I'm trying two new things for next year's fiction series: a longer lead-time to publicize the Call For Submissions, and an expansion of the thematic scope. In keeping with the LHMPodcast's coverage of historic fantasy as well as strictly historical fiction, the 2020 fiction series will also be open to stories with certain types of fantastic elements. (See the CFS for details.) In keeping with my basic principles, I'm also increasing the pay rate to $0.08 per word, in keeping with the standard set by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).**
So what do I mean by "certain types of fantastic elements"? The two examples I use in the CFS are:
Using my own fiction as an example, my story "Hoywverch" is based on the themes and settings of the medieval Welsh Mabinogi, but includes a romantic relationshp between two women. It tries to address how such a relationship might be understood and treated within the context of that mythos (though not necessarily within the context of historic medieval Welsh society itself). Another example might be alternate histories in the steampunk or clockpunk genres, as long as the cultural setting itself reflects an actual historic context (as opposed to being functionally a secondary world setting).
And, of course, I still like stories that are just plain history with no fantastic elements! The idea is to loosen the edges a bit to see what people might be inspired to write, but also to align the fiction series with the scope of the rest of the podcast, given how many of the author interviews and new release listings cross over into historic fantasy.
**Note: this is not meant to imply that the Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast is a qualifying market for eligibility to SFWA. Only that, as a member of SWFA, I'm using their requirements as a benchmark.
The Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast will be open for submissions in January 2020 for short stories in the lesbian historic fiction genre, to be produced in audio format for the podcast, as well as published in text on the website.
What We’re Looking For
Please feel free to publicize this call for submissions.
Use your favorite standard manuscript format for short fiction with the following additions:
If you don’t have a favorite manuscript format, here are the minimum essential elements it should have:
As I will be reading stories electronically, there is no need to include page numbers or a header on each page. (If this is part of your standard format, you don’t need to remove them.)
Notes on Sensitivity
I strongly welcome settings that fall outside the "white English-speaking default". But stories should avoid "exoticizing" the cultural setting or relying on sterotypes or colonial cultural dynamics. What does that mean? A good guideline is to ask, "If someone whose roots are in this culture read the story, would they feel represented or objectified?"
What do I mean by "stories that involve cross-gender motifs should respect trans possibilities"? I mean that if the story includes an assigned-female character who is presenting publicly as male, I should have confidence that you, as the author, have thought about the complexities of gender and sexuality (both in history and for the expected audience). It should be implied that the character would identify as a woman if she had access to modern gender theory, and the way the character is treated should not erase the possibility of other people in the same setting identifying as trans men if they had access to modern gender theory. This is a bit of a long-winded explanation, but I simultaneously want to welcome stories that include cross-gender motifs and avoid stories that could make some of the potential audience feel erased or mislabeled.