Updated list of paying spec fiction short story markets: May 2015

Sadly, a wave of markets closed over the summer.  Not sure if this is a trend–let’s hope not.

If you do find this list useful, come say hi on Facebook, I’m C.R.Hodges.Author.


The following markets have been added:

The following markets have reopened:

  • DarkFuse
  • Urban Fantasy Magazine
  • Stupefying Stories
  • The Lorelei Signal

The following markets have temporarily closed:

  • Shock Totem
  • Ideomancer
  • Tor.com

The following markets have permanently closed / appear to be dead / website down:

  • Wicked Words
  • Plasma Frequency
  • Sam’s Dot
  • Allegory Ezine
  • Acid Fiction
  • Aghast
  • Comets and Criminals

The following projects have closed:

  • Monster

Keep on writin’.

CR Hodges

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Excerpt of the week: The Jötunheim Eruption

After my two months of plotting angst (see Plotter or Pantser? and Writing from a plot, oops posts), and a whole lot of related writers block, I had a breakthrough last week.  Got almost 7000 words down on a new mythica fantasy novel, working title The Jötunheim Eruption. Did I mention this is a very rough draft?

IMG_0345My basic premise is: What if fire giants invaded Iceland. And, since Iceland had no army, what if the best person to lead the resistance is a pushing-40 single mom who once was drummed out of the US Army.  And what if she meets a frost giant in a bar who can help…

Yeah, the plot needs work too.  But the characters are coming together and hijacking the plot, which I love.  So here’s a very rough cut at the opening scene, pre frost or fire giant. A little raunchier than I had expected, but Ulla is having a major mid-life crisis and well, this is her.

Until I change it all.


The Jötunheim Eruption

C.R. Hodges

The Icehouse Bar in Reykjavik looked more dangerous than Ulla Hildrsdotter remembered. The blondes were younger and leggier, their fuck-me heels higher.  The men, well, they were either young, buff and enamored with the blondes, or old enough to be her grandfather and enamored with the blondes.  Ok, father. She had ruled this bar once, but that was half a lifetime ago. She sucked in her tummy and headed for the toilets, her own four-inch heels clacking as she walked.

No heads turned, except the skinny black geek in the corner, eyes following her from just above a laptop. Not a very smart geek—he still had his wedding ring on. Four-inch heels didn’t cut it anymore.

Jo, where the fuck are you? Ulla texted after locking herself into one of the unisex toilet stalls. Jo was her best friend, ever since Ulla had moved back to Iceland.  Even after Ulla had had the twins, they had gone out bar hopping together and sometimes caught men together. Jo always caught a man, sometimes two, but Ulla’s luck had faded as her ass had broadened.  Then Jo had married rich and Ulla’s luck had gone from faded to invisible.

She checked herself out in the mirror while she waited.  Her hair was naturally blond and her makeup was better applied than the bimbo brigade, but her breasts sagged even in the hundred euro bra and her stomach was, well, round. A few crow’s feet around the eyes that make up only partially covered. She put her shoulders back. OK, her breasts were bigger now, that had to count for something.  Thanks, my tomte twins.

Ulla pulled the zipper down another inch on her leather vest and headed back into battle. A minor earth tremor swept through the bar, the fourth in as many weeks, but no one really noticed. Me or the earthquake.  At least I didn’t fall.

Keep on writing everyone.

CR Hodges

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Writing from a plot, oops

So for the first time I am trying to do a plot outline first, THEN write.  Woudl make me a plotter, not a pantser. If it works.  So I tried writing the first couple of chapters from my 15 page outline of my new mythica-thriller novel, working title The Jõtunhem Eruption.


