You can submit your own stories to Shade of the Morning Sun and earn fees and feedback!

Please read the following guidelines carefully:

What you get

You should only do this is you feel that the vision is worth supporting

… and it helps, if you like the setting and the characters, too! 🙂

Stories rejected will receive a minimum of 500 words of constructive feedback.

Note: I will only comment with 500 words or more on rejected full stories, not on pitches or ideas – although I will comment on those as well – but briefer (see below).

Genre & style

The stories have to be contemporary fiction, which can be linked to other stories in the Shade of the Morning Sun-site.

I’m looking for stories with human drama and insight. Think Andre Dubus III (House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days) as an example of the kind of stories I like and aspire to write myself.

You should at a minimum read the featured stories on the front page, to get a feel for what I actually write and the characters you might want to write about yourself.

Content & characters

Stories can be about any of the characters in Shade of the Morning Sun – Carrie, Jon, Lin, etc.

I’m particularly interested in stories that build existing Shade of the Morning Sun-characters and flesh out some of the less described periods in their lives, e.g. Carrie’s road trip (2000-2004) or Jon’s teen years with his brother on the streets in LA’s less savory neighborhoods.

Above all, you must strive to make readers care about the characters, no matter how f… up their lives (or actions) are.

I am not perfect in this, but if anything I’d say that is my no. 1 goal – above pretty prose or trendy messages. It must be yours as well!

Stories can be about your own characters, but they must have a meaningful relationship with the original cast.

Write and ask about the merit of your story idea with a new character before you spend time on a submission!

I have a growing list of story leads that might serve as inspiration for you, but you are definitely not obligated to follow any of these!


Stories can be at any length, but I prefer stories between approx. 3,000-10,000 words.

Tell me about your idea before you submit

Don’t waste time writing a story that is almost sure to be rejected either because of quality or because you get the characters wrong.

You can always ask me at beyourstory AT gmail DOT com if an idea for a story would have merit, or send me a few sample pages to read.

Where to submit 

Submit stories by email only to beyourstory AT gmail DOT com marked “Submission” in the subject field.


Submissions are open all year round.

Turn around time

Expect a reply within 1 week, unless I notify you otherwise.


Format must be Word 2007 or higher or Google Docs.


All stories must be in US English.


Shade of the Morning Sun will have non-exlusive rights to your story.

You can publish your story yourself in all formats or pitch it to someone else.

However, a copy of your original story must always be left on Shade of the Morning Sun for free to read by anyone who visits the site.

Changes and edits to your story

Shade of the Morning Sun is not allowed to make changes in your story after publication, with one exception:

I might at some point want to include a paragraph or two which refers to a past story your character remembers because I or another author has written about this event.

I will always consult with you before any such addition so we can decide together if it makes sense for the story and its flow.

You are also free to submit your own updates to your story at any time.

Once published on this site, however, I have a veto over any changes you’d like to make, but if you have an idea for a change that will make for a better read, I’d probably agree with you in most cases.

Re-publication and rights

Shade of the Morning Sun does not have the right to publish your story in any other way than on the website.

Rejected stories and rights

You retain full rights over rejected stories to do with as you please, including offering them on other commercial markets – but you MUST change the names and likenesses of my characters.

In short: You may not pass my characters off as your own or try to copyright them as your own!

I’d be sort of flattered in the unlikely event that it happened, of course, but … no. 🙂

Any questions?

– then write to Christopher Marcus: beyourstory AT gmail DOT com.