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Writing Amidst a Pandemic

The plague doctor is working at his desk, inventing a cure for bubonic plague. The atmosphere of mysticism. Historical reenactment. Halloween.

Maintaining a consistent writing habit can be hard enough, but the pressures of a worldwide pandemic, a looming recession, and shelter-in-place orders can make writing feel impossible. Since this whole mess broke out, I’ve heard from multiple author friends that they’re having difficulties focusing on their writing, keeping their spirits up, or finding the motivation to conjure stories.

 

So, below are a few tips for writers during these trying times. Every writer is unique and few pieces of writing advice apply universally, but hopefully at least one of them will resonate with you and your own circumstances. 

 

Achieve Wordy Goals

 

I’m a huge advocate of having metric-style goals for writing, whether those goals are set on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. I prefer to write every day, and so I have daily goals. My wife is a full-time writer, so she takes the weekends off and tends to use weekly goals. 

 

When setting goals, I’d urge you to make goals related to words or pages, not just time. In other words, don’t say “I’m going to write for 30 minutes every day.” Instead say, “I’m going to write 500 words per day.” It’s too easy to get distracted while writing, especially now when there is so much stressful news happening at the local, national, and global level. If you set your goals based on output, not time, then you’re less likely to fall prey to all the distractions.

 

To do this, start tracking exactly how much writing you can do in an hour. Track this over the course of a week to make sure you have an accurate average. Then set achievable goals that you can achieve each day. Do this not just for writing, but also for all stages of the writing process, such as editing, copyediting, and final read-throughs. 

 

Engage in Rituals, not Routines

 

We’re stuck at home. Our news feeds grow more ominous every day. We haven’t seen friends and family in days or weeks. One day bleeds into the next into the next and so on. Now more than ever it’s important to carve out time for our daily writing time. Except don’t simply make it another thing to do—make it the thing to do. I’m talking about the difference between routine and ritual. 

 

For me, my ritual begins in the early morning hours before anyone else is awake in my home. I wake up and make myself an obscenely strong cup of coffee. While it’s percolating, I feed the cats. Once I have my coffee, I practice tai chi to wake up my body and then read a poem to get in the writing mood. I subscribe to three different daily poem email lists, so I always have a poem on-hand. After practicing my tai chi and reading my poetry, I sip my coffee and begin.

 

Remember that Stories Matter

 

I get it. I do. The world feels like it’s falling apart. People are dying. Healthcare systems are breaking. Economies are faltering. In the midst of all this, what the hell is the point of writing a tale about a werewolf chiropractor trying to hunt down a serial killer magician? Plenty.

 

People needs stories. They need fantasy worlds in which they can immerse to find shelter from the real world. Now more than ever, we need literary escape. Beyond that, we need stories that show us how to conquer fears and anxieties, how to be a hero, or how to visit the grocery store and not fill our carts with the last five cases of toilet paper. 

 

Tips from Other Authors

 

In closing, I tagged some writer friends on Facebook while writing this article, asking them to share their advice, experiences, and tips on how to keep writing during these uncertain times. The responses were as varied, thoughtful, and helpful as you could want. Rather than summarize them, I’ll take the lazy way out and simply copy them below . . .

 

“My best advice is to go easy on yourself, take breaks when you need to, eat well, and only check news once a day, and take social media breaks. Reach out to your writer friends, virtual happy hours/coffee meet ups via Zoom are fun. If you have kids at home know that you will most likely not be as productive and that you may have to barter for writing time with your spouse/partner if you’re both working at home. Get outside for at least 30 minutes a day weather permitting. Exercise/walk, take care of yourself.”

– Brenda Murphy (https://www.brendalmurphy.com/)

 

“Writing right now. Both kids are engrossed in screens, I still haven’t made dinner (8 pm here), and I’m a tad stir crazy, but I’ve got 2100 words down. This may not be at all helpful.

“Edit: 2800 words.”

– Ken MacGregor (http://ken-macgregor.com/)

 

“So, I’ve been home for almost 2 weeks now and there’ve been times where it’s hard to focus, but honestly keeping a routine has been great. At least for me. Getting up at the same time and yes, getting dressed in real clothes even if you end up transforming back into pajama bottoms. Try to stay away from the social media. If you can’t resist the urge, post sparingly or scroll sparingly. It can drain you. I tried to post updates to my writing, but not frequently. And always work on something, and I can’t stress this enough: write. Write something. Inspiration will find you when you’re least expecting it to and sometimes those are the best moments.”

