Story Published in Underwater New York

It’s a bit of an unusual premise: create something prompted by one of many strange objects and phenomenon submerged in NYC’s various bodies of water. The list of objects includes things like a shinbone in the New York Harbor, a dead giraffe in the Lower New York Bay, a bag full of lottery tickets in Prospect Park, and lizard skin purses in Dead Horse Bay. Just think of all the possibilities!  My flash fiction story, for example, was inspired by a pair of silicone breast implants that were found washed up on Coney Island; if you look, there are three other interpretations of the implants’ origins. Underwater New York is a digital journal that publishes these “stories from the deep,” in whatever form they come: short fiction, flash fiction, songs, and artwork.

If you’re interested in submitting something yourself, the only rule is that you stay true to the object; for example, if it was found on Coney Island, then it must be located there in your story too.

Hope this helps get your creative juices flowing!


Philadelphia Literary Journal Pride

As I’ve been combing through Duotrope, New Pages, and Poets & Writer’s in search of new markets to submit my writing to over the past few weeks I’ve slowly come to the realization that Philadelphia has a promising up-and-coming literary scene! Not that Philadelphia shouldn’t naturally be super literary and cultural–it is one of the most historic and largest cities on the East Coast–but Philadelphia, at least from my viewpoint, has been in a bit of a hibernation-mode in recent years. Honestly, people keep leaving the Philadelphia area in favor of New York and Boston and DC because the city has been going stale. Cool restaurants have been closing, there isn’t much of a shopping-draw, the only good stuff that does exist is rather expensive–concerts and the like–and it’s generally unsafe in most areas so nobody wants their cars to get vandalized or walk around the streets exploring after dark. So the fact that literary journals are budding out of this environment like a bed of tulip bulbs is rather exciting!

Though Philadelphia Stories and Apiary magazine are the only two that show clear favoritism towards Philadelphia/Pennsylvania writers and themes in their editorial mission statements, the fact that a whole bunch of exciting, new, innovative, and ultimately successful literary journals are springing up out of Philadelphia gives me hope that lots more good things are to come!

On the old side, Painted Bride Quarterly is one of the country’s longest running literary magazines, circa 1973, and is in-part staffed by Drexel University students. On the new side, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, a non-profit flash-prose journal associated with Rosemont College, only launched last year. Same with TINGE magazine, staffed by graduate students in Temple University’s MFA program in Creative Writing, and Nailpolish Stories, the brainchild of Philadelphia writer Nicole Monaghan.

Dear Philadelphia: I’m proud of you. Good show.

Do you have some local literary journals you’re extra fond of just because they call your town home?

(Image, No Copyright,

To the Glitter End . . . Get Your Nailpolish Stories Published!

I’ve heard a lot of people wonder aloud who the lucky guy is who gets to invent awesome crayon color names for a living (did you know there’s 120 core Crayola color names?). Seriously, can you imagine coming up with brilliant creative names like “macaroni and cheese” and “mango tango” and getting paid for it? The same goes for nail polish colors. “French Quarter for Your Thoughts,” “Ski Teal We Drop,” and “Barefoot in Barcelona”–what great names! And, as Nicole Monaghan, the founding editor of the flash fiction online journal, Nailpolish Stories, believes, what a great inspiration for a story!Fiction submissions must be 25 words, exactly, not including the title (and the title has to be a nail polish color). Ms. Monaghan is looking for stories that use powerful language, a minimum of adjectives, and that stuff a lot into a little space. Check out the full submission guidelines here.

Even if you don’t end up submitting to the journal, I’d encourage you to use this as a fun writing exercise. There are so many different nail polish colors–you could get lost in the amount of inspiration they offer!–and it doesn’t take long to write a 25 word story. I wrote ten one afternoon and loved the ideas they sparked up. Write a whole bunch and get your creative writing juices flowing! Maybe it’ll end up being the first sentence to your next novel!

The Scoop on New South Journal

As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the rejection letters I got in the past month was for New South, the official literary art journal of George State University. I submitted a fiction story that I’ve been shopping around for two years now–a story I’ve fixed-up, reorganized, and rewrote at the recommendation of different editors (and at my own recommendation as my writing has improved over time and each old version becomes stale) for the same length of time. It’s gotten more rejection letters than all of my other rejection letters combined,* but I simply cannot abandon it and put it in a drawer. It won the 2009 Fuller Fiction Award, an undergraduate award specifically for Bloomsburg University students, and got an “almost, but we don’t have time to wait for the edits” rejection letter.** This convinces me that it must have some literary merit and I am determined to find people who agree. Have any of you gone through similar repetitive experiences with a submission? Did it pay off?

In any case, New South isn’t the right home for this story, but it might be for your work! Check out the information below, read some excerpts from past issues here, and consider submitting.

