Mrs. Claus

CFS: Mrs. Claus

Before my blog is completely taken over my dinosaur stuff I’d like to take a quick moment to announce this anthology I’ll be editing for World Weaver Press this year. Submissions will open in April which gives you a couple months to plot your tales before then.

Mrs. Claus

Mrs. Claus

For a long, long time Santa Claus has hogged the spotlight relegating his wife to the shadows, but no longer. Now it’s Mrs. Claus’ turn to shine!

We’re looking for stories that let Mrs. Claus (or is it Ms. Claus?) take centre stage. Whether she more closely resembles Michelle Obama, Betty White, Shohreh Aghdashlooor or Maggie Smith, Mrs. Claus must be a developed, independent character and not simply an extension of her husband. She can help and support him—of course she can—but there needs to be more to her than only that.

What’s her role on Christmas Eve? What about the other days of the year? Is she into sleek red snowmobiles or is she more of an old-fashioned magic sleigh kinda gal? Does she prefer baking cookies or kickboxing? Betting on the Reindeer Games or Avon parties with the elves?

And what is her first name, anyway?

Stories are encouraged to re-imagine the North Pole in new and interesting ways (steampunk? alien? magically relocated to the equator?) and to explore a variety of other settings both real and imagined. Stories set in Christmas in 1940 Poland, Mars in 2050 or a rediscovered Atlantis in 2017 would all be welcome in this anthology.

Note: This anthology is intended for an adult audience, please don’t submit children’s stories.

Rights and compensation: Payment: $10 and a paperback copy of the anthology from World Weaver Press. We are looking for previously unpublished works in English. Seeking first world rights in English and nonexclusive right to continue to publish for the life of the anthology.

Open submission period: April 1, 2017 – May 30, 2017

Length: Under 10,000 words

Submission method: Upload story as .doc or .rtf to niteblade.submittable.com/submit 

Simultaneous submissions = okay. Multiple submissions = no.

Expected Publication Date: Winter 2017

 

Odysseus and the Sirens by Herbert James Draper, c. 1909

Sirens

Odysseus and the Sirens by Herbert James Draper, c. 1909

Submissions are not yet open, but I’m excited to announce the fourth title in the anthology series which began with Fae* –>

Sirens

It’s going to be awesome!

For those of you who might be interested in submitting something I’m including the call for submissions below but submissions don’t open until August (AKA: Please don’t send me anything before August!). Also, to answer a couple frequently asked questions, yes, mermaids and harpys count and sirens of any gender, lack of gender, combination of genders or gender-fluidity are welcome.

🙂

I’m excited, August is going to be awesome.

 

[Call for Submissions] Sirens

(forthcoming)

Publisher: World Weaver Press

Greek mythology describes the Sirens as being charismatic monsters; part bird, part woman, with enchanting voices whose songs either lure men to, or foretell, their deaths. In Roman mythology they play a similar role but shift their domain to the sea and take the form of mermaid-like creatures. Mythological Sirens such as these come with a capital ess; there are only a small number of them, they have names, Godly parents and occupations. Those Sirens are welcome within the pages of this anthology, but so are their lower case sisters.

In Sirens, we will honor and share stories of historical Sirens, but we’ve equal room for modern re-imaginings and will be giving matching space to both avian and aquatic varieties.

Whether from the sea or sky, sirens are beautiful, dangerous and musical, and we’re open to works that exemplify as well as those which defy those expectations. Sirens will be a book full of tales that evoke a vast spectrum of emotions toward these maidens, empathy, disdain, sorrow, awe and anger. I want stories of wretched and cursed sirens who fight against the roles imposed upon them and tales of those who revel in them. I’m hoping for pieces re-telling or playing upon the traditional myths and others which create their own mythologies, and all the little niches in between.

We are looking for speculative stories up to 7,500 words long.

Rights and compensation: Payment: $10 and a paperback copy of the anthology from World Weaver Press. We are looking for previously unpublished works in English. Seeking first world rights in English and exclusive right to publish in print and electronic format for six months after publication date, after which publisher retains nonexclusive right to continue to publish for the life of the anthology.