– Maxwell Ian Gold (https://thewellsoftheweird.com/)

 

“I think that whenever there’s a time of high emotion, we ought to be able to channel it into the work. If you’re a full time writer, though it’s easy to become creatively paralyzed by all the tension in the air, you should also thank your lucky stars that, in theory at least, the self-quarantining and such really doesn’t have to prevent you from continuing to work.”

– Hal Bodner (http://www.wehovampire.com/

 

“My advice: Don’t. I’m in a constant state of low-key anxiety, even when I don’t consciously feel stressed, and pressuring myself to hit a certain word or page count not only wouldn’t help my general state, but would impact the quality of the writing.

“Of course, that doesn’t matter if you have a deadline. And, even though I say that and have mostly been sticking to it, I also took a few days and wrote a pilot I’ve been sketching out for years. Writing it was therapeutic, as writing often can be. It took my mind off things, let me have a little fun, and gave me a much needed feeling of accomplishment. But even though I’ve got a dozen other projects I could jump right into writing, I’m not pushing myself or adding stress to my day. I’ll take a few days off as needed and jump into something else.

“But I definitely wouldn’t have been able to write what I had if I hadn’t taken some time before hand to decompress as much as possible. While the motivational ‘Shakespeare wrote King Lear during quarantine’ advice may work for some, there’s no shame in not doing so. These are strange times indeed and taking care of yourself and your family should always take precedence over writing.”

– Brad Hodson (https://brad-hodson.com/)

 

“I’m not doing much writing at the moment. Too much generalized anxiety. Instead, I’m heavily focusing on research and idea creation for an upcoming novel. The research uses a different part of my brain and I can focus.”

– Craig DiLouie (https://craigdilouie.com/)

 

“It is hard to stay away from anything that can give you the news or latest update. It takes a lot but once you can break that habit and focus on something that makes you happy you will notice a decrease in anxiety. Also don’t overdo the coffee. I am an essential medical worker in a hospital with +cases and low on supplies. I had to take my own advice. Focusing on my patients really helps. 

“For me cat pics, memes, and videos helped. And sleep. Don’t forget to sleep.”

– Cathleen Marshall (Twitter: @radcat38)

 

“At the time of writing, 25 March 2020, New Zealand has just entered a four-week national lock down, possibly longer. Already, I’ve been isolation for ten days as my husband recently returning from some international travel. We both work from home in a shared office, so sheltering in place looks much like our usual work week, but my anxiety has spiked out of concern for family and friends, and I have struggled to write. I’ve been more distracted will-o-the-wisp puttering over the sand than knee-deep committed writer. However, I believe creatives have an important role in recording and reflecting this pandemic, so while I am distracted, I have taken to writing spur of the moment haiku to capture head-of-a-pin observations about this unprecedented time, which I may or may not refer to later in my work. These tiny, concentrated, almost subversive moments of creativity have helped to ease my anxiety a little. I’ve even managed to have five of them accepted for publication. On the other hand, my mentees ‒ I currently have six ‒ with time on their hands, have ramped up their writing, which means my in-box is overflowing with dark and twisted manuscripts needing my attention. Add to that, the four requests for cover blurbs, a fantastic commissioned work to edit, an anthology I’m curating, and even a book club recommendation, this isolation has me consuming more stories than ever. It’s the silver lining of the apocalypse, this opportunity to escape into stories, convincing me of the vital role of writers and writing to the wellbeing of our communities.”

– Lee Murray (www.leemurray.info)

 

A Final Note for the Parents

 

Many of you are trying to write while having kids at home (or maybe just partners who act like kids). It’s hard to be a dad or mom while also a writer and whatever other profession you might be juggling at the same time. It’s hard, but not impossible. Your writing has to adapt to the kids’ schedules. 

 

When my daughter was an infant, that meant I wrote at night when she first went to bed or in the afternoon when she was down for her nap. As she aged out of naps and started staying up later, I decided that being a dad and a writer didn’t have to be mutually exclusive. We actually started “writing” together at the kitchen table some afternoons and evenings. I’d work on stories and books, and she’d work on poems and fun lil’ essays. Or sometimes she’d draw. Really, she could do whatever she pleased so long as she did it quietly. 

