short stories

Call for Submissions: Silence is Golden (BDSM Erotica)

Silence is Golden
To be published by Sexy Little Pages
Deadline: April 22, 2016

someone is unable to speak, how do they communicate with their
partner? If a sub or Dom can’t hear well in crowds but loves to play at
parties, what mechanisms are in place to ensure everyone stays safe?

just gags and sensory deprivation! We’re looking for contemporary
kink-inspired tales encompassing a range of diverse characters and
intense, sexy storylines about communication, that make us squirm in
our seat. Tell us about every body, not just white, cis and able. Make
your stories hot with your characters reflecting real people across the
spectrum of size, colour, gender and ability.

Deadline 22nd April 2016. Word count 4000-6000. New writers welcome.

read our full guidelines at for
how to submit your story (and a few things we are and aren’t looking

Questions? EMail: [email protected] 

Common Tropes Editors Wish Would Curl Up And Die

Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica,
erotic romance, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her
husband, son, and three cats. Visit her web
, her Facebook page, and her Amazon
Author Page


Let’s play a game. You’ve written what you think is The Most Unique And
Exciting Story In The World, and you want to send it to a magazine or an
anthology submission call. You do exactly that and wait eager – and anxiously –
for over a month to get either an acceptance or a rejection. An acceptance will
be met with many congratulations and toasts with champagne – and pinches to
make sure you’re really awake.

A rejection, which deep in the back of your mind you may actually suspect
you will get because you are a writer and you may thrive on disappointment, will
leave you devastated. Or you’ll shrug it off and send your magnum opus
elsewhere. It’s a toss-up.

Rinse and repeat.

While you play the “hurry up and wait” game, you may wonder
how unique your story really is? Chances are, its theme has been seen before in
many different incarnations. Editors run into the same old stories all the
time. They often talk of common tropes that leave them guessing the plot and
ending before they even finish reading your submission. There are some tropes
many editors wish would never cross their desks. Those tropes should be buried
and the ground sown with salt.

Here are some examples of those kinds of common and tired tropes. First
up, here is a list of subjects Bartleby
Snopes Literary Magazine managing editor Nathaniel Tower is tired of seeing in
lit magazine submissions

Death Endings – For the love of everything
that is sacred about literature, stop killing off characters in violent or
sentimental fashion in order to achieve an ending. Characters die in
approximately 12% of the submissions we receive. 99% of these deaths are
pointless and make the story worse. Character death is not a substitute for a
satisfactory conclusion.

Opening with sex or masturbation – Nothing
turns me off faster than a story that opens with a masturbation or sex scene.
I’m all about being thrown directly into a scene, but sometimes there needs to
be some literary foreplay. If there’s an erect penis in the opening line of the
story, I probably don’t want to read it. Interestingly enough, these stories
are almost never sexy.

Sentimental cancer stories – Yes, nearly
everyone has been affected in some way by cancer. I’ve had family members die
of cancer. It’s been at least five years since anyone said anything new with a
cancer story.

Stories that open with light streaming
through the window – How many stories can begin with some type of light
bursting forth through a hunk of glass? Apparently there is no limit. At least
15% of stories contain some type of light coming through something in the
opening paragraph. There are often dust motes thrown in there for good measure.
Please, no more dust motes.

Stories that begin with someone coming out of
a dream or end with someone realizing it was all a dream – You’d
think that all dream stories would have been banned from the universe by
now. It seems as if many writers haven’t gotten the memo. I’ll personally kill
the next character that wakes up from a dream at the beginning of a story. And
ending with a dream? Well, that’s even worse. You might as well just call the
story “Nothing Happened At All” and leave the rest of the document blank.

Alzheimer’s stories – Like cancer stories,
only worse. These writers all pretend they understand exactly what it’s like to
have Alzheimer’s. The worst offenders are those stories told in first person
from the point of view of the Alzheimer’s patient. If I could forget one thing,
it would be Alzheimer’s stories.

