Here are some quick links to my most popular posts!

The Total Beginner’s Guide to Submitting Short Fiction for Publication

How to finish and format your stories, find markets that want to read them, and send them out in ways that make you look and feel professional.

Poetry and Prose Pieces for Forensics Competition

Stories and poems from serious to humorous, listed by category and reading time, for class, competition, or just reading aloud.

Magazine Art and Illustration Markets for Cover Artists and Illustrators

Some of the many fiction magazines looking for artists and illustrators for their cover art, banner art, and illustrations, both reprints and originals.

You might also be interested in my published works, my book cover designs, or my contact information. Thanks for stopping by!

Every year around the holidays, Rhonda Parrish, who is awesome, runs Giftmas: a month-long short-story fest that raises money for the Edmonton Food Bank. Yesterday’s offering was Spider by Jennifer Lee Rossman, a story about “orphaned kids who live in a junkyard, a girl with an awesome wheelchair, and FIGHTING ROBOTS!!!!” Which, I mean. Is so cool. Go read it.

This story originally appeared in 10Flash in July 2010, and is also about hardscrabble siblings, but it does not include fighting robots, and now that seems like kind of an oversight.

If you enjoy it, you can check out all the stories here, visit Lizz Donnelly tomorrow for another great story, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for great prizes, and help feed Edmonton.


Things That Matter
Amanda C. Davis

My brother Rory hunched in the mouth of our cave and cut a groove in his index finger, like a spiral, from nail to base. He crooked it like a crescent moon and looked it over for a while; then he grinned at me and licked off all the blood.

I said, “Why did you do that?”

“Because it’s snowing,” he replied. “It’s really important.”

He does this every year. We ran out of plastic bandages so long ago I can barely remember using them, but our box of books is still plenty full. I tore out page 130 of The Lovely Bones to wrap around his finger. He took it off before he went hunting, though. I burned the paper in the fire, blood and all.

When Rory came back after checking the traps, he had three birds in his hands and one on his head, turned inside-out, a red cone with dirty white feathers entwining with the black of his hair.

I made him take it off, but he made me leave it by the fire while we plucked the others and set their meat to boiling. He kept looking at it like he wanted to put it back on. I combed the blood and feathers out of his hair. He twitched under my fingers.

“Somebody is supposed to wear it,” he insisted, and since he’s seven years older and was around before the New Winter I didn’t argue.

We strung up his inside-out bird-hat to dry for sinew. Its meat wasn’t good by then anyway.

At sunset, he took the hat-bird’s boiled-off bones and stood them alongside each other like trees, and he wrapped them each in paper, and he lit them each on fire, one after another, until he had nine little white sticks smoking side by side.

The smoke wasn’t so bad, so I let them go until they burnt out. He watched them the whole time. When the one in the middle went out he said, “That’s not right,” and relit it. He smiled to see them all lit in a row. That was nice to see. He doesn’t smile much.

After dark fell and there was nothing left to do but sleep, he took me far, far up the mountain, and pointed out at the pinpricks of fire below. “That’s where the city was,” he said. He used to do it all the time–every night, almost–but now he only brings me here when it snows.

“You should have seen the lights,” said Rory.

He took one of his dull brown coins from his pocket, those things he carries around that have been useless almost my whole life, and rubbed it between his gloved fingers until it got back a little bit of shine. He handed it to me.

I said, “Thank you.”

He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the metal in my hand. I rubbed it a little more, wishing I’d seen it when it was as bright as Rory says it used to be. Then I gave it back.

He clenched it hard in his palm, and then he started to cry.

He gets like this sometimes.

I gave him a hug. He’s much taller than me, so he hunched over to put his face into my shoulder. “It’s so important,” he said, into my scarf. “It used to be so important…to do this stuff, and do it right, right now, when it snows….”

I said, “We don’t do it anymore, and we’re still alive. So it must not have mattered that much.”

“It mattered a lot,” he mumbled through the wool. “You don’t remember.”

I hate when he says that, because I suspect he’s right: that there were things before the New Winter that I don’t understand and will never see, and that they really were important, not just in my brother’s messed-up brain but for real. I don’t like to think about a world where his dull brown coins were worth something, where people had to light bird-bones in a row every year when it snowed. I liked this world, no matter how cold or empty.

