24 Themed Calls for Submissions for March 2020

Written by S. Kalekar

There are 24 themed submission calls for writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and plays in the 18 markets listed here. Some of the themes are: steampunk and gaslamp fairy tales, debts, Lovecraft mythos, wildlife, Halloween, house and home, migration, vampire noire, dead awake, road (trips), and fear the future. They all pay writers, from token to pro rates, and none charge a submission fee, or they have fee-free options. There are also some themed contests for writers, at the end of the list.

Escape Artists: Cast of Wonders – Halloween
This is a young adult science fiction, fantasy, and horror fiction podcast. They have opened a brief submission window for Halloween themed stories – see their extensive guidelines for the kind of stories they prefer. They accept reprints, as well.
(Also watch out for their Dinovember themed call, which will open later in the month).

Deadline: 7 March 2020
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here and here.

Bronzeville Books: Three themes
They are reading work for three fiction anthologies.
— Disturbia: “Take a hard left turn from normal. Bring us your unsettling stories. If a common activity leads to violations of the laws of man or nature, your story may be perfect for this collection. Ideal genres: horror, crime” The revised deadline is 8 March 2020 for this theme.
— Rigor Morbid 2: “A collection of horror tales for Halloween.” The deadline is 6 June 2020 for this theme.
— Happy Hellidays (working title):  “Give us some twisted, unexpected holiday stories. Don’t limit yourself to Christmas — we’re looking for all kinds of special occasions gone awry.” The deadline is 11 July 2020 for this theme.

Deadlines: 8 March for Disturia, 6 June for Rigor Morbid, 11 July 2020 for Happy Hellidays
Length: Up to 3,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Mslexia: Two themes
This magazine accepts poetry, short stories, and plays by female-identifying authors and they are reading for two themes. They allow multiple entries (see guidelines).

— Issue 86: Other Worlds: “The theme for Issue 86 is ‘other worlds’ – the mysterious space/time realms of the scientifically plausible: the ‘dust’ of Phillip Pullman’s Dark Materials, the time-travelling TARDIS, the alternate realities of Schrödinger’s cat…” Deadline: 9 March 2020

– Issue 87: Wildlife: “For Issue 87 we’re inviting submissions on all creatures great and small. Whether it’s a mosquito or marmoset, a flea or a ferret, we’re itching to read your zoological creations.” Deadline: 8 Jun 2020
Deadlines: 9 March for Other Worlds, 8 June 2020 for Wildlife
Length: 2,200 words for stories, up to 40 lines for poetry, scripts of up to 1,000 words
Pay: £25
Details here.

Third Flatiron: Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses
They are reading positive future, SF, and urban fantasy stories on the theme of ‘Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses’. Their guidelines say, “The future we all want. Examples might include effects of technology on the young (online learning, socialization), climate mitigation and adaptation, new opportunities to boldly go where none have gone before”. Also, “Please send us short stories that revolve around age-old questions and have something illuminating to tell us as human beings. Fantastical situations and creatures, exciting dialog, irony, mild horror, and wry humor are all welcome.”
Deadline: 15 March 2020
Length: 1,500-3,000 words (query for longer)
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here and here.


Flame Tree Publishing: Lovecraft Mythos Anthology
This is a fiction anthology around Lovecraft’s mythos. Their guidelines say, “…this offering of H.P. Lovecraft’s shared universe will be a thrilling immersion into the world of Old Ones and the Elder Gods, an ancient race of terrifying beings. In Lovecraft’s vision we live in a deep, but fragile, illusion unable to comprehend the ancient beings, such as the Cthulhu who lies dead but dreaming in the submerged city of R’lyeh, waiting to rise then wreak havoc on our realm of existence.
Lovecraft used the mythos to create a background to his fiction, and challenged many writer companions to add their own stories. Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, Frank Belknap Long, Henry Kuttner were amongst the first but over the years many others such as Ramsey Campbell, Lin Carter and August Derleth added their voices to the many mythic cycles, developing themes and new fictional pathways for the town of Arkham, and the creatures Azathoth and Nyarlathotep.
The Lovecraft Mythos is fertile ground for any writer of supernatural, horror, fantasy and science fiction, so for this edition we are opening our submissions for brand new stories, many published here for the first time, to continue expanding the shared universe.” They also accept reprints.

