Airlock podcast

One of my flash fiction pieces, “Airlock,” was just  released as a podcast from Manawaker.

or on iTunes (free)

earth from moon

Originally published in Perihelion Science Fiction, “Airlock” is a paranormal sci fi mashup, just a thousand words short.  It actually violates one of the “rules” of writing rather flagrantly (anyone care to take a guess at which one?) but since it’s sold twice now and the violation was deliberate, it goes to that old adage “rules are meant to be broken, but only if you know the rule.”


CR Hodges

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Updated list of paying spec fiction short story markets: January 2016

Happy New Year A time for rebirth, a time for writing growth, a time for those pesky resolutions, like get paid for writing. So the new year is also time to write more stories and submit them to paying markets. Here is my updated list of Paying Spec Fiction Short Story Markets.


Don’t forget contests as well.  I published a list of contests for Q4 2015 a short while ago; I’ll update that soon–stay tuned.


The following markets have been added:

  • Not One of Us (re-added, found new website)
  • Manawaker

The following markets have reopened:

  • Apex
  • Ares

The following markets have temporarily closed:

  • Urban Fantasy
  • PodCastle
  • Nightmare
  • Pulp Modern
  • Everyday Fiction
  • Goldfish Grim
  • Grimdark

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

  • Crossed Genres
  • Fictionvale

Keep on writin’.

CR Hodges

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Tis the season for short story contests

Tis the season for talking snowmen, animated nativity scenes, tubas in the park, and pointy-eared tomtar.

Chuck Tuba Christmas 2014

(me at Tuba Christmas Denver last year)

And spec fiction (science fiction, fantasy and horror) short story contests.  Tis the season to enter.  So here are some of my favorite short story contests open for entry during the holiday season, all of which pay cash prizes. I have entered / will be entering all of these–hope to see you there too.

  • Writers of the Future quarterly writer contest
    • Spec fiction up to 17,000 words
    • December 31st
    • Open to all non-professionally published writers
    • Free
  • Triangulation: Beneath The Surface, Parsec Ink’s speculative fiction annual for 2016
    • Spec fiction up to 6,000 words
    • February 29th, 2016
    • Free
  • Science Fiction Readers annual story contest
    • Spec fiction 1,000 to 5,000 words
    • December 31st
    • Free
  • 2015 Hecla Award for Fiction and Memoir
    • Fiction and memoir up to 3,000 words
    • Excerpts accepted as well as short stories
    • December 15th
    • Open only to members of Louisville Writers Workshop
    • Entry fee
  • 2016 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award
    • Near future space-based science fiction up to 8,000 words
    • January 31st, 2016
    • Free

For a list of year-round paying spec fiction markets, please see my list of Paying Spec Fiction Markets

Keep on writin’!

CR Hodges

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Frost giants: eighteen feet tall or eighteen-foot-tall?

Question–is that an eighteen-foot-tall frost giant or is it eighteen feet tall?

Answer: yes and yes, except frost giants are typically only fifteen feet tall.


Confused?  Me too, so I have been researching.  While in spoken English we tend to use the two interchangeably, in written English, well, it’s complicated.  The rule is that feet is the plural of foot, so if we write “the  frost giant is fifteen feet tall.” That’s easy. But… when used as a hyphenated adjective, we write “the fifteen-foot-tall frost giant.”

Why? I don’t know.

PS — fire giants can grow to thirty feet in height or more.  Just saying.

Asked and answered.

CR Hodges

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Excerpt of the week: Garden Tomte

A spin-off of my novel-in-progress, working title (not a very good title), The Jötunheim Eruption, is another take on Fire Giants Attack the World. “Garden Tomte” is set in the USA, not Iceland, and the protagonost is a real Swedish-American general rather than an wanna-be Icelandic-American  general.  More importantly , “Garden Tomte” is just 3200 words short, so I have to save the planet a heck of a lot quicker.


My inspirations on this project were many fold:

  • Two years living in Sweden
  • A large number of small tomte figurines that come out every Christmas, left over from our days in Sweden
  • A daughter who collects gnomes by the zillions
    • yes, a tomte is a Swedish variant of a gnome, more or less, sort of
  • A recent trip to Iceland to see the volcanos
  • A lifelong interest in Norse mythology (see also “Preschool War Games” and Ragnarök Willie)

No valkyries in this one, although I did slip in a cameo.


Garden Tomte

by C.R. Hodges

Lieutenant General Heidi Engelbrektsson turned off the car radio when the news came on. The hourly intelligence updates from her staff were far worse than what was being released to the public. Whumppp whump. Her wipers left gray streaks as they strained to clear the ash-laden summer rain that pelted her windshield. The fire giants had just defeated ten of her divisions on the plains of eastern Illinois, and wiped out most of the Air Force with some type of ungodly weapon that flung balls of white-hot fire.

The fire giants marched on foot, slow but unstoppable, on a vector from the Yellowstone cauldron straight toward Washington, DC. Her troops had lost every engagement since the twenty-foot-tall creatures had emerged from the lava tunnels two days after the volcanic eruption. She was losing the war, but tonight she was cooking dinner for her son. A welcome respite, even if only for a few hours.

“Good evening, General,” Sergeant Tamera Jones said as she opened the door to the garage. Free babysitting went with the third star. “I’d come to attention, ma’am, but…” She nodded to the purple cat tucked under one arm like a football, the front of her uniform blouse stained the same color.

“Jacob,” Heidi yelled. “At ease, Tamera. Can I help? No, I’ll take on my son, you wash the cat.”

CR Hodges

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Martian Rules was just published on Stupifying Stories

Yeah I know it’s not the Martian, and there’s no movie, yet, but the second short story of my own dystopian stranded on Mars series, “Martian Rules” has just been published on Stupefying Stories Showcase.


Excerpt from Martian Rules:

Eternal fame, top hammock, and a shoe contract all came down to five used drinking straws clutched in the oversized mitt of a slightly inebriated Irishman. We consumed half my stash of medicinal whiskey celebrating the landing and arguing over Mick’s self-proclaimed Martian Rules. “Down a shot. Pray or don’t pray, as ye see fit. Choose.”


The first short story in the series, “Three-Quarters Martian” was a first-place contest winner at On the Premises, was honored on the Million Writers Notable Short Stories of 2011 list, and is available as an e-Book on Amazon.

The third in the series, “Godspeed, Martians,” which I’m still hawking, garnered an Honorable Mention in a Writers of the Future contest but hasn’t sold yet.

CR Hodges

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Like The Martian? Read Three-Quarters Martian too

If you liked Andy Weir’s The Martian, the book or the movie, you might want to also read “Three-Quarters Martian.” Besides being an award-winning short story that came out long before the movie, it’s cheaper, has characters that can talk to each other on Mars, and features an international, multiethnic cast instead of just a white guy talking to himself. And a really cool Martian flag.

Three-Quarters Martian

The first man to walk on the moon was a hero to five generations. The first woman to walk on Mars was forgotten even before her boots plunked into the red dust…

Available on Amazon or Smashwords for only $0.99. Return ticket from Mars not included.


CR Hodges

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