Open submission period: August 15th – November 15th

Length: Under 7,500 words

Submission method: Email story as a .doc or .rtf attachment to fae [at] worldweaverpress [dot] com. Subject line: Sirens Submission: TITLE

Simultaneous submissions = okay. Multiple submissions = no.

 

*We’ve decided to call the series Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries. Fun!

Common Raven or Northern Raven or Corvus corax vintage engraving

Scarecrow and Corvidae Open to Submissions :)

Common Raven or Northern Raven or Corvus corax vintage engravingHappy Canada Day!

I’m super excited to announce that my anthologies, Scarecrow and Corvidae are now open to submissions 🙂

For Corvidae I’m looking for stories featuring all sorts of corvids. I want your magpies, your jackjaws, crows, jays and more. For Scarecrow then, you’ll be shocked to hear I’m looking for stories about scarecrows 😉 Scarecrows of all types, goofy, scary, mindless, omniscient…

You can see the full guidelines by clicking on either of those links above, or going directly to the publisher’s website –> World Weaver Press Anthology Calls and you can get some inside information about what specifically I’m looking for at the blog post I wrote over there, Pre-Submission Preparation — Are you ready for CORVIDAE and SCARECROW?

I can’t wait to read your stories 🙂

 

Halloween falls...

Sale: Corvidae and Scarecrow

Vector raven or crow in grunge styleI am incredibly excited to announce that Fae has officially become the first in a series of anthologies I will be editing for World Weaver Press!

Though submissions are not yet open for our next titles we announce their existence this afternoon on WWP’s month #SFFlunch chat on Twitter so I’m able to share the news with you.

Corvidae and Scarecrow will be the second and third titles I will be editing for WWP (and there may be more in the future, wait and see!)

Corvidae is going to be dedicated to stories about corvids, all kinds of corvids. Crows, ravens, magpies, bluejays, nutcrackers, treepies, choughs… you name ’em, I want to see ’em. I’m looking for fantasy stories (horror is okay as long as it’s not gratuitous) that span the spectrum of light to dark.

Scarecrow is going to be all about scarecrows. Having seen them in everything from The Wizard of Oz to Doctor Who I’ve developed quite a taste for the range of ways scarecrows have been portrayed in the past and want to explore even more new and exciting ones in this anthology. Again I’ll be looking for stories that cover a large spectrum in terms of mood.

Scarecrow and Corvidae are meant to be companion anthologies, in conversation with one another. One of the ways to make my job easier in that regard (and I’m always looking for ways to make my job easier) will be to have overlap between the authors included in the two anthologies. With that in mind I am encouraging people to submit to both anthologies. Not the same story, you understand, but if you happen to have a great idea for a corvid story and an incredible scarecrow story I would very much like to see them both. Also, before someone asks, it is not required to submit to both and submitting to only one will not hurt your chances of acceptance.

Submissions won’t open until July but I was too excited to keep this to myself any longer, and I figured the sooner I shared it the sooner people could start brainstorming stories for these two books.

Also? Can I just say “OMG YAY!”

🙂

Halloween falls...

 

Common Raven

[Call for Submissions] Corvidae

Magpie[Call for Submissions] Corvidae

 

Anthologist: Rhonda Parrish
Publisher: World Weaver Press

Corvidae are the family of birds which include such iconic species as crows, ravens, magpies, rooks and nutcrackers. They are known for their high intelligence (they use tools and recognize themselves in mirrors!) and appear in fiction and mythology all through the ages and in a great many different cultures as well.

Corvids are seen as mystical creatures, known to be companions to both Odin and Apollo, believed by the Haida to have created the earth and credited (in the form of Raven the Trickster) for stealing fire and bringing it to earth, but they are also associated with death, disease and madness. According to legend, the Kingdom of England will fall if the ravens leave the Tower of London and so are a kind of good luck charm, but they are also associated with battle and war through their connection with The Morrigan and Badb from Irish mythology. Such paradoxical creatures, it’s easy to be fascinated by them, and a great many of us are.

We are looking for fantasy and well-written horror stories (nothing gratuitously gory or violent) of up to 7,500 words long.