So here are my results so far:

Chapter 1: Back to the Bar

  • As planned
    • Started out like the plot.  Pushing-forty Ulla drops the twins at her parents, straps on her heels, and heads to a pickup bar in Reykjavik for the first time in years. Lots of cliché moments not getting picked up, finds the married guy, and then the giant walks in.
  • Not as planned:
    • The married guy is maybe not really married
    • Ulla is a lotsluttier than planned, so much so that I think I’m writing chick lit
      • I don’t know jack about chick lit
      • New working title: Sex in the Fjord?
    • The frost giant can’t decide if he’s a tool or a mixed up teenage giant who might even be a virgin
    • Worse, when it gets to the chapter finale where Ulla gets attacked and the friendly giant is supposed to save her, she basically kicks butt but gets badly brused up in the process
      • She doesn’t want to tell the giant the important tell that makes the chapter
      • She’s too bruised to go home to the kids
    • The whole attack scene is pretty dark, a lot darker than I thought I was going

Chapter 2: The Sheep Farm

  • As planned
    • Zip, not a sheep in sight
  • Not as planned
    • Married guy Dillon gets a POV
    • Sets his fake wedding ring on the dresser (fake?)
    • Seems he’s a geologist, not a CIA type (there goes the thriller part)

The good news is the characters are rounding themselves out; the bad news is they are not following the script.  Hmmm.

All for now.  I need a beer.

PS — but I do, however, have the start to a blurb, see way above (“Pushing-forty Ulla drops the twins at her parents, straps on her heels, and heads …”)

CR Hodges

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Updated list of paying spec fiction short story markets: May 2015

Seems like there is an increase in “projects” vs “markets” for short stories. Not sure how many of these projects are legit or if they are trial balloons. I haven’t really included all of them here, as they come and go relatively quickly.  But it is something I am pondering on how to track.


If you do find this list useful, come say hi on Facebook, I’m C.R.Hodges.Author.


The following markets have been added:

  • Pro:
    • Sword and Sorceress  Temp Closed
  •  Token:
    • The Lorelei Signal  Temp Closed
    • Pulp Modern
    • Sorcerous Signal
    • Wolfsinger Publications

The following markets have reopened:

  • PodCastle

The following markets have temporarily closed:

  • Buzzy
  • Blight Digest
  • Monster
  • Shoreline to Infinity

The following markets have permanently closed / appear to be dead

  • Not One of Us

Keep on writin’.

CR Hodges

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Plotter or Pantser?

Me, I’ve always been a pantser, when it comes to plotting.  Which is writer-speak for being too lazy to actually generate an outline, a plan of the plot.  Just let the story flow, just let the characters tell the story in their own way.  And it has worked well for short stories (15 publication credits and counting).  But that doesn’t mean it’s the only way, and more importantly to me, that doesn’t mean it’s best suited for longer works.  So I am trying out plotting.

As I’m a novice at this, I asked Toby to help. Of course, I had to bribe him with the promise of a walk, but I needed a break.  And a bag of munchies.  And another cup of coffee.  Not sure if the process fits yet, but I’m trying it out. Stay tuned.

So to my writer buddies out there, do you plot or pants?

Either way, keep on writin’!

CR Hodges


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Musings from the 2015 Pikes Peak Writers Conference

I attended my first-ever writing conference last weekend in Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak Writers Conference.  While admittedly my attendance was initially motivated by winning 1st place for Ragnarök Willie in the Pikes Peak Writers Zebulon Fiction Award contest, I came away with a lot more than just that (really nice) certificate.


Firsts for me:

  • First writing conference.  As mentioned above, this was my first ever writing confab.
  • First time to hang out with literally hundreds of talented writers at once
  • First time someone ever told me “There are five key scenes in every novel,” see below
  • First time to read an excerpt aloud in front of a literary agent and a whole bunch of talented writers–amazing
  • First time to meet a literary agent (one of several)
  • First time to query an agent face to face–not so amazing
  • First place in that writing contest…
2015 Zebulon Award. Photo courtesy Jared Hagan

2015 Zebulon Award. Photo courtesy Jared Hagan

New stuff I learned (or relearned)