Deadline: 15 March 2020
Length: 3,000-7,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word; $0.06/word for reprints
Details here.

Eye to the Telescope: House and Home
This speculative poetry magazine is accepting submissions on the ‘House and Home’ theme. The editor says, “When I think of the aphorisms, sayings, works, and ideas connected to these two concepts: There’s no place like home, your home is your castle, a house is not a home, charity begins at home, haunted houses, “E.T. phone home”, “a plague on both your houses,” The Haunting of Hill HouseHouse of Leaves, “Two Houses” by Kelly Link, houses of nobility, even school system houses, there is so much scope for creative interpretation. How would you use the idea of house or home (or both) from a speculative poetry standpoint? I’m looking for poetry rich in emotion and depth with a wide spread of ideas around the concept.” They also accept translations.
Deadline: 15 March 2020
Length: 1-3 poems
Pay: $0.03/word, up to $25
Details here.

Ninth Letter: Debts
They are accepting essays, fiction, and poetry on the ‘Debts’ theme for their online edition. Their guidelines say, “To what are we beholden? Of course mortgages, student loans, credit cards and car payments. And with them the fraud and inherent large-scale crises that extract from and shape generations in unique ways. But also our loved ones and colleagues, the earth and the seasons, inventions and collectives, and ancestors as well as strangers. What do we owe, and to who or what is it owed?” They can accept a limited number of fee-free submissions via Submittable.
Deadline: 20 March 2020
Length: Up to 3,500 words for prose, up to 3 poems
Pay: $75 for a story or an essay, and $25 per poem
Details here.

Humans in the Wild: Reactions to a Gun Loving Country
They are accepting short stories, nonfiction, poetry, and art by those affected by gun violence for an anthology. They also accept reprints.

Deadline: 25 March 2020
Length: Up to 2,500 words
Pay: $50
Details here.

World Weaver Press: Clockwork, Curses and Coal – Steampunk and Gaslamp Fairy Tales

For this fiction anthology they want steampunk fairy tales, both original and retellings. Their guidelines say, “Steampunk’s core is a re-imagined 1800s using steam-powered technology so it is all about gears, goggles and gaslamps. And corsets and courtship and exploration (often in the form of colonialism). I want the bustles, parasols, high tea and airships, of course, but I also welcome stories which confront the darker, problematic side of Victorian sensibilities and attitudes. Plus fairy tales.

For example: What if a shoemaker was visited at night by tiny automatons? Where did they come from? What do they want? What if the little mermaid didn’t have to find a to escape the ocean to be with her prince, but instead her social class? What if a woman’s upper class family was embarrassed by her scientific endeavors so they locked her in a tower… or tried to, anyway? Or a clockwork cat discovered a pair of fantastic boots? Or an explorer climbed a giant beanstalk and found a whole new, forgotten world?” Regarding retellings the editor says, “I’d rather see stories that reflect the long history of fairy tales as social commentary than those which simply tell the same story with a different setting.” Also, “Although steampunk tends to be focused in the American ‘wild west’ or Victorian England, this anthology needn’t be. I am open to stories set all over the world”.
Deadline: 31 March 2020
Length: Up to 7,500 words
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.

Silver Shamrock Publishing: Midnight in the Pentagram
This is a horror fiction anthology. Their guidelines say, “We are looking for original Occult/Demons/Possession/Satanism horror stories with an Exorcist/The Omen/Rosemary’s Baby/Hereditary meets EC Comics/Creepshow/Tales From the Crypt kind of vibe.”
Deadline: 31 March 2020
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

