17 September 2019

Slush Suggestions

We, the Electric Spec Editors, have started the first steps to create our notable November issue. Job one is going through slush. Thus, I have some suggestions...
  • Do follow our rules.
    • Submit an rtf file as an attachment.
    • Do include a cover letter.
    • Do include some variant of 'Submission' on the subject line.
  • Consider length. What is the perfect length for your story.
    • Even though we accept flash, it's very difficult to tell a story in less than a thousand words.
    • Editors don't like long stories because it's more work for us.
    • I don't think readers like stories over six thousand words, either. It's a big committment.
  • Make your page one awesome! This includes
    • minimal spelling mistakes,
    • minimal grammar mistakes.
    • Consider an attention-grabbing, possibly telling, first sentence.
    • Make sure your writing is smooth, not awkward.
    Sadly, if page one isn't good...we don't always read to page two.
A very helpful writing tip I received some time ago is: consider reading your work out loud. You can read it to yourself, or someone else can read it to you. This can really pinpoint where a story is working and where it's not. Where does the reader stumble? That might be a grammar problem. Does the story sound smooth? If not, how can you modify it?

Whatever your writing method(s), thank you for submitting your stories! Good luck!

10 September 2019

Keep Learning

I spent the weekend at the 2019 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (rmfw.org) annual conference. It was an amazing and exhausting experience. I got a bunch of great writing-related ideas, from craft to writing-business topics.

I'm not saying you should go to this particular conference, but I am saying: keep learning about writing. You can get this via writing conferences, but they don't need to be big national ones. Many local libraries or colleges have smaller conferences or programs. There are also tons of online resources, including videos, virtual conferences, online writing groups and the like. Of course, there are also lots of awesome books about writing. Figure out what you need to work on and find a book about that.

Reading carefully in your genre is also super helpful. What works? What doesn't? What can you steal, er, borrow, for your work?
No matter how long you've been writing, there's always more to learn...
Good luck learning!

03 September 2019

Awesome August Issue!

We're still enjoying the awesome August 31, 2019 issue of Electric Spec! Awesome! Thanks again, to all the authors. Thanks, Readers!

I think this is one of our most diverse issues, with a large variety of genres.

  • Live Fast, Die Young by J.L. Shioshita
  • A Warrior Still by Shelly Campbell
  • Red Zone by Harry Pauff
  • A Partial Record of the Early Life of Lys by E. Saxey
  • Ten Cents to See the Unicorn by Meredith Morgenstern
  • Editor's Corner Story: Lusca Bait by Minta Monroe

What do you think?

31 August 2019

August issue is live!

The awesome August 31, 2019 issue of Electric Spec is live! Woo hoo!

Thanks so much to all the authors!

Thanks so much to all the Electric Spec staff.

And, especially, thanks so much to all the readers!

Woo hoo!

27 August 2019

from Author Monroe

We're excited to showcase the tale "Lusca Bait" by associate editor Minta Monroe in our awesome August 2019 issue of Electric Spec. The author tells us the following...

One piece of writing advice that has always stuck in my mind is to blend at least two different ideas. Ideas are everywhere, and chances are pretty good that another writer has already written my first idea. But if I take another idea (the more different the better), and twist it into the first idea, then I’m more likely to come up with something unique.

This is what I tried to do with "Lusca Bait."

My first idea for that story was to write about a monster. Hardly an original idea! I went searching for a different type of monster. When I found out about the Caribbean's legendary "lusca," I decided that was what I wanted to write. The lusca gave me the setting, too, but I had no idea what the story would be. I put the idea on hold.

Some time later, a writer from the Oregon coast challenged me to write a story about one of the antiques collected by the somewhat eccentric innkeeper of a haunted hotel. Several tempting ghost stories came to mind, but I tossed them out when I came across a treasure chest, which I’m pretty sure could've belonged to a lusca in another ocean...

Thanks, Minta! Very interesting!
Readers, I'm intrigued, how about you?
Check out all the new stories on August 31, 2019!

