Far Worlds: A Universe-Spanning Anthology.

Far Worlds

Across the unfathomably vast depths of space, the cylindrical nomad, known by some as ‘The Drift Engine’, travels the slow route between stars. Alone, it crosses the black gulf, where men freeze and stories die. But sometimes, it finds context amidst the void; intrigue, laughter, hate, madness and love, tales as diverse as life itself, in all its complex forms. The Far Worlds Anthology takes you on a journey to explore just some of these tales…

Good day my fellow Blogholers! It’s that time of a year again; the stars are right, and the latest Bolthole anthology, Far Worlds, is almost ready to escape its bonds and run amok across the universe (or the internet, whatever)!

This is the third of the anthologies produced and published by the Bolthole, and it has been my and He2etic’s[1] third time as co-editors, with ever-vigilant and grammatically merciless Hanna Gribble joining us as the final editor in our triad. This is also the third time the talented mister Mesones has lent his artistic skills to the beautiful cover art, pictured above.[2] But Manuel has gone above and beyond for this anthology, and has created illustrations for each of the main stories featured in the book.

Work started on our latest offering almost as soon as the last anthology, the engrossing Marching Time, was on the shelves. We have some returning authors, but also a slew of new faces, ready to impress you with their tales.

This year’s collection of short stories is linked together not by theme, as was the case in The Black Wind’s Whispers and Marching Time, but by setting. All the exotic far worlds depicted in the stories this year all takes place within the same universe, but otherwise could not be more different. We wanted to see our authors really go to town on creating whatever alien civilisation and story they wanted. No genres were off the table, from romance stories and comedies, to the more traditional speculative fiction and fantasy genres. Our only stipulations were that Earth could not be referenced, and that there were to be no shortcuts around the lightspeed barrier; if they wanted to leave their systems, it would be the long way round. Space is big, and we wanted it to feel big. Interstellar travel should feel like an almost insurmountable odyssey, not a long haul coach ride.

With such a vast canvas open to them, our authors have really delivered some great stories. Here are the main stories appearing in the anthology:

Anomaly, by Jonathan Ward
Rainer, by Heidi Ruby Miller
The Lost and Found, by Kerri Fitzgerald
Helzenthrax, by A. R. Aston
City Blue, by Edward Smith
Golden Planet, by Evan Purcell
A Pelnodan Bounty, by James Fadeley
Bequeathal, by K. Ceres Wright
Salvation Comes, by Simon Farrow
Endaris, by Michael J. Hollows
Alone, by Alex Helm
The War Room, by Michael Seese
Shard of Heaven, by Damir Salkovic
And finally, The Drift Engine.

In addition, a wealth of bonus flash fiction will be included to satiate your literary hunger. Overall, this will be the biggest, most jam-packed anthology yet, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Thanks for reading!

[1] Real name James Fadeley to his friends, and the various bounty hunters on his trail…
[2] Lots of threes involved in this anthology it seems huh? Conspiracy theorists, feel free to go nuts!

Far Worlds will be released 25th March 2014, available at Amazon.com, in kindle and paperback format. For more information on the anthology and its authors, please visit our Facebook page, for author interviews, free goodies and art!

Writing Market News

This will be the first of a weekly series of posts highlighting what I feel are some interesting short story writing opportunities. There are many open calls out there, but it can be hard to find and keep track of them all. Given that a disproportionate number of them seem to be for mature romance and erotica (sorry, I won’t be highlighting those categories), that makes finding the pertinent ones even more difficult.

As long as there are enough calls available to put a decent list together each week, I will be focusing on markets paying at least token rates. I think it’s important that authors get paid for their work, and I think you probably are more interested in paying markets than otherwise, so that will be the priority.

First up today, we have a pair of apocalyptic open calls.

Vignettes from the End of the World

Vignettes will be a collection of flash fiction to be published by Apokrupha, focusing on the end of the world, of course. Any form of apocalypse is acceptable, but they caution against zombies, unless done extremely well. Depending on the length of your story, this call is also paying into the upper reaches of pro-pay, so that’s not too shabby.

Deadline: November 5, 2013
Words: 500 or less
Pay: $20

Fat Zombie

The other collection of death and destruction takes an interesting look at those doing their best to survive. Fat Zombie, an anthology presented by Permuted Press, wants stories of unlikely survival. People no one would expect to make it through the end of times. Losers, geeks, freaks, handicapped, or otherwise physically or mentally incapable protagonists are the goal. An apt comparison was made to me that this sounds like the movie Zombieland. All types of apocalypse are acceptable, including zombies.

Deadline: November 30, 2013
Words: 3,000 – 10,000
Pay: $25 (not listed on website, but confirmed with the editor)

Catch me when you can… Jack the Ripper

The iconic serial killer Jack the Ripper stars in our next collection, which should well suit those from the UK. Catch me when you can is an anthology to be published by KnightWatch Press, an imprint of Fringeworks. Desired are stories in a broad spectrum of genres focusing on Jack the Ripper’s return. The idea is a new perspective on the famous serial killer, causing mayhem in a new setting, while remaining true to his defining characteristics. This is a Jack the Ripper anthology, not a general serial killer anthology, and the publisher is clear on that.

