Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Another intriguing call for submissions from Untreed Reads

Jay Hartmann from Untreed Reads has just sent out another open call for stories.  This time it's just horrible...

"Some people are sorry to see a year go by. Great things happened, vacations were taken, memories were made.
Of course...not EVERY year is necessarily a good one. And, sometimes, New Year's Eve can be the scariest holiday of them all. Forced to relive awkward moments, breakups...and sometimes something a little more sinister. A new year doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be a GOOD year.

A lot of people die on New Year's Eve. Many of them happen in traffic accidents. But what about the others? What about the unusual deaths? Could there be a supernatural reason why people don't make it to a new year? Some force at work determined to thin the herd before the clock ticks over to 12:01?

Untreed Reads is pleased to announce a call for submissions for a new horror short story anthology we're calling Year's End. Come tell us your scariest story about New Year's Eve. Happy endings are not necessary. Heck, the more horrific and unhappy the better. Here's the rules:

1. All stories must be between 1500-5000 words.
2. Deadline for submission for consideration is October 15th, 2012. This is a firm date; no submissions after this date will be considered.
3. All submissions should be sent to Jay Hartman at jhartman@untreedreads.com with the words NEW YEARS in the subject line.
4. Your story CANNOT take place on New Year's Day. The ending may take you there, but the bulk of the story MUST happen on New Year's Eve.
5. Submissions must be in DOC, RTF or ODT format.
6. We will not be publishing the stories individually. Only the anthology will be available.
7. Authors will receive royalty, but not upfront payment. Authors will each receive a share of royalties of 50% of net (net = cover price - vendor commission) based on the number of authors in the final anthology.
8. Characters appearing in other Untreed Reads series or other series not published by us are strongly encouraged. Please check your contract with your publisher to make sure you may legally do so.
9. Your story MUST have a strong horror element to it. Any genre of horror is fine. Preference is to psychological horror rather than gore.
10. Stories not accepted for the anthology may be still be considered for other publication.
11. Previously published works are fine providing that electronic rights have reverted to the author and the story is not currently offered for free anywhere on the Internet or currently published through a self-publishing venue (i.e.: Smashwords, Amazon KDP, etc.).
12. There are no restrictions whatsoever on age, race, sex, sexual orientation, etc in the work.. Just tell us a great story!

Please direct any questions to Jay Hartman at jhartman@untreedreads.com. We recommend looking at any of the following for an idea of the types of stories we're looking for: Joshua Calkins-Treworgy's Roads Through Amelia series, Benson Phillip Lott's Pumpkin series or any of the horror works by Rick R. Reed.

All decisions on material will be made by November 1st, 2012. Every attempt will be made to notify all authors of the status of their submission at that time. Please do not inquire about status prior to November 1st, 2012.

This anthology has an expected publication date of December 15th.

This is an open call, and may be reposted anywhere and everywhere."

Go to it, writing friends!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Flash Jab Fiction Challenge--Baseball

I was honored to have my story published over at Jack Bates' Flash Jab Fiction challenge a couple of  months ago. I thought I should return the favor by letting you know about his newest challenge. Make it short and make it about baseball. That's it. Details are HERE . I don't think I have any baseball stories up my sleeve,  but I'll bet you do.

Give it a shot. It's fun.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

On reading and readings

I just finished the very enjoyable Monstress, a collection of stories by Lysley Tenorio, an American author who uses his connection to his native Phillipines to write a diverse collection of stories about living lives drawn between these two poles. Although I have a read a fair number of anthologies over the last few years, I haven't lately been reading a lot of single author story collections. My loss, really, because, though there is something to be said for reading a story by itself, there is another kind of pleasure in reading a collection of work by one writer, as his or her concerns and themes tend to be amplified by this grouping.

I actually started this book awhile ago, for a somewhat unusual reason. One of my bookloving friends, Steve,  is always looking to cajole or coerce a few of his cohorts into different literary activities, so his friend Richard and I all carpooled up to UCSC to see Tenorio, who was taking part in the Living Writers Reading Series. I started the book late, and so had only read a few of the stories before I heard him. By chance, the story he read was "Superassassin", which I had only just begun.

This sequence of events led me to become aware of the book in a way that I might not otherwise have done. Tenorio read in competent way, and Steve and Richard both said that they felt their enjoyment of the book was enhanced by hearing it. But I felt that I had actually read it in my head a bit better than I was hearing. This was because I was hearing it in the voice of a young teenager and not in the more worldly voice of an adult college teacher. If I hadn't already had the one voice in my head, I might not have noticed. Also, if I hadn't just recently been listening to Leonard Nimoy's masterly, dramatic reading of "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love", which I linked to here in May, I might not have realized how much a trained actor can lend to a reading.

Now obviously, my sense of liking the voice in my head better was a minority view among the three of us. And I am on kind of a roll with this lately, feeling like I don't want to see movies of novels and so on. Tenorio had some interesting things to say about reading his stories in front of different audiences--people sometimes find things funny that he didn't intend, and vis versa. The group we were sitting with was largely college students, and they laughed at certain things I didn't think were meant to be funny, but it wasn't too jarring.

An odd thing is when you find yourself disagreeing slightly with the author about the character he is describing. Usually, you don't know this unless you go to an event like this and the author opens up a bit about a story. In this case, I thought that Tenorio might not have realized how sympathetic he had made his "superassassin", and how much the reader might be weighted toward hope that things might in the end be all right.