Call for Submissions Wickedly Abled

I love that we’re seeing anthology calls for diverse works by diverse people. Thanks to Sumiko Saulson for bringing this to my attention.

Sumiko Saulson

Wickedly Abled CoverTheme: Dark fantasy and horror by disabled artists featuring disabled protagonists.

Looking for 1,500 to 5,500 words in length short horror and dark fantasy by disabled authors. Paying $10 flat and an eBook copy, plus offering unlimited at-cost print books to authors in the anthology.  Previously unpublished original work preferred, but reprints will be considered if the work is no longer in print or the work is older than ten years in age.

Please let us know if it is a re-print. No simultaneous submissions. We will want exclusive e-publication rights for one year (first publication rights if it’s unpublished).

Please submit it as a .doc or .rtf or .txt document, double spaced, 12 pt, Times New Roman or similar, to

Deadline: March 31, 2019

Cover art by Lillian Rose Asterios

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How You can End Up Paying to Sell an ebook on Amazon

The delivery fee Amazon charges for ebooks could really effect authors with illustrations in their books.

Story Empire

Hello SErs. Harmony here. Being a writer, I’d like to tell you a story …

Once upon a time, Amazon charged me for selling a book. Yes, that’s right. I ended up paying them $1.99 for selling one copy of an ebook. Um, that’s not right. Once I got over my indignant anger, I looked into it.

It came down to delivery charges.

Which I’d not realised Amazon did.

And if your book is oversized (see below), they will levy a hefty charge to deliver that book to your customer, leaving you out of pocket and owing them, rather than the other way around.

This happened after I reformatted a book. On my computer, the file size was fine. Only after using Amazon’s converter did the file become huge. Sadly, I didn’t notice anything amiss until I saw that negative sale charge on my sales dashboard. And by then it…

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Wraiths at the Window

This is a flash fiction in response to a challenge from mindlovemisery’s menagerie.

Idonny is the protagonist in a novel I’m working on. I can’t quite tell yet if it’s going to be #clifi, dystopian YA, or solarpunk. <grin>

Idonny slumped on her sofa and gazed at the rain pouring down the window. Algae, green and black, encrusted the bottom of the frame. It crept up higher every month. Soon it would obscure her view to the outside. Not that there was much to see, just concrete, the side of the neighboring tower block. The windows over there looked filthy too. No-one bothered to clean them anymore. The maintenance ‘bots had broken and no-one knew how to fix them.

She heaved a sigh and tore open a bag of crunchy veggie snacks. No actual vegetables had been harmed in the production of said veggie snacks and there was no actual flavor beyond salt, Reggie had liked them and she’d stocked up for him. He was dead now, killed during the almost constant fighting between the block gangs.

Idonny squinted at the window. The algal blooms in the corner of the window looked a little like Reggie’s face.

“Funny, never noticed that before.”

She lumbered to her feet and shuffled across the un-wood floor. The algae definitely looked like his face. Then she noticed another face. Her dad. She bit her lip. He was dead too, gone in a flood that also took her mother. And there was Mum’s face, smiling as always. Idonny had never had a photo of her parents. Maybe it was a good thing that the maintenance ‘bots had stopped cleaning the windows.

Strange Times at the Cupcake Pagoda

Here’s a little flash fiction I wrote in response to these six randomly generated nouns: death, butterfly, brooch, fear, strawberry, gun. It was a lot of fun so I thought I’d share it. Let me know what you think.


Janey stared down at the booth table, dazzled by hundreds of rhinestones littering the table. They were meant to be brooches but all she could see was ticky-tacky rhinestones stuck on everything. There were brooches shaped like teddy bears, all dressed up in various costumes, with colored rhinestones defining their outfits. Janey shuddered. Some of the brooches were shaped like cats or dogs. There were even shiny tractor brooches, done in yellow and green rhinestones.

God in Heaven, who would wear a rhinestone tractor brooch?

The vendor smiled a weary, desperate smile. Janey returned the smile out of habit and was about to turn away when she caught sight of a butterfly brooch. Shockingly, there was not a rhinestone to be seen on it. It was a dull black metall, unrelieved by any other color or even a decorative bit of metal delineating the eyes. It was incongruous sitting there amid all the sparkle and glitter of the rest, like some little insect of death.

“How much for that one?”