Corpus Press: Two themes

They are reading for two fiction anthologies.
— Two-Page Terrors:
They accept both serious, as well as comedic/
bizarre horror for this anthology. Word length is 400-550 words (the story must fit two pages exactly – see guidelines), and the deadline is 31 March 2020 for this theme.
— In Darkness, Delight – Fear the Future:
Their guidelines say, “We seek truly terrifying stories that deal with futuristic themes, set in the near future or far. Tales can be Earth-based or extraterrestrial, perhaps featuring technological or social upheavals that have frightful implications for individuals or society at large; as examples, the ongoing erosion of privacy and enduring nature of online activity, artificial human enhancement via DNA manipulation or implants, impact of emerging technologies on developing children, and so on. … Post-apocalyptic stories will not be accepted. Rather, we desire fiction that occurs during periods preceding any total collapse, be they stable or unstable times. The horrors that await us in utopian futures may be far more chilling and fascinating than those endemic to dystopias, and therein lies our primary interest.” They prefer stories of 2,500-4,500 for this theme, though will accept up to 7,500 words. They will pay $0.03/word up to $150, and the deadline is 15 November 2020 for this anthology.
Deadlines: 31 March 2020 for Two-Page Terrors, 15 November 2020 for In Darkness, Delight
Lengths: 400-550 words (see guidelines) for Two-Page Terrors, up to 7,500 words for In Darkness, Delight
Pay: $5 for Two-Page Terrors, $0.03/word up to $150 for In Darkness, Delight
Details here.

Hiraeth Books: parABnormal Magazine
This magazine accepts work about the paranormal. This includes ghosts, spectres, haunts, various whisperers, and so forth. It also includes shapeshifters and creatures from various folklores, but not creatures like vampires, werewolves, and zombies. Shapeshifters, for the purpose of this magazine, refer to the spiritual shift, not the physical. Think Native American shaman. Paranormal activity centers around the human, not the creature. They publish fiction, nonfiction (including reviews), poetry, and artwork on the theme. They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 31 March 2020
Length: 4,000-8,000 words for fiction, 1-25 lines for poetry, 1,500-7,000 words for articles
Pay: $25 for fiction, $20 for articles, $7 for reviews, $6 per poem
Details here.


Mocha Memoirs Press: SLAY – Stories of the Vampire Noire
They want stories of vampire noire, the black vampire. Their guidelines say, “Remember, this entire anthology is dedicated to stories of the black vampire. They can be in space, superheroes, but they must be from the African Diaspora.” Also, “We want stories of vampire hunters, of anti-vampiric heroes/heroines, and more. If you can take the story out of westernized culture, we’d love to see those, too! We want stories that speak of inclusivity“, so stories with disabled vampires or those with LGBTQ+ themes are welcome.

Deadline: 31 March 2020
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Nothing Ever Happens in Fox Hollow

They want horror, supernatural, and dark content fiction on the theme to feature on their website, YouTube channel, and podcast, and there may be an anthology later. Their guidelines say, “Fox Hollow is a typical American small town. It’s as boring as can be. Unless… We sneak a peek behind the curtain. It seems that every home in Fox Hollow has a dark secret. When writing a story that takes place in Fox Hollow, the plot should revolve around the events surrounding only one person up to just a few people. The story should never involve the masses. The supernatural elements and the horror in the town is always hidden in the background. Nothing disturbs the peace of Fox Hollow. Nothing noteworthy ever happens here to the outsider or even the other residents.” Writers can read stories on the website to get an idea.

Deadline: 31 March 2020
Length: Up to 1,200 words
Pay: $20
Details here.

Lom Publishing: Dead Awake
This is a horror fiction anthology. They want unadulterated horror including slasher, psychological, clowns, stalkers, cult, and demons.

Deadline: 1 April 2020
Length: 3,000-6,000 words
Pay: $25
Details here.

The First Line
For this quarterly journal, they want a short story beginning with a pre-set first line. They have released the first lines for all the four quarters (see guidelines) and for the Summer issue, it is: ‘The door was locked.’ They are open to all fiction genres. They also accept poetry and nonfiction. For nonfiction, they want critical essays about your favorite first line from a literary work.
Deadline: 1 May 2020
Length: 300-5,000 words for fiction; 500-800 words for nonfiction
Pay: $25-50 for fiction, $25 for nonfiction, $5-10 for poetry
Details here.

