Written by S. Kalekar September 30th, 2019

21 Themed Submissions Calls for October, 2019

There are 21 themed submissions calls in the 15 markets listed here for writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the themes are: creativity and D&D, clockwork dragons, pulp horror phobias, dark divinations, winter stories, ancient civilizations, journeys, romantic ghost stories, borderlessness, seasons of rot, and monsters, movies, & mayhem. All of these pay writers, from token to pro rates. There are also a few themed fiction and essay contests listed at the end – they all pay cash prizes, and none charge a fee.


Thunderbird Studios: Return to San Cicaro
They want stories set in a fictional world of San Cicaro – “yarns of dark urban fantasy, the weird, the macabre and the hopeful.” The guidelines also say, “Aside from editing and proofreading your work, the editors will also make very minor changes to fit your tale into San Cicaro itself. We may recommend street names, slightly modify passages to mention landmarks, or other such continuity tweaks. Most importantly, we may connect your story not only to the prior anthology, but to stories published in this release. Our ultimate goal is to add tiny details that join your story into a greater, connected narrative.” There is a list of thematic rules in the guidelines. The payment is for five-year rights.  
Deadline: 11 October 2019
Length: 5,000-8,000 words
Pay: $135
Details here.

The Puritan: Creativity and D&D
For ‘The Town Crier’ section, The Puritan magazine is looking for pieces on the theme of Dungeons & Dragons, its influence on personal creativity, art, and pop culture. They will publish a mix of personal essays, critiques, and creative explorations. Some topics to consider are:
– How D&D has influenced your creativity, shaped your writing, or affected your life around the table
-D&D’s appearances in TV shows, movies, and books, and how its representation has changed over time
-Why the RPG has had such a noticeable resurgence in popular culture
-The ways that D&D has influenced authors and artists
-How the game can be a safe space for collaborative storytelling
-The intimacy of creating and playing campaign characters
-The role of Dungeon Master as a creator/referee/gatekeeper
The Puritan magazine also publishes work year-round – interviews, essays, reviews, fiction, and poetry.
Deadline: 15 October 2019
Length: About 1,000 words
Pay: CAD25 for the D&D feature; CAD25/poem, CAD100/review or interview, CAD150/fiction, and CAD200/essay for the print magazine
Details here.

Zombie Pirate Publishing: Clockwork Dragons
They want short fiction for Clockwork Dragons: A Fantasy Punk Anthology. Stories should be set in a world where magic or fantasy elements have become the prevailing means by which mainstream technology is powered or run.
Deadline: 15 October 2019
Length: 1,500-8,000 words
Pay: $10
Details here.

Wizards in Space
Their guidelines say, “For Wizards in Space’s golden fifth orbit, we’re reflecting on what it means to come full circle: the journeys that propel us toward growth, the endings that loop into beginnings, the reliable chaos of moving from winter to spring to summer to fall. 

We invite you to share your words & art that explore the contrast between light and dark, struggle and triumph, illusion and reality. We want your stories of what it means to pass into shadow and burst out the other side brighter, fiercer, more luminous than before. How do you break free from cycles that are holding you back? What moments leave you gasping for air? In what fires have you been reborn? We want to see your political and your personal, your faith, identity, love and loss, truths and dreams.” They publish fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and artwork. Also, they do not publish “just sci-fi/fantasy, despite our wild affection for wizards and space.” They accept reprints.
Deadline: 18 October 2019
Length: Up to 5,000 words for prose, up to 75 lines for poetry
Pay: $40
Details here.

The Suburban Review: Unfunded
This Australian magazine accepts fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry from all over the world. The latest call is for the ‘Unfunded’ issue, so called because their funding has not been renewed. This is an open themed issue, but they do encourage submitters to think about (and maybe respond to) the changing nature of the Australian (and global) arts economy.
Deadline: 24 October 2019
Length: 500-2,500 words for prose, 1-3 poems, 2-4 pages of comics
Pay: AUD75-150 for prose and poetry, AUD100-200 for comics
Details here.