Rory sniffed back his shudders. “Let me show you something.”

Down the hill he pulled me to an evergreen tree. He had chopped down all the brush around it so that it stood alone with its branches heavy with snow. He gave it a shake, and the snow fell away.

“See how beautiful?” he said.

It was, it really was, lit by his lantern and the moon.

“Now watch,” he said.

He opened his lantern and held it to the lowest dead branch.

Fire took hold along the lower boughs and tickled up the trunk. Orange flame danced with green prickles that curled and blackened. The light was blinding against the dark forest. The green tree flickered into brilliant yellow.

He stood back with me, smiling. “This is the most important part.”

“What?” I said, pulling back. “Burning down a tree, or freezing to death?”

His brow crumpled. “No.” He took my hand: his in an old plastic glove worn nearly to shreds, mine in clean rabbit fur I made myself. “The important part is watching it together.”

“Oh,” I said.

He smiled and squeezed my hand. “You should have seen it in the city.”

We held hands and thought about a long-dead world with rows of bird-bones in real glass windows, strange hats in the winter, and pine trees that shone like torches in the cities where people used to be. The pine tree blazed and my brother stood calm. Strange things to long for in the snow…but his hand warmed my hand, and his smile shone. Maybe Rory had fixed his brain on something worth remembering after all.


Like this story? Say it with food.

More stories to read, here:

Craving something longer? The Lair of the Twelve Princesses is a 9000-word sword-and-sorcery novelette, available now at Smashwords or Amazon.


Everybody Knows Vampires Are Dead

by Amanda C. Davis


You are so totally over vampires, you tell everyone, just totally over them, and then one afternoon, on a stone bench outside of the junior/senior parking lot, one of them promises to come to your room one night while you are asleep, if you want him.

“Say the word,” he whispers, one fang brushing the rim of your ear. “Any time.”

“Then what?” you whisper back–trying not to sound as awkward as you feel, but having trouble hearing yourself over his scent and your heartbeat. “You watch me sleep?” A joke, but it doesn’t sound silly, not when the players are you and him. You: willing, trusting. Him: quiet, watchful.

He grins–he knows it’s a joke–and leans in again. “No.”

Other people’s vampires are so easy to laugh at. Their prancing and their hair; their shimmer, their accents, their opera capes, their crazy little deviations from the rules. Not your vampire. On some level you understand his ridiculousness is not only equal to all the others’, but part of a lineage. One tiny capillary fed by a rich vein. You know you two look stupid together. Your friends have informed you. Still–you’ve completely bought into this one specific vampire, not just because his hand has been a hair’s breadth from yours for the past ten minutes and if your skin touches, you will probably instantly die.

“Well?” you say.

He catches your eye, which you have been trying to prevent. The rhythms of your body change in significant ways. “What do you want?”

Oh, if you say it aloud, you or he or something (maybe your parents?) will burst into flame. He sees this. He is all the best of youth and age. Beauty and wisdom, energy and stillness. He says, “Here’s what I’d like.”

You are probably on fire right now.

He says, “I’d like see what shape you make under your sheets. I’d like to see the way your pillow cradles your head. I’d like to push away your hair from that…irresistible neck.”

He raises a hand and lets it fall before it reaches your apparently resistible neck, but your throat leaps as if he has touched it. Such a cheesy line. So typical. Isn’t there an equally huge vein on the back of your knee? You never hear about vampires fetishizing that. You realize you would be completely okay with his hand on the back of your knee. Or elsewhere.

“I’d like to nuzzle you to the cusp of waking,” he says. You would also very much like that. “I’d like to kiss your throat until I find where your blood rushes closest to your skin.” You think all your blood is surging toward him at that exact moment. “I’d like to cup your face while I open your throat, fold the wound in my lips to not waste a drop, and drink you in until you wake.”

“Does it hurt?” you say. Then you wonder how he would know. Then you remember it must have happened to him once. You are embarrassed for you both.

“Only once,” he tells you.

Horrifying, but not when your vampire says it. The sinister mixes with the sweet.

“Then what?” you say. You are stupidly aware that except for the brush of his fang on your ear, he hasn’t yet touched you.

He grins again. “Your turn.”

