Closing Soon: Contest for Authors, Poets and Artists; Reduced Entry Fee Due to COVID

For Sunspot Lit’s 2020 Inception contest, send your best opening. There are no restrictions on theme, category, or the length of the piece or collection from which the beginning comes. Word limit is 250 for prose, 25 words for poetry. Graphic novel entries should be the first page (unlimited number of panels on that page) with a maximum of 250 words…so, cut the number of panels in order to meet the word count, if needed. Visual art entries should be the first in a series, the first in a gallery lineup, the first photo in a themed collection, etc. Entries are limited to one image with up to 250 words to describe the series, lineup or collection. 

For 2020, the entry fee has been reduced due to COVID’s economic impact.

Close: September 30, 2020

Prize: $250 cash, publication for the winner, publication offered to runners-up and finalists. 

In addition to receiving the cash prize, the winner will be published. Select finalists will have the chance to be published. Sunspot asks for first rights only; all rights revert to the contributor after publication. Works, along with the creators’ bylines, are published in the next quarterly digital edition an average of one month after contest completion as well as the annual fall print edition. 

Works should be unpublished except on a personal blog or website. Artists offered publication may display their pieces in galleries, festivals or shows throughout the publication contract period.  

Enter as many times as you like through Submittable, but only one piece per submission. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your piece if it is published elsewhere before the winner is selected.

Open Call for Authors, Poets and Artists

WRITING A NEW WORLD

Sunspot Literary Journal is dedicated to amplifying diverse multinational voices. We offer an Editor’s Prize of $50 for the annual edition. Artwork selected for a cover will be paid $20. Visit SunspotLit.com to download digital editions for free.

All types of prose from flash fiction and poetry to stories and essays, including scripts and screenplays, are welcome. We also accept long-form, novelette, and novella length works up to 49,000 words. Poetry can be up to 1,250 lines. Translations welcome.

One piece per prose submission. Use the correct form according to the length of your prose and poetry. Works longer than allowed by the form used will be declined unread.

Poets can submit one or two items using different forms. 

Artists can submit one or two items using different forms.

The Fast Flux options offer a one-week turnaround for prose and art. Poets receive a two-week turnaround, with most responses being sent within one week.  

All submissions must be unpublished (except on a personal blog). Simultaneous submissions welcome. Submit as many times as you like. 

Inception: $250 for Prose, Poetry, or Art Opening

Beginnings have the power to spark passion or curiosity. They might immediately connect a specific place and time with an emotional tone. The best offer a feeling, atmosphere, action, or image that is gripping.

Too often in commercially driven industries, this results in sensationalism. But meaning, thoughtfulness, emotions, or shadings of tone…that is, connection…are the impulses that draw audiences into the moment. A poem handles this differently than a flash piece, which handles an opening differently than a novel. The first photo, painting or frame presented in a gallery, series, or collection strives for the same intent. Openings contain a spark that promises to continue to burn.

For Sunspot Lit’s 2020 Inception contest, send your best opening. There are no restrictions on theme, category, or the length of the piece or collection from which the beginning comes. Word limit is 250 for prose, 25 words for poetry. Graphic novel entries should be the first page (unlimited number of panels on that page) with a maximum of 250 words…so, cut the number of panels in order to meet the word count, if needed. Visual art entries should be the first in a series, the first in a gallery lineup, the first photo in a themed collection, etc. Entries are limited to one image with up to 250 words to describe the series, lineup or collection.

For 2020, the entry fee has been reduced due to COVID’s economic impact.

Close: September 31, 2020

Prize: $250 cash, publication for the winner, publication offered to runners-up and finalists.

In addition to receiving the cash prize, the winner will be published. Select finalists will have the chance to be published. Sunspot asks for first rights only; all rights revert to the contributor after publication. Works, along with the creators’ bylines, are published in the next quarterly digital edition an average of one month after contest completion as well as the annual fall print edition.

Works should be unpublished except on a personal blog or website. Artists offered publication may display their pieces in galleries, festivals or shows throughout the publication contract period.

Enter as many times as you like through Submittable, but only one piece per submission. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your piece if it is published elsewhere before the winner is selected.

Book Review & Giveaway

Secure the Shadow, the latest novel from Marion Grace Woolley, blends the lives of three characters from different time periods for a modern tale about photography, mortality, and the human response to memory and time.

1824: A young man buttons up his redcoat and goes to war. Amidst the blood and devastation, he discovers a magical power which can save memory from the ravages of time.

1867: A woman who lives above a watch shop meets two men who will change her life. As she ventures into a world of séance and mysticism, she must decide whether to trust her own eyes.