 

Looking back, those moments working together—yet apart—with my daughter are treasured memories. We may not have been engaging with each other, but we were still together. 

 

And right now, we are all in this together, folks. The pandemic make be keeping us physically apart, but it doesn’t have to separate us socially or emotionally. That’s the beauty of writing and the joy of being a writer—we can forge and nurture exceedingly strong bonds from moments of profound isolation.

 

So with that—write on, friends!

Rob

Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Kristi Peterson Schoonover, publisher of 34 Orchard

Interview with Kristi Peterson Schoonover,  publisher of 34 Orchard

There are two types of writing that I really love. Literary stories with prose that takes your breath away and transports you into another world. Then I also love to be scared, made uncomfortable and sometimes even shocked. 34 Orchard is a new literary on-line journal that combines both. The first issue will be unleashed in April, and promises that “the most frightening ghosts are the ones within.”

 

Kristi Peterson Schoonover is the publisher and brain child behind 34 Orchard, so I took some time to figure out the passion and purpose behind her new venture. 

AF: What do you do as a day job?

I’m a receptionist and run the front end at the local branch of a national firm. My responsibilities have changed over the years—I guess I’m sort of a cross between an operations and an office manager. I chose this field for two reasons: So that my brain would stay untaxed and my creativity wouldn’t get exhausted; I have my MFA and could teach, edit, or go back to the newsroom, but that would wear me out in terms of pursuing my passion, which is writing short fiction. The second reason is that I really need stability; I wanted the steady paycheck, benefits, and vacation time. Having to write and scramble to put food on my table, although I am awed by many of my friends that do it, just isn’t my idea of a good time, or my idea of freedom. If I can’t write whatever I want when I want, and do whatever the hell I want with it, there’s no point. I also couldn’t invest financially and time-wise in esoteric art projects like 34 Orchard—or chair writing-related committees, or help other writers in their walks—if I was freaked out by needing to find an agent who sells my novel by this date or we can’t afford the groceries. I find my life as a writer is much more fulfilling and joyful because it’s not my bread and butter.

AF: What motivated you to start up your small press?

My father was an English teacher, and from the time I could read really well on my own, he’d bring home the short stories he was teaching in his high school classes for me to read. I’ve been hooked on short fiction ever since, but sometimes, in a magazine or collection, I’d find only one—possibly two—stories that really spoke to me in such a visceral, emotional way they haunted me (I actually have a file where I keep all my favorites). I don’t like to use the word ‘triggered,’ but I’ve found the best writing—in film as well—is the stuff that pushes personal buttons; that’s the stuff that can truly affect a reader or viewer—change his perception, or even his life. While that’s all subjective to the reader or viewer, I’d always dreamed of putting out a literary magazine in which every single story just grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go. Although I had plenty of experience as editor or curator of other literary journals, magazines, and anthologies, the production part was always taken care of by someone else, so I didn’t think it was possible.

Then, I stumbled across a magazine called Orca. They were publishing amazing work; work that grabbed, work that went out on a limb. Nearly every story spoke to me, and the issues were released as downloadable PDFs. I sat there one night, reading it in bed, thinking, wait—I can do this! A downloadable PDF is no more difficult than my holiday chapbooks I send out every year. So 34 Orchard—which was going to feature work with the same power as Orca’s, just much darker and mostly in the speculative realm—was born.

AF: What sort of stories are you looking for?

When I started 34 Orchard, I had a specific vision in mind, but as the work came in, it morphed into something much more intense … and I just know if something has that 34 Orchard “vibe” when I read it. I’ve had to turn down so many excellent—I mean, seriously, excellent, it killed me to write rejection letters for some of them—pieces of work by both incredibly talented and accomplished writers simply because they didn’t match whatever that “zing” is that 34 Orchard wants. That’s why, in our guidelines, we just ask that writers send us anything dark and intense and let us look at it. It’s not something we can tell someone to write, and it’s also difficult, because no one’s read our first issue yet; there are no examples to follow. So don’t overthink it. Just send.

AF: Is there any profit margin?

