Tag Archives: Bracken

Judge and Jury: Musings on the Bracken Flash Fiction Contest

Welcome back, and happy August! And what a happy day it is indeed, with the release of Issue IV of Bracken Magazine! In addition to the usual roster of incredible fiction, poetry, and art, this issue also includes the winning stories from the micro-fiction contest held earlier this summer. I was fortunate enough to serve as judge for the contest, a role that was both thrilling and excruciating, because all of the stories were so good, which made my job very, very hard in a very, very good way.

Now that the new issue has made its debut, I figured I’d take a moment to give readers some insight into what the behind-the-scenes process of the contest was like. (Think reading, rereading, and rereading again!)

Bracken 4A bit about me as “judge and jury”: I’d never served as a contest judge before, so it was at once a fun and nerve-wracking experience. Obviously, you always want to do great work with anything you try, but when it’s a magazine as fantastic as Bracken, the pressure was on to do right by all the authors who submitted as well as the wonderful editor, Alina Rios. From the start, I knew I wanted to read all of the submissions blind. Speculative short fiction is a small world after all, so I assumed I would probably know a few of the authors. Hence, reading blind ensured that no byline could even subconsciously affect my decision. I also read every entry in full at least twice. I wanted to give each piece my undivided attention. Likewise, I wanted to give each piece a second chance to catch my attention. Fair or not, so much of the submission process really is dependent on how an editor or judge is feeling at a given moment. So to the best of my ability, I ensured that each and every entry truly got its due.

A bit about those wonderful entries: Now I’ve served as a first reader at publications in the past, but I can honestly say that these submissions were some of the very best slush I’ve ever read. I was stunned at the incredible quality of these stories, which only made the process of picking two winners all the more agonizing. So that being said, if you did submit to the Bracken Flash Fiction Contest, believe me when I say congratulations on a fantastic submission. It was an honor to read your work.

A bit about those winners: After much deliberation, soul searching, reading and rereading, I settled on two beautiful and emotionally compelling pieces: “When Mama Calls” as the winner and “Path of Stones” as the finalist. Once I sent my selections to Alina and she contacted the winning authors, she revealed that these entries were written by Maria Haskins and Kathryn Kulpa respectively. Now anyone who is a reader of this blog already knows that I’ve long admired both Maria’s and Kathryn’s works (I’ve even interviewed them both here and here), so it was quite the pleasant surprise to discover they were the winning authors. (It also proved my initial suspicion very right: it is a small publishing world, and I did know at least two of the authors who entered the contest, which made me extra glad that I read all the submissions blind.)

So now that you know all about those behind-the-scenes goings-on, please check out the latest issue of Bracken! It’s a breathtaking issue, and I’m so excited for readers to check out the winning entries of the contest. They’re both such gorgeous tales. And congrats once again to Maria Haskins and Kathryn Kulpa!

Happy reading!

‘Tis the Season for Prose: Submission Roundup for December 2016

Welcome back to this month’s Submission Roundup! As the end of the year draws near, December is a fabulous month for submission calls, and I’m so excited to be spotlighting a few of the very coolest places out there for you speculative-loving writers!

A couple disclaimers: as always, I am not a representative for any of these publications. I am merely spreading the word! If you have any specific questions about these anthologies and magazines, please refer your inquiries directly to the editors of said publications.

Secondly, a quick note: starting in 2017, the Submission Roundup will move from the first Friday of the month to the first Monday of the month. Likewise, author interviews will also move to Mondays starting in the new year. FYI!

Now onward with this month’s Submission Roundup!

Submission RoundupBracken Magazine
Payment: .02/word for fiction
Length: up to 2,500 words
Deadline: Ongoing
What They Want: Bracken is currently seeking short fiction and artwork inspired by wood-based myths and magic realism.
Find the details here.

Mithila Review
Payment: $50/flat for original fiction; $10/flat for flash, poetry, and nonfiction
Length: up to 2,500 words for poetry, essays, and flash; 4,000-8,000 words for short fiction
Deadline: Ongoing
What They Want: Open to a wide variety of speculative fiction and poetry from around the world, in particular stories that explore marginal experiences.
Find the details here.

Black Girl Magic Lit Mag
Payment: $50/flat for short stories; $25/flat for nonfiction
Length: 1,000-6,000 words
Deadline: December 15th, 2016
What They Want: Black Girl Magic is open to fiction about and by black women. The editors will also consider work from diverse authors and allies, provided the story features a black female main character. The January 2017 issue is themed around science fiction.
Find the details here.

Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana Del Rey and Sylvia Plath
Payment: $40/flat
Length: 3,000-5,000 words
Deadline: December 30th, 2016
What They Want: This anthology focuses on the nexus of two iconic women: Sylvia Plath and Lana Del Rey. Submitted work can choose one or both women as inspiration. Stories do not necessarily need a speculative element, although dreamlike and surrealistic stories are welcome, provided the plot is still logically cohesive.
Find the details here.

Book Smugglers, Gods and Monsters
Payment: .06/word (maximum $500)
Length: 1,500-17,500 words
Deadline: December 31st, 2016
What They Want: The current theme is Gods and Monsters. Writers are encouraged to play with this theme any way they choose, including gods without monsters, vice versa, or a combination of gods and monsters.
Find the details here.

Pantheon Magazine, Janus Issue
Payment: .01/word for original fiction; $5/flat for poetry
Length: up to 7,500 words
Deadline: December 31st, 2016
What They Want: The forthcoming issue from Pantheon Magazine focuses on Janus, the god of time and transitions. All stories should focus on some form of change. Pantheon Magazine accepts original fiction, reprints, and poetry.
Find the details here.

Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Volume 2
Payment: .01/word
Length: Short stories & novelettes
Deadline: December 31st, 2016
What They Want: Comet Press is seeking reprints from 2016 that fall within the extreme horror genre.
Find the details here.

Wild Musette
Payment: $50 for short stories; $15 for poetry and flash fiction
Length: 1,000-7,500 words for short stories; up to 1,000 words for poetry and flash fiction
Deadline: January 2nd, 2017
What They Want: Open to speculative fiction and poetry that focuses on themes of music and dance, character-driven fantasy, nature-based fiction, and the human condition at large.
Find the details here.

Happy Submitting!