Cheating significant other stories – Whether
the cheater is a man or a woman, these stories generally pack as much punch as
an empty bottle of sugar-free Hawaiian Punch. There’s almost always a scene
where someone is packing a suitcase, as if we’re supposed to feel some sort of
relief at this newfound freedom from the tormented relationship. The only
relief is when the story ends.

Machinegun bonus – Here’s a quick list of
other things I’ve seen way too much of:

Devil/God stories

Bar/diner stories

References to Nietzsche

Abuse stories

Stories of thwarted creative genius

Bad things happening to trust fund kids

This is a portion of a list of stories seen too often by Strange
Horizons, an online speculative fiction
. It is helpful in that it can steer you away from what
you may not suspect are common tropes. Please visit this web page often since
the list is updated and changed on occasion. Also visit the page now anyway,
since this is a very long list. The examples below are only a small part of it.

Creative person is having trouble creating.

Weird things happen, but it turns out they’re
not real, like in a dream. (There’s that dream thing again.)

Technology and/or modern life turn out to be

A place is described, with no plot or

A “surprise” twist ending occurs.
The “surprise” is often predictable, hence no longer a

A princess has been raped or molested by her
father (or stepfather), the king.

The narrator and/or male characters in the
story are bewildered about women, believing them to conform to any of the
standard stereotypes about women: that they’re mysterious, wacky, confusing,
unpredictable, changeable, temptresses, etc.

Teen’s family doesn’t understand them.

Twee little fairies with wings fly around
being twee.

Christine Morgan has written horror, fantasy, erotica, and thrillers.
She has also edited numerous anthologies, including “Fossil Lake”,
“Teeming Terrors” and “Grimm Black”, “Grimm Red”,
and “Grimm White”. Her list includes some other common tropes:

Child characters that do not behave/sound
like kids! I’ve seen too many otherwise good authors present a child character
as if they’ve never even been around children in their lives.

The above can also apply to animals, or any
other different/differing perspective. In fantasy or sci fi, urban fantasy,
horror, whatever; if you’re going to give me a non-human race, then that’s what
I want to see played up, the differences, the exoticness; don’t just make ’em
humans with special effects makeup.

Any of the overdone sexism tropes: fridging,
smurfette syndrome, automatic love interest, passive prize women, etc. That
should go without saying but the fact it still so often needs to be said is
almost more annoying.

Fridging (I
think the term came from crime dramas and thrillers, where the body was found
in a fridge or freezer or something) is what they call it when someone, usually
a female character, is killed to motivate the male character … most recent
example that pissed me off was when I watched Thor: Dark World, when the easiest way to get Thor and Loki to work
together was to kill Frigga.

Syndrome is what I’ve heard it when you’ve got your group of characters, each
of whom is characterized by some trope or type … the jock, the nerd, the
weirdo … and the girl … because that alone is enough of an identifying
quality, right?

love interest is when a female character is added to the cast or in the story
and the main focus is only to be which guy gets her. My own beloved Gargoyles did some of that with Angela,
when, the moment she appeared, all that mattered was who she’d end up with. It’s
related to the passive prize woman thing, where the primary purpose of having a
female character at all is so the hero has something to win or gets the girl at
the end, whether anything else in the story had led up to it or not.

Radclyffe is an American author of lesbian romance, paranormal romance,
erotica, and mystery. She has authored multiple short stories, fan fiction, and
edited numerous anthologies. Here are a few themes/character notes/plot-lines
that seem overused in submissions she has seen:

who are relationship-phobic because they were cheated on. While this may be
crushing at the time, most people do not swear off love and/or sex forever
because of an unfaithful gf/bf/spouse etc. 

who are unavailable because they are mourning a dead spouse (while tragic in
real life, and I’ve used this storyline myself :), it’s getting to be

YA’s – along
those lines: dying teens as main characters

main characters (snarky, petty, narcissistic) – not the same as
arrogant, confident, alpha

International settings no one
would want to visit on a good day

Fantasy/sci-fi characters with
incomprehensible names

veiled morality tales (or social/political polemics). Write an essay or op ed

Fault in Our Stars clones

where one character dies (might be a great story, but it’s not a

BDSM novels
with no BDSM scenes (seen the movie?)

where the villain is declared insane and justice is NOT served

So there you have
it. Now you are armed with examples of what to not submit. Expand your mind,
avoid those kinds of tropes, and create something that may truly be The Most
Unique And Exciting Story In The World.