The vendor dropped her eyes to the table and frowned at the little black butterfly, confusion warring with irritation. It was as if she hadn’t even known it was there. Janey waited, not sure why she wanted to know. Was she honestly going to buy something from this cheesy craft fair at the Cupcake Pagoda? She was really only here for cupcakes and had stumbled across this little array of craft booths in the parking lot.

“…er, five bucks?” the vendor said, poker-faced now.


Janey stopped the vendor from wrapping the brooch up in scented tissue paper and declined the brown paper bag stamped with the words “Trudy’s Treasures.” She stuck the brooch on her faded Dead Kennedys t-shirt and grinned down at it. It looked almost venomous perching on her chest but Janey was pretty sure that butterflies couldn’t bite, especially not metal ones stuck to pin backs.

She sauntered into the Cupcake Pagoda and surveyed the cases. They were sparse today. All those crafty shoppers had got the best flavors. All that was left was strawberry cheesecake and some sort of vanilla with coffee beans stuck in the frosting. Janey sighed. Damn. She had been craving a Guinness brownie cupcake, perfect with a strong cup of java. The girl in a kimono behind the counter waited silently, looking bored. She looked past Janey out the door. Her eyes widened and she gasped, mouth twisted in a rictus of fear. Janey turned and saw a young guy with a gun at the door. She froze. He swaggered up to the counter, waving the 9mm around and said,

“Gimme your cash, babe.”

Tears filled the eyes of the kimono-clad girl but she hurried to comply, hands shaking as she opened the cash register. Janey didn’t move. The guy grabbed the cash then turned to Janey.

“Whaddya got?” he asked her, pointing his gun at her. She squeaked in fear and reached for her purse. A movement on her chest caught her attention and she glanced down, then stifled a scream when she saw the little black butterfly brooch moving and…growing? Yes, it was growing and before anyone had a chance to react, the dinner-plate-sized insect launched itself off Janey’s chest and into the air. The gunman yelled and threw his hands in front of his face, dropping his weapon. The butterfly landed on his shoulder and Janey saw long, glistening fangs sprout from its head. It plunged them into the guy’s ear. He bellowed with pain and fell to the ground, bleeding. The insect shrunk to its original size and tumbled off the guy’s head, clattering to the ground, inanimate. Janey stooped down to pick it up.

“Huh. Nice pin.”

Do you use random generators to get the words moving? Any favorites?

Published! Next Stop on the #13

I love the number thirteen. I was born on the 13th of March and turned 13 on Friday the 13th. I decided that thirteen would have to be my lucky number.

There’s even a word for it: triskadecaphilia. Technically, it means obsession with the Front Cover, Next Stop on the #13number thirteen and I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed. I think.

Which leads me to a story titled “Triskadecaphilia” by the Haiku Ninja herself, Dover Whitecliff, in a new anthology we’re both in, Next Stop on the #13This anthology contains a whole lotta punk: steampunk, dieselpunk, and solarpunk, plus some historical fantasy and straight up historical fiction.

My own story is “Riverhag,” a story set 500 years in the future, in a London 40 meters under water. I’m exploring the #solarpunk genre and this is my first foray.

The characters run a rusty freight barge up and down the Thames basin, skirting the remains of skyscrapers. It’s a light-hearted story (What? No heartbreak?) about one of their trips involving exotic pets and river monsters. Something about monsters in the water keeps turning up in my stories. Hmm. Must be something Jungian going on. One of the characters was loosely based on my caustically funny grandmother and I had a blast using quotes from her.

A whole array of other authors contributed to this anthology: Harry Turtledove, Anthony Francis, T.E. MacArthur, Katherine Morse, David Drake (aka Drake and McTrowell), Lillian Csernica, Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Chip Michael, Eddie Louise, and Michael Tierney.

What’s your lucky number? Any fellow triskadecaphilians out there?

Saving the world with your story?

I read a blog post on environmental storytelling by Denise Baden proposing that writers can give people hope by presenting another narrative for the future. #solarpunk, anyone? It’s coming up a lot for me. I have an idea percolating.

Check out the post on the Aerogramme Writers’ Studio then tell me what you think.

New Year, New Feature: a Speculative Fiction Writing Prompt

Writing prompt challenges are definitely a fun way to get some words on the page! Here’s one from D. Wallace Peach that uses an image for inspiration.
What inspires you more: a word/phrase or an image?

Myths of the Mirror

I wish you all a wonderfully creative, happy, healthy, and safe new year, full of laughter and love.