Present day: An artist makes a living photographing stillborn children.

Secure the shadow, ere the substance fades.

Scroll down to get your copy now, connect with the author, and enter for a chance to win a free copy.

Purchase Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/Secure-Shadow-Marion-Grace-Woolley-ebook/dp/B08BZY6VZ7

UK  – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secure-Shadow-Marion-Grace-Woolley-ebook/dp/B08BZY6VZ7

Author Bio 

Marion Grace Woolley is known for dark historical fiction including Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran and The Children of Lir. She balances writing with her work in international development and her hobby as a piano tuner. Marion currently lives in Rwanda.

Connect with Marion

Website: http://authormgw.blogspot.com/

Blog: http://deckledged.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/AuthorMGW/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorMGW 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormgw/

 Giveaway to Win 3 x Paperback copies of Secure The Shadow (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome – so long as Amazon delivers to your country.  Enter using the Rafflecopter link provided above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days, an alternative winner will be selected. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be used only to fulfill the prize.  This blog is not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

Open Call Ends August 31, 2020

Sunspot Literary Journal is dedicated to amplifying diverse multinational voices. We offer an Editor’s Prize of $50 for the annual edition. Artwork selected for a cover will be paid $20. Visit SunspotLit.com to download digital editions for free.

All types of prose from flash fiction and poetry to stories and essays, including scripts and screenplays, are welcome. We also accept long-form, novelette, and novella length works up to 49,000 words. Translations welcome, especially with access to the piece in the author’s original language.

One piece per prose submission; two works of visual art per submission.

Use the correct form according to the length of your prose and poetry. Works longer than allowed by the form used will be declined unread.

The Fast Flux options offer a two-week turnaround, with most responses going out within one week.

All submissions must be unpublished (except on a personal blog). Simultaneous submissions welcome. Submit as many times as you like.

Submissions must be sent through Sunspot’s Submittable page.

Author Interview & Free Book

On August 11, this blog will post a review of Secure the Shadow, the latest novel from Marion Grace Woolley. Author of such deliciously dark tales as Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, Woolley is offering a few free copies through this blog. The free copies will be available to the first five people who contact the blog during the days after the review posts. Today, the author joins us for an interview about her work.

Tell us something about yourself and how you became an author. 

Hi, sure.

I’ve always been an avid reader, and enjoyed writing stories growing up, but it wasn’t until I moved to Rwanda as a sign language researcher in 2007 that I made a serious attempt at writing a novel. Back then, books were quite hard to find, I didn’t have a telly or a radio, and the internet was too slow to stream movies. There really wasn’t much to do in the evenings, so I thought I’d take a shot at writing a novel, just to see whether I could make the word count. Once I discovered that I could, it became a bit of an addiction, and I’ve been writing ever since.

I still live in Rwanda, where I currently work with organisations helping those who survived the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and in my spare time I’m trying to build the first Rwandan piano with my friend Désiré.

I now have a bookshelf and the internet is fast enough to stream movies, but I continue to write novels now and then.

Which books stand out for you as a reader? 

As a very young child, I think Puddle Lane took the prize. They were short fairy tales that had a page for the adult to read and then a short sentence for the kid to read. My dad always made me read out loud before he’d turn the page. So, I have fond memories of learning to read with him.

In my teens, I was a Fighting Fantasy, Terry Pratchett and horror buff. I loved Shaun Hutson, Stephen King, anything with blood and gore.

Nowadays, I read a lot more non-fiction. Yuval Noah Harari, Peter Frankopan and Bill Bryson, but also a lot of fiction, usually more on the literary side like Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Madeline Miller, but also some silly stuff like Yahtzee Croshaw. He wrote an entertaining story about the world being taken over by man-eating strawberry jam.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? 

Not so much. I feel like I know what I’m doing nowadays. I’ve kind of got to that stage where I realise the things that bug me, and I find difficult, are mostly the same things all writers struggle with. There really isn’t a magic answer to a lot of things, like character development and plot block, we’re all just stumbling through it the best we can.

I’ve been very lucky in that my family used to take me to the Cheltenham Literature Festival most years, so I got to sit and listen to a lot of the greats, like Ken Follet, Philip Pullman, Lionel Shriver and Ian McEwan. I was able to hear a lot of their advice first-hand.

A lot of other writers have made their brains freely available to pick, or at least leaf through. Aristotle, Stephen King, Adrian Magson and many others have written books on writing. In Stephen King’s case, literally On Writing.

Being a writer is pretty solitary. You’re the only one who can hear those imaginary voices in your head and tell the story you dreamed up. Sure, you can discuss it with people, but that doesn’t get it written any quicker. You sort of learn to become quite self-reliant.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?