Author’s Note: My
story Infection appears in the
aforementioned TeemingTerrors. My story Black As Ebony,
White As Snow
shall soon appear in Grimm
. Both books are edited by Christine Morgan. My short erotic story Like A Breath Of Ocean Blue shall soon
appear in Best Lesbian Romance 2015,
edited by Radclyffe.

A Halloween Old Wives Tale – Inspiration For Fiction

Elizabeth Black
writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, and dark fiction.
She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and four cats.
Visit her web site, her Facebook
page, and her Amazon Author Page.


In two more days, it
will be my favorite holiday – Halloween. I’ve always enjoyed urban legends and
old wives tales, and there are plenty associated with Halloween. My favorite
one is a creepy, romantic exercise you do on Halloween at the stroke of midnight
to determine who your husband will be if you are a single, straight woman. If
you choose to try it out, this is the midnight going into Halloween, not the
midnight ending Halloween going into All Soul’s Day (Nov. 1). People have made
that mistake in the past. I’ve known about this old wives tale since I was a
child. When I was a 19 year old college student, I decided to put that tale to
the test.

Here are the
details. You may want to try it out for kicks if you’re a single, straight
woman. I suppose divorced, straight women may try it out as well. Maybe there’s
an updated version for GLBT, too. All I know is that this applies to unmarried

Get an apple, a hair
brush, and a candle. You’ll need to have privacy in a room in front of a
mirror. Go into the room of your choice and stand in front of the mirror. Light
the candle. By candlelight while looking in the mirror at the stroke of
midnight on Halloween, brush your hair and eat the apple at the same time.

You should see the
face of your future spouse materialize in the mirror.

It was the day
before Halloween in 1979. I was living on campus at college. I remembered that
old wives tale mid-day, and told my roommate about it. Neither of us were married
or dating anyone at the time – well, I wasn’t dating anyone even remotely appropriate
– so we decided to give it a try. We went to the grocery store and picked up
two apples, a candle, and some matches.  I waited for midnight with great anticipation.
About five minutes before the witching hour, I went into the bathroom with my gear
and turned off the light. I lit the candle. Shadows cast across the walls and
ceiling, and it was very quiet.

The prickly things
ran up and down my spine in excitement and fear. I was ready.

I looked in the
mirror as I ate the apple and brushed my hair, waiting to see a face. At
midnight, the only thing I could see in the mirror was my distorted reflection
from staring for too long and from ambient candlelight. I gave up, figuring
I’ll probably never get married, and left the bathroom. My roommate tried it
but it was past midnight and she saw nothing. We brushed it off as silliness
and went to bed.

Later that morning, on Halloween, I woke up past the time to get up for my first class of the day. I
looked at my clock and had a severe shock. It had stopped at midnight! I swear
I’m not making this up. I had no idea what that meant, but it couldn’t possibly
be good. I woke her up and showed her the clock. We were quite spooked by the
whole thing and told all our friends about it. It provided a few days of
amusing chatter but then we quickly forgot about it.

As it turns out, my
first marriage was a total disaster. I divorced him and I’ve since gotten over
that mess. I choose to think of my Halloween adventure and that clock stopping
at midnight as a warning I did not heed. I’m currently married to my soulmate,
and things are going very well for us.

This old wives tale
inspired my short erotic story “The Face In The Mirror”. The
anthology in which it appeared is sadly out of print, but I will dust it off,
rewrite it, and republish it next year.

Have you been inspired by legends and old wives tales in your writing?

Another version of
this old wives tale is to take that apple and peel it in a single strip. Toss
the strip over your left shoulder. These peels will spell out the initials of
your future husband.

So… if you are
single, do you dare try this little game at the stroke of midnight on
Halloween? Or are you chicken? Bwahahahaha!

May – National Short Story Month

Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of
genres including erotica, erotic romance, and dark fiction. She lives on the
Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and four cats.

