Submission Call: Mothership Zeta!!!!

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Mothership Zeta is OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS from July 12 – July 25. They’re particularly interested in horror and sci-fi from diverse authors. What constitutes diverse?

Mothership Zeta welcomes submissions from writers of all backgrounds. We are especially interested in seeing more submissions from people of backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented or excluded from traditional publishing, including, but not limited to, women, people of color, LGBTQ or non-binary gender people, persons with disabilities, members of religious minorities, and people from outside the United States.  Our goal is to publish fiction that reflects the diversity of the human race, so we strongly encourage submissions from these or any other underrepresented groups.

Submissions up to 6,000 words. Paying $0.06/word for original short stories and $30 flat rate for original flash fiction.

They do NOT want:

  • Graphic horror
  • Erotica
  • Fanfiction
  • Rape, torture, child abuse, etc.

So…get cracking this weekend, minions! May the odds be ever in your favor. Check out the links for more information and good luck. 🙂

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Sinister Grin Press is Calling for Support!

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Alrighty, y’all! Let’s see what we can do for Sinister Grin Press! They’ve recently launched an Indiegogo campaign seeking support for their press. They’re looking to reach a $4,000 goal. So far they only have $185. That’s kinda sad and time is running out! The campaign closes in 28 days.

So what do you get for helping Sinister Grin Press? You mean besides helping a press out? Well depending how much you donate, you can get different gifts. From a mention on their website as a supporter to receiving 14 paperback copies of their current books plus 10 paperback copies of future books they publish! That sounds like an awesome deal to me.

So if you’re interested visit the websites below! I’m sure they’ll appreciate your generosity!

Sites:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sgp3-sinister-grin-press-pernicious-promotional#/story

https://twitter.com/SinisterGrinPre

http://sinistergrinpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sinister-Grin-Press/192775404110112

Submissions OPEN for Fantasy Magazine!

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Are you a queer writer? This submission call is specifically for YOU! Submissions open through May for “Queers Destroy Fantasy!” at Lightspeed’s imprint, Fantasy Magazine. They’re paying 8 cents per word and are expecting fantasy submissions between 1500-7500 words. Christopher Barzak is guest editing. So…get crackin! And good luck!

Taken from their submission guidelines:

    • Who can submit stories for consideration for the special issue? Anyone who identifies as queer.
    • How do you define queer? Gay, lesbian, bisexual, demisexual, asexual, pansexual, intersex, transgender, genderfluid, genderqueer–if you fit within the QUILTBAG, we want you. Identity is what matters for this issue. (Please note that the “A” in QUILTBAG is for “ace/on the asexual spectrum,” not “ally.” We hope allies will support this special issue, but if you are not yourself queer, please do not submit.)
    • I’m queer. What can I submit? Original fantasy short stories, 1500 – 7500 words.
    • How much are you paying for stories? 8 cents per word for original fiction.
    • How queer does my story need to be? We very much want to see diverse queer representation and queer themes, but we are focused on the identity of the authors and the quality of the story, not the “this much queer content per story” meter.
    • When can I expect a response to my submission? We will endeavor to reply as quickly as possible to submissions, but since assembling the special issue is similar to assembling an anthology, stories being seriously considered may be held until July 1, 2015 to allow our editors to consider everything before making final decisions.
    • How many stories and how often may I submit? Our usual policy of allowing authors to only submit a story once every 7 days is lifted for this issue; so while you may only submit one at a time, you can send in something else as soon as we pass on the first one.
    • What about reprints? Reprints for this issue are by solicitation only.
    • Can I submit a rejected story to LIGHTSPEED (or NIGHTMARE) in the future? All stories submitted to Queers Destroy Fantasy! will also simultaneously be considered for regular issues of LIGHTSPEED (or NIGHTMARE). So if you receive a rejection for Queers Destroy Fantasy!, you can consider that story having been rejected by LIGHTSPEED/NIGHTMARE in general. If we end up with so many good stories we can’t fit them all in the special issue, we’ll take such “overflow” for regular issues of the magazines.
    • Can I submit a story previously rejected by LIGHTSPEED or NIGHTMARE to QDF? Yes. Since it’s a different editorial team, it makes sense to allow them to consider such submissions. So if you have a story previously rejected by LIGHTSPEED/NIGHTMARE, feel free to resubmit it.
    • What kind of fantasy? All types of fantasy–high fantasy, contemporary urban tales, surrealism, magical realism, science fantasy, folktales…and anything and everything in between.
    • Is there anything you’re explicitly NOT looking for? Other than the fact that (a) the story needs to be by a queer author and (b) it has to be fantasy, please abide by the regular LIGHTSPEED/FANTASY guidelines. The only two things that our guidelines for this or any issue of LIGHTSPEED/FANTASY explicitly forbid are (a) erotica and (b) media-based fiction and/or fan fiction. Anything else is fair game.