Pulp Horror Phobias Volume 2
­­­­­For this anthology by Lycan Valley Press, they want pulp/noir stories about phobias. Their guidelines say, “Anything you might find, or come into contact with, inside or around a house or home. Please note, this is a very broad theme so get creative and come up with something new and unusual. Common phobias such as arachnophobia, claustrophobia and agoraphobia, although relevant to the theme, must bring something new. Likewise, hauntings and possessions must bring more than your average ghost story.

This can also include stories deliberately set inside a house or in a yard/farm/etc near a house if it’s fitting for the story (stitching the theme is fine but simply mentioning there is a house nearby isn’t enough to fit the theme).” They do not want any pizza stories.   
Deadline: 31 October 2019
Length: 4,000-6,000 words
Pay: $0.04/word
Details here.

WordFire Press: Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem Anthology
They want fiction involving monsters and the chaos they create in the movie world. Their guidelines say, “Your monster may be that unidentifiable substance growing at the back of the popcorn popper at your local theater concession stand; the zombie who wants to be a movie star but is tired of being typecast; the scriptwriter’s muse who turns out to be an alien with an agenda; the diva director who comes in to “save” your latest film. The monster does not have to be the main character, but does have to be vital to the story.” They do not want stories with copyrighted characters or real movies. Also, “Movies can be interpreted as a story set within a fully conscious cinematic world, or involving the act of watching a film, or having a character who thoroughly enjoys movies. And mayhem should speak for itself.
Unleash your inner beast and keep the rest of us awake at night with your stories of humor, horror, or plain ol’ weirdness. Funny or grim, unsettling or cozy, we are open to anything.” Stories have to be PG-13.
Deadline: 31 October 2019
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

Horroraddicts.net: Dark Divinations
They want horror fiction on divination. Stories must be horror, set in the Victorian era (1837-1901), and can be set anywhere – England, American West, Colonial India, or Africa. They must also concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means, including Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy). 
Deadline: 31 October 2019
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Pay: $10
Details here.

Cricket Media: Seven themes
Cricket Media produces literary magazines for children of various ages – Babybug (for ages 6 months to 3 years), Ladybug (ages 3 to 6), Spider (ages 6 to 9), and Cricket (ages 9 to 14). The magazines have several themes coming up. They publish fiction, nonfiction, poetry, puzzles, crafts, and recipes.
I Made it Myself – For Babybug, Ladybug: They want short stories, poetry, nonfiction, and songs about young children’s creations, real and imagined. “Finger paintings and clay animals, forts and fairy houses, unexpected inventions, new musical instruments—what will your characters dream up? When reading submissions, the editors look for playfulness, humor, beautiful language, and a childlike point of view”, according to their guidelines.

Let’s Move – For Babybug, Ladybug: They want finger plays and action rhymes: energetic poems for children to act out, connecting language with simple, playful movements. Their guidelines say, “Your rhyme might invite children to act out parts of a daily routine (cooking, dressing, riding a bus, etc.), to imagine the life of a community helper, to embody an animal, a construction vehicle, the wind, the ocean—or something else entirely.”

Winter Stories – For Ladybug: They want short stories, retellings of folk tales, rebus stories, and nonfiction for young children to enjoy during the winter season. Their guidelines say, “Send us stories of children playing outside in the snow or celebrating winter holidays, or cozy tales that are just right at the end of a chilly day. Stories for and about children who live in warm places and may sometimes tire of snow-filled seasonal tales are welcome, too.” 
Journeys – For Spider: They want stories, poems, and short plays about going on a journey—whether a quest through an enchanted land, a move to a new home, or simply an afternoon spent traversing one’s own backyard. “We’re looking for pieces with humorous or fantastical takes on the concept of journeys, as well as those that take a quieter, more thoughtful look at children’s feelings during times of movement and transition”, according to their guidelines.

Ancient Civilizations – For Spider: They are looking for stories, nonfiction, and activities about ancient civilizations. “We want writing that takes us beyond crumbling ruins and shows our readers what it was like to visit a Maya temple, construct an Egyptian pyramid, or live at the height of artistic excellence in Greece. Show us the invention of aqueducts, letters, numbers, and more. We also welcome myths and legends, stories about archaeologists, and fun and quirky things you won’t find in history class. Please provide a list of sources with your submission”, according to their guidelines.