I hope you spent May reading as many short stories as
possible, since National Short Story Month is coming to a close. According to
Good Fit For Today’s Little Screens: Short Stories“,
the short story is experiencing a resurgence in popularity primarily due to
ebook releases of anthologies in all genres.

While I enjoy reading and writing novels, there is a special
place in my heart for short stories. I have loved short stories since I was a
child since they were like potato chips – I could devour them quickly, and I
couldn’t stop at just one. I liked Edgar Allan Poe and O. Henry. I cut my teeth on ghost legends when I was a
pre-teen. I could never get enough of Hans Holzer and Elliott O’Donnell’s tales
of hauntings. To this day, I’m a sucker for a good ghost story. I’m a huge dark
fiction fan. Toss a Gothic romance on top of a thrilling, spooky tale and I’m
in literary Heaven.

I’m on several “open call” groups on Facebook that
announce submission calls for short stories in science fiction, fantasy, and
horror. I also keep tabs on the ERWA web site, various Facebook pages, and
Duotrope for erotic anthology submission calls. Amazon created its Kindle
Singles program in 2011 to take advantage of this craze. While the Science
Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America defines a short story as being no more
than 7,500 words, most short story lengths I’ve seen in submission calls are
approximately 5,000 words.

I believe a short story is harder to write than a novella or
novel because every little word counts. Short story writing is a skill that
requires practice. While it may be tempting to wax eloquent with exposition,
such meandering takes up valuable space in a short story that may be put to
better use. You can get away with lengthy, vivid descriptions and running off on
tangents in novels that you can’t pull off in a short story. Therefore, the
short story makes for an excellent writing exercise. You must focus on the main
point you wish to convey, and stick with it to write a solid and interesting
short story.

Here are some short
story writing tips:

1. Work your way backwards. Know your ending before you begin.
That way you won’t find yourself writing a lengthy introduction that leaves
little room for the meat of your story.

2. Write whatever comes to mind. You can prune later. This
tip applies to all writing, but it is especially pertinent to short story
writing. Pruning may become essential. You may find that as you write, your
story really doesn’t get moving until several pages in. You’ll know you need to
prune quite of bit of what falls before that point.

3. Keep track of anthology calls, and have several short
stories going at once. Keep them in circulation until they find a publisher.
Publish as many short stories as you can each year to keep your name out there.

4. Take risks. Write a character study. Write the same story
several times, but from the point of view of different characters. Try
different writing styles and different genres. Move outside your comfort zone,
and see if you can pull it off. Think outside the box!

5. Read lots of short stories. There are many wonderful
collections out there waiting for your hot little hands to hold them. Try the
Mammoth Books of Best Erotica, Asimov’s, Xcite Books short story collections,
Clarkesworld, Cleis Press short story collections. Read modern erotica and
classics. Enjoy all sort of different styles of short stories, and learn from
them at the same time.


Why are short stories
so appealing? Here are some reasons:

* They’re a quick nibble for busy people who don’t want to
take the time to read a lengthy novel. Most short stories can be read within
two hours.

* Instant gratification.

* Anthologies give you many short stories to choose from.

* You may discover a new author with a short story.

* Authors may test-run unfamiliar publishers by publishing a
short story with them.

* Individual short story prices in ebook form are less
expensive than the price of a novel.

* They are easy to read on small screens.

* New writers may build their reputations on short stories,
which take much less time to write than novels.

* Releasing a short story several times per year helps
readers keep up to date with writers they enjoy without having to wait several
years in between novels. In other words, publishing short stories keep writers
relevant and in the spotlight.

* Writing short stories help writers become concise and
clear. Every word counts, so the writer must eliminate mistakes writers may
make such as too much exposition and not sticking to the main point of the
story without getting lost in unrelated tangents.