What They Want:  “New South seeks to publish high quality work, regardless of genre, form, or regional ties. We are looking for what is new, what is fresh, what is different, whether it comes from the Southern United States, the South of India, or the North, East or West of Anywhere. ” This can come in the form of one fiction story up to 9,000 words in length, or up to five short-shorts under 1,000 words each; up to five poems; creative nonfiction or lyric essay up to 9,000 words in length. For criticism, please query first.

How They Want It: Via their own online submission manager, Tell It Slant. See further submission guidelines here.

When They Want It: Anytime. Rolling submissions.

Contests? Yes! They’re having one right now; there are awards for both prose and poetry. Grand prize is $1,000.

Simultaneous Submissions Allowed? Yes.

Paid Market? No.

Official Submission Response Time: Not mentioned.

Personal Submission Response Time: 2 months, 9 days

*This isn’t actually true. The story has gotten ten rejection letters total and I’ve certainly received more rejection letters than that.

**”Why not resubmit there?” you ask. Well, the journal in question, Glass Mountain, only accepts undergraduate writing and by the time the next period of open submissions rolled around, I had graduated. It’s an excellent journal though, so if you’re an undergraduate, definitely consider submitting!

For All the Broke Writers: The Citron Review Lets you Read for Free

An original goal I had for this blog was to provide readers with information about the submission response times for literary journals and magazines I’ve submitted to in the past.  However, I’ve noticed myself recently shying away from publications that don’t offer excerpts online; to read the journal and get a vibe of what the editors like, I’d have to subscribe and, unfortunately, I am not made out of money (or, perhaps, not unfortunately.  Money gets rather soggy in the rain.  But I digress in a probably confusing and not-too-funny way.  Moving on) and cannot subscribe to every journal that I want to submit to (I can afford about four or five a year).  Unless any of you are a one-in-a-million international bestseller, I assume you’re in a similar financial boat.  So what’s a writer to do?

For everyone’s benefit, I’m going to start highlighting publications that offer content online.  That way you can still submit your writing in an informed sort of way, without breaking the bank.

The first one in our series of Budget-Friendly Publications is: The Citron Review.

Published by four friends/graduates of the Antioch MFA program, The Citron Review is an online, flash-fiction, micro-fiction, short memoir, poetry, and art literary journal.

What They Want: Previously unpublished Micro-Fiction (sixty words or less; allowed up to five micro-fiction selections per quarter); Flash-Fiction (one-thousand words or less; allowed to submit up to two flash-fiction selections per quarter); Poetry (30 lines or less; allowed to submit up to five poetry selections per quarter); Creative Non-Fiction (1,000 words or less (All genres of non-fiction (memoir, essay, articles, reviews etc.) are acceptable. You may submit up to two Non-Fiction selections per quarter).

When They Want It:  All the time; rolling submissions.

How They Want It:  via email.  See further submission guidelines.

Online Archive:  read it before you submit.

Official Submission Response Time: A month or less; because they read on a monthly basis, they usually let you know at the beginning of every month.  If it’s been more than six weeks, query to find out what’s going on.

Good luck!

WOW! A Great Writing Contest for Women

Sorry guys, bad news.  This writing contest is only for females (I know!  Sorry!) WOW! stands for Women on Writing, you see.  But ladies, this is good news for you because it instantly cuts out half of the competition.  Another thing that’s cutting down the competition is the fact that they’re limiting the contest to 300 submissions.  So even though they say they’re accepting until August 31st, there is a cut off point, so submit now and submit fast!

What They Want: 250-750 word flash fiction

When They Want It: August 31st or first 300 submissions, whichever happens first.

How They Want It: online only.

Entry Fee?  $10, via paypal

Prize?  There are 20 winners for every contest (they host this contest 4 times a year).  There’s actually A LOT of prizes–cash, Amazon gift cards, and more–so I’m just going to provide the link.

Good luck!

Enter NANO’s Flash Fiction Writing Contest

Just a quick link to the 2011 NANO writing prize.

What They Want: flash fiction, micro essay, or prose of 300-words or less.  Cannot be previously published.

How They Want It: via snail mail or submishmash.

When They Want It:  August 31st

Entry Fee?  Yes, $15 for 3 shorts.

Prize?  Yes, $500


Sorry, for the briskness, but I’m scrambling to pack everything so my sister and I can head out to Wildwood for the next couple of days.  I’m trying to cram in as much summer as possible before it ends.  And, just a side note: August is probably the worst month to query your book because most agents and editors are on vacation too.  So don’t stress about submitting too much.  Instead, relax and work on your writing so you have something to submit when everyone’s back at work in the fall.

Enjoy the sunshine!