Corvidae will be published alongside a companion anthology, Scarecrow. We intend for the two books to be in conversation with one another and so would like some overlap between the authors included in each title. Thus we encourage writers to submit to both anthologies. Please do not submit the same story to both books (if the anthologist believes a story is more appropriate for one than the other she will let you know).

Rights and compensation: Payment: $10 and a paperback copy of the anthology from World Weaver Press. We are looking for previously unpublished works in English. Seeking first world rights in English and exclusive right to publish in print and electronic format for six months after publication date, after which publisher retains nonexclusive right to continue to publish for the life of the anthology.

Open submission period: July 1, 2014 – October 31, 2014

Length: Under 7,500 words

Submission method: Email story as a .doc or .rtf attachment to fae [at] worldweaverpress [dot] com. Subject line: Corvidae Submission: TITLE

Simultaneous submissions = okay. Multiple submissions = no.

About the anthologist: Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and is the editor of the forthcoming World Weaver Press anthology Fae. 

In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast and Mythic Delirium.

Her website, updated weekly, is at rhondaparrish.com.

Updates

June 30, 2014 – New blog post about What I’m Looking For

Scarecrow

[Call For Submissions] Scarecrow

Scarecrow[Call For Submissions] Scarecrow

 

Anthologist: Rhonda Parrish
Publisher: World Weaver Press

Scarecrows have been portrayed as everything from empty-headed geniuses to malevolent demons. They’ve appeared in literature and mythology, from as far back as ancient Japan where Kuebiko, the god of agriculture is represented as a wise scarecrow who cannot walk, to more modern representations in Doctor Who. They are supervillains and storybook heroes, hapless and powerful. Wonderfully paradoxical creatures, much like the birds they are (in their most practical forms) meant to scare away. It is no wonder they capture our imaginations the way they do. It’s time the world had an anthology filled with scarecrow stories.

I will be looking for fresh twists on these ancient characters, exotic locations (both real and imagined), three-dimensional characters, and engaging voices.

Scarecrow will be an anthology of well-written fantasy and horror stories (nothing gratuitously gory or violent) of up to 7,500 words long.

Note: I feel somewhat bad using this particular picture alongside this blog because I’m not only looking for dark stories. In fact, though I definitely want some stories on the dark side of the spectrum I will be sad and disappointed if I don’t receive lighter pieces as well.

Scarecrow will be published alongside a companion anthology, Corvidae. We intend for the two books to be in conversation with one another and so would like some overlap between the authors included in each title. Thus we encourage writers to submit to both anthologies. Please do not submit the same story to both books (if the anthologist believes a story is more appropriate for one than the other she will let you know).

Rights and compensation: Payment: $10 and a paperback copy of the anthology from World Weaver Press. We are looking for previously unpublished works in English. Seeking first world rights in English and exclusive right to publish in print and electronic format for six months after publication date, after which publisher retains nonexclusive right to continue to publish for the life of the anthology.

Open submission period: July 1, 2014 – October 31, 2014

Length: Under 7,500 words

Submission method: Email story as a .doc or .rtf attachment to fae [at] worldweaverpress [dot] com. Subject line: Scarecrow Submission: TITLE

Simultaneous submissions = okay. Multiple submissions = no.

About the anthologist: Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and is the editor of the forthcoming World Weaver Press anthology Fae. 

In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast and Mythic Delirium.

Her website, updated weekly, is at rhondaparrish.com.

Updates

June 30, 2014 – New blog post about What I’m Looking For

Looking Back at 2013

Rearview -- Photo by Rhonda ParrishWhat a year. To say it’s been exponentially better than last year would be a huge understatement, but at the same time, it’s been far from perfect. It’s that time again when I look over my goals, see how well I did, celebrate the good things and figure out how to fail better at the others next year.

I’ll list my goals for 2013 below, bolding the ones I figure I accomplished and addressing each briefly. I don’t want to turn this into a novel-length blog post 😉

Health

  • Lose 25lbs
  • Successfully complete the P90x program (I’m giving myself permission to swap Cardio X workouts in for Plyometric ones because I worry about my ankle and also, I’m a bit of a wussy)
  • No energy drinks
  • Significantly cut the amount of sugar in my diet. I have a complicated set of rules for this for myself, but I don’t want to bore everyone with sharing them.