Animals, Animals – For Cricket: They are looking for middle-grade fiction, nonfiction, and poetry featuring an animal. Their guidelines say, “We are looking for dog stories, horse stories, stories about caring for an injured animal, encounters with backyard or more exotic animals—whatever will appeal to our young readers. We particularly welcome contemporary fiction of 1500-1800 words with child characters in the age range of Cricket readers, but we are also interested in historical fiction, myths and legends, and fantasy—e.g., a story about a young medieval falconer, or a humorous fantasy with a troublesome dragon.”

Yikes! – For Cricket: They want middle-grade fiction, nonfiction, and poetry about mysterious goings-on, hair-raising adventures, and narrow escapes that make you scream “Yikes!” Their guidelines say, “We are looking for stories about ghosts, haunted houses, creepy monsters, and daring escapades with friends. We also invite stories about more realistic dangers or situations calling upon a character’s determination and courage, or even stories where the danger is more social than physical—e.g., the risk of nearly losing a friend, a place on a team, or of being embarrassed at school. We welcome any genre: contemporary fiction, historical fiction, myth and legend, true adventure, science fiction (with main characters in the age range of Cricket readers), and fantasy.” 
Deadline: 1 November 2019
Length: Varies
Pay: Up to $0.25/word for fiction, $3/line for poetry
Details here.

Ninth Letter: Borderlessness
This literary magazine is open for fiction, non-fiction and poetry for its print and online edition submissions. They also accept translated works. The print edition is unthemed, and for the online edition, they want work on the theme of Borderlessness. Their guidelines say, “Are borders real or imagined? Do they keep us in or keep us out? Are they just lines on a map or unscalable walls? Real or not, borders impact, separate, and join what lies on either side. What do borders mean to you? What happens when they blur? Show us your work that erases those lines, that tunnels under walls, that sees the joined world from a bird’s eye perspective where there are no edges.” Also, “Please also note that this theme will concern both *content* related to borderlessness—that is, pieces that are about borderlessness, in the various meanings of the word—as well as *form*–which is to say, pieces that enact the theme by blurring, experimenting, and breaking down the walls between genres. Below you’ll find four separate categories to submit to: Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Borderless.” They want work that experiments with form, narrative, and non-traditional subject matter, as well as more traditional literary work.   
Deadline: 3 November 2019 for Web, 30 November 2019 for print
Length: Up to 3,500 words, 3 poems for online edition; up to 8,000 words for prose, 3-6 poems for print
Pay: $75 for prose, $25 per poem, $50 for hybrid prose for the online edition; $25/page for print prose and poetry, up to $150
Details here.

Enchanted Conversation: Winter
This magazine wants fairy tales, folktales, or myths for the December issue using the season of Winter somehow in the narrative.Work can either be re-tellings of established stories or use original characters as long as they are set within the fairy tale, folktale, or mythic templates. They are looking for stories set in a variety of locations around the world, and time periods from ancient to modern.
Deadline: 20 November 2019
Length: 700-2,000 words
Pay: $10
Details here.

Carrion Blue 555: Seasons of Rot
They want horror, fantasy, scifi, experimental, and bizarro fiction, poetry, and art for four seasonal volumes, collectively called ‘Seasons of Rot’. These hope to explore seasonal themes in unique, surreal, and festering ways. Their guidelines say, “Spring is cancer blossoming in new growth, a single breath of moist soil. Summer begets overripe fruit in Persephone’s withered right hand. True decay is beautiful and clashing in the cordyceptic autumn. All of winter flinches beneath the Wicker King’s gaze, intimidating even the light of day.” Also, “Interpretations of seasons are purposefully elastic for your artistic benefit. A season’s atmosphere is just as gripping as its setting.”
Deadline: 31 December 2019
Length: No length guidelines, but will cap payment at 5,000 words
Pay: $0.02/word, up to $100
Details here.

Workers Write! Literary Journal: Stories from the workplace
They want stories and poems from the workplace – any workplace – for this submission call. They will consider reprints. 
Deadline: 31 December 2019 (or until filled)
Length: 500-5,000 words
Pay: $5-50
Details here.

Once Upon a Hallowed Eve: An Anthology of Romantic Ghost Stories
This is a themed fiction anthology, and translations are welcome. Their guidelines say, “The end of October marks the final shift into darkness, also known as the liminal time of Samhain. During this period of time, the veil between our physical world and the spiritual world comes down, allowing more communication with the citizens of the Otherworld than at any other time of the year.

