Author Archives: Laine Cunningham

About Laine Cunningham

Laine Cunningham is an award-winning author, ghostwriter, and publishing consultant who has been quoted on CNN Money, MSNBC.com, FoxNews.com, and other national and international media. Her work has won multiple national awards, including the Hackney Literary Award and the James Jones Literary Society fellowship. She has received dozens of fellowships and residency slots from programs like the Jerome Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, the New York Mills Cultural Center, Wildacres Center for the Humanities, Arte Studio Ginestrelle in Assisi, Italy, the TAKT Kunstprojektraum in Berlin, Germany, Fusion Art in Turin, Italy and The Hambidge Center. She is also the author of the travel memoir "Woman Alone: A Six-Month Journey Through the Australian Outback" and a series of Zen and Wisdom books combining unique inspirational text with beautiful photos.

Inception Contest Closing Soon

Authors and Artists Eligible

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

Meaning, thoughtfulness, emotions, or tone 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 graphic novel strives for the same intent. Openings contain a spark that promises to burn. 

For Sunspot Lit’s current Inception contest, send your best opening. There are no restrictions on theme, category, or the length of the piece or collection from which the excerpt comes. Word limit is 250 for prose, 25 words for poetry.

Graphic novel and comic book entries should be the first page (unlimited number of panels on that page) with a maximum of 250 words (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 in a themed collection, etc. Entries are limited to one image.

Open: July 1, 2022

Close: September 30, 2022

Entry fee: $8.50

Prize: $250 cash plus publication for the winner.

Publication will be offered to runners-up and finalists.

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 two months 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 or Duotrope, but only one piece per submission. Submission files that contain multiple pieces will be disqualified without review. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your piece if it is published elsewhere before the winner is selected.

Open Call for novelette-length fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or graphic novel

Ends on October 15, 2022

Sunspot Lit is open for single works of fiction or nonfiction, including scripts and screenplays, from 17,501 to 29,000 words.

Graphic novels should run 25 to 50 pages. 

single poem between 16 and 20 pages is also accepted. 

Story, essay, and poetry collections are not accepted in this category.

Submit here and join the journal changing the world through words and art.

Open Call for Novella Length Fiction, NF, Graphic Novels, Poetry

Ends on October 1, 2022

Single works of fiction or nonfiction, including scripts and screenplays, from 29,001 to 49,000 words can be submitted to Sunspot Lit. Graphic novels should run between 51 and 100 pages. 

single poem between 21 and 25 pages is also accepted. 

Story, essay, and poetry collections are not accepted.

Submissions that do not meet these guidelines will be declined without review.

Submit your work here before the deadline.

Inception: $250 for Prose, Poetry, Art, or Graphic Novel

Authors and Artists Eligible

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

Meaning, thoughtfulness, emotions, or tone 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 graphic novel strives for the same intent. Openings contain a spark that promises to burn. 

For Sunspot Lit’s current Inception contest, send your best opening. There are no restrictions on theme, category, or the length of the piece or collection from which the excerpt comes. Word limit is 250 for prose, 25 words for poetry.

Graphic novel and comic book entries should be the first page (unlimited number of panels on that page) with a maximum of 250 words (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 in a themed collection, etc. Entries are limited to one image.

Open: July 1, 2022

Close: September 30, 2022

Entry fee: $8.50

Prize: $250 cash plus publication for the winner.

Publication will be offered to runners-up and finalists.

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 two months 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 or Duotrope, but only one piece per submission. Submission files that contain multiple pieces will be disqualified without review. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your piece if it is published elsewhere before the winner is selected.

Sunspot Lit Editor Featured in Shoutout Atlanta

Ever wondered how lit mags get started or about the people behind them? Check out this feature from Shoutout Atlanta to learn more about Sunspot Lit’s journey.

And thanks to Shoutout Atlanta for all its great work spotlighting real people, artists, and small businesses who make our lives better.

Open call for flash fiction, nonfiction, poetry, artwork, and graphic novels

Ends on August 31, 2022

Sunspot Lit accepts all types of prose including essays, memoir, travel, teleplays, film and stage scripts. This open call accepts:

One or two pieces of flash fiction; total length of submission not to exceed 1,000 words

OR

A single work of fiction or nonfiction no longer than 3,500 words

OR 

Up to three poems; total of three pages

OR

A graphic novel of 1 to 4 pages

OR

Artwork; total of two images

In your cover letter, please indicate length and whether the piece is fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. 

Please do not mix submission forms (for example, provide one poem and one flash piece as a single entry). Mixed submissions will be rejected without review. 

Submit here.

Open call for long-form fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and graphic novels

Ends on August 15, 2022

Single works of fiction or nonfiction, including scripts and screenplays, between 3,501 and 7,500 words can be submitted here.

Graphic novels should run 5 to 17 pages. 

single poem of 4 to 10 pages is accepted here.

Collections are not accepted for this open call.

Join Sunspot Lit, one of the few journals accepting long-form works, by submitting here.

Inception: $250 for Best Opening

Authors and Artists Eligible

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

Meaning, thoughtfulness, emotions, or tone 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 graphic novel strives for the same intent. Openings contain a spark that promises to burn. 

