Anthology Announcement & an Open Call

I’ve been working on a project for a couple of months now, and I decided that May 1st was the perfect day to formally announce it. After all, May Day is the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. I happen to like the liminal space measured in halfway points. And although May Day has a connection to the alignment of the stars, it is also deeply rooted in agriculture and the earth. It turns out both the stars and the land link to cartography, which provides the underlying connections in the upcoming anthology Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas.

This project is the brainchild of myself and my fellow editors Hillary Dodge and Josh Viola. The cover art was created by the award-winning artist Aaron Lovett, who will also be completing original interior art for the individual stories as well. Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas is scheduled to be published in October 2021 by Hex Publishers. And yes, there will be an open call for authors and poets interested in submitting. (More about that later.)

From the very beginning, we decided that this was not going to be a conventional anthology. We were steadfast in reserving spots for an open submission call. We knew we wanted a strong representation of dark poetry alongside short fiction. And we were determined to have a table of contents dominated by women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized and underrepresented voices.

When sending out invitations for Shadow Atlas, we were able to bring together authors and poets from various subgenres existing under the umbrella of speculative fiction to create a unique discourse examining the American continents through a multi-faceted lens. It’s truly been a remarkable experience to see the ways this diversity adds to the exploration of these lands and all they encompass. Interspersed throughout the anthology, nonfiction “field notes” bring in additional narratives focused on location-based cryptids, haunted sightings, lost cities, mysterious forces, and the layered textuality of peoples past and present.

Our current list of confirmed contributors includes Mario Acevedo,
Kay Chronister, Sara Cleto & Brittany Warman (The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic), Sean Eads, Warren Hammond, Angie Hodapp, Gwendolyn Kiste, Josh Malerman, Lee Murray, Annie Neugebauer, Cynthia Pelayo, Gerardo Horacio Porcayo, Sarah Read, Julia Rios, Betty Rocksteady, Angela Yuriko Smith, Christina Sng, Jeanne C. Stein, Tim Waggoner, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Mercedes M. Yardley, Jane Yolen, E. Lily Yu, and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro.

Pretty cool, isn’t it?

The open call will be held from June 21 to June 27, 2021. Anything sent BEFORE or AFTER these dates will be deleted unread. If you want to get a jump start on your submission, here is a bit about the theme:

Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas will be a collection of dark tales intrinsically rooted in the places from which they’ve sprung. We seek haunting and folkloric tales where setting is character and landscape is an essential part of the story. We want stories that draw from the wellspring of cultural destinations and local folklore in their shaping – most especially, stories that are tied to a specific and concrete location. This can include places that never existed, or those with connections created by the author, but they must take place in South America. Original tales, mash-ups, and new takes on known folkloric elements/cryptids/legends are all welcome.

There is an old saying that wisdom sits in places. Open an atlas across the Americas, and you will soon discover this knowledge hidden in fragments of shared memory marked on maps. The ancient peoples knew which areas to avoid, which spirits to appease. Later, invasive superstitions from far-flung countries seeded into the landscape. In order to survive, newcomers learned the cautionary tales and secret lore linked to the terrain. But not all paid heed to superstitions. These are their stories, each tale a new entry in the field guide to dark landscapes. From folk to urban horror, tell us about the places that leave their mark on the human psyche, those that resonate deep inside and leave something behind in return.

Shadow Atlas Submissions

We are seeking short stories exclusively set in South America.

We are seeking poetry set in the CaribbeanCentral AmericaMexico, and South America.

Payment: $250 for short fiction; $25 for poetry
Rights: Exclusive rights for 18 months after publication
Length: 2500 to 3000 words for short fiction; up to 35 lines for poetry
Submission Period: June 21 to June 27, 2021
Expected Release Date: October 2021
No reprints, multiple or simultaneous subs

Use classic Shunn formatting. Send as an attachment in doc or docx. In the subject line, put “Shadow Atlas,” the name of your story or poem, and author name. Example: Shadow Atlas – Story/Poem Title – Author Name.

Please send submissions to shadowatlas@hexpublishers.com. Include a short bio.

Everything submitted outside of the open call dates will be deleted.

We will be posting links to our featured authors, updates on our progress, and tidbits and tips on Hex Publishers’ social media platforms. Stay tuned!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HexPublishers

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HexPublishers

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hexpublishers/


A Panel and a Publication

I’m looking forward to talking about horror with fellow panelists Christa Carmen, Sara Tantlinger, Nicole Willson, Jessica Guess, and Zoje Stage at the online event Females of Fright! The panel will be moderated by award-winning author Gwendolyn Kiste. The panel starts at 8 pm (EST) on Friday, February 12. You can register here: http://ow.ly/ZyKp50DtEFC. I hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be so much! (Note: The panel is archived at HWA’s YouTube channel.)

And, if you’d like to hear Gwendolyn Kiste read one of her stories, check out the Valentine’s Day special at HWA COS. On February 14, recordings of readings prepared for last year’s Bloody Valentine event will be available for everyone to enjoy. It’s a power-packed roster including Linda D. Addison, L.C. Barlow, Andrea Blythe, Gwendolyn Kiste, Kate Jonez, Sarah Read, Marge Simon, and Mercedes M. Yardley. Also, each week during Women in Horror Month, members of HWA COS will be reading their work for the virtual edition of A Bloody Valentine. This year’s line-up includes J. A. Campbell, Claire L. Fishback, Shannon Lawrence, and Angela Sylvaine.

I’m also excited to share the gorgeous cover for the StokerCon 2021 Souvenir Anthology, edited by Josh Viola. As always, Hex Publishers puts out a gorgeous book with The Phantom Denver Edition. StokerCon 2021 has moved to a virtual platform this year, but we will have the opportunity to meet up again in Denver at StokerCon 2022! The Phantom Edition of this year’s anthology includes my interview with past HWA president Lisa Morton. It was definitely a thrill to see my name on the back cover along with so many incredible writers and poets. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

Publication Announcements & End of the Year Round-Up

I just received a parcel delivered through Royal Mail! Inside were my contributor copies of Bitter Distillations: An Anthology of Poisonous Tales, which was edited by Mark Beech and published by Egaeus Press. It is a beautiful book, and I’m beyond thrilled that my story “An Embrace of Poisonous Intent” closes out this gorgeous array of tales. I’ve been adding titles put out by Egaeus Press to by bookshelves for a couple of years now. The fact that copies of their newest anthology showed up on the last day of the year makes this story success that much sweeter.

Although 2020 has been a challenging year in many ways, it has also been one of my most productive. I finished my first novel, which I’m currently editing under the guidance of the amazing Angela Slatter. (If you have the opportunity to work with her, take it. Trust me on this.) I also wrote five original stories including “An Embrace of Poisonous Intent” and “The Stages of Monster Grief: A Guide for Middle-aged Vampires,” which came out in the October publication of Coffin Blossoms.

This year was a year filled with firsts for me. My story “Rotten” was the final story in the Crystal Lake anthology Arterial Bloom, edited by Mercedes M. Yardley. I also had a story listed as the opening story with the publication of “An Authentic Experience” in Wild: Uncivilized Tales from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. The linked vignettes I wrote for The Lost Citadel Roleplaying Game were published by Green Ronin Publishing in December. And I also celebrated my first translated story with the Japanese publication of “A Seed Planted” in Night Land Quarterly, Vol. 21.

In the end, my work came out in nine publications (including two reprints) in 2020. Although I only published two stories in 2019, they both received mentions this year as well. My story “Burning Bright” from Gorgon: Stories of Emergence received a nod from the renowned editor Ellen Datlow in The Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 12, and Terror at ‘5280, which includes my story “Gaze with Undimmed Eyes and the World Drops Dead,” won Best Anthology at the 2020 Best Book Awards (BBA) by American Book Fest.

In addition to my own publications, I co-edited the charity anthology Weird Dream Society: An Anthology of the Possible & Unsubstantiated in Support of RAICES, and I was a judge for the HWA Poetry Showcase, Vol. VII. I also had the wonderful opportunity to share my favorite books of 2020 at Vernacular Books.

My planner is full of hopes and dreams for 2021, and I look forward to the creative challenges ahead. Happy New Year!