Issue #87: Special Issue: Diabolical Pots is Here!

Welcome to Diabolical Pots! We’re delighted you’ve chosen to dine with us today.

It is a little bright, isn’t it? Don’t worry, though, the glow is normal. How many? Oh, that’s an ideal number for– Well, I have just the table for you. If you’ll follow me?

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And here we go.

You have a taste for adventure, right? You’re prepared to be transported somewhere else for an hour or so? Not literally, of course…

Excellent! I’m going to grab you some water and let you have a moment with our prix fixe menu. No substitutions, I’m afraid, but we have a little something for everyone.

~DIABOLICAL POTS~
May 2022

Editorial
Kel Coleman, 447 words

A Strange and Muensterous Desire
Amanda Hollander, 2155 words

Vegetable Mommy
Patrick Barb, 585 words

The Many Taste Grooves of the Chang Family
Allison King, 3513 words

Mochi, With Teeth
Sara S. Messenger, 1546 words

Additional Note about Ignyte Award Nomination (for Submission Grinder)

writtten by David Steffen

Last week the Ignyte Award finalists were announced, including the exciting and unprecedented news that The Submission Grinder is a finalist for the Community Award: for Outstanding Efforts in Service of Inclusion and Equitable Practice in Genre.

On the official ballot, there is one name listed after the site name. Me, David Steffen. I am one of the co-founders of The Submission Grinder. I develop features for the site. I am the primary data administrator, as well as the primary contact person.

But I wanted to expand on that, because one name doesn’t paint the whole picture. There are many who have contributed in a variety of ways large and small. I wanted to call out a couple specific ones who I would like to call out as having made particularly large contributions to The Submission Grinder, who I would like to be considered with the award as well.

The first is Anthony W. Sullivan. Anthony is the other co-founder. We both saw the void in writer’s tools that are freely available to help writers find markets for their work. I thought “maybe I could do something here” and I emailed Anthony to suggest it, and he replied that he was already working on it, and we decided to team up. Anthony was the sole developer at the beginning, and spun everything up in only a few weeks for the launch, and continued to develop changes for quite some time after–I was a developer at the time as well, but did not have direct web development experience so would have had a much larger learning curve to get it built up. He also mentored me in the code development as we transitioned the development work over to me. He continued to help handle some hosting responsibilities and that sort of thing. He has not been involved in the day-to-day for a while, but the Submission Grinder would not be what it is if he had not been involved in those early days.

The second is Andrew Rucker Jones. Andrew started as one of our Market Checkers several years ago. We’ve had a team of Market Checkers for several years who systematically check listings periodically and submitting suggestions for changes through a direct contact form. Without them, listings that get less writer traffic could go years without being checked. The team of Market Checkers is a huge help, and Andrew in particular has been incredibly prolific and thorough in checking the listings. He has contributed a great deal to keeping listings up to date. Recently his role has been updated to Market Editor, able to edit market listings directly instead of sending them through the contact form.

These two I want to note in particular for the award.

As well as those two that I wanted to mention specifically at this time, there are many others who contribute, (whom I haven’t at this time asked for permission to name them specifically).

  • Our team of official Market Checker volunteers who all help to keep the listings up to date. Before we took volunteers for that team, some less-trafficked listings would go unchecked for years!
  • All the other users who send in suggestions for new market listings, corrections for existing market listings even if they’re not on the official volunteer team. This site has always depended on helpful notes from the users to help keep everything up to date!
  • The volunteer beta testers who are eager to help work some of the kinks out of new features that we’re considering rolling out.
  • The software developers who have helped me sort out the occasional technical challenge, such as finding that special CSS combination to do the behavior I’m trying to do, or helping me revamp the menus for screen reader accessibility.
  • Everyone who has donated to help keep The Submission Grinder and Diabolical Plots running, everyone who has bought copies of The Long List Anthology, or helped chip in in any other way. We would not be able to do this without your help! This all pays for hosting fees, and paying contributors.
  • Everyone who recommends the site to other writers who ask “how do I find publishers?” on Twitter and other social media, everyone who sends in a kind word when they send a note through the contact form, everyone who has invited me to speak about writing-related topics and everyone who has attended those talks, everyone who has warmly welcomed me on the rare occasions when I attend a convention–something which, before people knew me from The Submission Grinder, did not come easy to me.

Thank you all so much!

“Diabolical Thoughts” Theme and Unthemed Submission Windows

Diabolical Plots will be open for unthemed submissions from July 1–14, 2022.