I’ve been rather smitten with Alicia Gris from Labyrinth of the Spirits recently, but I’m not sure how much tea we’d get drunk. Just a very dark and enjoyable character. I’d like to see her perform her fountain pen trick on a buttered scone.

Anybody a little bit magical would be entertaining company. Howl, if I could pluck him from his moving castle, or Chrestomanci. I’m a sucker for a smoking jacket.

There are just too many to choose from.

Do you have some writing rituals or habits?

No. I’m useless at routine, and whenever I try to stick to one, the universe usually has other ideas. Writing is a chaotic process, so I prefer to embrace the chaos.

Where do you come up with your ideas? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉

Neil Gaiman did a good interview where he said, ‘never ask a writer where they get their ideas.’ Honestly, I don’t know. You can have an idea any time of the day or night. Riding on the bus, walking across a park, staring at your navel. There are hundreds of ideas all over the place. The question is, which one is going to make it to 100,000 words?

That’s always the issue. Not every idea has the longevity to be interesting for more than a couple of pages. Most stories are a hotchpotch of lots of different ideas, and when you start to run thin on ink, it’s time to throw another idea in there and keep writing. Usually, you need a collection of ideas to produce a full-length novel.

But many of those ideas come to you once you start writing. Stories are fluid. Half the fun is discovering the story as you’re writing it, which means new ideas can ambush you along the way.

If I were a memoirist, I’d write about people I know, but as I write fiction, I’m wholly devoted to those I make up. For me, fiction is escapism, I’d hate to pollute it with reality.

Can you offer any tips for writers?

Nothing more than other, much more famous, writers have said: read a lot, read as widely as you can, expect the first few stories you write to be dreadful, but learn from them.

To paraphrase Labyrinth of the Spirits: ‘Writing is a profession that has to be learnt, but it’s impossible to teach.’

Grammar can be taught, sentence structure and plot construction can be taught, but what makes a story work – that’s more art than science, and it just takes time.

What are your future plans?

I’m currently working with a fantastic group of actors to turn my epic The Children of Lir into an audiobook. It’s been wonderfully creative and a real treat to be part of something so collaborative. I’m also self-narrating The Tangled Forest, a collection of dark fairy tales I wrote a few years back. That’s proving more of a challenge. Despite having written the book, I’m actually finding it pretty tricky to read out loud. In between, I’m doing a little light research for another novel, set in ancient Akkad. So, lots of fun things on the go at the moment.

Excerpt from Secure the Shadow

Reuben took a piece of white paper and a brush, painting its surface with silver nitrate. Then he placed the silhouette over the top and took it into the hallway, exposing it to the full force of a carbon arc lamp. As he did so, the paper began to darken until it was the same black as the silhouette. He peeled the top layer away to reveal Bella and Archie, their outline wedding-white like fallen snow.

“A photogram,” Reuben explained. “The earliest form of photography. From photo, meaning light, and gram, meaning drawing. A light drawing.”

“But why did you choose to make one of–”

“Watch.”

As they stood looking at the simple play of shadow on sun, the white image began to fade. At first, just the edges started to fray. Then, piece by piece, the entire picture began to turn black. Archie and Bella, and their archway of ribbons, darkened until there was nothing left of them.

“Gone,” Reuben whispered, looking down at her. “How do you feel?”

“Better, I think.”

“A life that might have been, but never was. Captured for a moment, then returned to history.”

“A clever trick.”

He kissed her gently on the cheek.

$100 for 100 Words or Art Contest Results

$100 for 100 Words or Art

The judging for the $100 for 100 Words or Art contest is finished. Competition was tight this year, with a slew of entries touching on topics ranging from the pandemic to social justice. The quiet moments of life, especially those filled with meaning, were also frequent topics.

This year, two winners were selected for first place. As always, Sunspot does not split the prize in the case of a tie. Instead, the prize money is doubled and the full payment is made to both winners.

Congratulations to Karen Walker for her flash prose piece “Willow Widow,” the first prize selection.

Prose runner-up: Duology (poem) Kameko Lashlee Gaul

Congratulations to Alice Dillon for “In These Uncertain Times” for her artwork, which was also selected for first place.

Art runner-up: Time A Grand And Final Judge, Grow Bravely In Love (art) Church Goin Mule

Each winner receives $100 cash, publication in Volume II, Issue 3 (digital only), and the 2021 print edition due out in fall. They are also featured on the website under the Winners tab, and will be featured on two blogs with a following of over 20,000 on various social media channels.

We’d also like to call out the following works that placed as finalists. The shortlist follows the finalist list.

