Category Archives: On Spec Updates

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach: Review by Nicole M. Luiken

Find this on our new Book Reviews page. Kelly is an emerging Canadian writer to watch.

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Sarah Tolmie: Poet Interview

We are very proud to have a poem by Sarah Tolmie (“Ursula Le Guin in the Underworld”) in the current issue of On Spec. It’s a beautiful tribute to the life of an astonishing writer who influenced many of us in our writing.

Sarah was interviewed recently by Colleen Anderson, another well-known On Spec poet and author . Take a look! 

RIP Kate Wilhelm

News has reached us of the death of Hugo  and Nebula Award-winning author, Kate Wilhelm on March 8, 2018. Our condolences go out to her friends and family.

She leaves behind a remarkable body of work, as well as many colleagues in the SF&F family who benefited from her teaching and mentorship over the years.  Kate was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame (2003) for her lifetime contribution to the genre. She will be missed.

We get submission queries

We were recently asked about our 6,000 word limit for stories. Yes, we have published longer stories over the years, but those were few and far between. Because we are limited to a certain number of print pages over the course of the year, we had to make an arbitrary decision concerning a story length cut-off. It also affects our pay rates, since we don’t pay per/word the way some magazines do.

That doesn’t mean we have closed the door on novellas, for example. After all, it’s our party and we can do what we want to. We’ll just be very selective.

And in the meantime, if you have a story that falls in the “about 6,000 words” category, please give it a long and hard look before you hit that submit button. If your first 3-5 pages is bogged down with back-story, for example, chances are good that the first reader won’t even make it to the end. Your job as a writer, first and foremost is to maintain the reader’s interest.

Make every word count!

Spreading the word

Here’s something our subscribers who are active on social media can do. When your subscription copy of On Spec arrives in the mail, please post a picture of yourself holding  the copy.

Then pour yourself a cup of something warm and comforting and sit down for a while and have another awesomely good On Spec reading experience. Once you’re done, post something about a story you liked. Tweet about the superb cover art. Look up one of the writers and send them a nice email to thank them for their work.

And tell all your followers about On Spec.

Maybe someone will share your  Facebook post. Maybe someone else will retweet. And maybe someone will stop looking at baby goat videos for just a few brief seconds and look up http://www.onspec.ca .

The baby goats won’t go anywhere, we promise.

And if we could get just one new subscriber because of something each of our current readers did to promote us, we’d be a very happy crew.

 

The Year Ahead

We at On Spec are, as always, grateful for the support of our loyal readers and supporters. 2017 has been a year of “getting better organized”, and 2018 will be a year of “really getting better organized”. We bought lots of excellent stories during our 2017 call for submissions, and the editors are busy working with the authors to groom the stories for publication. Once that task is complete, we will once again, open to new submissions, and this will be announced here as well as through our Twitter and Facebook pages.

As always, I am grateful for the super people who help get the issues into the hands of our readers, with no pay, I might add.

In 2018, we’ll be at Calgary’s When Words Collide, Edmonton’s Pure Speculation, and other conventions during the year. When we can’t make it because of geography and time and financial constraints, we will be happy to have On Spec represented by Pat Flewwelling and her wonderful Myth Hawker Travelling Bookstore.

People ask how they can help On Spec, and of course the very best thing you can do is to tell people about us. We depend on word of mouth as our best advertiser. Especially since the grapevine seems to be a tad slow in some regards, with people still being astonished that we a) have a digital version and b) continue to produce a print magazine! Get the message out that we are still here, and aren’t planning to go away any time soon.

Best wishes from us all for a peaceful and safe year ahead.

Diane and the entire On Spec Editorial and Production team.

Can-Con 2017

Can-Con 2017 in Ottawa was a great event for On Spec. At least twenty of the authors attending the convention have been published in On Spec over the years. We had a panel to talk about the early years of On Spec, and what it has meant to Canadian writers to have us publish their first work of SF. At the end of the panel, Diane asked members of the audience to stand if they have been published in On Spec, and then several stayed for a group photo.

From left to right: (standing) Yves Meynard; John Park; Leslie Brown; Jerome Stueart; Matt Moore; Chadwick Ginther; Leah Bobet; Hayden Trenholm; Diane Walton; James Alan Gardner; Susan Forest; Brandon Crilly; Suzanne Church.(seated) Allan Weiss; Mike Rimar.

Group Shot On Spec Authors