People think I’m insane, but no, there isn’t. This is my “hobby,” if you will. The overhead isn’t terribly high—we only pay for the website and the work that we want to publish. We’re always open for donations, and we’ll put $1.99/donation link for each issue, but it’s more important to me to get the work out there. While it’s been said that many magazines fold because they can’t afford to keep going or don’t have an effective business plan for generating cash, I figured out what I used to spend going to events and cons (sometimes to sell my own books), and on trips to Disney World, neither of which I do anymore. All of that travel cost significantly more than a magazine would. I decided how many issues I could afford, time/energy and cost-wise, during the year, to keep it manageable and not all-consuming (I’m a writer, too); the amount of work I purchase for each issue can be adjusted based on how many donations I receive, or how much I’ve set aside during the ten months of the year I’m not purchasing work. So as long as I’m excited about doing this, it’s sustainable.

AF: What are your plans for your press in the future?

I’d like to be able to find some awards (in addition to Pushcart) to nominate what we’ve published; I’d like to join the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses—those are my goals to have met by January of 2022.  My plans for the next two years are just to get this up and running, tweak workflow issues, and publish great work.

Celebrate Earth Hour Day With Horror Tree!

Right now, times are a bit crazy. Many of us are stuck at home during the pandemic. While that is already making a huge positive impact on the environment, today is the day we can do even more!

For Earth Hour Day the goal is that tonight on Saturday, March 28th, 2020 at 8:30 PM your local time that you will turn off all the lights in your house for an hour to conserve energy.

Not only that, but spend this time getting away from the media, out of the house for a stroll, and just try to relax a bit if at all possible! Worst case scenario, if you have to write, NEED to write, we respect that! This is the perfect hour to break out a pen and paper and work on your current work in progress or the next piece in a different format. Plan an upcoming scene, flesh out a character that you’ve been neglecting in your story, and help the environment while doing so.

You can find out more at https://www.earthhour.org/

Taking Submissions: Dead Lucky

Deadline: May 20th, 2020
Payment: $25 or $40 depending on the length and 3 contributors copies.
Theme: Stories that take place in the world of Adrian’s Undead Diary

The world of Adrian Ring welcomes you again.

Dead Lucky is the third anthology of short stories set in the zombie-ridden Adrian Ring universe and this is the call for submission.

I am looking for stories that feature strong main characters that are put into situations where luck rears its head. Call it the Jinx Fairy, call it good fortune, but all stories should feature moments where the storyline hinges on moments of good or bad luck.

Maybe your hero runs to the pickup parked outside the farmhouse with a horde on their heels, and when they drop the visor, the keys descend into the lap. Maybe those keys are for the mower.

Perhaps your character gets bitten, and when they get into their safe house, they realize they have one bullet left, so they can take care of themselves, and protect their friends and family.

Maybe your story features a pilot who has just enough fuel to put their plane down before they have to ditch in a zombie-infested city.

It’s your story. Tell it to me so I can help tell it to the world.

Dead Lucky will be divided into three sections that are AUD-universe timeline-based. The first section of stories will cover incidents on “That Day.” The second will cover the period of story between that day, and the conclusion of Book Eight. The final portion of the book will cover events after book eight.

I will be writing at least three stories, one set in each of the anthology’s time periods.

Dead Lucky will be released in eBook format on the Kindle, in print, and in audio formats in July or August. Stories should follow the general style and rules set forth in the ten books of the AUD universe. Your zombies should be slow, largely mindless, and make no noise. Please feel free to utilize existing characters, or have your story explain something in the AUD universe that has been unexplained thus far.

I am looking for first-rights stories (no reprints) that are unmistakably set in the world of Adrian Ring. Word length should be ~1,000 to ~7,000 words. If you’re under or over, better make it worth it. I will serve as the editor and curator. Simultaneous submissions are okay, but that’s weird, because if you’re story is set in the AUD universe, you ought not to be submitting it to other places. You may submit more than one story, but please try to have your stories occur in different sections of the book’s three timelines, and please try to limit your total word count across stories to 10k or less. I’d like about 18 stories, give or take.