  • Lots of people have pen names, but if you meet them face to face, you use their real name.  I was a little worried about this as my name tag read  C.R. Hodges, but it was okay just to say, “Hi, I’m Chuck.” Turns out that R.L. Stine, the keynote speaker is just Bob, and Andrew Gross is just Andy.
  • At a writing conference, literary agents are always surrounded by a really large gaggle of aspiring writers.  It’s tough to heard with all the geese-a-squawking
  • But  agents are people too, and deserve a little breathing room
  • Turns out pretty much every novel has five major scenes (I did not know this, but it makes huge sense):
    • Hook
    • Point of no return
    • Reversal
    • Darkest hour
    • Climax
  • It is true that exclamation points and rhetorical questions are frowned upon
  • Every agent likes things different
  • Writing awards like the Zebulon seem to impress other writers but do not seem to impress agents or editors
  • Even shy writers can easily break the ice with other writers–“so what do you write?”
  • This is not necessarily true talking to agents…

geese c

Stuff I gotta work on

  • Querying better–there is a fine art to this that I still don’t get
  • Plotting rather than pantsing
  • Getting in closer with my characters
  • Pushing to the front of the gaggle of geese when an agent is sighted (probably will never learn this)

Back to writing.  Lots to do.

CR Hodges

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Excerpt of Pikes Peak Writers Conference week: Ragnarök Willie

I’m headed off to Colorado Springs tomorrow, to my first writers confab, the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Double thrilling because I will also get to pick up an award for my urban fantasy novel, Ragnarök Willie.

A Valkyrie or a bird?

A Valkyrie or a bird?

When an archeologist unearths Valhalla, thirteen valkyries, a pagan cult, and Lasse Nordberg all head north.  The valkyries are vying for global domination.  The pagans are searching for a horn of mass destruction.  Lasse is looking for a job, a girlfriend who doesn’t cheat, and a latte. But he has the horn, and Ragnarök is nigh.


Ragnarök Willie

C.R. Hodges

Chapter 6: Skål—Skull

Ragnarök Willie dragged me outside into a stiff fall breeze, another cigarette lit before the door closed behind us. A ten-minute walk past the gourmet café I had stopped at earlier, past the fishmongers hawking their pungent catches. We ended up at a seedy pub near the wharves, filled with inebriated sailors of diverse nationalities.

He ordered two beers, coffee forgotten. “Now tell me why the ‘ell you’re here.”

I launched into a refrain of the reporter spiel, but he gripped my collar, pulled my face close to his, coughed, and repeated, “Why the bloody ‘ell are you here?”

“I’m just a reporter for Corren. I do what Mist asks.”

“Not so bloody far from the truth. Let’s try again. Why would Mist be sending you?” he asked, the gravel in his voice more like rocks in a shovel now.

“She wants a story on your dig. In Abisko.” I couldn’t quite bring myself to say in Valhalla.

“Not exactly. She wants to know what I’ve found. Are you her spy?”

“Spy? I’m a reporter.” My first journalistic righteous indignation. If he hadn’t been breathing into my nose I would have been pleased with myself.

“You flunked out of the Chalmers archeology program; you read just a wee semester of journalism.” I blinked; he smiled. “I may be an old fart, but I do know how to use the internet. You’re being manipulated by the woman who put Franco in power.” A grimace. “I need to take a slash.”

He headed for the back door, a cigarette already in hand, before I could ask Franco who?

I wandered to the bar and ordered another round. When the bartender brought back the beers, he also set a chartreuse drink with a tiny umbrella in it before me.

“I didn’t order this.”

“Lady in the corner,” the bartender said, with a nod.

Tack.” I tossed him a krona.

He left the coin on the bar.

A mane of white-blond hair and a pair of toned legs curving out from an illegally short skirt approached the bar.

“Uh, thanks for the umbrella, er, drink.”

“I am called Brynhildr,” she said, separated each syllable with Teutonic precision, her blue eyes fixed on me. She could have passed for Mist’s younger sister.

“Cool name. Like one of Wagner’s Valkyries,” I said, remembering Willie’s playlist. My eyes drifted down to her neon pink bandeau.

“Will you with me dance?”

“He cannae dance. Gimpy leg.” A cold hand fell on my shoulder as a shoe slammed into my bum ankle. Willie grabbed the beers in one hand and dragged me back to our table with the other. “Waltz with her and you’ll be missing some private parts come morning.”

I turned to say goodbye, but she was already surrounded by half of the Latvian navy.

CR Hodges

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