Tag Archives: journal

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Works should be unpublished except on a personal blog or website.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.

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.

Closing Soon: $500 for a Single Word

Prize: $500 and Publication

For the 2020 edition of the Single Word contest, Sunspot is handing the megaphone over to authors and artists. Submit the single word you feel is the most important in today’s world.

You’ll have 1,000 words to describe why using any form of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. If you feel the word speaks for itself, your description can simply state that fact.

Artwork is also accepted for this prize. Submit one image and up to 250 words describing the artwork’s relationship to the single word.

Since English doesn’t always convey exact shades of meaning, the word you select can be in any language. A definition written in English will be required, and the definition will count toward the total word count of the description. The description must also be in English.

For the first edition of this contest in 2019, the prize was $50. In 2020, the prize has increased to $500.

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. 

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.

Entry fee is $10.

Opens January 1, 2020. 

Closes March 31, 2020 at midnight EST.

Selected as one of Reedsy’s Best Writing Contests in 2019. Reedsy Best Contest

Closing Soon: Open Call from Sunspot Lit

Since launching in January of 2019, Sunspot has amplified multinational voices from around the world. The pSLJFrontublication is accepting fiction, poetry, nonfiction, scripts, screenplays, photography, and art until November 30. Translations and extremely long-form pieces are accepted. Submit here or visit the website here.

Single Word Writing Contest Offers $500

postcard-1197664_1920For the 2020 edition of the Single Word contest, Sunspot is handing the megaphone over to you. Submit the single word you feel is the most important in today’s world.

You’ll have 1,000 words to describe why using any form of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. If you feel the word speaks for itself, your description can simply state that fact.

Since English doesn’t always convey exact shades of meaning, the word you select can be in any language. A definition written in English will be required, and the definition will count toward the total word count of the description. The description must also be in English.

For the first edition of this contest in 2019, the prize was $50. In 2020, the prize is being increased to $500.
In addition to receiving the cash prize, the winner will be published. Select finalists will have the chance to be published.

Enter as many times as you like. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your piece if it is published elsewhere before the winner is selected. Deadline is March 31, 2020.

Sunspot Preorders Deadline

Priorities.jpgSunspot’s annual edition is being laid out now. The cover image is Kit Alloway’s “Priorities,” seen here. The print and electronic versions should become available at bookstores and online retailers in mid- to late November.

You can preorder copies through a dedicated form on the Submittable page or by contacting us at SunspotLit@gmail.com. Preorders will include shipping costs to US addresses.

For foreign addresses, you can add a tip on the Submittable page. Use the $15 level for a single copy. Contact us through email to order more than one copy for a single foreign address, and we’ll calculate the best postage price.

Preorders close October 31, 2019. Print sales help fund the magazine’s expenses throughout the year. Please share the preorder link or consider ordering extra copies as gifts.

Sunspot Editor’s Prize 2019

Sunspot Literary Journal’s annual edition provides for an Editor’s Prize for one contributor. This year, the selection was contributed by Kerry Muir. “Running on Moontime,” a short play, grabbed us with its depth and humor.

Kerry received $50 and a call-out line in the annual edition. To which she said, “OMG, OMG!!!! Laine, thank you so much, that’s incredible! (Beauty pageant fluttering hands, mascara tears….)”

So, you see why we liked her piece.

Keep Art Alive

Fall 2019 Front Cover-page-0Sunspot Literary Journal publishes five times per year. Four of those editions are free digital version that are available on the website. One is their annual print edition, which is distributed to booksellers around the world.

Sunspot speaks truth to power by using the power of every voice. In their first year, they’ve produced essays by a woman writing about life in the Jim Crow South, an interview with a Ugandan forced to become a child soldier, stories about breaking free from abuse, Daliesque fiction, and art from emerging and established creators.

You can help change the world through words and art. Consider running an ad in the newsletter or magazine, purchasing a copy of the 2019 annual edition (currently available only for preorder), sending a contribution through Paypal, or filling the tip jar on Submittable.

Sunspot Issue 3 Free Download

Once Sunspot Lit opened up to even longer works than before, writers sent in spectacular stories ranging from flash up to novella length. So, just in time for fall, the digital edition has doubled in size over the first two quarters. Thanks to all our creative contributors for making that happen!

Our dedication to opening up the journal to worldwide audiences continues with two special dual-language presentations.

First up is a story called “Other People’s Land.” Originally produced by a Tahitian publisher, here it’s presented in Fench and as an English translation. Both the author Claudine Jacques and translator Patricia Worth were instrumental in pulling together both versions as well as arranging permission from Au vent des îles.

Second is our first nonfiction piece in the form of an interview. Opwonya Innocent was born in a time of great civil unrest in Uganda. Abducted at the age of ten, he was forced to become a child soldier in a rebel force known as the Lord’s Resistance Army. Coauthor Kevin McLaughlin facilitated a conversation between Sunspot and Opwonya. The interview is presented in English and the Luo language of Opwonya’s people.

Visit Sunspot’s website to download the free edition. You can also leave a tip to help keep art alive through the Paypal link of the primary funding source, or through the Submittable tip jar.

Paying Market for Artists, Photographers

art-1867899_1920Sunspot Literary Journal has begun paying for artwork or photos used on its cover.