Submissions that are accepted will be compensated with the following;

  • If less than 5k words, $25 cash payment payable via paypal within 30 days of final edit approval.
  • If more than 5k words, $40 cash payment payable via paypal within 30 days of final edit approval.
  • Two Audible audiobook codes
  • Electronic versions in both .pdf and .mobi formats
  • Three print copies signed by me, sent within 30 days of final print approval (US writers only)

Submissions should be in .doc or .docx format, with no tabs or indentations. Please send them as an attachment via email to: [email protected] Use the subject line Dead Lucky Submission (your name). In the body of your email, please write a very brief summary of your story, as well as its word count and title.

Submissions are open as of right now, and will close on May 20th, 2020 or earlier if enough high-quality submissions are received.

Good luck.

Via: Chris Philbrook.

Friday Update: Pandemic Book Launches

PANDEMIC BOOK LAUNCH 27.3.20

Announcements are continuing to come in on a regular basis at the Pandemic Book Launch on Facebook and the number of members has grown considerably. Remember you can find out more about Jim McLeod’s vision for the group here. For more information, please go back to the Facebook page to find out event and/or publishing details, or you can click on the purchase links which I have included below (where available). 

If you buy, please also consider leaving reviews for the authors and even dropping them a line on twitter or their websites to have a chat with them about the book.

If you see that an announcement has been removed from the listing, don’t panic! Horror Tree uses a program which drip-feeds its posts across social media at defined intervals over the coming year so you will continue to receive publicity that way. 

I will retain book launches whose date has passed for a couple of weeks before they are removed from the latest listing.

Pandemic Book Launches 

Note: All links – where available – are given to kindle versions but please feel free to use the link to direct yourself to the print copies! I have included just the UK and US amazon sites for simplicity.

 

March

PS Publishingall 6th March (more info here

The Mysteries of the Faceless King: The Best Short Fiction by Darrell Schweitzer Volume 1

The Last Heretic: The Best Short Fiction of Darrell Schweitzer Volume 2

Apostles of the Weird, ed. S.T. Joshi

His Own Most Fantastic Creation, ed. S.T. Joshi

 

Hidden Magic (Magic Underground Anthologies Book 1) ed Melinda Kucsera, pub Magical Mayhem Press, 10th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Blood Red Sky by Paul Kane, pub Silver Shamrock Publishing, 10th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

A is for Aliens (A to Z of Horror Book 1) ed P.J. Blakey-Novis, pub Red Cape Publishing, 13th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

 

PS Publishing – all 13th March (more info here)

Best of Best New Horror Volume 1, ed. Stephen Jones

Best of Best New Horror Volume 2, ed. Stephen Jones

Dead Trouble and Other Ghost Stories by Aidan Chambers

The Curse of the Fleers by Basil Copper

 

Ghastly Tales of Gaiety and Greed by E.F. Schraeder, pub Omnium Gatherum, 14th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

 Borne of the Deep by Michael Patrick Hicks, (The Salem Hawley Series, Book 2), pub 15th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

 

 

Keida-In-TheFlames by Matthew Cash, pub Burdizzo Books, 16th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

The Breach by M.T. Hill, pub. Titan Books, 17th March, 2020, amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

The Evil Within (Dark Devon Mysteries, Book 1) by S.M. Hardy, pub. Allison & Busby, 19th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.  

How to Destroy the World: An Author’s Guide to Writing Dystopia and Post-Apocalypse by A Trevina, pub 20th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

 

PS Publishing – all 20th March (more info here)

Warts and All by Mark Morris

The Storm by Paul Kane

Forever Konrad by Martin Goodman

 

The Magpie Coffin by Wile E. Young, pub 20th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

 

 

Coleridge by Tom Eady, pub. Silver Shamrock Publishing, 24th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

The Return by Rachel Harrison, pub. Penguin Random House, 24th March, 2020.

Operation Congo by William Meikle, pub. 25th March, 2020. Available here.

 

 

Sole Survivor (Rewind or Die Book 6) by Zac, pub Unnerving, 26th March 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Lilitu, The Memoirs of a Succubus by Jonathan Fortin, pub Crystal Lake Publishing, 27th March 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

 

PS Publishing – all 27th March

The Companion And Other Phantasmagorical Stories Volume 1 by Ramsey Campbell

The Retrospective And Other Phantasmagorical Stories Volume 2 by Ramsey Campbell

Ramsey Campbell, Probably by Ramsey Campbell

 

Pandemonium by Luke Walker, pub Hellbound Books Publishing LLC, 27th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Unreal: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction: Volume 1 ed. Aditya Deshmukh, pub 28th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Scream Ride by D.I. Russell, pub 31st March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

 

April

We all Hear Stories in the Dark by Robert Shearman, pub. PS Publishing. Due out April. Watch out for Ginger Nuts of Horror review.

