best of luck with your editing and market-hunting!

Up next on ATHF: Stay tuned for some major TV reviews, fic recs, and other fun stuff!

Hysterical Realms Release, Science Fiction Submissions, and Six Degrees of Jensen Ackles

 

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Alternate Hilarities 3: Hysterical Realms cover image designed by Aimee Maroney. Image used with publisher’s permission.

It’s finally here: Alternate Hilarities 3: Hysterical Realms was officially released yesterday, and, thanks to the awesome people who contributed to the Kickstarter, we raised enough funds for a print edition, so WOO HOO! Thank you so much to everyone who participated in that, and if you’re a reader who enjoys funny fantasy stories, definitely go check out the anthology:

Alternate Hilarities 3: Hysterical Realms

They also interviewed the authors for this book, so I’ll post a link to mine when it’s up.

In the meantime, Strange Musings Press has just opened up submissions for their newest anthology, Weirder Science. This time around, they want humorous science fiction stories. They are also having a contest to potentially rename the book, since they are not married to Weirder Science. Thus, everyone who submits a story can also suggest an alternate title, and the prize for the winner is pretty cool. So, go check that out, too:

Weirder Science Submission Info

And if you happen to be more of a “serious” science fiction person, there is another anthology currently accepting subs for their My Favorite Apocalypse collection. They are accepting short stories of any length (though they will likely regret that when they see how long my submission is) as well as poetry, but the deadline is coming up fast for that one: April 30th. Yeah, you’ve got just nine days, so better make it short:

My Favorite Apocalypse Submission Info

Don’t worry, you can make it if you really hustle! And, while I really should be getting back to my own apocalypse story, I just had to share a fun fact I discovered while browsing the Strange Musings Press website:

One of their previous books, Vampires Suck, contains a story by none other than Nicholas Knight – an author who is very well known to anyone who’s ever picked up an issue of Supernatural Magazine. He’s got a least one article in every issue, and has also written all of the Supernatural season companions. Before the fire, I never missed a single issue of Supernatural Magazine. I also own several of the season guides, and have always loved Knight’s articles and interviews. You can just tell he is a huge fan, and truly knows the show backwards and forwards.

He has also done probably hundreds of interviews with the cast and crew of the show. Which naturally got my fangirly heart making some pretty wild leaps. Because, after all, Nicholas Knight and I now share a publisher. Which means I am about a degree away from knowing him. And he knows Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki! He’s freaking met them and everything! Like, numerous times. So, by the way my delusional mind works, I am roughly two degrees away from knowing Jensen and Jared.

This is almost as cool as the time I shook hands with William B. Davis at the X-Files Expo back in ’98. The other actor giving autographs that day was Charles Nelson Reilly, who played Jose Chung on the show. Right when Davis was finishing shaking my hand, Reilly said something to him, so Davis looked over, and, in doing so, accidentally made a black dot on my hand with his marker. It was a Sharpie, too, so it didn’t wash off completely for several days. Oh, how I cherished that little dot…**happy sigh**

Wait. Hang on a second. William B. Davis was in Supernatural, too. He acted in a scene with Jensen in the Season One episode “Scarecrow” (one of the all-time scariest eps!). So [insert fangirly drumroll here] I shook hands with someone who, years later, acted onscreen with Jensen Ackles.

One degree, anybody? 🙂

 

Up next on ATHF: Race Results for February and March (will include my thoughts on the new CW show iZombie), plus my Strange Musings Press author interview

 

Hysterical Realms: Kickstarter and Submissions

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Alternate Hilarities 3: Hysterical Realms cover image designed by Aimee Maroney. Image used with publisher’s permission.

I posted about this anthology last year, remember? Well, guess what? My story “Seeing is Believing” made the cut! 🙂 The anthology is currently set for a May release…and there may still be time for your story to get in, too! They briefly reopened for submissions, so if you’ve got a short fantasy humor tale lying amongst the dust bunnies under your bed, pull it out, blow it off, and send it in! Even if you don’t have one lying around, maybe you could still whip one off in time. You have until March 10th. Speed-writing, anyone?