Originally, Samhain marked the beginning of Winter in Gaelic Ireland. It was believed that the Lord of the Underworld walked the earth during Samhain, along with all his cohorts: ghosts, spirits, fairies, and many other creatures. How can you use this pagan holiday in your character’s lives?” They love diversity, strong women with agency, and feminist fiction. They enjoy historical, contemporary, thrillers, YA, and even futuristic tales. Stories do not have to be set in a completely fantastical world. They love seeing the fantastical theme blended with the real world. They definitely want a good romance, so stories should have a Happily Ever After or a Happy for Now ending. They won’t publish stories that lack consent, and they do not want erotica or horror. They can receive only 50 submissions a month via Submittable, so make sure to get your entries in early during a month within the reading period.  
Deadline: 1 January 2020
Length: 7,000-15,000 words
Pay: $75
Details here.

Hashtag Queer, Vol. 4
They want work by and/or about LGBTQ+; fiction, creative non-fiction and memoir, poetry, and scripts. They do not want erotica or work written for children.   
Deadline: 31 January 2020
Length: Up to 7,500 words for prose, up to 5 pages of poetry, up to 10 pages of scripts
Pay: $5/page
Details here.


NUHA Foundation Blogging Prizes: various themes
This is an international prize for writing. There are different themes for writers in each age category – young writers, youth, and adults –to choose from. It doesn’t matter if English was not the author’s first language, the jury will look at the quality of their arguments and the originality of their ideas. Read the guidelines carefully – they ask for rights to potentially use, reproduce, or adapt all submitted articles, regardless of whether or not they win.
Value: Up to $250 for young writers, up to $900 for youth, up to $2,400 for adults
Deadline: 12 October 2019
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Defenestrationism: 2020 Flash Suite Contest
This is a contest for at least three flash fiction pieces that co-relate in some way. Finalists will be published daily on the site, followed by at least two weeks of Fan Voting – winners will be selected by a judging panel, with Fan Voting counting as an additional judge vote.    
Value: $75, $60
Deadline: 16 October 2019
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Halloween 50 Word Horror Short Story Contest
For this contest, they want 50-word horror stories. Writers can enter as many times as they want. Read the guidelines carefully – the stories have to be posted as comments on the Every Writer website, and some stories from these will be published in an anthology. There will be a cash prize for one winning story. 
Value: $500
Deadline: 25 October 2019
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Aftermath Short Story Contest: The End of Our World
For this contest, they want short fiction on the end of our world – about the harm that we are doing to our planet and the dire consequences this will have. Their guidelines also say, “What we don’t like to see are stories that ignore the human causes of our downfall and simply embark on wild post-apocalyptic fantasies. They have no cautionary value. And that is ultimately what all this is about. An attempt to bring humans to their senses, by conceiving the inconceivable, showing them what they are doing and what this is going to do to them and their loved ones.”
Value: $1,000, $300, $100
Deadline: 31 October 2019
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Kraemer Intergenerational Story Contest
They want stories about people in skipped, non-adjacent relationships in four ways — the written word (i.e. story, poem, memoir, of up to 500 words), video (i.e. story, song, dance), visual art, or audio clip. The contest rules say they may create subcategories of judging based on ages and abilities, so they encourage everyone to submit. Also, they say they have the non-exclusive right to distribute and publish these works – it is unclear whether they mean all submissions, or the winning entries.
Value: $500; four prizes of $250 each
Deadline: 31 October 2019
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Weird Christmas Fiction Contest
This is a contest for winter holiday short fiction of up to 350 words. Stories should be weird or strange or odd. According to guidelines, “It can be “Haha!” weird or “Oh, Jesus, no!” weird. It can be genre (sf, fantasy, horror/weird, bizarro, etc.) or it can just be off-kilter. Sentimental is fine, but it better be sentimental in a way that leaves me feeling…uncomfortable. As long as it’s something about the holidays we aren’t expecting, it fits.” Try to avoid evil Santa (or monster Santa or Cthulhu Santa or diabolical Santa) stories. Stories will be published on the website and as a podcast.
Value: $50, $25
Deadline: 2 November 2019
Open for: All writers
Details here.


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