The June Weird Circular

Summer Is Here and I’m SAD Again (But It’s Fine)

Dearest Pink Pony Girls,
Wake me up when September ends.
It’s wild to think the year has already zipped on halfway past us. Earlier this month, I signed a contract with my 300th freelance editing client. This year, I’ve already had at least two clients every month. My July short stories workshop sold out two weeks early. I’ve taught five workshops this year. I’m B-U-S-Y (that’s a four-letter word around here).

The summer is a struggle for me. I live in Houston, Texas, where it’s hotter than a Chappel Roan concert, and you can’t take it HOTTOGO. Every year in June-September, I generally lose a lot of energy and start feeling SAD. But today, in my email inbox, I got an email that really boosted me.

"Hello, Holly. I was inspired by your book, Numinous Stones, and the pantoum format of your writing. It helped me unlock a short story I struggled with expanding. That story will be released in 2024."

I’m not sharing this to brag. I’m sharing it to say you never know how your work will touch the world. What a lovely gift to know your words are inspiring other writers. This is how writing lives on beyond us. One of my main motivations to keep writing and keep teaching is not just that I love it, but that I want my words to reach the right person and help them. Think of your writing as a very kind 90s chain email. If it finds the right person, it might just give them good luck 🙂 

Writing can really change the world. And you all are a huge part of that. So thank you! If you want EVEN MORE feels, you can now upgrade to this newsletter to get extra-weird perks:

  • At least one subscriber-only post per month

  • Support me, your corporeal host, for less than a cup of coffee

  • Bragging rights on being an absolute angel sent from heaven who loves freelancers and supports indie writers

  • A 20% discount on any of my editing services

What do you want to see more of from The Weird Circular?

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Probably from PANK 💀

Every Weird Circular, I list upcoming opportunities to publish your writing geared toward writers of the weird (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, speculative!) I prioritize PAID opportunities by markets I trust and try to vet as much as I can.

Upcoming Submission Windows:

  • 7/29/24: Essential Dreams Press: “Storyteller: A Tanith Lee Tribute Anthology Open Submissions”: Early submissions for marginalized voices. Short stories (2k-5k words). Pays $.10/word.

  • 7/30/24: Bannister Press: “OTHER: the 2024 fantasy short story anthology” Short stories (2.5-3.5k words). Pays $.08/word CAD. (Note: This is a newer press, but the pay rate is pretty good, so I’m including it!)

  • 8/1/24: Last Girl’s Club: Theme: Demagogues. Short fiction (up to 2.5k words), Poetry (less than 200 words), Nonfiction (up to 2.5k words). Pays $.015/word for fiction/nonfiction, $10 for poetry.

  • 8/19/24: Pseudopod: Short stories (up to 6k words) suitable for audio/podcast. Pays $.08/word.

Need more submission ideas? Check the Grinder's newest markets, Duotrope's calendar, Submittable’s Discover Feature, Heavy Feather Review’s Where to Submit, SFPA's Speculative Poetry Markets, Horror Tree, Moksha's Open Publications, The International Writer’s Collective Blog, or Literary Mama's Blog

Check out my novelette “Bone Light” in Split Scream VI from Tenebrous Press

Prompt #1: Inspired by Chappell Roan 😘

My summer soundtrack is Chappell Roan’s album “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess” - I’ve actually been obsessed with it since last fall, but it just feels right to make it a summer listen! Here are a few lyrics from the album that I love.

  • I’m having wicked dreams

  • I trade amber clay roads for the sea foam and endless sun rays

  • You pretend to love his mother

  • I try not to care but it hurts my feelings

  • My kink is karma

For this prompt, write a piece inspired by one of these lines. You CANNOT use the line in your piece though!

Bonus Round: Bonus points if you can include a pink pony in your piece somewhere 😉 

Prompt #2: Season Flip

Write a piece that is inspired by winter. Challenge yourself to set the piece somewhere unique.

Bonus Round: Bonus points if you can include the five senses in your piece somehow

Prompt #3: Mid-year Meta Write

In your journal, spend about 5-10 minutes checking in on your writing for the year. What goals did you set at the beginning of the year, and how are they coming along? What do you want to accomplish before the year is out? How can you make your goals more realistic? What projects do you have in-progress? What’s slowing you down? What’s hyping you up?

Bonus Round: Give yourself grace. Let go of shame. Let yourself fail.

What I’m Consuming This Month (Literally, it’s in my brain-belly)

📖 Weird Book of the Month: I’ve been on a kick lately where I revisit old classics that I never read, for whatever reason. This month, I’m reading the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb, first published in the late 90s. What’s great about this series is that it has the 90s nostalgic feel of fantasy books at the time, which were often closely interior books focused on characters with magic abilities. I never read this series at the time, probably because I was too busy re-reading Tamora Pierce’s books a million times. But I’ve really been loving it!

Most writing advice is pretty generic, but I’m on the same page as Nobel Laureate Jon Fosse. The best thing you can do for your writing is to write the way you want to and embrace what you’re doing. Be as weird as you can, strangelings.

“I think the best advice I’ve learned from life is to listen to yourself, not to others. Stick to what you have, not to what you want to have or wish you had. Stay close to yourself, to your inner voice and vision and how you want the writing to be.” —Jon Fosse

🎵 Music to Write by: Obviously I’m pretty obsessesd with Chappell Roan, but I’m also doing what I call a “chain listen” to similar artists like Sabrina Carpenter. On a completely different note, I recently listened to the new Luke Combs album about fathers & sons. I admit, I listened to it so that I could tell my spouse what it was like because he’s a big fan & his father passed away a few years ago. If anything, I’m happy to ride a trauma train for a friend so they don’t have to, and I can say it was a delightful listen. If Chappell Roan is celebrating non-toxic femininity, then Luke Combs is a perfect example of the opposite: Celebrating what it means to be a good man. It made me think how little media is made for men to feel safe about their feelings while women are currently enjoying a musical renaissance. What a time to be alive.

“I think what this project is honoring is that inner child of mine and proving to her that she deserves to be that version and that she does exist.” —Chappell Roan (Interview, QBurgh)

Cry or Die y’all


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