And Diabolical Plots is pleased to announce that our next themed issue will be devoted to telepathy, to reading minds and speaking through them, and thus given the illustrious moniker of DIABOLICAL THOUGHTS!

We’ll be accepting submissions for this special issue from July 24 – July 31, 2022. Telepathy should be a central element in all submitted stories. Pay rate, format, and submission restrictions (no reprints, no resubmits, etc.) will follow our general submission guidelines.

We are seeking telepathy stories of every shape and style. Stories might be as intimate as mind-readers in love, forever seeing themselves through their lover’s eyes; or as harrowing as a telepath on the battlefield, drowned in every iota of pain, fear and grief felt for miles. They might be as bizarre as telepathy tourism from alien planets, all cognitive connoisseurs who find humans to have a particularly piquant mindset; or as familiar as a job interview, which has simply gained a new mental level to spar upon.

Give us telepathic truck drivers; telepathic orchestra players; telepathic gladiators and magistrates and paramedics and revolutionaries. We cannot wait to see what you come up with. 

For this themed issue, our assistant editor Ziv Wities will be taking the wheel and making final selections. Of course, your story should still be a good fit for Diabolical Plots—check out our general guidelines for an idea of what that means—but what might win you extra points with Ziv?

Well, Ziv would love to see:

  • Telepathy taking on odd, unexpected shapes, or being used for odd, unexpected purposes
  • Mind-reading with unusual rules ⁠— perhaps telepathic bonds are permanent and binding; or perhaps someone’s only telepathic for one hour every week!
  • Societies that have adapted to the presence of mind-reading, and shaped itself around their implications
  • Stories using telepathy to explore themes of uttermost connection, and/or of uttermost invasion 
  • Stories using telepathy to explore different themes entirely!

And we’ll borrow two of  our Assistant Editor Kel Coleman’s points, which are true for our magazine in general and for our theme issues in particular:

  • Fiction that’s high on emotional resonance, low on unexamined imperialism
  • Any kind of prose—it can be ornate, experimental in structure or tone, or punchy and simple, as long as it is intentional and serves the story

“For Lack of a Bed” is a Nebula Finalist!

The 57th Annual Nebula Award has announced the finalists for works published in 2021 have been announced, and a story first published by Diabolical Plots is a finalist for the Nebula Award For Best Short Story: “For Lack of a Bed” by John Wiswell, a story about a woman who has chronic pain and insomnia who finds a possible solution in a supernatural couch… which might also take more than it gives.

This is the second time that a story published by Diabolical Plots has been a finalist. Last year, “Open House On Haunted Hill” by the same author, John Wiswell, was a finalist and went on to win the Nebula Award For Best Short Story.

Congratulations to John, and good luck in the final voting!

Long List Anthology 7 Fundraiser is Live!

written by David Steffen

The fundraiser for The Long List Anthology Volume 7 fundraiser is live! This time we’re running the fundraiser on Indiegogo for the first time. Go check it out!

Every year the anthology celebrates more of the works from the Hugo Award nomination list beyond what was on the final ballot. This year we are trying a couple new things. First is that we are expanding to include Astounding Award For Best New Writer nominations. That category is for the writers themselves rather than the stories, but we have picked a few stories by authors on the long list for the Astounding Award and those will be included in the anthology. Second, we are including one of the stories from the ballot itself for the first time–“Open House On Haunted Hill” by John Wiswell that was first published here in Diabolical Plots.

Thank you for your support!

Additional Accepted Food-Themed Stories From the “Diabolical Pots” Window

written by David Steffen

Not too long ago we announced the 4 stories accepted by guest editor Kel Coleman. If you missed it, you should check that out!

On top of those stories which will be published together in a themed monthly issue, we also accepted 4 more stories, which we are announcing right here, right now! As Kel said there were enough stories we loved to fill an anthology and then some, but we did get a few extra acceptances in. These additional stories will not be published in the themed monthly issue, but will rather be published among the general non-themed stories.

“Estelle and the Cabbage’s First Last Night Together” by Amy Johnson is a story about a woman who can speak to plants and her goal to ethically source her food.

“Beneath the Crust” by Phil Dyer tells a story about a dangerous expedition into The Bake, a constantly changing edible landscape. (you might remember Phil Dyer from “Everyone You Know Is a Raven”)

“Food of the Turtle Gods” by Josh Strnad. All hail the might Turtles, awesome in their divinity. Pugiles in media testa.