Deadline: November 30, 2013
Words: 3,000 – 6,500
Pay: 4% profit sharing
Other: Submissions must be in British English only

Far Worlds

Finally, I thought it fitting to highlight to current effort of the Bolthole publishing team, the Far Worlds anthology. There are some very interesting aspects of this collection. Stories may be of any genre, but may not be set on Earth. The intent is for stories to focus on one or more non-human races entirely. Who are they? What do they look like? How do they act? There are infinite stories to be told, but it will be a challenge to make these alien characters unique, yet still relatable to readers.

At some point in the story, a mysterious device called the Drift Engine must make an appearance. Not much is known about the device, other than it will enter and leave the area without stopping or interfering in anything going on around it. Another rule of the collection is that no faster than light travel is available in the setting.

In order to be included in this anthology, you must be a member of the Bolthole. If you aren’t already, it’s easy, so move on over here and sign up. You must must also pitch a short synopsis to the editors. Upon approval of that, you can proceed with writing the story.

Deadline (Synopsis): November 20, 2013
Deadline (Story): December 15, 2013
Words: 2,000 – 10,000
Pay: Profit sharing depending on number of authors

“The Black Wind’s Whispers” Available in Print!

The Black Wind's Whispers, available now on Amazon.

The Black Wind’s Whispers, available now on Amazon. Just in time for the season…

For the first time ever, the Bolthole’s first anthology The Black Wind’s Whispers, is available in print. With new cover art by the amazing Manuel Mesones. Just in time for the Halloween season comes 9 tales of classic monsters re-twisted into new and horrifying forms. Includes the short stories of…

“Plague of the Krakenmari”, by Simon Howers.
“The Sculptor’s Torment”, by Jonathan Ward.
“Unmarked”, by A.R. Aston.
“An Old Friend”, by Keanu Ross-Cabrera.
“The Birth Howl”, by James Fadeley.
“Guardian”, by Alec McQuay.
“Since This War”, by Robbie MacNiven.
“Burden”, by Jeremy Daw.
“And Entombed in the Dawn”, by special guest C.L. Werner.

Order your copy on Amazon just in time for Halloween. And for the e-reader folks, there’s always the Kindle edition.

Being A Writer Is Like Being A God

Another Boltholer joins us on the blog today for some more ruminations on writing. Bod the Inquisitor aka Simon is a good friend of mine, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him twice at Games Day UK’11 and Black Library Live! 2012, where we spent a good amount of time talking about writing and other things. In his first guest blog for the Bloghole he presents a critical piece on a “How To Write” book, written by acclaimed SFF writer Orson Scott Card.

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Pitching for the Black Library

Hello!! Squiggle here. With the recent official announcement of this year’s Black Library pitching window, I thought I’d drag a few thoughts together on this here blog, and save you all trekking over t’interweb. Because I am kind and thoughtful like that.

To start then, what do the official guidelines say? Well you can find them here if you want to read them for yourself.

Essentially you have two options – a short fiction sample, or a longer novel submission.

Now, if you haven’t already started your novel submission, I probably wouldn’t bother. At Black Library Live! this year, Christian Dunn admitted that in all previous years where they have accepted novel submissions from unknown authors, they have only accepted one. Like, one EVER. And that by the entertaining Josh Reynolds and even then, they got him to write a short story first!

Laurie Goulding pretty much said that they know novel submissions take a lot of work, and they didn’t want to stop accepting them this year, knowing that people may have spent a fair amount of time over the winter preparing them. From next year though, no novel submissions.

So that brings us on to the short fiction sample. This is pretty simple if I am honest. You no longer need a fully fledged idea, rather they just want a title and 500 – 1000 of your finest prose! So, no pressure then, right?

This is either a godsend, for those of us who suck at writing synopsis, or not great, as it has removed one of the way you could stand out from the crowd. That is pretty much by the by, as them’s the rules.

Nick Kyme had some pretty interesting and informative things to say about Pitching to the Black Library here and I think we would all do well to remember them.

In previous years, there has been the option to submit numerous entries, working on the assumption that one of your ideas would pique the interest of one of the editors. This year, however, the emphasis appears to be on the quality of your prose, and not just the quality, but if it is what they are looking for. You can still submit numerous entries, but given the guidelines, I am not so sure that is a good idea – I think it’s either going to work, or it isn’t, and given how stupendously competitive this window is going to be, I’d be very tempted to spend the time honing your entry into a thing of beauty rather than getting distracted with numerous ideas.

As for what to write about, well I can’t help you there. I’d echo what Nick Kyme said though – it needs to be something that you are passionate about, but equally it needs to be something that sells. That doesn’t have to mean Space Marines, but it does, in my opinion, need to be something pretty core to the universe you are writing in – be that 40k or warhammer fantasy.

Personally, I think you can do much worse than to have a look at some of the 15th anniversary 1000 word shorts currently on the Black Library website, or if 79p just sticks in your craw, get over here and download 1000 words of FREE Horus Heresy action courtesy of Mr John French. Did I mention it was FREE?

As ever on the Bolthole we will waste countless hours when we should be writing pontificating about what we could/should/would be writing about, if only we had the time etc etc, but you can find the relevant thread over here it does go on a little bit, but I promise there is some good stuff in it.

All is left then is for me to wish you luck in your endeavours. I am pretty psyched to think that the right 1000 words could make all the difference between success and failure. So, no pressure then, right!?

 

The Bolthole and You

We all come to the Bolthole for a variety of different reasons. Some of us come for one or two specific reasons, while others come because of the whole experience. So I thought it would be a great idea to really explore what some of these reasons are. Mind you, this is not an extensive list and is not meant to be, but I just want to highlight some of the key ones that I feel are the most important.

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