Some Erotic Short
Story Anthologies

Serving Him: Stories Of Submission

Women’s Best Erotica series (This is the link to 2010)

Aqua Erotica

Like A Wisp Of Steam: Steampunk Erotica

Mammoth Book Of Best New Erotica series (This is the link to
#11, 2013 edition)

Best Lesbian Erotica series (This is the link to 2013)

Numerous short stories in “The Decameron” by
Boccaccio (Sexy Short Stories Of Love, Lust, Adventure, and Misfortune)



Elizabeth Black
writes erotica, erotic romance, speculative fiction, fantasy, and dark fiction.
She also enjoys writing erotic retellings of classic fairy tales. Born and bred
in Baltimore, she grew up under the influence of Edgar Allan Poe. Her erotic
fiction has been published by Xcite Books (U. K.), Circlet Press, Ravenous
Romance, Scarlet Magazine (U. K.), and other publishers. Her dark fiction has
appeared in “Kizuna: Fiction For Japan”, “Stupefying
Stories”, “Midnight Movie Creature Feature 2”, “Zippered
Flesh 2: More Tales Of Body Enhancements Gone Bad”, and “Mirages:
Tales From Authors Of The Macabre”. An accomplished essayist, she was the
sex columnist for the pop culture e-zine nuts4chic (also U. K.) until it folded
in 2008. Her articles about sex, erotica, and relationships have appeared in Seduced Sex Toys, Good Vibrations Magazine, Alternet, CarnalNation, the Ms. Magazine Blog, Sexis
Magazine, On The Issues, Sexy Mama Magazine, and Circlet blog. She also writes
sex toys reviews for several sex toys companies.

In addition to
writing, she has also worked as a gaffer (lighting), scenic artist, and make-up
artist (including prosthetics) for movies, television, stage, and concerts. She
worked as a gaffer for “Die Hard With A Vengeance” and “12
Monkeys”. She did make-up, including prosthetics, for “Homicide: Life
On The Street”. She is especially proud of the gunshot wound to the head
she had created with makeup for that particular episode. She also worked as a
prosthetic makeup artist specializing in cyanotic blue, bruises, and buckets of
blood for a test of Maryland’s fire departments at the Baltimore/Washington
International Airport plane crash simulation test. Yes, her jobs are fun.

She lives in
Lovecraft country on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and four
cats. The ocean calls her every day, and she always listens. She has yet to run
into Cthulhu.

Visit her web
site at

Her Facebook
page is

Follow her at

A Novel Journey

By Lucy Felthouse

A while ago, I posted about breaking out of my comfort zone. What I meant was that I’ve been so used to writing short stories that penning anything longer scared me. I broke out of this by writing a novella, which was published earlier this year. I’ve now broken out of it again by starting to write a novel, something I’ve been talking about for a very long time, but hadn’t gotten around to.

Well now I have. I’m almost halfway through Stately Pleasures (working title) and so far I’m enjoying it very much. I have someone reading it chapter by chapter, and they’re enjoying it too – so hopefully I’m writing a good book! I keep taking breaks here and there to write short stories for calls for submissions, or for ones I’m contracted to do, but I’m still adding onto the word count whenever I can.

Before I started writing, I planned the book out, chapter by chapter, and wrote mini biographies for each of the main characters. The characters have stayed pretty much the same, but chapters have altered. I’m finding that I surprise myself as I write – something one of the characters says or does, or something that happens. But providing it fits in with the story and where it’s going, I just roll with it. I was worried about sticking to the plan, but novelists I’ve spoken to have said that they rarely stick to the plan, it’s just there to keep them on track. So I figure it’s not a problem.

So, I’m on my novel journey, finally! I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll finish it, I’m very stubborn and I like to finish things. But whether it’ll get published is another matter altogether. I’ll keep you posted…


Lucy is a graduate of the University of Derby, where she studied Creative Writing. During her first year, she was dared to write an erotic story – so she did. It went down a storm and she’s never looked back. Lucy has had stories published by Cleis Press, Constable and Robinson, Decadent Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Evernight Publishing, House of Erotica, Ravenous Romance, Resplendence Publishing, Sweetmeats Press and Xcite Books. She is also the editor of Uniform Behaviour, Seducing the Myth, Smut by the Sea and Smut in the City. Find out more at Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at:

Her latest release is Raising the Bar, from Decadent Publishing.

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica


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