I want to take a few minutes to talk about my wishlist for Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns, and yes, that is a rooster up there. I chose it specifically because it’s probably not what you’d expect to see at the top of a blog post about fire and fiery creatures.
And the number one thing I really want to see in the submissions to Fire is something completely appropriate and yet wholly unexpected.
Like a fiery rooster. Because why should phoenixes get to have all the fun? 😉
Fire is dramatic. It is bold. Ferocious. Powerful. Beautiful. Terrifying. It can consume everything in its path, or push back the darkness so you can see the terrors which loom all around you. It can purify or purge. Brand or bless.
Above all I want to see stories that embrace those first five descriptors:
And any tale which captures the dichotomy of fire, the yin-yang of it (without smacking me in the face with it) will get serious bonus points.
Including those things doesn’t mean you need to exclude other things though. A story can be both dramatic and funny. You can write beautifully about ugly things. Meek characters can do bold things — or a bold prose style can make readers fall in love with a character for their weaknesses (or despite them).
I’m going to get a bit more specific here than I usually do on these wishlist-type posts because there are specific creatures named right there in the title of the anthology. Demons, dragons and djinns.
When you’re submitting to an anthology the smart tactic is to try and make your story stand out in a positive way. In this case that might mean choosing to write about the most obscure fire creature/magician/thing you can possibly think of–and don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad strategy–but here’s the thing… I need some demons, dragons and djinns.
Ideally I would like about a quarter of the stories I accept to be dragon-y, a quarter to be demon-y and the last half to surprise me… but include at least two which are djinn-y.
I say ‘dragon-y’, ‘demon-y’ and ‘djinn-y’ because a dragon-y story doesn’t need to have the dragon as the main character, nor does it need to be all about the dragon. It just has to be dragon-y. It’s like truthiness, I suppose.
(Quick side note about dragons, specifically — it probably goes without saying but for this anthology I’m looking for fiery dragons. Save the water, air and earth dragons for those later anthologies :-p)
The point I was trying to make before I went off on that bit of a ramble is I really do need some dragons, demons and djinns in this anthology so if you have a great idea for a demon story and a good idea for a salamander story but you’re thinking, “Nah, everyone is going to be sending in demon stories and I don’t want to compete with them all — I’ll write this salamander story instead.” don’t. Go for the great idea.
Djinns are mostly in the subtitle because I am an alliteration hound, I love djinns, and I could make an argument for them being fiery creatures. Alas, since I can also make an argument for them being born of air I don’t intend for them to take up as much of the Table of Contents as dragons and demons. Though you never know, if I get enough amazing djinn stories that could totally change.
I want an ifrit story (bonus points if it’s actually set within ifrit society and the ifrits are demonstrably different from humans!), and a salamander story. Someone please send me a story with a lava monster and, possibly related, a fire mage. No fire anthology would be complete without a phoenix story, and any story that includes a hellhound (especially one that’s misunderstood) will likely discover the path to my shortlist is… well, short.
But you don’t need me to give you a list of creatures associated with fire, do you? Google can do that better than I can.
And, because I’ve been asked, you don’t need fire-based creatures in your story, fire itself can fulfill the required fiery element for your tale.
Michael Bay-type explosions? Why not?
Bombs dropping during The Blitz? Please!
Other things that will give you an advantage while submitting:
- I am completely infatuated with WWI & WWII as a setting. Any story set during, between or shortly following them will definitely make my eyes light up when I begin reading.
- On a very related point, my love for dieselpunk is a strong and vibrant thing. Think Dark City. Think Mad Max: Fury Road. Think Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Think Snowpiercer — with fire!
- A fiery solarpunk story? Think you can pull that off? I’d love to read it!
- Anything that matches the aesthetic of artist Omar Gilani’s Pakistan+ series (plus fire!)
- For this anthology I’ll be leaning further toward fantasy than science fiction or horror but fire in space? On a whole other planet?
- Is fire sentient?
- I’d like something that dates back to when humans first gained control over fire. Whether this takes the form of something set in prehistoric times or a take on more of a ‘How raven brought fire to the people’ or ‘How Prometheus stole fire from the gods’ type thing… well, that would be up to you.
- Does man command fire, or does fire command man?
- I like diverse characters and settings. And by diverse I mean in every way you can possibly imagine.
- Have you got a fiery story that is set in the Arctic? *makes grabby hands*
- Fiery fairy tale?
- A story with absolutely no humans in it at all would be awesome.
- Fire can transform. Got a fiery shapeshifter story to tell?
And if your story is nothing like anything I’ve described here — send it. Please send it. I love reading a great story about something I never could have imagined.
This anthology is the first volume in a brand new series. That means, to some extent, it is going to help define that series. Which means you get to help define that series. Is it going to be upbeat and fast-paced? Angsty and emotional? Fairy tales and folklore? Well, we’re going to find that out together 🙂
Finally, because it’s become an FAQ–probably the best way to get an idea of what I like is to read one of my other anthologies, but when in doubt–submit. The worst thing that can happen is I’ll say no. And I’m not a jerk about it, I promise.
Call for Submissions:
The ability for people to control (to some extent at least) fire has long been held as one of the major events that contributed to human evolution, but when fire eludes or escapes our control it is also one of the most destructive forces on earth. Associated with passion, power, transformation and purification, fire is a ferocious element with an unquenchable appetite.
We want to explore the many facets of this beautifully furious element and the creatures associated with it so Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns will be filled with stories about every kind of fiery creature you can imagine, not only those listed in the subtitle. We’re looking for phoenixes, ifrits, salamanders, lava monsters and fiery beasts no one has ever heard of before. And of course this anthology will not be complete without at least one demon, dragon and djinn!
Rights and compensation: Payment: $50 CAD flat fee and a paperback copy of the anthology. In exchange we are seeking first world rights in English and exclusive right to publish in print and electronic format for six months after publication date, after which publisher retains nonexclusive right to continue to publish for the life of the anthology.
Open submission period: June 1, 2017 – August 31, 2017 (extended from August 15th)
Length: Under 7,500 words
No simultaneous or multiple submissions.
Because I’ve been asked — though payment is in Canadian dollars you do not need to be Canadian to submit. Everyone is welcome.