You wish your vampire was telepathic. You are drowning in scenes of “then what”. Some of them are contradictory, you aren’t yourself in some of them, and some are stolen from other people’s fantasies (a few of which seemed dumb when you first heard them–not when it’s you, and your vampire). Many of them take place immediately after where he left off. A few of them leap forward, years and centuries beyond.

He says, without hearing your brain-locked answer, “Any time.”

It could be tonight. It could be any night.

You look at your hands so you can think more clearly, breaking his gaze just long enough to notice a couple of your classmates stroll past. One of them snorts high in her throat. “God, vampires are so lame,” she says to the others. “I am so done with them.”

You wonder if this is cyclical, if you will have your vampire and then tire of him. If another vampire will come after that, or if one is all you get. You glance at his face to see if he might tire of you first, but you are somehow certain vampires don’t work like that.

You think you will whisper something in his ear. Not everything, just something. You’re the one with the pulsing blood, after all, and he’s the one who must be invited.

The moment before you speak is the most delicious agony in the world.

No wonder vampires live forever.


More stories, and poems too: Wolves and Witches: A Fairy Tale Anthology

Check out all my free-to-read work–including podcasts!–here.

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First appeared in Not One of Us #47, 4/10/12

The Living Dead
Amanda C. Davis

We survivors bathe our skin in mud
To hide in shattered alleys
From our sharp-eyed conquerors.

We rend our parents’ bodies–
Flesh, fat, meat, marrow–
This gray hair
Will make a pillow
Or a fire.

We keep our women pregnant.

We eat dogs
With collars on.

Weep for us,
Our lucky brothers
Carried off at the start:
We, the damned victors,
You, the lucky failures!

Blessed are the poor in stamina,
For they elude the kingdom of Hell.

We curse the strength
That powers us through desperate evils;
The will that drives our crime,
The health that squeezes out
Each stabbing breath.
We dance to puppet-strings entangled
In our own cruel hands.

To be weak,
The happy dead!

But we live on,
We soldiers,
Strong enough to suffer,
Monsters, all.


More poems, here: Wolves and Witches: A Fairy Tale Anthology

Check out all my free-to-read work–including podcasts!–here.

Love this story?Buy me a coffee at

First appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #57, 4/30/13.

Missed Connections > Pocket Universe
Amanda C. Davis

At the time travelers’ ball,
You had a HELLO MY YEAR IS sticker
With a date just ten years from mine.

I was drinking very old wine
From the future, cached in the ancient past,
Aged for millennia, very pricey.
It went to my head.
Such things do.

I cornered you by the hors d’oeuvres.

“It looks like we’re from–”
I said in my mind,
“No–going my way?
“No–more like coming from my direction,
“But that’s terribly clumsy,
“And speaking of time as if it were space
“Is so amateur.
“You’d think I’d have a line all ready
“For this situation–”

But you’d spotted me, it was too late,
So I said,
“I can’t help but notice
“Ooh, what kind of pâté is that?”

It was very old wine.
I hadn’t eaten since lunch.

You said, “Some kind of dinosaur.
“It’s such a waste.”

I said, “I say that all the time,”
And finished my glass
(Grapes genetically perfected,
Yeast designed in a lab,
Squirreled in a cave near the Dead Sea
To wait four thousand years
For our sommelier.)

I said, “I noticed you’re from my historical era.”
I said, “Do you recall”

You said, “I prefer not to.
“We anachronists run in two colors, you know;
“The nostalgic
“And the avoidant.”

I said, “You avoid?”

You said, “Time is another kind of space we use
“To buffer ourselves.”
(You hadn’t seemed like an amateur.)
“Enjoy the pâté.”

I never saw you again.

On the balcony with some Edwardians,
A Harvard Neanderthal,
And some tourists from Gliese 581 c,
I asked if they knew you.
They said, “Don’t mind that one.
“We know the type
“And knowing you,
“My dear,
“You’d never have crossed paths


More poems, here: Wolves and Witches: A Fairy Tale Anthology

Check out all my free-to-read work–including podcasts!–here.

Love this story?Buy me a coffee at

First appeared in Retro Spec: Tales of Fantasy and Nostalgia, 9/8/10; reprinted in Bull Spec #8, 04/23/13.