“When There is Sugar” by Leonard Richardson, about a period of hopeful but uneven post-war recovery, as a baker is given a military surplus baking robot.

I hope you enjoy these extra selections as well!

Accepted Stories For the “Diabolical Pots” Food-Themed Window

written by Kel Coleman

This is Kel Coleman taking over the DP account for a hot second to announce the stories and authors for the food-themed “Diabolical Pots” issue I got to guest-edit.

First, I could’ve filled an anthology (and then some) with the number of excellent stories we received and I was honored y’all gave me the chance to read them. Thank you!!

In the end, I selected four stories, each with a very distinct flavor—sorry, David and Ziv are bad influences on the pun front.

“Mochi, With Teeth” by Sara S. Messenger is about a woman trying to connect to her heritage and her family’s magic with a package of mochi and a battered, second-hand spellbook.

“Vegetable Mommy” by Patrick Barb is a haunting piece about a post-apocalyptic world viewed through the eyes of a hungry child.

When a father begins to lose his memory in “The Many Taste Grooves of the Chang Family” by Allison King he asks his children for a piece of tech that can simulate meals past. If he can reclaim the taste of his favorite dish, maybe—just maybe—other recollections will follow.

“A Strange and Muensterous Desire” by Amanda Hollander follows a high schooler as she prepares for the State Fair Grilled Cheese Competition, all the while trying to ignore the annoying new kid, Byron, who keeps moodily watching her from the shadows and talking about his dark hunger.

And those are our stories! I hope you love them as much as I do. Thanks to Ziv for suggesting this project and thanks to David for his insight and guidance, but also for his trust in allowing me to curate an issue of his magazine. Keep an eye out for it in May!

Diabolical Plots August 2021 Window Acceptances!

written by David Steffen

Diabolical Plots opened for submissions in August to purchase six months’ worth of stories to publish. This submission window marked quite a few new things. This window was two weeks instead of a month. We only allowed one submission per author this time, instead of two. We allowed simultaneous submissions. Kel Coleman joined Ziv Wities on the assistant editor team. We did a recruiting run for first readers to help us manage the submission queue–we took applications and took on thirty first readers.

For the submission window we received 1074 submissions. 6 were disqualified, 98 were held for the second round. The second round of 98 submissions was narrowed down to the final 14 acceptances.

In previous acceptance announcements, we’ve announced the month-by-month lineup. This time we’re just listing the story titles and the author names in simple alphabetical order by author name, and we’ll announce the months for each as they get closer.

All right, on to the list!

  • “The Grammar of City Streets” by Daniel Ausema
  • “The Hotel Endless” by Davian Aw
  • “She Dreams In Digital” by Katie Grace Carpenter
  • “Dear Joriah Kingsbane, It’s Me, Eviscerix the Sword of Destiny” by Alexei Collier
  • “21 Motes” by Jonathan Louis Duckworth
  • “The Twenty-Second Lover of House Rousseau” by C.M. Fields
  • “The Restaurant of Object Permanence” by Beth Goder
  • “Midwifery of Gods: A Primer for Mortals” by Amanda Helms
  • “Heart of a Plesiosaur” by Andrew K Hoe
  • “Downstairs at Dino’s” by Diana Hurlburt
  • “Take Me To the Water” by Sarah Macklin
  • “A Stitch in Time, A Thousand Cuts” by Murtaza Mohsin
  • “Timecop Mojitos” by Sarah Pauling
  • “Of the Duly Conducted and Mostly Unremarkable Meeting of Don Quotidene and the Giants of Andalia” by A.J. Rocca

“Open House On Haunted Hill” by John Wiswell Wins the Nebula Award For Best Short Story!

written by David Steffen

On Saturday June 5th, SFWA held the Nebula Award ceremony. The finalists and winners of the Nebula Awards are determined by votes from members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). “Open House On Haunted Hill” by John Wiswell is this year’s winner of the Nebula Award for Best Short Story!

We are very happy for John for the win! This was his first major award finalist and win in his writing career. If you didn’t watch the award ceremony, you might want to check out his acceptance speech as well, which has a lot of encouragement for writers.

And of course we are very excited for ourselves as well! This is the first time any work originally published by Diabolical Plots has been finalist or winner of a major award as well! We have gotten a lot of new visitors to read the story in the last few days, and hopefully this is not the last.

The same story is finalist in two other science fiction awards that haven’t determined their winners yet: The Locus Awards, and the Hugo Awards.