More info on submissions here:

http://www.strangemusingspress.com/p/alternate-hilarities.html

In the meantime, the Kickstarter campaign to fund a print edition of the anthology is in full swing right here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/809941908/alternate-hilarities-hysterical-realms

Only 11 days to go on that – I really hope the funding comes through! I only just discovered Kickstarter a year or so ago, and what an amazing discovery it was. Though I’m a writer at heart, and always will be, I have secret hopes of someday being a publisher, too. There’s something so uplifting about the notion of helping other writers get published. When I didn’t have a credit to my name, Every Day Fiction took a chance on me and published my work. They made my dream come true, and wouldn’t it just be the most awesome thing if I could do that for someone else? If I could be the one who says “Yes!” after years of other publishers saying “No!”?

So, yeah, I’ve had some thoughts about becoming a publisher, even some very specific thoughts about publishing a magazine featuring writers from my home state. I even picked a title for this imaginary magazine. But I doubted it would ever happen, because how would I ever finance it?

Enter Kickstarter. When I saw what crowdfunding was all about, I knew that my dream of making other writers’ dreams come true might not be so far-fetched after all. If you’ve never looked at a Kickstarter campaign before, definitely go check it out. Kickstarter is a reward-based crowdfunding system, and the prizes for the Hysterical Realms campaign range from a free eBook and your name in the contributors section to signed hard copies of all three of Strange Musings Press’ anthologies, plus a character in the new anthology NAMED AFTER YOU. How freaking cool is that?

So, yeah, go check it out. And don’t forget to submit your fantasy humor shorts by March 10!

New Writing Contest: Horror in 100 Words

One of my writing group members told me about this contest over the weekend, and it sounded so cool, I just had to post it on here! This is a flash fiction contest for stories 100 words or less, and each story must somehow tie into one of two themes: Creation or Destruction. All stories must be scary (it’s a horror contest!), and any given author is allowed to submit only one story per theme. The top ten stories will be posted on the Horror Novel Reviews website to be judged by readers. Winners in each category will be awarded fifty dollars via PayPal, and the best stories may even be published in an anthology. Sound cool? Go check out the details:

http://horrornovelreviews.com/2014/07/20/enter-our-new-contest-horror-told-in-100-words-to-earn-some-cold-hard-cash-and-publication/

Personally, 100-word stories have never been my strong suit.  Matter of fact, anything under 500 is not really what I consider myself good (or even competent) at writing – but that’s why I love it! I want the challenge! I want to get better at writing those super short-shorts! So, I am definitely in. I hope you are, too! Dial up the spook factor, and send in your submissions before the deadline on September 30th.

May the best creepy stories win! 🙂

Keep writing!

-Gretchen

Call for Funny Fantasy Fiction

Hey, who doesn’t like a little alliteration? 😉

And who doesn’t love a hilarious fantasy story that makes you spray Pepsi all over your computer screen?

Unfortunately, although fantasy/humor is one of my all-time favorite genres, it doesn’t seem to get a whole lot of love from the publishing industry. Fantasy is supposed to be a long, epic journey filled with really evil dragons and sword fights and heroic deaths…right? So, if you’ve written a funny story about a disgruntled warlock, it can be doggone hard to find someplace to submit it. (Believe me, I’ve looked).

That’s why I was so thrilled to discover this new anthology that is specifically looking for funny fantasy stories: Alternate Hilarities 3: Hysterical Realms. My first thought was, “They’re already on number three? How did I not find this sooner??” Alternate Hilarities 3: Hysterical Realms is currently open to flash fiction (500-1,500 words) and short story (1,501-6,000 words) submissions. They pay half a cent a word plus one share of royalties for flash, one cent a word and two shares of royalties for short stories, and all authors get a copy of the E-book. They’re also planning a Kickstarter campaign to increase author payments and hopefully fund a print edition of the book.

The deadline for submitting to this anthology is July 31st. So what are you waiting for? Dust off that warlock story, polish it up, and send it in!

Looking for even more places to send your laugh-out-loud fantasy tale? Try Unidentified Funny Objects (you’ll have to keep an eye on their website to see when they’re opening up to submissions for their next anthology). Also, Every Day Fiction loves humor in all of its glorious forms, and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine is one of the few mags known to favor fantasy and scifi stories on the more lighthearted end of the spectrum. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction  is another option, as their guidelines state a continuing need for humorous stories.

All this talk about funny fantasy stories got you in the mood to guffaw? Go read “Letter to the Editor” by Joshua Brown. I guarantee you’ll be wiping Pepsi off your monitor. 🙂

-Gretchen