15 January 2019


Today is the submission deadline for the fabulous February 28, 2019 issue of Electric Spec! Get those stories in by midnight U.S. Mountain Standard Time!

I had an epiphany recently, related to the fiction in our slush pile...
As you probably know, the Electric Spec editors are also authors. This week I've been working on a story for a contest. In the contest rules, the editors give examples of the types of dramatic first lines they desired. I gradually realized they were all 'telling.' The editors didn't use the word 'telling' but that's what they were.
Something about this seemed familiar...

Sure enough, in 2006, I wrote a blog entry Short Story First Lines with a bunch of first lines from award-winning short stories. (Not all the links therein still work. Try American Book Review's Best Novel First Lines, for example, instead.)
A lot of these first lines are 'telling,' as well. Eureka!

Therefore, I can say with confidence: consider telling in your first line!
Of course, here at Electric Spec, we think you should have some showing in your story, as well--but that's another blog post.

Good luck with your submissions!

08 January 2019

epistolary slush

The deadline for the first 2019 issue of Electric Spec is fast approaching: January 15! Get those stories in.

We are working on the slush pile for the issue. Surprisingly, I've read more than one epistolary story this year. An epistolary story is a narrative told via a series of documents. In the old days, these would be letters. Later, newspaper or magazine clippings, book excerpts and/or some combination of all of these, became popular.
Horror has a lovely epistolary tradition including Carrie by Stephen King and Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Nowadays, anything goes. The story could be told via blog posts, texts, tweets, (descriptions of) streaming videos, or whatever else you can imagine. I love the creativity behind these ideas. And many of the high-tech versions lend themselves well to science fiction.

However, I do think it's difficult to evoke an emotional response in a reader via documents. It's particularly difficult with experienced speculative fiction readers (like editors!). Furthermore, many of these epistolary stories utilize surprise endings. Sadly, it's difficult to surprise editors.

So, bottom line: please do send us your epistolary stories.
But make sure they're excellent!

01 January 2019


Welcome to the fourteenth year of Electric Spec! Wow, time flies! As the new year begins many of my writer friends are working on their New Years Resolutions including writing more, submitting more, or creating an effective writing schedule. If you are doing the same: good luck!

A deadline is looming. January 15, 2019 is the submission deadline for the fabulous February 28, 2019 issue of Electric Spec.

We've been working on the slush for the new issue and I'm struck by how crucial story beginnings are. We get hundreds of submissions for each issue, so sometimes editors only read the first page of a story. As a writer I know this isn't fair, but it's pretty common.
Authors need to capture the editor's attention quickly. This can be via a great author voice, snappy dialogue, personable characters, an intriguing plot setup, a unique world, or a host of other methods.
Market does play a part here. Our editors like and dislike certain things. The easiest way to see what we like is to read back issues of the ezine--and lucky for you, they're free!

Resolve to get those stories in! :)

And, oh yeah, Happy New Year!

18 December 2018

Happy Holidays!

From all of us here at Electric Spec to all of you:

See you in 2019!

11 December 2018

so many choices

We're still reveling in the new November 2018 issue of Electric Spec! What's your favorite story? "Undertow" by Mark Bilsborough? "Mission on Nemistat" by Lisa Timpf? "Clinging" by Joe Baumann? "Ugly Earthling" by Kate Sheeran Swed? "Grounded" by Nikki Baird?
So many choices! I can't decide. :)
Bonus question: which author(s) has appeared in Electric Spec before?

And how about that editor interview? Gremlin Editor uncovered a lot of intriguing info!
Bonus question: which editor(s) did not participate? I wonder why...
Feel free to ask a question in the comments for a future interview.

04 December 2018


Hopefully, you've noticed by now, the new issue of Electric Spec is out! Huzzah!

nov 2018 cover

Thank you to all the authors, the cover artist, the tech support folks and all the editors! Yay!

And thank you readers!

27 November 2018

from Author Timpf

One of the great stories we're looking forward to is the science fiction tale "Mission on Nemistat" by Lisa Timpf. She says...

One piece of advice often given to writers is to think about stories they have enjoyed in the past. When I think back the books I most enjoyed as a child growing up in the 1960's, Thornton Burgess's stories about the furred and feathered creatures that lived in the Green Forest and the Smiling Pond rank right up there. I credit Burgess's stories with helping me develop empathy for animals and a deep appreciation of the natural world.

As a teenager reader, I started to enjoy science fiction books, particularly those of Andre Norton and Robert A. Heinlein. Norton and Heinlein remain among my favorite science fiction authors, joined more recently by John Scalzi and Kim Stanley Robinson.

I first started writing and sending out fiction stories after I retired from full-time work in 2014. Many, though by no means all, of my stories have leveraged two of my most-enjoyed reading experiences—science fiction tales and animal stories. "Mission on Nemistat" is my seventh published science fiction story with an animal protagonist.

The inspiration for "Mission on Nemistat" came from thinking about the question of faith--specifically, faith in what we devote ourselves to do, whatever that may be. As one of the characters, Ninja, suggests, doubt isn't necessarily a bad thing if it helps us find the way to a more reflective and deeper commitment to the causes, occupations, and organizations to which we devote ourselves.

I think many of us (if not all) have doubts at some point in time, whether those doubts are about the value of our contributions, the merits of the tasks we do in our jobs, or the causes we commit ourselves to. Hopefully, we can find our way from doubt to a degree of certainty, as our protagonist Star manages to do. To do so can be liberating and energizing, though we must also realize that doubt is seldom banished forever. That's just the way it is.

Perhaps you've found, as I have, that sometimes, it's enough to say, "for now, it's all good." May we all find that peace, from time to time, as we go about our daily lives.

Thanks, Lisa! Very Interesting!