Right. So I totally fell down on pretty much all my health goals (though I mostly managed to avoid Red Bull).  I’m not even sure what happened to tell the truth, I just never managed to get back into the habit of working out and watching what I ate. This needs to be my primary focus for next year though because if I’m unhealthy everything else falls apart too. I may need help remembering that over the coming months though, so I’ll have to figure out a way to address that when I set my goals for 2014.

School

  • Begin another course (or two) toward my degree no later than April 1st and complete it/them successfully.

I took Psychology 304 – Research Methods in Psychology (which is required for my degree) and passed it with a B+. A very irritating B+. I was point five percent away from an A. >_<

Editing/Publishing

  • Sell my cancer anthology idea to a publisher.*
  • Edit the cancer anthology, making sure the end result is something I am proud of.
  • Promote the hell out of the anthology, ensuring that there actually are royalties to donate to charity.
  • Continue to pursue my sekkrit projeckt with CJD
  • Increase Niteblade’s readership and distribution
  • Begin offering Niteblade in more file formats
  • Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
  • Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if sufficient interest exists

Metastasis Cover FinalI sold the Metastasis anthology idea to Wolfsinger Publications and edited the hell out of that thing. I am *SO* freaking proud of this book. So proud, and my mother (who I dedicated my efforts to) would be as well. We’re still in the process of ‘promoting the hell out of it’ and our first statements haven’t come out so I’m not sure how sales are going yet. Fingers crossed though… and if they aren’t where we want them to be, well, I guess I’ll just have to put some more time in.

This year I did increase Niteblade’s readership, distribution and the number of file formats it is available in. We also held a super successful fundraiser (raising $604!) and even adopted a chimpanzee.

While I did check to see if there was interest in a NaNoLJers anthology, there didn’t seem to be. Maybe next year… And my sekkrit projekt kind of got left behind a bit this year, but maybe that’s something I can look to a little closer in 2014 as well because I sure wasn’t slacking when it came to editing projects this year.

In addition to Metastasis and Niteblade, I’m also working on an anthology with World Weaver Press. You may have heard of it, it’s this little thing I like to call Fae. And I also broke ground on the first of what is going to be a huge series of anthologies, A is for Apocalypse.

Writing

  • Participate in The Whittaker Prize
  • Successfully complete the weekly version of Write 1 Sub 1. For the ‘Write’ portion of this challenge I will count completed short stories or poems as well as individual scenes from longer works. By allowing myself to count individual scenes I will be able to work on longer works and still participate in W1S1
  • Participate in Writo De Mayo
  • NaNoWriMo and both camp NaNoWriMos are all optional
  • Finish writing poems for all the 2012 NovPad prompts
  • Actually successfully complete the AprilPad or NovPad properly, without having to make up prompts after the month has passed
  • Self-publish “Aphanasian Stories”
  • Look into the practicality of bundling and re-releasing some of my previously published short stories as ebooks
  • Follow through on my 2012 plans for my zombie poetry

Tesseracts 17Well, you win some you lose some, right?

For example, I participated in The Whittaker Prize (well, this year’s incarnation was the Not-Whittaker Prize) but when it carried over into November, when I was trying to do All.The.Things including NaNoWriMo I decided to drop out for my own sanity. I was successful with NaNoWriMo however… but then I totally haven’t written another word on my novel (which needs about 30,000 more of them) since then. >_<

I did participate in Writo De Mayo where my primary goal was to transcribe a family history my grandmother had written and format it as a book to give to her. I did, and she loved it very much making the month’s worth of work well, well, worth the effort. (Alas, now she has edited the proof copy so guess what I’m doing in May 2014? LOL).

I also self-published Aphanasian Stories. Sales have been pretty lame (read: nearly non-existent) but I’m glad those stories are out there and available to an audience who might want them, if not today, perhaps tomorrow. Plus, the reviewers seem to like them, so that’s good for my ego 🙂

I’m looking at bundling some of my other previously published short stories to re-sell as ebooks but right now I don’t have enough which aren’t under contract that have common themes, so that’s something I’ll have to look at again next year.

