Fire Wishlist

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:

  • Dramatic
  • Bold
  • Ferocious
  • Powerful
  • Beautiful

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.

Confession:

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.

Wildfires? Sure!

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.
  • 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 15, 2017

Length: Under 7,500 words

No simultaneous or multiple submissions.

No reprints.

Submit here

(http://bit.ly/FireAntho)

Because I’ve been asked — though payment is in Canadian dollars you do not need to be Canadian to submit. Everyone is welcome.

Mrs. Claus Wishlist

Mrs. (1)

I won’t even pretend that this anthology wasn’t originally inspired by a commercial. It totally was. I watched this commercial for Marks and Spencer:

…and, after I stopped crying (every. single. time.) I started thinking about Mrs. Claus.

Mrs. Claus is often in the background of Santa Claus stories, or playing a supporting role, but it’s not very often that–like in the M&S commercial–she gets to the be star. As a middle-aged woman in a world where middle-aged women are often somewhat invisible that really spoke to me. I really, really wanted to edit an anthology that let Mrs. Claus step into the spotlight.

And on a related note, seriously what IS her first name? I mean, I’d be pretty pissed if the only way people knew me was through my relationship with my husband. “Oh, that’s Mrs. Parrish!” “What’s her first name?” “I don’t know? Mrs.?” Nahhh….

Some submissions have been trickling in but I wanted to share a wee bit of a wishlist for what I’d like to see before I started reading them. Since I haven’t started reading submissions yet (I will after posting this) I don’t know what’s in there. If you’ve already sent me a story that nails something on this list yay! If you’re stuck for an idea maybe some of these thoughts will kick something loose in your brain 🙂

Wishlist for Mrs. Claus

  • I’ve got nothing against younger versions of Mrs. Claus, and if she stars in a kick-ass story I will accept stories that feature a younger version of her, but mostly I’m focusing on middle-aged and older women for this anthology. I’d also really like to see women of colour represented in the anthology so please don’t feel constrained to white versions of Mrs. Claus.
  • One word: lightsaber
  • As always if you give me a well-imagined story set during the Great War you’re going to check a box on my wishlist.
    • *cough* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_truce *cough*
  • For me to consider this anthology successful I need to include stories set on Christmas Eve, but also stories set on other days of the year.
  • Mrs. Claus in space? Yes, please!
  • *punk. Solarpunk. Dieselpunk. Steampunk (c’mon a steam-powered sleigh? Victorian North Pole?!). Anything that fits into any one of those categories would be brilliant.
  • I like reindeer. They like games. I’m just sayin’…
  • Mrs. Claus as a ninja? Why not? Someone needs to be in charge of security at the North Pole! You can’t just leave all that magical stuff laying around unprotected…
  • Mrs. Claus as a pirate? Why not? Something might need to be stolen in order to save Christmas… or sustain the North Pole… or just because it’s shiny.
  • I’m game for a good “Something happens to Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus saves the day!” story–just so long as it doesn’t feel contrived and Mrs. Claus doesn’t go from being in the shadows, to being in the spotlight, to deciding she wants to go back to the shadows. Because no.
  • Mrs. Claus in the wild west.
  • Claus Noir.
  • This anthology isn’t only about empowerment, but it’s also about empowerment, so show me that.
  • I want stories set at the North Pole, but I also want them set in other places; tropical places, fictional places, underwater places, ancient places, future places. All. The. Places.
  • Have fun with it! Christmas is about a lot of things, but one of them is fun. My favourite Christmas movies are always the cheeseball ones that make me cry and the magical, colourful ones where people re-imagine the North Pole.

There… just a few wee hints in case you’re stuck. As always, though, the best story is one I could never have imagined by myself. I hope you’ll write one and send it my way!

 

Mrs. Claus Call for Submissions

For a long, long time Santa Claus has hogged the spotlight relegating his wife to the shadows, but no longer. Now it’s Mrs. Claus’ turn to shine!

We’re looking for stories that let Mrs. Claus (or is it Ms. Claus?) take centre stage. Whether she more closely resembles Michelle Obama, Betty White, Shohreh Aghdashlooor or Maggie Smith, Mrs. Claus must be a developed, independent character and not simply an extension of her husband. She can help and support him—of course she can—but there needs to be more to her than only that.

What’s her role on Christmas Eve? What about the other days of the year? Is she into sleek red snowmobiles or is she more of an old-fashioned magic sleigh kinda gal? Does she prefer baking cookies or kickboxing? Betting on the Reindeer Games or Avon parties with the elves?

And what is her first name, anyway?

Stories are encouraged to re-imagine the North Pole in new and interesting ways (steampunk? alien? magically relocated to the equator?) and to explore a variety of other settings as well. They can also take place in time frames both real and imagined—Christmas in 1940 Poland, Mars in 2050 or a rediscovered Atlantis in 2017 would all be welcome in this anthology.

Note: This anthology is intended for an adult audience, please don’t submit children’s stories.

Rights and compensation: Payment: $10 and a paperback copy of the anthology from World Weaver Press. We are looking for previously unpublished works in English. Seeking first world rights in English and nonexclusive right to continue to publish for the life of the anthology.

Open submission period: April 1, 2017 – May 31, 2017

Length: Under 10,000 words

Submission method: Upload story as .doc or .rtf to niteblade.submittable.com/submit

Simultaneous submissions = okay. Multiple submissions = no.

Expected Publication Date: Winter 2017