Sparks Between Our Teeth
Amanda C. Davis

I smoked a lot
In the Fifties.
Half a pack a day.
Helped with my nerves
When the job needed done.
We were shrewd and urbane,
Chronos cowboys,
And pretended we belonged to the era
And didn’t know better.

Killing spies and profiteers.
Keeping kinks out of the timeline.
Vintage smoke made it all go down easier.

I quit when they transferred me
To the twenty-first century.
It’s not the same, anyway,
Crushing butts beside your computer
Instead of in a nightclub
In a suit.

But sometimes on the sidewalk
I pass a man
Puffing something sweet and stinging
As my Chesterfields used to be,
And it all comes back:
Gin and Reds and social shaming,
High heels and discretion,
Careless racism,
Constant fear.
Choosing cigarettes
On your doctor’s recommendation.
Tracking a timesquatter to his portal,
Fixing his mistakes,
Unsnarling his damage,
Throwing his body
Where the G-Men can’t go.
And a smoke under a street light
To put you back together.

We choked our lungs with tar
Just like everyone around us,
But cold foreknowledge
Set us apart from the natives:

We knew about carcinogens.
We were trying to kill ourselves.


More poems, here: Wolves and Witches: A Fairy Tale Anthology

Check out all my free-to-read work–including podcasts!–here.

Love this story?Buy me a coffee at

I’m a writer; apart from assembling book covers out of stock photos, I don’t art. But I do keep tabs on fiction magazines (mostly fantasy, horror, and science fiction) who are looking for cover artists and illustrators. Below are some of the many markets out there for artists. They’re looking for cover art, banner art, and illustrations; some take reprints, while some are looking to commission original work. For more information, click the magazine name–all links go to artist guidelines.

If you know of something that should be on the list, let me know. Good luck!

(WARNING: I’m not affiliated with any of the following markets, aside from being published in a few of them. I don’t keep very close tabs and can’t promise all the information below is up to date and correct. As when submitting fiction, always, ALWAYS read the guidelines on their website before clicking SEND.)



What they want:

We are interested in professional-level, mostly realistic work. Photographs are not normally used, but artists illustrating for us have worked with photos, using surrealistic effects.
The illustration must be able to visually interpret the story in such a way that it accurately represents the story, hooks the reader into reading it, and doesn’t give away the ending. The subject matter of the stories usually contain a wide range of things that you must be able to draw. We would like to see an ability to illustrate an entire scene; one that not only has a character or characters, but also has a detailed background. You must know anatomy, perspective, balance, and figure proportions. We are not a comic book company, so please don’t send samples of comics pages.

How to submit:

Send four to six samples of your best work. Do not send us your originals. Send only copies. They can be photocopies, stats, slides, transparencies, or tearsheets.

For either black and white interiors or color covers, you can use any medium. Many of our artists use pencil, pen & ink, airbrush, watercolor, scratchboard, etc. Electronic files are acceptable as long as it is in Mac format, eps or tiff, but please send a disk – DO NOT E-MAIL THE FILES!

Please include a self-addressed stamped, business-sized envelope for a response, or a large one if you want your samples returned to you.

Apex Magazine

What they want:

We offer $60 for digital reprint rights for cover art.

How to submit:

If you’d like for your art to be considered for Apex Magazine please send an email to that includes a link to your online gallery. We do not commission original work for the magazine, only preexisting art.

Ares Magazine

What they want:

We need cover and interior art. We can work with most media — oils, 3D, Photoshop — but we are particular with respect to the subject matter. See the genre list, below. If we know what game title and theme we wish to use for the next issue, we’ll post it so you can provide submissions in line with what we seek.

How to submit:

Please eMail all submissions to

Bards and Sages Quarterly

What they want:

Cover Art: Art should tell a story in its own right, and not just be a character sketch. While artists may submit a low resolution file for consideration, we will need a 300 dpi or better file for publication.  We will consider reprints of images that have not previously appeared as cover art elsewhere.

How to submit:

Artwork can be either black and white or full color, and should be submitted as a jpg, png, or tiff file attachment. Art should be sized for 8″ x 10″ page (full bleed). $25 plus one copy of the print journal

Bete Noire

What they want:

At this time, we are only accepting interior artwork.  It must be your original work and in black and white only, no color artwork will be accepted for the interior of the magazine. And it should go without saying that the artwork should be dark in nature.  However, we cannot accept anything with graphic nudity or sex.  Dark humor is always an interest to us, so if you have a comic of dark humor send it along as long as it’s no more than six frames. We are also accepting black and white photographs for the interior of the magazine.  All photos must be original and dark, but again, just like the artwork we cannot accept anything with graphic nudity or sex.

How to submit:

All artwork needs to be in JPEG format and attached to the email.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

What they want:

We only buy a few pieces of artwork a year, so we don’t take submissions of artwork. But we are interested in names of artists and links to their portfolios, so that when we are ready to buy art, we can check out their work.

How to submit:

If you’re an artist and would like us to put your name on our list to check out the next time we’re looking for artwork, please take a look at our past Cover Art, to see what sort of artwork we like (usually landscapes or vistas of fantastical-looking places). Then feel free to send us your information using our Contact page, and include links to a couple of your pieces that you feel might show the sort of vibe we’re looking for.

Black Static

What they want:

We are always happy to hear from artists wanting to illustrate stories and/or supply cover art.

How to submit:

Send us a portfolio through the post that we can keep on file, or use this website’s contact form to point us to your website or gallery.

Cemetery Dance

What they want:

We solicit all our cover and interior artwork directly.

How to submit:

Query first with samples. At this time, Art Director Mindy Jarusek would prefer to receive and view artwork samples and submissions online, if possible. Please do not send LARGE attachments. Links to your website, online samples, or a web-based portfolio would be best. If you must send attachments, please email first for our requirements. For all artwork related questions and submissions, please contact and Mindy will reply if she’s interested in seeing more. Thank you.


What they want:

Cicada seeks talented artists who are making thoughtful (or flippant), beautiful (or unsettling), exuberant (or quiet) comics, zines, visual poems, sequential graphic narratives, or any other work in image and/or text. We commission original stories from a brief pitch, and give developmental feedback through the production process.

How to submit:

We’re always looking for new artists! If you’re interested in sharing your portfolio with us, email

Cricket Media:

What they want:

Illustrations are by assignment only.

Before submitting, be sure to familiarize yourself with our magazines.  Sample copies are available for viewing at the Cricket Media Store where you can also purchase a current issue. Issues are also available at many local libraries.

How to submit:

PLEASE DO NOT send original artwork. Send postcards, promotional brochures, or color photocopies. Be sure that each sample is marked with your name, address, phone number and website or blog. Art submissions will not be returned.

The Dark

What they want:

We purchase pre-existing pieces of art and rarely commission original art for covers.

How to submit:

Submit an inquiry along with samples (preferably a link to an online gallery).


What they want:

The Drabblecast is a vibrant art market, with more than 300 original pieces generated. Lay your eyes upon the maddening scope as you scroll through back episodes. All styles, media, and skill levels will be considered.

How to submit:

To donate your talents and join our art core, contact art director Bo Kaier at and express your intention. A portfolio link or some work samples will help Bo pair you with a story.

Expanded Horizons

What they want:

We are looking for high-quality artwork that furthers the mission of the magazine.  Please read our general fiction submissions guidelines, as those apply here too. All work should be speculative fiction themed. We are also interested in artwork that illustrates existing stories available on our site. If you decide to illustrate a story, please mention the story title in your e-mail.

How to submit:

The files should use one of the three standard web image formats: JPG, GIF or PNG, saved at 72 dpi.  Please do not submit more than three pieces at one time. If the total filesize is over 2 MB, do not send the files in e-mail – use a free web-based filesending service or some alternate method. (Ask us if you need assistance.)

Fantasy Scroll Magazine

What they want:

We are looking for interesting art that complements the type of stories we publish: speculative in the science fiction, fantasy, or horror genres. We publish four times a year so we need four covers and a few images for each issue.

Since we publish speculative fiction, your art should be a match to the stories we like. We are talking about robots and dragons, castles and spaceships, swords and lasers. Anything goes; the weirder the better.

How to submit:

We have a dedicated art submission form that you can use.

Future Science Fiction Digest

What they want:

We’re seeking non-exclusive rights for high-quality art to be used as issue covers. We’re also asking for the rights to use issue cover art to produce promotional items such as bookmarks and banners as well as to display the partial crop of the image at the top of the issue’s web page. We pay $200 per image.