 

FINALISTS

Cambodian Campaign I (prose poem) Ojo Taiye

Red (poem) Jacqueline Schaalje

Rescue (flash) Charlotte Wyatt

Guernica (flash) ST Brant

No Rest for The Weary (art) Kelly Anderson

Keep Those Hard Times Away (art) Benjamin  Malay

Resident Light (art) Louis Staeble

Horned Dark Goddess Coming to Life (art) Amalia Galdona Broche

Tilting towards Self-Annihilation (art) George L Stein

 

SHORTLIST

Light Trail

No Rest for The Weary

Red (Caroline T)

Golden

The End

In these uncertain times

Afterthought

Time a Grand and Final Judge, Grow Bravely in Love

Covid Garden 2

Endogenous

Quarantina

Brazilian Woman

Willow Widow

No Turn on Red

The Song

Keep Those Hard Times Away

Loveless Park; Roswell, New Mexico

Song of the Drowned

Can You Even Dye My Eyes to Match My Gown?

Resident Light

Zoonotic Spillover

In the Heart of My Own City

Endoparasite

The Machine Zombie Rebellion, Fox Valley Junkyard, 2020

Red (Jacqueline S)

The Couple on the Mezzanine

Sundry Items

Thank you. No, Thank You! Excuse me, THANK YOU! OK

Springtide Ditty

Family Day at The Genocide

Waking Up on Black Hole

Wash Your Hands, or Who Would Have Thought

The Dark

Horned Dark Goddess Coming to Life

Stay-At-Home – Houston, April 2020

Rescue

Guernica

Duology

The Edge of Solitude

cured meat

Dis·cord·ance

Nightlife

Barren Land

When Levees Break

October Walk in Tower Grove Park

Tilting towards Self-Annihilation

once it took root, the idea grew quickly

swept

Daybreak

Here I Was Angry

Valetudo

Eigengrau

oklahoma rose is an oxymoron here

Inception Contest Offers $250 to Authors and Artists Plus Lower Fee

Beginnings have the power to spark passion or curiosity. They might immediately connect a specific place and time with an emotional tone. The best offer a feeling, atmosphere, action, or image that is gripping.

Too often in commercially driven industries, this results in sensationalism. But meaning, thoughtfulness, emotions, or shadings of tone…that is, connection…are the impulses that draw audiences into the moment. A poem handles this differently than a flash piece, which handles an opening differently than a novel. The first photo, painting or frame presented in a gallery, series, or collection strives for the same intent. Openings contain a spark that promises to continue to burn.

For Sunspot Lit’s 2020 Inception contest, send your best opening. There are no restrictions on theme, category, or the length of the piece or collection from which the beginning comes. Word limit is 250 for prose, 25 words for poetry. Graphic novel entries should be the first page (unlimited number of panels on that page) with a maximum of 250 words…so, cut the number of panels in order to meet the word count, if needed. Visual art entries should be the first in a series, the first in a gallery lineup, the first photo in a themed collection, etc. Entries are limited to one image with up to 250 words to describe the series, lineup or collection.

For 2020, the entry fee has been reduced due to COVID’s economic impact.

Open: July 1, 2020 (submit here)

Close: September 30, 2020

Entry fee: $5

Prize: $250 cash, publication for the winner, publication offered to runners-up and finalists.

Open Call from Sunspot Literary Journal

Submissions for the third quarterly edition open June 1, 2020. Sunspot Lit accepts all prose forms from 1 to 49,000 words, poetry from 1 to 50 pages, and artwork. No restriction on theme or content. Submit here as many times as you like.

Sunspot Summer Edition 2020

Sunspot Lit’s second edition of the year is now available. Thanks to our contributors for sending exceptional artwork, fiction, and essays about the pandemic (among other standout pieces). This quarter’s cover art comes from Hediana Utarti. This sixty-year-old API immigrant came to the US in 1986 to study political science. After graduating, she found more purpose in her continuing role at the San Francisco Asian Women’s Shelter (sfaws.org).

Download your edition for free on the website.

Remember that we’ll select as many pieces as possible for the annual print edition. This year, we’re adding artwork to the print edition to further support our contributors. Keep an eye out as fall approaches for more information on contributors, pub dates, and more.

Water Stewardship and Aboriginal Communities

Laine Cunningham’s reflections on what Australian Aboriginal folktales can tell modern readers, entitled Seven Sisters, was quoted in Pernille Ingildsen’s Water Stewardship.
Ingildsen’s work addresses true sustainability for our planet’s water resources, and takes a holistic approach to generate lasting change.
The work is out now from The International Water Association. The print edition is available from IWP for £60, or from Barnes & Noble for $90.
An open-access ebook can be found here.
Interested in reading Cunningham’s book? Available in a full-color illustrated gift edition, black and white enhanced edition or, of course, as an ebook.