20 August 2019

from Author Campbell

We're excited to showcase the fantasy tale "A Warrior Still" by Shelly Campbell in our awesome August 2019 issue of Electric Spec. The author tells us the following...

Like many, I dive into stories to immerse myself into worlds far from my own comfortable living room, in the shoes of someone utterly unlike myself, because—let’s face it—I keep my own shoe collection and day-to-day life fairly bland. A Warrior Still features a main character from an entirely different species. If she wore shoes at all, they’d be horseshoes. My goal was to make her relatable.

Although Morcant is a creature of war from 4th century BC Caledonia, she navigates the common experience of motherhood, the loss of a baby, and piecing together survival beyond both. She’s also a wonderfully unreliable narrator who thinks detachment and killing are her strong suits when she’s hungering for connection, and desperate for something to live for. I loved making her world as realistic and broad as possible while never moving beyond one setting and scene.

Many thanks to Electric Spec for agreeing to publish this story. I hope you enjoy a peek into a mythical alternate history where Alexander the Great still builds his empire in the East, ancient Ireland remains isolated, but inhuman creatures are woven into the fabric of it all, and they’re not so different from us.

Thanks, Shelly! Very interesting!
Readers, I'm intrigued, how about you?
Check out all the new stories on August 31, 2019!

15 August 2019

from Author Morgenstern

We're excited to showcase the fantasy tale "Ten Cents to See the Unicorn" by Meredith Morgenstern in our awesome August 2019 issue of Electric Spec. The author tells us the following...

There are few people in this world that I’m still friends with who knew me back when I still had my natural hair color. But Mariangelica and I have been besties for over 30 years now and, as she likes to say, “We know where each other’s bodies are buried.” Despite our drastically different personalities, backgrounds, and politics, there is no one in my life I trust more than her.

When the summer of 2016 hit Americans (and, dare I say it, the world?) like an 18-wheeler, Mari took me on a road trip. I needed it. She knew I needed it. I had just spent the better part of the previous 18 months reeling with an alphabet of emotional and behavioral diagnoses for my then-7YO. In addition to the stress that divided my country, I suddenly had to help a first grader adjust to yet another new school (his third school in less than a year because we’d just moved), put him on meds, drive him and his 3YO brother half an hour each way to therapy once a week, and self-educate on IEPs and therapeutic toys. How could I be the best parent possible for his needs? What did he need from ME? Was he going to be OK?

I needed self-care and, as much as I love my children more than life itself, I needed a break. So while we were in Miami visiting my parents anyway, Mari shoved me into a car and drove four hours, non-stop, to Universal Studios, Orlando. Did I mention that I had also broken my foot a week before? Yep. She spent two whole days pushing me around in my wheelchair and only occasionally bumping me into people, mostly not on purpose. In Florida. In August. Uphill both ways.

Everyone needs a friend like that.

A story about a special needs child and a unicorn had been bouncing around my brain for a while, and that trip gave me the structure I’d been looking for. If the two of us can be friends, if she could be there for me in ways no one else could, if she was my Person with a capital P, then maybe two characters like us could help a fictional child with special needs get a happily ever after. If we could find a way to still be friends despite the world telling us we should be enemies, then maybe others could, too. Optimism doesn’t come naturally to me – I’m usually a horror writer – but yeah, I just said that. It’s Mari’s influence.

The story is set during the Great Depression because I enjoy historical fiction and that era seemed to fit the themes of my story: swindlers, bad luck, desperation, overcoming impossible odds, and of course, unicorns. Because if anyone deserves a unicorn, it’s those who keep getting beat down yet rise up to fight another day again and again…with a little help from their friends.

And by the way? My special needs kid is now almost 11, and he’s happy, healthy, and thriving better than ever.

Thanks for sharing, Meredith! Great backstory.
Readers, I'm intrigued, how about you?
Check out all the new stories on August 31, 2019!