Friday, November 24, 2017

FIYAH's next theme issue: Big Mama Nature

I wanted to share another short-fiction publishing opportunity that some friends (or friends of friends) might be interested in.

FIYAH is a magazine of Black speculative (sci-fi/fantasy) literature. Only folks belonging to the African diaspora may submit. The editors explicitly encourage African-descended writers with intersectional identities (LGBTQ or disabled, for instance) to submit to them.

FIYAH's had five issues so far and is still going strong, not only publishing new writers but also surveying writers about where they're submitting and getting published--which is pretty handy data, frankly, and a cool service to the community they're writing for.

Each issue has a theme, and they open their windows for submissions on that theme for just one month each time. Writers who look ahead at the theme calendar and who know when the windows open will have an edge.

On January 1, another window opens, remaining open until Jan. 31. Theme: "Big Mama Nature."

Their description of the theme: "Everyone knows that you need to respect Mama. We’re looking for stories of Nature and her swift backhand when folks get out of line. Give us your stories of ecological wastelands, futures full of solar powered punks, or natural disasters. Climate fiction is the name of the game, and Big Mama don’t play."

(The next two themes after that are Music [accepting submissions in April] and Pilgrimage [accepting subs in July], respectively.)

FIYAH pays $150 for a short story, $300 for a novelette (7000 to 15000 words), and $50 for a poem.

These are good rates. (Depending on your exact word-count, these are either semi-pro or pro-rates.)

Here's a link to their submission guidelines (including a list of specific story elements that they don't want to see): 

Also, here's a link to issue 4 and a list of its contents:

FIYAH's surveys have uncovered that many of their writers self-reject when they consider some major magazines--or, perhaps more accurately, they submit to magazines that seem more likely to be open to their identities. Even when a person submits to a magazine, it's sometimes tough to interpret a rejection. Is it because of what you wrote? Or because of who you are? (Or, perhaps more subtly, did they not get what you wrote because they don't share enough of your background?) Magazines like FIYAH remove a lot of that clutter from both apprehension and self-evaluation. If you belong to the African diaspora and you write, they're interested in what you have to say. For anyone who might be classified an emerging writer, that sort of clarity can be a real help.

Monday, November 13, 2017

My Puppyboarding Peeve

A pet peeve: puppyboarding.
That's my term for a move that could also be called the "One-Point" Straw-Person Transition.
By either name, it's a thing.
Here's how it starts: You say something. Maybe it's arguable, but--and this is important--it's not insane.
Someone else says, "You make some good points, but there's one point I would challenge."
You: "Okay."
Other person: "I don't think it's a good idea to waterboard puppies..."
You: 😲
[Other person continues without pause for breath for a good five minutes about just how wrong it is to waterboard puppies, and by doing so successfully transitions from what you said to something safe and 100% agreeable to everyone in the room, while looking edgy. At your expense.]

You (5 minutes later): "I never advocated waterboarding puppies."
Everyone else (who hadn't been paying attention to what you said anyway): "Oh? I thought you did."
It's not a straw-person attack. I used to think that's what it was, but that's an inaccurate description. Instead, it's a transition-and-framing strategy, used by people who want to unveil something very safe in a dangerous, sexy package.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Law of Empathy and Projection

Thursday, November 2, 2017

To-Do Lists

Me: This is what I'm going to get done today.

To-Do List: Hahahahahaha!

Me: Shuddup.

To-Do List: OMG, I'm wheezing -- wheezing! -- I'm laughing so hard.

Me: Seriously, shut up.

To-Do List: Sorry. Sorry. Trying to stop.

(later, as I realize just how deep today's swamp is...)

Me: I might have to move this thing and that thing to tomorrow. I'll just have to find a way to get them done then.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Blackboard's Sushi Threat Letters


I hate how NOT-what-you-see-is-what-you-get Blackboard's announcement and email functions are.

I put together an announcement, and it looked okay. But between hitting submit and its arrival in inboxes, Blackboard went and royally f---ed up the fonts and spacing so that I look like an insane person sending cut-and-paste-letter hostage ransom notes.

LiKe i MiGHt aS wElL haVe tYPed LIKe THIs.

iF U waNT tO seE YEr gOLDfiSH aLivE, SEnd mE FivE buckS.

Everyone, meet your English teacher.

Seriously: Five bucks, or your goldfish is sUshI.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Whoever wrote that article probably caught heck for it, while a copy-editor somewhere is wiping sweat off his/her brow, glad that the public doesn't really understand who writes headlines.