After 5+ years of blogging, I thought I’d try something new… finally. How about a Monthly Speculative Fiction Writing Prompt? Sue Vincent was the inspiration for this idea since I’ve loved participating in her weekly prompts (check out her extremely popular feature here.)

If you’re interested, here’s how it will work:

On the first of every month, I’ll post a speculative fiction prompt from Pixabay. These images are attribution free so you can use them on your blog without worrying about copyright restrictions.

Throughout the month, I’ll reblog your prompt-inspired stories, poems, reflections, writing. And on the last day of each month, I’ll share a complete round-up of all contributions with links to the original posts. Visiting the blogs of participants is a great way to meet other…

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#BlogBattle: flower

January 2019 Blog Battle

Our word this month is:


BlogBattle for January 2019

Here’s a little something I wrote just for #BlogBattle

Blue Ribbons and Flowers

Her anxious face turned to me, eyes dark and cheeks still rounded with childhood.

“Is it okay if I pick flowers, Mama?”

I looked around at the city street, wet and barren. The struggling plants next to the sidewalk were covered in small blossoms. Geraniums. Their bright red flowers must have caught her eye.

I shrugged. “Sure, honey.”

She bent down and plucked a single stem. We continued our stroll. A rose bush, mostly devoid of leaves, still had some buds. Sharp Eyes spotted them and a white rose bud was added to her growing handful. Her sister skipped ahead, oblivious to everything but whatever thoughts filled her head. Her leaping strides over puddles made me smile. She reminded me of a deer.

Sharp Eyes grabbed a few more sidewalk flowers then spotted a piece of blue ribbon.
“Can I use this in my bouquet? Would that be good?”

Her expression gave me pause. What was going on in her young mind?

“What are you making your bouquet for?”

She turned her face away and was silent. I put my arm around her shoulder. Blue ribbons hung from tree trunks and metal poles all along the street. With a sinking heart, I realized what she was doing. “Is the bouquet for the police officer who died?”

Shock still reverberated through our little town. A pretty young police officer had been shot and killed not far from our house. The sirens screamed past our house a few nights ago, more than we’d ever heard. We had been baffled by the commotion but the girls had gone to bed that night without finding out that there was an active shooter in our neighborhood. He had shot the policewoman then ran. No one knew where he was until after midnight. We tried to keep calm the next day but were too shocked to keep the evening’s events from the girls.

Sharp Eyes nodded. “I want to put it on her grave–”

“You mean the shrine on the street?”

The day after the shooting, we had driven by the spot where the policewoman had been killed and there were piles of flowers and signs. So of course the girls had questions. We were walking in that area now but I hadn’t intended to go by. It was too hard to see the outpouring of grief from the community. I felt uncomfortable, awkward. I didn’t know her so what right did I have to join in the public mourning? My daughter seemed to feel differently.

The three of us reached the park and Sharp Eyes sat down at a picnic table to assemble her bouquet, complete with its blue ribbon. I walked around and around, unable to keep still.

We walked through the park and there, under the oak tree where I had been married, was another monument to the town’s grief. There had been a candlelight vigil a couple of nights before and the candles were still burning. Blue ribbons festooned the stone steps and a giant portrait of a smiling young woman was propped up in the middle of candles and flowers.

“Why don’t you put your bouquet down with the others, sweetheart?”

She smiled and carefully placed it among the plastic-wrapped florist bouquets, cards, glass jarred candles, and a full bottle of coke. I winced a little. So the dead woman had loved coke. Someone who knew and loved her had placed that on this impromptu shrine. I pictured her sitting and laughing with friends, drinking coke out of bottles together.

“Okay, girls, let’s go.”

I couldn’t bear being there any longer. My child and her simple sadness shamed my conflicted feelings. They skipped away, shouting and pushing at each other.

“Look, you can see your bouquet all the way from here! It’s that bright red spot!”

They ran, a couple of deer leaping across the grass.

Bouquet of flowers

17 Common Fantasy Sub-Genres

The fantasy genre has expanded and diversified into a lot of subgenres. I’m a big fan of historical fantasy and fairy tale retellings. What’s your favorite?

Thoughts on Fantasy

The fantasy genre is rich with a myriad of sub-genres, and each has its own conventions and trends. With the different terms floating around out there it can be easy to confuse or overlook key sub-genres. Finding a succinct list of the most notable ones – particularly a list with definitions and examples – is not always straightforward. So I thought I’d put my reading and researching to use and assemble one.

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