As for the zombie poetry collection? It’s a work in progress. Hopefully I’ll have something to show for it before the end of the year, but I don’t want to rush through and create an inferior product. Because.

Under the writing umbrella for 2013 I’ve had a fantastic year. I’ve produced some stories I’m really, super proud of, and many of them have found homes with dream publishers. Highlights definitely include being published by Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, work forthcoming in Kzine, Mythic Delirium and the Trafficking in Magick anthology, poetry publications with Every Day Poets and especially the story I co-wrote with Jo for Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories.

Reading

  • Read at least 30 books

As of today I’ve read 47 published books. I’ve also been privileged enough to read one soon-to-be published book as a critiquer and a couple anthologies I may have mentioned above. I also read a crapload of short stories as submissions to Niteblade and those anthologies, so overall I think I crushed this goal 😉

A Month of LettersMisc

  • Participate in A Month of Letters
  • Do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (bonus points if I come up with a theme this year)
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Take a social media retreat for one week a month all year
  • Attend WorldCon 2012 in Texas
  • Post writing prompts/exercises in NaNoLJers on odd numbered Mondays
  • Run and participate in the writing bingo in NaNoLJers
  • Don’t forget that life is for living, not leveling

I did well on these ones 🙂 Sadly I didn’t make it to WorldCon, we had some unexpected expenses that needed to be dealt with (stoopid money) and I kinda sucked at putting prompts up for NaNoLJers but other than that I rocked the goals in this area. My month of letters was a lot of fun and I still write to several of the people I met that month (in addition to the friends I’ve always written to — I’ve fallen behind on that, but working on catching up. Let’s blame a crazy autumn, okay?), I did the Blogging from A to Z Challenge with a theme (Niteblade), ran the writing bingo at NaNoLJers and significantly cut back on the amount of time I spend playing World of Warcraft.

My social media retreats have gone very well, except for during the times when I’m in the midst of a promotion or such and need to pop on at least once a day because of that. I think next year I’m going to set a daily time limit for social media stuff rather than trying to avoid it completely for one week of the month. I think it will be better for consistency and also my sanity. Taking a break has definitely been good for my productivity though, and my state of mind. It’s really easy to get caught in a loop when every time something happens you think ‘I need to tweet this!’ Stepping away regularly definitely helped me shift my perspective and live a more balanced life. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

In the next little while I’ll look at my goals for 2014 and share those here, but in the meantime I think I’m going to bask a little bit in the glow of a year which, while it wasn’t perfect, was pretty damn good.

Thoughts on Metastasis

Metastasis CoverWe’re at a bit of a lull in the production cycle of Metastasis, which makes it the perfect time for me to gather some of my thoughts on it to share.

The creation of this anthology, much like Niteblade, has sort of a sine wave of activity, one week I’m rushed off my feet and feel like my brain is going to explode and the next I’m coasting along with plenty of time on my hands and space in my mind.

With Metastasis things were really busy right at the beginning when we made the announcement and the first big wave of submissions came in, then the activity slowed to a trickle for the bulk of the time we were open for submissions, only to peak again right before the deadline.

After the deadline things got really hectic around here while I read subs and trimmed my selections down to a short list and then to the final bunch I accepted. It didn’t slow down then, though. Once I had the stories and poems chosen we jumped into editing mode, then came paperwork time and now there’s a slight lull, as I said, before we move into final pre-publication stuff and then, finally, onto promoting and selling the book.

This anthology is fantastic. It shines. It really does. And frankly, it had to. I am dedicating my efforts in this anthology to the memory of my mother, so while this is a professional effort on my part it is also very, very personal. And it’s not just personal for me, it’s personal for a great many of the contributors as well. So while I tend to try to rein in my perfectionist streak most of the time, I mostly let it run free while I was working on this book.