Darkened Wings Flutter by Lou Yardley, pub. 3rd April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Rise by Jackson R. Thomas, pub. Alien Agenda Publishing, 3rd April, 2020. No purchase links available yet.

 

 Arterial Bloom ed Mercedes M. Yardley, pub Crystal Lake Publishing, 3rd April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

 

 

 

 Seven Cleopatra Hill by Justin Holley, pub. Silver Shamrock Publishing 7th April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

 

PS Publishingall 4th April

Studio Of Screams by Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon, Stephen Volk, Mark Morris And Stephen R. Bissette

England’s Screaming by Sean Hogan (Electric Dreamhouse Press)

 

 

The Ruin of Delicate Things by Beverley Lee, pub 7th April, 2020. Available for pre-order. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com. Kindle only at present.

Awakening: Queen of Spades Book 1 by EJ Dawson, pub 10th April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

We All Hear Stories In The Dark by Robert Shearman, pub. PS Publishing, 10th April, 2020

John McNee’s Doom Cabaret by John McNee, pub Sinister Horror Company, 24th April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Q by Christina Dalcher, pub HQ/Berkley, 30th April. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com. Note: this is titled Master Class in the US.

 

Happy reading.

Steph

 on behalf of Stuart and the Horror Tree Team

 

Story Worms: One Size Never Fits All

I’m one of those writers who has been penning stories ever since they were old enough to do so. It’s who I am. It’s what I am. Asking me why I write is akin to asking me why I breathe. I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with my hands if I didn’t write.

Yet, some years ago, I almost gave it up completely. I was reading an interview with one of my favourite authors, and she said that, if you ever wanted to take writing seriously, you had to treat it as a day job. You had to get up early, and write for the whole day. Every day. Trouble was, I already had a day job.

The guilt, the self-doubt, and the feeling of unworthiness that that statement instilled into me almost stopped me writing. I couldn’t see what the point was, if I was unable to take it seriously. Unable to give my whole life to it. But, I still had bills to pay, and that required a day job.

It’s remarkable, the provisos, clauses, and conditions that get attached to who is a ‘writer’. A ‘proper’ writer, I mean. You hear it all the time; that you’re not a ‘real’ writer unless you write literary fiction. Unless you’re traditionally published. Unless you’ve written a best-seller. Unless your neighbour’s mate’s brother’s wife has heard of you. Unless you gouged the words of your book into your skin with the claw of an albino werewolf.

Let me tell you this: if you write, you’re a writer.

I realise, now, that suggesting you write from 9-5 five days a week is a suggestion that comes from a place of privilege. If you have a day job, and write on your lunchbreak, you’re a writer. If you write one evening a week in between working and raising a family, you’re still a writer. If you write fanfiction, poetry, flash fiction, stories intended just to make people laugh, or puke, you’re a writer. If you only ever write during NaNoWriMo each November, then guess what? Still a writer.

Even if you never intend to publish anything, and you simply write for your own peace of mind, or to pass the time, or to explore your feelings, that’s fine. You’re no less a writer than anyone else.

The internet is full of writing advice. Most of it is well-meaning advice. A lot of it is incredibly good advice. No matter, not all of it is for you. Not all of it will fit with your schedule, your life, your body clock, your brain. I’m a natural early bird, and I always have been. My most productive, most creative hour is 5am-6am. Should everyone write at that time? Absolutely not! I’m a little bit crazy, I accept that, but it’s what works for me.

You need to find what works for you. Test, experiment, reject, and test again. Try out other writers’ tips and schedules and formulas. Some might fit you, but most of them won’t. That’s fine. I don’t care if the only way you write is balanced on the tip of your nose on a rope bridge above a pool of hungry crocodiles. If that works for you, then do it. As long as you’re getting words down, and meeting your goals, whatever they may be, then carry on.

Never, ever let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong. If words are coming out, and you’re happy with your progress, then smile sweetly, thank them for their feedback, and sashay away with a flick of the head.