The cover is selected from the pool of submissions accepted for publication every quarter.

Once a year, the magazine produces a print version. One of the pieces of art published in that year’s editions is selected as that cover. It might be one already used as a digital cover, or it might be a different one.

So, your accepted artwork has two opportunities to be selected for a cover. And yes, if the same piece is selected twice, two payments will be made.

The payment is currently $20. Sunspot will add payments for all contributors, and increase the amount of those payments, as funding grows.

Check out their website, or head over to Submittable to send in a piece of art or a photograph.

$100 for 100 Words Contest Results

Hundreds of submissions poured into Sunspot Lit for the first $100 for 100 Words contest. Fiction entries ranged from literary to genre pieces (heavy on sci-fi this time, which always sparks the editor’s personal pleasure). Nonfiction prose offered thoughtful commentary on society and relationships, lyric essays, howls that burned down the houses of power, and bright, compact ideas. Poetry was of course well represented.

Many of the entries ran up to the word count limit. A handful made clever use of the title to enhance the work by setting place, time, tone, or other important elements. A surprising amount used less than half the allowed word count, and some of those shot to the top of the list.

The finalists are, in no particular order:

  • Melinda Winograd for “Suitable Match”
  • A.D. Conner for “Whiskey Mermaid”
  • Thomas Boos for “The Bar at the Bottom of the Hill”
  • Lory Saiz for “In the Dark: A Micro Essay on Black Sails’ James Flint and the Gay Villain Trope”
  • Bob Thurber for “The Shovelers”
  • Judith Ralston Ellison for “Zapped by Electricity”
  • Pamela Sumners for “Love Poem”
  • Jesse Sensibar for “Plow in the Sky”
  • Jodee Stanley for “November”
  • Mary-Chris Hines for “As a God”
  • Claudia Reed for “The End of the World?”
  • Julie Goldberg for “We Can Get Another Balloon”

Generating this list from the hundreds of quality entries was like picking a path through a patch of thorns. Many of the pieces that did not make this list still have their hooks deep in flesh and refuse to let go. We hope that the authors of those works will consider submitting through the regular process so we can scoop up new treasures for our readers.

The first-place winner is Pamela Sumners for “Love Poem.” Her piece used the word-count limit to its fullest extent without pushing the boundary unnecessarily.

Pamela is a constitutional and civil rights attorney from Alabama. Her work has been published or recognized by thirty journals and publishers over the last two years. She was included in Halcyon/Black Mountain Press’ 64 Best Poets and had been nominated for 2019’s 50 Best Poets. She was nominated for a Pushcart prize in 2018. She now lives in St. Louis with her wife, son, and three rescue dogs.

Her slim ninety-four words start warm, pour on a disturbing heat, then spill blood before looping back into a cool, almost arctic end.

Look for the poem in the next edition of Sunspot. Just take care that you don’t get hurt.

Sunspot Lit Free Summer Edition Available

Sunspot Lit has a lot to offer for your summer reading list. Check out the image contest winner and runner-up, and read the powerful and unique entries that ranked at the top of the Single Word: C*nt Edition contest.

This quarter, we present a story in the original Italian and in its English translation. Many thanks to author Piero Schiavo-Campo and translator Sarah Jane Webb for working with us to bring this story to light. “The Doll” and “La bambola” approach Vienna’s expressionist period from the viewpoint of an artist to tell a tale of “morbid jealousy and furious rage.”

Sunspot Lit Image Contest Winner

Sunspot Literary Journal reached out to the creative community for an image that represented the journal’s mission: Hearing Every Voice, Writing a New World.
The magazine received a number of spectacular entries. The final judging round turned out to be very difficult. The works varied in tone and approach, and each had so much to offer.
Timothy Boardman submitted the winning image. Timothy describes himself as predominantly a fine arts artist and printmaker with some design sensibilities who’s currently a student at UNCG in North Carolina. Here are his thoughts on the image:
“The center of the image is a gradient based sun, very simple, with a series of sunspots placed on the logo. The encircling white around the sun in this design are representative of the light, [Sunspot Lit’s] light, emanating from these sunspots, and giving voice to all. The slogan, ‘It’s Lit’ is a somewhat humorous, witty use of wordplay to represent your literary focus, while also being very straightforward about who you are as a literary journal. … I also noticed your website uses a lot of oranges, yellows, and whites, so I used them as the dominating color choices for the design.”
Timothy received the cash prize of $40 and Sunspot’s undying adoration. The image will appear in newsletters, on SunspotLit.com, and in the journal’s publications.

Fantastic Books to Help the Environment

You really have to see TREE and RIVER, both from Blotter Books, an imprint of The Blotter literary magazine. Each title contains a poem that has been lavishly illustrated by members of the Orange County artists’ community.

$25 each; available in Chapel Hill / Carrboro at the North Carolina Crafts Gallery, the Botanical Gardens, FRANK Gallery, and indie bookstore Flyleaf Books.

Online orders, contact m_k_smith@yahoo.com.  If you order online, the shipping is free!

Sunspot Lit and Other Opportunities

Sunspot Literary Journal got a boost from Submittable​ this week in their listing of opportunities for writers and artists. Thanks!

V1 I1 March 2019 Cover Image