 

Shit sandwiches, the Hugo Awards, and PuppyGate

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I must live in an alternate reality where white straight male writers never win the majority of literary awards, and white straight male narratives are appallingly underrepresented in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and speculative fiction. I mean, whenever I walk into a bookstore or library I have to search for more than an hour just to find one book (JUST ONE) about a white straight guy saving the world. I wish there was just one strong example in scifi/fantasy/horror where the main character was white. And if I want to see white straight men on the silver screen, I can’t without attending those special artsy cinemas that show indie stuff with subtitles.

This must be the alternate reality I live in. A toxic subset of manbabies think white straight male writers have struggled for centuries from what they call, “literary affirmative action” and therefore can’t win Hugo Awards without sabotaging the election process and kicking all the icky gays, racial minorities, and women out. I mean, it’s only fair, right? Because what science fiction, fantasy, horror, and speculative fiction needs more of is less diversity and we can thank the fine folks at Sad Puppies for making this our reality in fucking 2015.

Taken from Book Riot:

Along with the Nebula Awards, the Hugo Awards are considered to be one of the two major awards for science fiction and fantasy works. While the Science Fiction Writer’s Association nominates and votes on Nebula Awards, the qualifications for the Hugos are more lenient. One only has to buy a supporting membership to WorldCon in order to vote.

In recent years, the nominees and award winners for Hugos have begun to diversify. The world is changing, both in and out of publishing. As our world becomes more embracing of diversity, our reading and awards are reflecting that. More women and authors of color have been nominated and are winning. Unfortunately, not everyone sees this as a good thing.

Enter Sad Puppies, a small group of authors and fans that have decided the Hugo Awards were not accurately reflecting the tastes of science fiction and fantasy fandom. (You know, the people who were already voting on the awards.) So Sad Puppies, led by Brad Torgersen, created their own nominee list and encouraged people to vote for them. The list is significantly less diverse that it has been the last few years.

According to Torgersen, the Sad Puppies effort is to fight what he sees as an “insular” fandom of voters at Worldcon. Part of his defense of these choices, however, is more telling:

Along the way we fairly skewered the concept of literary affirmative action — that works and authors should be judged on the basis of author or character demographics and box-checking, not the audience’s enjoyment of the prose…

In a worst-case scenario (which is far too often fact in situations like these), this is coded, aggressive, anti-diversity talk. For the sake of argument, let’s take Torgersen at his word. If he’s speaking plainly, then he’s ignoring a big problem: the publishing industry (especially in science fiction and fantasy) is skewed heavily toward white, male writers.

Torgersen is right in one regard: awards should be handed to the best novels and their writers, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. No one thinks otherwise. But if we’re not reading diversely, the pool of books we nominate will not be diverse, either.

It’s a common straw-man argument against reading diversely: “I read what I like, regardless of the author’s race or gender.” We at Book Riot see this all the time. This argument would work if the publishing industry were fair. If the genders and races of published authors were equivalent to the actual demographics of the world, then sure, that argument holds water. But since the publishing industry isn’t fair, that argument falls apart.

Further Reading:

Elizabeth Bear

Chuck Wendig

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George R. R. Martin also weighed into this fight. His response is taking the limelight right now, so I thought I’d also include it HERE.

The general consensus among authors and readers is this: Sad Puppies’ hijacking of the Hugo Awards is a shit sandwich and spells future disaster for booklovers and writers alike. No, Damsels with Chainsaws is not a SJW blog, but we do want to see good stories. ALL good stories. Expanding fiction for everyone is not going to hurt the SF/F/H community. If anything, I think it’ll make our readership stronger.

Billy and the Cloneasaurus

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Steve Kozeniewski, Published by Severed Press (2014)

Published by Severed Press (2014)

Buy the book HERE and connect with the author

Amazon – http://amazon.com/author/kozeniewski
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/KozAuthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/outfortune
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7183355.Stephen_Kozeniewski
Blog – http://manuscriptsburn.blogspot.com
Mailing List – http://kozauthor.campayn.com/contact_list_form/signup/10334

The Damsels love when authors submit their books for us to review, especially when it’s well-written speculative fiction. Stephen Kozeniewski’s “Billy and the Cloneasaurus” is biting, thoughtful dystopian fiction from Severed Press. Clones, dinosaurs, and a corrupted “Williamerica” paint a frightening alternate reality where the idea of individuality and capitalism are distorted to the nth degree. It’s a call-to-arms, if you will, and a well-timed one at that. Critics of dystopian fiction always bemoan the genre’s inherent “preachiness” and bitch far too much about the potential for pretentiousness on the authors’ part. Be assured, dear readers, that “Billy and the Clonesaurus” doesn’t fall prey to preachiness or pretentiousness. I would happily say so if it did. Mean-spirited zingers are fun to write but funnier to read. And I do try to please.