For Sunspot Lit’s current Inception contest, send your best opening. There are no restrictions on theme, category, or the length of the piece or collection from which the excerpt comes. Word limit is 250 for prose, 25 words for poetry.

Graphic novel and comic book entries should be the first page (unlimited number of panels on that page) with a maximum of 250 words (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 in a themed collection, etc. Entries are limited to one image.

Open: July 1, 2022

Close: September 30, 2022

Entry fee: $8.50

Prize: $250 cash plus publication for the winner.

Publication will be offered to runners-up and finalists.

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 two months 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 or Duotrope, but only one piece per submission. Submission files that contain multiple pieces will be disqualified without review. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your piece if it is published elsewhere before the winner is selected.

Open call for very long-form fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and graphic novels

Ends on August 1, 2022

Single works of fiction or nonfiction, including scripts and screenplays, from 7,501 words up to 17,500 words should be submitted using this form.

Graphic novels should be 18 to 24 pages. 

single poem between 11 and 15 pages is also accepted. 

Collections are not accepted for this call.

Submit to Sunspot Lit here and let your work shine.

Rigel 2022 Results

The judging for the 2022 edition of the Rigel contest is complete. Although it was difficult to select a single work from the outstanding list of finalists, here are the results:

Winner

“Only Water” by Julie Esther Fisher, prose

Runners-up

“Santa Corona” by Michael Pearce, poem

“Kearney Noir” by Larry Hill, art (below)

Finalists

“The Fall” by Steve Capra, poem

“Under the Spell of Molly Bloom” by Naomi Lowinsky, poem

“Time Enough” by LG Pomerleau, prose

“Donut” by Alan Sincic, prose

“The Weaver” by Serge Lecomte, art

“Being as One” by Dave Sims, art

“Witch of Wals” by Bryan Edenfield, prose

“The Voices of the Doomed” by Jim Gish, prose

The winner receives $250 and will be published in the next digital edition as well as the annual print edition. The runners-up and finalists will also be offered publication. To enjoy their works and support great literature and art, consider preordering a print copy of this year’s editions. Shipping to US locations is included in the price.

All the best to this year’s list of outstanding creatives!

Check out Sunspot’s current open calls.

Open Call for novelette-length fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or graphic novel

Ends on July 15, 2022

Sunspot Lit is open for single works of fiction or nonfiction, including scripts and screenplays, from 17,501 to 29,000 words.

Graphic novels should run 25 to 50 pages. 

single poem between 16 and 20 pages is also accepted. 

Story, essay, and poetry collections are not accepted in this category.

Submit here and join the journal changing the world through words and art.

Inception 2022: $250 for Prose, Poetry, Art, Graphic Novel, Script, or Screenplay

Authors and Artists Eligible

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

Meaning, thoughtfulness, emotions, or tone 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 graphic novel strives for the same intent. Openings contain a spark that promises to burn. 

For Sunspot Lit’s current Inception contest, send your best opening. There are no restrictions on theme, category, or the length of the piece or collection from which the excerpt comes. Word limit is 250 for prose, 25 words for poetry.

Graphic novel and comic book entries should be the first page (unlimited number of panels on that page) with a maximum of 250 words (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 in a themed collection, etc. Entries are limited to one image.

Open: July 1, 2022

Close: September 30, 2022

Entry fee: $8.50

Prize: $250 cash plus publication for the winner.

Publication will be offered to runners-up and finalists.

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 two months 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 or Duotrope, but only one piece per submission. Submission files that contain multiple pieces will be disqualified without review. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your piece if it is published elsewhere before the winner is selected.

Closing Soon: $250 for Prose, Poetry, Art, Graphic Novel

Authors & Artists Eligible

Rigel is the brightest star in the Orion constellation. Sunspot Lit is looking for the single piece of writing, art, or poetry that outshines the rest. Winner receives $250 plus publication. No restrictions on theme or category. See guidelines for details on preparing your submission.

Open: April 1, 2022

Close: June 30, 2022

Entry fee: $6

Prize: $250 cash and publication

Enter through Sunspot’s Submittable form or

Duotrope.

Open call for novella-length fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novel

Ends on July 1, 2022

Single works of fiction or nonfiction, including scripts and screenplays, from 29,001 to 49,000 words can be submitted to Sunspot Lit. Graphic novels should run between 51 and 100 pages. 

single poem between 21 and 25 pages is also accepted. 

Story, essay, and poetry collections are not accepted.

Submissions that do not meet these guidelines will be declined without review.

Submit your work here before the deadline.

Feedback for fantasy, paranormal, light sci-fi, contemporary romance, and YA

Sunspot Lit’s capable staff offers feedback on genre fiction, with a particular emphasis on novel excerpts. Angel Leya, coauthor of a USA Today bestseller, specializes in fantasy and paranormal, with experience in light sci-fi, contemporary romance, and YA.

For works up to 5,000 words, you will receive a few paragraphs (about half a single-spaced page) of comments intended to strengthen your work. For works up to 12,500 words, you’ll receive around a full single-spaced page of comments.  

Submissions are capped each month, and the form will shut off once the cap is reached. 

Using this form, submit one story or excerpt. Submit as many times as you like using a new submission form for each story or excerpt.