Be open to try new things. I say that, because your life might be totally different next year, or in five years, or ten. You might be totally different. I don’t often get the chance to write at 5am, because I have two young boys who have inherited my early bird gene. But, in ten years’ time, I’ll have two teenage boys who may not emerge until lunchtime. Be flexible, but never try to shoehorn someone else’s schedule into yours.

One size never, ever fits all.

Taking Submissions: CultureCult

Deadline: May 1st, 2020
Payment: Royalties
Theme: A variety of genre work

CultureCult invites long fiction submissions for its forthcoming anthologies of various genres.

The final date of submission is May 01, 2020

FICTION

Novella/Novelette: (>8000 words) Send no more than TWO novellas/novelettes. All sub-genres welcome.

Short Story: (between 4500-8000 words) Send no more than THREE short stories. All Genres and sub-genres welcome.

—————————

We are accepting TRANSLATED FICTIONS as well. Submission of translated works must be accompanied by a statement declaring that the translator has obtained the author’s permission and their publisher’s, if required.

—————————

Simultaneous Submissions are welcome but the author must inform us by e-mail as soon as the submitted piece is accepted elsewhere. Pieces cannot be withdrawn once CultureCult informs the author of its acceptance for publication.

—————————

We consider reprints but generally do not publish them unless they are absolutely exceptional. We also tend not to share our royalty in case of reprints.

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Each contributor shall receive a predetermined portion of the royalties earned by the book which features their story. Payments will be made exclusively via their Paypal accounts.

Each contributor shall also receive a COMPLIMENTARY DIGITAL COPY of the anthology as soon as it publishes.

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Manuscripts should be directly sent to [email protected]

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Please submit your files in the following formats: .doc /.docx /.txt. DO NOT submit PDFs.

IMPORTANT: Please mention the genre of your story in the subject line of your mail. Add a short synopsis of your story in the body of your mail

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CultureCult uses non exclusive rights to publish in its anthologies and website. Authors are free to republish their work anywhere else once it has been published.

Please submit ONLY original pieces. CultureCult shall not be responsible for any disputes arising out of copyright infringement.

Each piece MUST be attached with a short bio of the author.

NOTE: We typically reply within three months after receiving submissions. However, replies can be delayed indefinitely under unforeseen circumstances.

Via: Culture Cult.

Taking Submissions: Sick Cruising

Deadline: May 20th 2020
Payment: $20 and a contributors copy
Theme: A global pandemic of “Red Lungs” is going on. This book tells stories about how the rich have gathered together to weather the storm. Only, one of them is infected

As a new virus rages on land the richest man in the world has invited over five hundred rich and privileged friends, acquaintances, influences and hangers-on to weather the sickness on his private luxury yacht.

But one of them has brought a guest along. You guessed it! The Red Lungs virus. It starts like a cold, becomes a raging fever, then floods the lungs with blood.

What we want:

Snappy short stories with a minimum of 2000 words using our provided writing prompts.

Punch everyone’s virus anxieties, fears; anger at inequality in the nuts with your contribution to this anthology! Use wit, gore, action or inaction, (of course, we always love us some good epistolary fiction) you can even throw some sharks in the mix if you want to.

What we DON’T want:

Torture porn, porn, racism, hate mongering, preachiness, bigotry of any kind, sexism, turgid writing.

What can help you:
Read Masque of the Red Death by Poe
And this helpful Pixar information on io9.Gizmodo.

Deadline: May 20 2020
Publication: June 20th 2020 at the latest
Payment: $20.00 on acceptance, one paperback copy, one digital copy, one audiobook copy.

Submission guidelines:

  1. Use our provided prompts
  2. Final submission must be edited
  3. Rights For this collection. Exclusive, one year; first worldwide electronic, audio and print rights for one year and nonexclusive rights afterward. For reprints, we will ask for nonexclusive reprinting rights.

Formatting

The first page should have:

  • Your name and pen name if you use your pen name.
  • Contact information: Email, phone
  • Title of story: Title of your manuscript 8.5″ × 11″ layout Times New Roman font. Headers: 18 points font size Body of text: 12-point font-size. Double-spaced

 

Submissions: books  at  nphzone.com

Via: NPH Zone.

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