And editing it? It was in-freaking-tense. I read each story, each poem, over and over and over again. Through the editing process and again while I figured out the order to put the pieces in, and then again and again to make sure that it all flowed how I wanted it to. Over and over. And these are not light-hearted fun stories. Not even the lightest of them. They aren’t all grim but, I mean, we were dealing with cancer as a theme, it’s pretty tough to make that all rainbows and cotton candy. I didn’t realize just how deeply it was affecting me until I was sitting in a movie theatre watching Pacific Rim and while giant robots and humongous monsters were destroying cities and using ocean liners as maces to smack each other around, I had a constant stream of tears flowing out from below my 3-d glasses. #truestory

Which is not to say the process between accepting stories and now was without its light moments. One of my favourites came as I was playing World of Warcraft and one of my best friends, BD Wilson, sent me an in-game message which said, “For the sake of my ego I submitted to Metastasis using a fake name. Now that my story has been accepted can we publish it under my real one?” Good times.

So I think what I’m trying to say is working on Metastasis has been an emotional roller coaster ride and, well, it’s not over yet 😉

Autumn fairy sitting on a mushroom

Fae

Autumn fairy sitting on a mushroomI adore fairy tales, but it occurred to me not so long ago, that a remarkably large number of fairy tales don’t actually have fairies in them. I want to bring more fairy stories, modern fairy stories, to the world and that goal is the heart of my latest anthology project: Fae.

Historically speaking fairies have been mischievous or malignant. They’ve dwelt in forests, collected teeth or crafted shoes. In Fae, we want stories that honor that rich history but explore new and interesting takes on fairies as well. We want urban fairies and arctic fairies, steampunk fairies, time-traveling and digital fairies. We want stories that bridge traditional and modern styles and while we’re at it, we want stories about fairy-like creatures too. Bring us your sprites, your pixies, your seelies and unseelies, silkies, goblins or gnomes, brownies and imps. We want them all. We’re looking for lush settings, beautiful prose and complex characters.

This anthology will be published by World Weaver Press.

Rights and compensation: Payment: $10 and paperback copy of the anthology from World Weaver Press. We are looking for previously unpublished works in English. Seeking first world rights in English and exclusive right to publish in print and electronic format for six months after publication date, after which publisher retains nonexclusive right to continue to publish for life of the anthology.

About the anthologist: Rhonda Parrish is a master procrastinator and nap connoisseur but despite that she somehow manages a full professional life. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and is the editor of the forthcoming benefit anthology, Metastasis. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast and Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. Her website, updated weekly, is at http://www.rhondaparrish.com

Open submission period: September 1 – November 30, 2013

Length: Under 7,500 words.

Submission method: Email story to fae [at] worldweaverpress[dot] com.

Simultaneous submissions = okay. Multiple submissions = no.

Please note, for this anthology I am looking for stories aimed at an adult audience. Not adult as in erotic, but adult as in not children.

Also, I prefer to receive stories as a .doc or .rtf attachment rather than in the body of your email, but I won’t turn away the latter so if you’ve already submitted, don’t panic. 🙂

Updates:

September 3, 2013 – Submissions are Open!
September 4, 2013 – Edited to add note requesting submissions be aimed at adults & specifying that I prefer stories as attachments rather than in the body of the email.
October 1, 2013 – Blog post “Update from the Slush Pile: Fae Anthology
November 12, 2013 – Blog post “Editor’s Update from the Slush Pile
December 1, 2013: Submissions are currently closed. I am reading through all the stories I received. I hope to have passed on or shortlisted all the stories submitted by December 14th and have a final table of contents to send to my publisher by December 21st. If you don’t hear from me before Christmas, please query.
January 2, 2014 – I have responded to all submissions. If you submitted and have not heard back from me, please query.
January 9, 2014 – Blog post “Fae Anthology Submission Stats
February 3, 2014 – Blog post “Fae Submitted
February 12, 2014 – Blog post “Fae Table of Contents

Call for Submissions: Metastasis

Wolfsinger PublicationsI am incredibly excited to announce that I will be editing a cancer-themed anthology to be published by Wolfsinger Publications 🙂 It will be titled Metastasis.

Call for Submissions

Cancer scares us. It scares us and it intrigues us. There is so much we don’t know about it, but it’s out there, waiting to strike when we least expect it. Cancer is not all-powerful and many people beat it, but to those who don’t cancer is cruel. It doesn’t show them the kindness of a quick death but draws things out, taking their life away in slices.