How to submit:

If you wish your artwork to be considered please reach out via email or social media and provide a link to your gallery.

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly

What they want:

HFQ is looking for quality banner art to accompany each new issue. Please review art from the past two issues to see the style we prefer. Image dimensions should be approximately 850 x 250 pixels.

How to submit:

If you’d like us to consider your work please email a link to the website where your art is displayed.

InterGalactic Medicine Show

What they want:

All illustrations and artwork in IGMS are by assignment. If you wish to be considered for art assignments, we would like to be shown samples of your work.

How to submit:

After filling out our submission form , you will be asked either to send us a .zip file containing .jpg files showing your work in black and white or color, or provide us with a link to your website, where we can see free and easily accessible samples of your art at a size that lets us see details of your technique.


What they want:

We are looking for primarily full-color illustrations to serve as cover art. In addition, we occasionally feature both color and black-and-white sketches, comics, cartoons, photography, loose odds and ends that might also fit elsewhere. Elsewhere is typically with the Horoscopes, so typically humorous, though that’s not a rule set in stone. We currently do not commission new cover artwork or pieces to appear with individual stories and poems.

How to submit:

If you would like to share a link to your online gallery, please do so, preferably indicating art that you would like us to consider.

On Spec

What they want:

We accept submissions from Canadians and non-Canadians. We accept both existing art and proposals. Note that if you’re sending in a sketch for a proposal, we still require an example of your colour work. Please include ONLY pre-existing works in colour as we print the cover in colour. Include your website–we can take a look of other examples of your work. We pay $400 for cover art (both pre-existing and original), plus $50 for interior art. The artist owns their artwork–we only license the artwork as part of the front cover and interior of an issue. Our cover dimensions are 5.25 width by 8 height in inches (note that images can be scaled down to a similar ratio). We incorporate the following: the On Spec logo, price and other information in an upper corner and the contributor’s names.

How to submit:

We only accept JPG files through Submittables. If we feel your work fits as a cover, we will contact you to discuss using an existing artwork OR commissioning an original for the magazine.

Persistent Visions:

What they want:

Persistent Visions is looking for illustrators to provide art to complement our stories.

How to submit:

If you would like to be considered, send an email to our art editor. Please include a link to your portfolio, your typical turnaround time for a single-page full-color illustration, and your rate.

Strange Horizons

What they want:

Beginning in January of 2014, Strange Horizons will run artwork with one story each month. This artwork will be commissioned or selected by the fiction editors to accompany the story’s tone and content.

How to submit:

If you would like to be considered as a potential artist for Strange Horizons, please send a link to your portfolio and/or up to 3 example image files (as links or attached as .png or .jpg, not more than 1000×1000 pixels) to

Turn to Ash

What they want:

Turn To Ash is a horror fiction zine. I’m looking for submissions of short fiction and black and white artwork.

How to submit:

Artwork subs can be made in whatever file format works best for the artist. If we agree on printing your artwork in Turn To Ash, we’ll work out the best way to get print-ready files into my hands.  All submissions can be addressed to “Ben”, “Benjamin”, “Editor”, or “hey, you”.

Uncanny Magazine

What they want:

Uncanny pays $100 for reprint art.

How to submit:

Please feel free to email art queries to uncannymagazine [at] gmail [dot] com with a link to your portfolio.


What they want:

We generally pay $35 for single images, and $75 per short story illustrated, which involves 2-3 full-page images, and some smaller incidental drawings to decorate the pages. Higher amounts will be offered for especially detailed illustration projects. If an illustration is chosen to also act as the cover of an issue, you will receive an additional $15. For an idea of how we illustrate our stories, you can look at our free minizine, though we now require all illustrations to be in color.

How to submit:

To apply to be an illustrator, please submit 1-5 pieces that best display your style and talent, as well as links to your portfolio or website where your work can be found.


Want to learn how to send out your short fiction to magazines like a pro? Check out my Total Beginner’s Guide to Submitting Short Fiction for Publication.

Was this useful to you? I wouldn’t turn down a delicious coffee.

Or check out the book I assembled with my sister Megan Engelhardt, Wolves and Witches: a Fairy Tale Collection