The novel’s satirical undertone is entertaining and relevant. HOWEVER (and there must be a capitalized however in any review, right?) given the author’s unsubtle disdain for clichés, I couldn’t help but be irritated by his approach to one of the minor (but which should have been major) characters, which is, perhaps, the novel’s biggest flaw.

SYNOPSIS

Six billion identical clones make up the entire population of Earth, and William 790-6 (57th Iteration) is exactly like everybody else. In his one year of life he will toil in suburban mediocrity and spend as much cash as possible in order to please his corporate masters. When 790’s first birthday (and scheduled execution) finally rolls around, a freak accident spares his life.

Living past his expiration date changes 790 profoundly. Unlike other clones he becomes capable of questioning the futility of his own existence. Seeking answers in the wilderness, he discovers a windmill with some very strange occupants, including a freakish, dinosaur-like monstrosity. Which is especially strange since every animal on earth is supposed to be extinct…

Without giving away spoilers, one of the “occupants” in the mysterious windmill happens to be a woman. And like most dystopian stories (written by men) women are treated as an afterthought to the Grand Political Message or as mere accessories to the Crippling Male Angst that drives the subversive action to its conclusion. Willa suffers from the same fate, unfortunately, which knocked the five-star rating I had going in down to a four.

It seems Willa’s only function is to literally have sex with the male hero. Odd. Because she would be in a better position than any of the other Williams to Save The World (or at least play SOME part in it) due to her radical upbringing and fondness for politics. But no. Willa is just the well-read virgin who waits in her room while her father and Billy make all the important decisions. I’m ignoring the weird incest/clone, uncomfortable age difference here for propriety.

The ending wasn’t surprising or satisfying, but happily-ever-afters and dystopian horror don’t play well together. This book entertained and I would recommend it to lovers of bizarro and speculative fiction. Four stars out of five for “Billy and the Cloneasaurus.”

Death Ray Potato Bake

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Death Ray Potato Bake by Teresa Hawk (image source: https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1408548104l/23002800.jpg)

I only know (knew?) Teresa Hawk from Twitter. She used to tweet all the time but I haven’t seen her around in months. I would provide her handle but her account is no longer active. For shame. Her tweets were hilarious. Anyway.

I happened to receive “Death Ray Potato Bake” for free on Amazon Kindle months ago but forgot about the thing until I saw it in my library today. It was St. Patrick’s Day–Irish people and potatoes are stereotyped together, so what the hell, I thought. Might as well be festive. And I read it.

So many authors try (and miss the mark) to be both funny and suspenseful, but Teresa Hark succeeds on both counts. What an entertaining read! Who doesn’t fantasize about killing their mother? With a potato?

Bizarre, smartly-written, and creative. I would recommend this little short for people who take a dash of dark comedy with their horror. Her writing style is dry, mocking, and effortlessly funny without calling attention to itself. I smiled the whole way through. Solid five stars. I know Teresa Hawk has written other short stories and so I will be definitely read more as soon as I am able.

Check out her books Goodreads.

Happy reading!

60 Black Women in Horror Writing

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Sixty Black Women in Horror Writing compiled by Sumiko Saulson

February is my favorite month to discover new authors. It is both Black History Month and Women In Horror Month (WiHM). Woohoo, double win! Sumiko Saulson’s unique compilation, 60 Black Women In Horror Writing is celebrates both holidays in grand style.

Some of the women profiled in this book are literary geniuses you’ve read before (Octavia E. Butler, Zora Neale Hurston, and Toni Morrison) but Saulson also introduces us to talented women we’ve never never heard of, too. This book is comprised of interviews, essays, and short stories from the author, herself, and Crystal Connor and Eden Royce. Of the short stories I liked Crystal Connor’s “Amber’s New Friend” the best. I’m a sucker for southern gothic ghost stories, however all of the stories presented are worth a read.

Who Fears Death written by Nnedi Okorafor

 

All 60 women profiled at the beginning of the book are intriguing but I enjoyed Saulson’s seven author interviews most. I’m looking forward to reading Nnedi Okorafor’s “Who Fears Death.” No doubt influenced by two Nigerian (Igbo) parents, Okorafor’s novel combines magical realism and traditional African storytelling with a speculative, post apocalyptic edge. The main character is a shaman, Onyesonwu, whose name means “who fears death” in English. I adore speculative fiction of all stripes, but I especially go weak for marginalized narratives set outside of the West. Women of color are a rare sight in horror and by god we need to see more of them on the shelves! I say that as a woman of color who writes horror and as an unabashed lover of the genre. Neil Gaiman and Stephen King are great but there are other incredible horror sf/f authors out there, too. Let’s uplift them.

I know what cool books I’ll be adding to my To-Be-Read list this year. 60 Black Women in Horror is a welcome addition to any to-be-read list, don’t you think? Tell your friends, share, and please support these horror authors.

Women in horror unite!