Metastasis will be a fantasy/sci-fi anthology all about cancer. The stories and poetry included could feature a character with cancer, be written from the point of view of cancer, or even be by someone with cancer. That being said, those which go a step further and dig deeper will be even better.

What if cancer isn’t a disease but an attack on the human race by aliens/demons/monsters/terrorists?

What if it’s sentient?

What if people wanted to get cancer?

What if…?

Cancer is the body turning on itself. It’s uncontrolled growth. It is invisible and indiscriminate. Submissions to this anthology are encouraged to explore metaphorical approaches to this theme as well as literal ones.

Due to the nature of cancer this collection will tend toward the darker side of the speculative fiction spectrum but we don’t want the entire anthology to be gloomy and depressing so the absolute best submissions will find a way to end on a high note, find something to be optimistic about, or evoke an emotion other than (or in addition to) sadness or dread.

A portion of the proceeds from this anthology will be donated to the American Cancer Society.**

The editor for this anthology is Rhonda Parrish.

How to Submit:

Continue reading

And then the magic happened…

The Gloaming - Photograph by Rhonda ParrishI really wanted to submit something to the Masked Mosaics anthology. I first learned about the anthology from my friend Beth. She writes a fair bit of superhero stuff, but I’d never written a superhero story in my life. It sounded like a fun challenge so I got to work.

By ‘got to work’ I mean I went through all my story idea notes, post-its and such to see if there was anything there I could put a superhero spin on. There wasn’t. So I started brainstorming. Eventually I came up with an idea and wrote a first draft. A very ugly first draft. I let it sit a while, then revised it. Something was wrong but I couldn’t figure out what. So I sent it to Beth to critique. She helped me identify what (at least a few) of the problems were and I started revising again.

The deadline for submissions was getting closer and closer, and my progress on the revisions was getting slower and slower.

Usually when a story fights me as much as that one was I take it as a sign I need to let it rest a while longer and come back to it with a fresh mindset, but I couldn’t do that, I had a deadline!

To cut a long story into a shorter one, three days before the deadline I decided to let the story I’d been working on rest and to write something new for the anthology. Something that would fight me less. Something short.

While taking a walk with Jo I was sorting through ideas, trying to come up with something that would be a good story, and short enough I could get it done in just a few days. He asked what I was thinking so hard about and we started talking. We brainstormed ideas back and forth until we settled on a concept and plot I thought would really work. There was just one problem. Jo had contributed just as much as I had to the idea’s development. It would feel wrong if I took all the credit for it.

So I suggested that we write it together and share a byline.

And then the magic happened.Jo - Photograph by Rhonda Parrish

In less than a day and a half we went from rough concept and story idea, to a polished short story that I’m super proud of. I’m a fairly good writer, and Jo is an awesome one (You can read his short story The Sickening Thud at the End of it All by clicking that pretty link right there. Go ahead. I’ll wait. You won’t be sorry) but when we worked together we created a story that is, I think, better than anything either of us could have written on our own.

Working with Jo brought out the best in me. I wanted to make each word perfect and wonderful because I wanted to show off for him. And the parts of the storytelling where I’m the weakest? Well, those are areas he’s strong in so he was able to carry me a little. And, I’d like to think, the opposite is true as well. We complement one another well, in writing as in life. How awesome is that?

The story, sadly, though fantastic (even if I do say so myself), earned us a (very awesome, personal) rejection letter from editors and , but I’ve since sent it off elsewhere and I’m optimistic it will find a good home in time.

In the meantime, Jo and I are planning on working with one another more in the future and I am using what I learned working on that story to make all my future solo work better. And someday I’ll even go back to the original superhero story I’d been working on and figure out what’s wrong with it and how to fix it.

Have you ever worked in a collaboration like this and had lightning strike, or magic happen? I’ve done quite a few collabs in the past (I love them.) but never anything quite as fulfilling as this one. I’m curious to see how rare it is in other people’s experiences.

I’ve also had some disasterous collaborations LOL but that’s a subject for another day, eh?