Why authors and artists in developing countries are so disadvantaged

Marion Grace Woolley, author and piano maker, lives in Rwanda. She’s posted an interesting commentary on YouTube.

Why authors and artists in developing countries are so disadvantaged

Link here to view, comment, and learn.

Closing soon: $100 for 100 Words or 1 Artwork Contest

Sunspot Lit offers $100 cash and publication for one winner, and the chance to be published as a finalist.

For this contest, all forms of prose are accepted: poetry, plays, stories, essays, memoirs, travel pieces, opinions, rants…just keep it to 100 words or less.
Artists are also welcome to submit. Instead of submitting 100 words, utilize a title of up to 10 words for your photo, digital art, painting, or other work. All art entries will be considered for use on the cover of the next edition, so you might end up with the stipend offered for cover artwork. (And yes, if you win and are used on the cover, you’ll be paid twice.)
Submit as many times as you like. One piece per submission. The fee to enter is $5, and goes to support the magazine, stipends for contributors, and other expenses. Contest ends on June 30, 2020.

Artists & Authors Eligible for $100 for 100 Words Contest

Sunspot Lit just updated the guidelines for the 2020 edition of the $100 for 100 Words contest. Previous contests that allowed visual artists to submit received such powerful entries that this contest was adjusted to allow them to enter it, as well. Prize is $100 cash and publication for one winner, and the chance to be published as a finalist. Here are the updated guidelines:

For this contest, all forms of prose are accepted: poetry, plays, stories, essays, memoirs, travel pieces, opinions, rants…just keep it to 100 words or less.
Artists are also welcome to submit. Instead of submitting 100 words, utilize a title of up to 10 words for your photo, digital art, painting, or other work. All art entries will be considered for use on the cover of the next edition, so you might end up with the stipend offered for cover artwork.
Submit as many times as you like. One piece per submission. The fee to enter is $5, and goes to support the magazine, stipends for contributors, and other expenses. Contest ends on June 30, 2020.

SINGLE WORD CONTEST 2020 EDITION

Sunspot Lit announces the results of the Single Word contest’s 2020 edition. Submissions were open for any prose form, poetry, and visual art. We received entries that made us laugh, thoughtful pieces that dealt with the current pandemic, and works that hold meaning no matter what state the world is in.

Truly, this crop of entries showed exceptional talent. It’s heartening to know that people are working creatively to make the world a better place. The lists below reflect the results of multiple judging rounds. Look for the finalists and the winner in the next quarterly edition, due out around the end of June.

Congratulations to everyone on these lists!

 

Longlist

Compassion, Joshua Molina

Confidence, Tara Strahl

Faith, Trever Sinanovic

Enough, Lisa DeAngelis

One, Wes Finch

Weapon, Mary Lash

Light, Tanita Cree

Equanimity, Hunter Liguore

Consequence, Elizabeth Cain

Chinese, Jill Bronfman

Faith, Jennifer Jones

Unidistancing/Uni-distancing, Corinne Beasley

Turbine, Cameron Lings

Gender, Vicky Prior

Exit, Thomas Mangan

Us, Mary Sheehan

Jarabi, Doley Henderson

Anomie, Angela Kaufman

 

Shortlist

e/motion, Kerry Rawlinson

Dream, Michael Noonan

Aloha, Stephanie Launiu

You’re Mine, You (for They), Valyntina Grenier

Another Word for Beauty, Mark Henderson

The Meaning of Free, Hannah van Didden

Ubuntu, Ethel Maqeda

Rega, Rosalie Sydes

Yes, Lisa Friedlander

Burning, Olga Gonzalez Latapi

We, Larry Mellman

Self-quarantined, Christopher Buckley

Viral, Claire Lawrence

Stoic, Aileen Boyer

Vulnerability, Hazel Whitehead

The Letter “Hey,” Omer Wissman

 

Finalists

Aloha, Stephanie Launiu

You’re Mine, You (for They), Valyntina Grenier

Ubuntu, Ethel Maqeda

Burning, Olga Gonzalez Latapi

We, Larry Mellman

Self-quarantined, Christopher Buckley

Viral, Claire Lawrence

The Letter “Hey,” Omer Wissman

 

Winner and Runners-up

Runner-up: Ubuntu, Ethel Maqeda

Runner-up: Viral, Claire Lawrence

First place: The Meaning of Free, Hannah van Didden