Bethlehem Writers Roundtable: Two themes
They publish fiction in many genres (no horror or erotica, PG13 only), memoir (no other nonfiction genres like essays), and poetry. They read for themed issues, and the themes for 2020 issues are: Lazy, Hazy, Crazy (July-September); and Migration (October-December). There are other themes listed, too, for next year. Submissions are due at least one month prior to the theme issue.
Deadline: At least a month prior to the theme issue
Length: Up to 2 poems, up to 2,000 words for prose
Pay: $10-20 for fiction (see guidelines), $5 for poetry
Details here.

Hippocampus Magazine: Two themes
These themes are for their nonfiction anthology series, The Way Things Were, which reflects on the things we miss. Previously published essays and book excerpts are also accepted, and hybrid and experimental creative nonfiction welcome.
— Road: Their guidelines say, “We’re looking for (true) road trip stories of up to 5,000 words for this essay collection. While Route 66 and other now desolate U.S. highways immediately come to mind when thinking of road trips, we are interested in stories from around the globe. Maybe you were the Clark of your family. Or maybe one of your parents was. Maybe your road trip was for fun and adventure, but perhaps it was a more somber destination. Maybe you were in a car, or maybe you were in an RV. Maybe you camped along the way, or checked into roadside motels. We’d all entertain solo travel stories, with or without a car (maybe you hitchhiked to the other coast).
What we are most looking for are stories with strong characters and an arc that take place in a mobile setting.”
— Corner: Their guidelines say, “For this essay collection, we’re looking for stories of all kinds that are set in or revolve around a corner bar/dive bar (or small pub or tavern). Like for the ROAD collection, we’re seeking stories up to 5,000 words with strong characters and and arc. We’re open to stories that explore aspects of these establishments: we know it was not always fun and games.”
Deadline: 15 June 2020 for both anthologies
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: $50
Details here.

THEMED CONTESTS
On the Premises: More Than One

Their guidelines say, “write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words in which one or more characters face this problem: there is more than one of something that there should absolutely, positively be only one of.” They do not want children’s fiction, exploitative sex, over-the-top grossout horror, or stories that are obvious parodies of existing fictional worlds/characters created by other authors.
Value: $220, $160, $120, $60
Deadline: 6 March 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

Headway Quarterly: Taste
They accept entries of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and other written work on the theme of ‘Taste’, to be published in their themed issue – there will be one winner and three runners-up, whose work will also be published. Entries should be 3,000 words or fewer.
Value: $100
Deadline: 6 March 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Hodson Trust: John Carter Brown Library Fellowship
This fellowship at Providence and Chestertown supports work by academics, independent scholars and writers working on significant projects relating to the literature, history, culture, or art of the Americas before 1830. Candidates with a US history topic are strongly encouraged to concentrate on the period prior to 1801. The fellowship is also open to filmmakers, novelists, creative and performing artists, and others working on projects that draw on this period of history. Candidates are encouraged to consult the John Carter Brown Library’s collections online prior to submitting an application.
Value: $5,000/month (total $20,000), housing and university privileges
Deadline: 15 March 2020
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

Green Stories Writing Competitions: Flash Fiction
This flash fiction contest is open to all. All submissions (up to 500 words) must conform to the green stories criteria of showing a positive vision of what a sustainable society might look like or in some way smuggling in green solutions/policies/characters in the context of an otherwise mainstream story. Also see details of their other upcoming contests (scroll down), with later deadlines.
Value: £500, £100, £50; best student submission prize of £50
Deadline: 21 March 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

First Fandom Experience: The Cosmos Prize
Their guidelines say, “Cosmos was an ambitious serial novel orchestrated by the staff of Science Fiction Digest (later Fantasy Magazine) beginning in June, 1933. The story of Cosmos spanned 17 chapters written by 16 different authors. Raymond A. Palmer drafted the plot outline and coordinated the work of the writers. The young fanzine editor was able to convince many of the prominent professionals of the day to participate. … The results — not surprisingly — are a bit of a hash. Still, Cosmos represents an iconic event in the early history of science fiction fandom, and deserves remembering.
Even more than remembering, Cosmos deserves a better ending than it got. … the final chapter utterly failed to capitalize on the potential of the installments that preceded it. Penned by no-less an esteemed professional as Edmond Hamilton, the concluding Chapter 17 — Armageddon in Space — seemed to ignore much of what came before. …. The Cosmos Prize is our attempt to right (or re-write) an historic tragedy.” Read the rules carefully. Successful submissions will fit with the overall narrative of Cosmos, bring the story to a compelling, meaningful, exciting and/or evocative conclusion, capture the style and sensibility of science fiction of the 1930s, show originality, coherence and strong expressive force, and focus on replacing just the last chapter of Cosmos, Chapter 17. Apart from cash prizes, the winners will also get merchandize.
Value: $300; $100; two prizes of $50
Deadline: 31 March 2020
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

Candlestick Press: ‘Getting Older’ Poetry Competition
They want poems on getting older (gracefully or otherwise) for a poetry pamphlet on the theme. See guidelines for the judge’s preferences.
Value: £75 each for two entries
Deadline: 31 March 2020
Open for: All poets
Details here.

11th Annual Spirit First Poetry Contest
Poems must have a theme of Meditation or Mindfulness – they can be of any length or style. They may reflect any discipline, any faith, or none. Poems not on the themes of meditation, mindfulness, stillness, or sacred silence will not be included. Up to three poems will be considered.
Value: $200, $150, $100
Deadline: 31 March 2020
Open for: All poets
Details here.

Speculative Literature Foundation: Older Writers Grant
This is for a writer who is 50 years of age or older at the time of grant application, and is intended to assist such writers who are just starting to work at a professional level. The writing application sample could be of poetry, fiction, drama, or creative non-fiction. A writing sample (up to 10 pages of poetry, 10 pages of drama, or 5,000 words of fiction or creative nonfiction — if sending a segment of a novel, novella, or novelette, include a one-page synopsis as well) is part of the application.
Value: $1,000
Deadline: 31 March 2020
Open for: All speculative fiction writers above 50
Details here.

Waterston Desert Writing Prize

This prize is for a proposed book of literary non-fiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy – with the desert both as subject and setting. Writing samples about deserts and natural settings are more likely to be reviewed favorably.

Value: $2,500 and a residency at Playa at Summer Lake, Oregon
Deadline: 1 April 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest
This prize is for humor poetry. Submit a poem of up to 250 lines.
Value: $1,000 and a subscription to Duotrope; $250; 10 prizes of $100 each
Deadline: 1 April 2020
Open for: All poets
Details here.

Alpine Fellowship Prizes: Two prizes for creative writers
Apart from themed Writing and Theatre prizes detailed below, they also have the Visual Arts Prize, and the Academic Writing Prize.

— Writing Prize

This international prize is awarded for the best piece of writing on the theme of ‘Forgiveness and Retribution’ (up to 2,500 words in any genre), which is the theme of the 2020 Alpine Fellowship Annual Symposium. The winner and two runners-up are invited to attend the Fjällnäs (Sweden) symposium. The award will be presented by poet John Burnside, who is also the head judge.
Value: £10,000, £3,000, £2,000
Deadline: 1 April 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

 

— Theatre Prize
This prize is awarded for the best play on the theme of ‘Forgiveness and Retribution’ Aimed at encouraging theatre writers at the start of their careers to explore and challenge philosophical ideas using the dramatic form. Apart from the cash prize, the winner also gets a rehearsed reading at the Fellowship’s annual Symposium to which they will be invited to attend. Runners up will be invited to attend the Fjällnäs symposium to exhibit their work. To apply, applicants must send: 1) A treatment of your idea in response to the theme; up to 500 words; 2) A sample of previous work of at least 10 pages; and 3) A 3-4 sample pages of your proposed script or a 1-2 detailed page synopsis of your story. The final piece must be 45 minutes in length and require no more than 4 actors.
Value: £3,000
Deadline: 1 April 2020
Open for: All playwrights
Details here and here.


Author Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She is the author of 182 Short Fiction Publishers. She can be reached here.

 

 

We Send You Publishers Seeking Submissions.

Sign up for our free e-magazine and we will send you reviews of publishers seeking short stories, poetry, essays, and books.

Subscribe now and we'll send you a free copy of our book Submit, Publish, Repeat

Enter Your Email Address: