Sunday, October 12, 2014

Reading Whirlwind

We are crazy busy here.

As I write this I am:
  • Reading Submissions for three anthologies
  • Packaging up books to mail 
  • Contacting Authors
  • Working on layouts
  • Writing up guidelines
And a whole lot of other things.

I'll be back soon with more story excerpts, news of new projects, and other fun things.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Our First Time...

As you know, we are reading stories for a second Dia de los Muertos themed anthology.  This is truly one of our favorite holidays, and we are so beyond thrilled to be working with this theme again.

Since we're in the mood, here's a little snippet from our first anthology, Dia de los Muertos. This comes from Gerri Leen's story "The Effect of Place on Love and Death." 

All you know is the slide of flesh over sheets and the joining of bodies as your lover murmurs his feelings to you. You came to Mexico to be together; it might as well be Cleveland. You wonder if you will ever leave the hotel room.

It is your first time together. He has wooed you; you have been caught. He has the money to fly you down for a weekend in Paradise, to this hotel that lies on the plaza, that has views of the hills surrounding the town. His favorite place, he told you as you boarded the plane. Does he expect it to be yours, too?

The smell of the flowers in the plaza drifts up into your room; your lover has left the window open, and it captures the scent of marigolds, of dripping wax candles, of sweets and breads being baked and sold. These scents mix with the smell of damp hair, of his cologne and your perfume, of sex and heat and touching.

You finally fall away from each other, chests heaving, sweat glistening, and in the plaza below, a hubbub of voices rises to your room. It is the Day of the Dead. One of them, anyway. You’re still not sure which day is for what, or why they don’t call it the Days of the Dead or the Time of the Dead.

“One day is for the young. One day for the adults. All death is specific,” your lover told you on the plane when you asked. As if that explained anything.

“Is love specific?” you wanted to know, but he didn’t answer, and by his look, you understood he did not see any reason for you to have asked.

You try not to think about how general you might be to him now that you’re not trapped under him, not lying with your legs wrapped around him, giving him a pleasure specific to this room. The ceiling fan blows a cool breeze to sweat-streaked skin, and you know the words he would use to assuage your doubts: I love you; I adore you; I want you.

But for how long?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dia de los Muertos Anthology

Dia de los Muertos has always been our favorite time of the year and was the theme of our very first anthology.  We are revisiting that theme and are excited to be accepting submissions for a follow-up anthology due out in the fall.

We are looking for more stories about Dia de los Muertos, that magical time when the dead can return.  For many, this is a time for celebration as we call our dead home—but there are those among us who may find that this time is a reason to fear…  

Given the rich imagery and ritual/symbolism surrounding this particular holiday, there is a lot of room for creativity here. The subject matter for this project is wide open—we like to give our authors room to play—as long as it touches on the theme. We want you to scare us, to break our hearts, to leave us wanting more... We will accept fantasy, horror, magic realism, literary, and even the darkly humorous. We love quirky characters and stories written from unusual perspectives… please send us your best.

As you know, our tastes run dark but what’s most important to us is a good story; one that we want to read again and again.  As we’ve said before, we’re not afraid of sex or violence (not even a bit) as long as it is important to the tale.  We aren’t a fan of the gross, however, and we don’t love gore for the sake of gore.  There really needs to be a point.

Need more information about the theme?  There are a ton of sites on the internet to help you out. Here are just two that discuss this holiday, its rituals and customs to help get you started:

This is important, as we have been receiving too many off-topic stories. Just because there is a dead person in your story—or a zombie, or magical murder, etc.—does not mean it fits the theme. Please familiarize yourself with the celebration of Dia de los Muertos before writing/submitting your story.  

How to Submit:
Please send your 1000-5000 word stories as black-and-white 12 pt. easily readable font (.rtf file) to muertosantho at elektrikmilkbathpress dot com. The majority of the stories we choose tend to fall in the 2000-5000 word range but if you know us you know we’re pretty flexible with word count, as long as we enjoy the read. Preference will be given to original stories but we have been known to take a reprint or two… just query.

Make sure you include all your contact details with your submission:  Name, pseudonym (if applicable), address and contact info.  We would hate to fall in love with your story and not be able to tell you so.

Also, please let us know if the story is an original and include the approximate word count, as well as a short bio of about 50 words. We want to know all about you—we’re nosy like that.

Finally, please include the word “submission” in your subject line so that your lovely efforts aren’t eaten by our junk-monster.  Much good work has been destroyed this way and we’d hate to see it happen to yours.

What happens next:
We hope to send responses within a 6-8 week period. Response times can grow longer as we receive more stories, but we do respond to every submission and we will try to update our Facebook page, Twitter, and the website as frequently as possible.  If you haven’t heard from us and it has been awhile, please feel free to query.

We are offering a one-time payment of $30 and a contributor copy in return for non-exclusive rights.  Authors who are selected will receive a contract.

Books will be available for purchase through multiple online venues including our website, Barnes and Noble, and and authors wishing to purchase additional copies will be able to do so at a discount.

Submissions will close on September 25 or when filled.

Any questions?  Something we forgot?  Feel free to query.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

An Ocean of Stories

It’s hard to believe that we’re already half-way through August…  I didn’t even notice summer had arrived and now it’s almost gone.

As I type this, I’m neck-deep in motorcycle stories—but what I am really thinking of tonight is the Ocean (in my world it is always Ocean with a capital O).  I haven’t seen the water in a very long time, but it always seems to be with me. More and more I find it creeping into my dreams.

A couple of years ago (Has it really been that long?) we published Ocean Stories, an anthology of fantastical tales exploring the mysteries and magic of the deep. Here is a little snippet of one of those stories, Gregory L. Norris’s dark little homage, The Old Man and the Sea Monster:

The heat that had rained down from the sky cooled, and the old man felt a chill in his bones, mostly due to the weather. The rest owed to a sense of foreboding that couldn’t be identified until the dark shapes appeared ahead of them, phantoms that rose jagged and black against the gray mists.

At first sight, the old man saw them as jagged black fangs that had chewed their way up from the bottom of the sea. Fangs, eager to catch and rend apart anything unlucky enough to be caught between their salivating jaws. Then he realized the teeth were atolls, newly-formed by the turbulent upheaval that had sent the towering wall of water racing toward their island home. A chain of muck-covered lesser islands, thrust up from the ocean floor. A foul odor of swamps and upturned graves, only worse, infused the mist.

The boy’s hand clutched the old man’s wrist, hard enough to be painful. “Where are we?”

The old man had no quick answer. He sensed, and rightly so, that they had entered a mysterious no-man’s land where the usual laws of their former life no longer applied.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The End Is Near(ish)

I can't believe it is already August, can you?

I just wanted to peek out from behind the pile to remind everyone that the submission deadline for the motorcycle anthology is August 15th (that would be Friday for those of you who don't like numbers).  We have accepted a few more submissions since the last post and I will be announcing those authors as soon as we have confirmation.

For guidelines and how to submit go here.

Time to dive back in...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Motorcycle Stories

This has been a busy weekend, full of all the little details that are not near as much fun as reading submissions or putting books together but, sadly, still must be done. 

We are in the midst of reading and responding to submissions for the motorcycle anthology and have actively started putting accepted stories into layout.  I will start posting accepted authors on the website as soon as they have confirmed, but—so far—the line-up includes Gregory L. Norris, Donyae Coles, L. M. Magalas, Jennifer Crow and Gerri Leen.   

We are still taking stories until August 15th.  Interested in submitting?  Check out our guidelines here!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Confessions: A Nightmare in Five Acts

We are pleased to announce that our latest project, Confessions:  A Nightmare in Five Acts. 

For this project, 22 poets came together to collaboratively write a single, full-length poem. Contributing poet Joshua Gage explains: 

"Based on the cinquain form, this poem moves through five acts, exploiting gothic literary tropes to create a dreamlike narrative."   

Confessions features the work of William C. Burns, Jr., Gary Blankenship, Michael L. Evans, Joshua Gage, Toni J. Gardner, Sandra Kasturi, Deborah P. Kolodji, David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Sandra Lindow, Terra Martin, Robin Mayhall, Karen L. Newman, Rhonda Parrish, Pamela Pignataro, Terrie Leigh Relf, Marsheila (Marcy) Rockwell, Shanna, J.E. Stanley, Marcie Lynn Tentchoff, Gene VanTroyer, Scott Virtes, and Stephen M. Wilson. Cover art is by JuliSnow White.

The book will be available July 10, 2014 but can be pre-ordered through our site store. At the authors' requests, proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA).