Call for Submissions: Gunsmoke & Dragonfire

A hybrid writer is calling for submissions for Gunsmoke & Dragonfire: A Fantasy Western Anthology. Submissions open immediately.

This is a collaborative project in which each contributor (writer, editor, etc.) will receive one share of profits, if any.  Contributors are encouraged to make best use of their collective resources for marketing (social media, blog, YouTube channel, author promotionals, podcasts, contributions to the marketing fund, etc.) but no one is expected to contribute any specific resource. THERE IS NO READING FEE.

I’m looking for Fantasy Western stories up to a maximum of 15000 words. If you have a longer story that you believe really fits, query me first at Sable (at) sablearadia dot com.  Please TYPE THE FULL WORD COUNT NUMBER in the Word Count slot, because the submission form will verify the number.  They can take place in any setting (alternate world, alternate history, post-apocalyptic future, whatever.) Dark Fantasy and Fantasy Horror are welcome. YA is also welcome. I will consider sci-fi westerns as well, but fantasy will be given preference.

I welcome submissions from marginalized voices and writers of all income and experience levels. Please let me know in your Cover Letter if you fall into any marginalized groups.

I am looking for NON-exclusive ebook and print rights. Reprints are welcome.

Please submit, if at all possible, in the standard William Shunn manuscript format. I prefer submissions in .doc or .docx but will accept .txt and .rtf if I must as well.  Submissions should be in English, but I’m not concerned whether that’s American, Canadian, Australian, UK, or other.

Submission deadline is midnight Pacific Daylight Time, October 1, 2018, with intentions to publish the ebook in January 2019 and the print version in March 2019. The print version will be printed via CreateSpace and contributor’s copies will be made available to you at a significant discount (more than industry standard.)

Indie writers: Your work will be edited. There is an industry standard in this practice: I will send you the edit, and you can approve or decline any changes. You will send it back for a second pass and then I will return it with a second edit. A final proof will also be made available for your confirmation. Either one of us may withdraw from our agreement to publish together at any time during this process. I will edit according to Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, which is the literary standard; not CMOS, which many indie editors are using.

On request, contributing writers can remove their story from the ebook version after a period of one calendar year from the date of ebook publication. We will arrive at a collective decision as to whether we should stick with KDP or go wide, but my preference is to go wide because this will give us a shot at USA Today bestseller status. Print rights will continue in perpetuity. If I should, in the future, decide to withdraw publication, all rights revert entirely to you.

To submit, please go here and fill out this Google Form.

If you have any comments or questions, don’t be afraid to post them!

*Image shown is concept art from Dino Storm, a fantasy western MMORPG. Illustrators are currently being queried.

26 thoughts on “Call for Submissions: Gunsmoke & Dragonfire

    1. I’m confused. Is this being reblogged simply because the release is coming up, or is a new anthology being offered up? The original post still has the original dates.


      1. I started a new blog for my publishing company label and reblogged all the stuff that was relevant to our new release, to move it over from my personal blog. So that anthology is coming out in a few days! There will be more submission opportunities later in the year. Sorry for the confusion.


    2. Hey there. I’m confused. Is this being reblogged because the release is pending, or because a new anthology is up?


      1. I started a new blog for my publishing company label and reblogged all the stuff that was relevant to our new release, to move it over from my personal blog. So that anthology is coming out in a few days! There will be more submission opportunities later in the year. Sorry for the confusion.


  1. Hi,
    I know you must be massively busy, so I hope you won’t mind if I ask if the final acceptances/rejection emails have gone out yet? Just worried I’ve missed something. Many thanks! Paula

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Paula! No, you have not missed anything. I’m still sorting through the last of the stories, and there’s so many good ones and I’m running out of room, so it’s requiring my full attention; which I’m finding I’m not able to give in the middle of NaNoWriMo. So yes, I am behind schedule, but I promise you will hear from me by the first week of December one way or the other. Thanks for asking, and I’m sorry for the delay!


    1. Hi Chris! Yes, I think I will! I do plan to do other themed anthologies, and there were certainly enough submissions that I think I could easily organize another fantasy western anthology at some point. Keep your eye on this blog and The Grinder, because that’s where I’ll post the call. And thank you for asking!


    1. I did indeed receive it, thank you! I’m making my final decisions in the next week or so. I am running out of space and there are so many good stories that I am frankly hesitating.


  2. Hello. Have you sent out notices (acceptances and rejections) for this anthology? I don’t think I’ve received anything, but I could be wrong. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Christopher! You’re right; you haven’t received a response yet, and thank you for your patience! Your story has been in the queue longer than any other. Most of the stories submitted in the middle were subjected to a long wait, and many were ultimately rejected, but yours is still in the running. All the stories are in now and I’m in the process of making the final selections. You should hear from me in about a week, possibly two, one way or the other. Sorry about the wait!


  3. “The print version will be printed via CreateSpace and contributor’s copies will be made available to you at a significant discount (more than industry standard.)” Normally, at least one free print copy is pretty standard, with additional copies being available at a discount. Any chance of that item being toggled somewhat?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Midori! A Kickstarter will be organized to fund the project’s operating budget. If it’s successful, I will indeed send a free print copy to each contributor. But I can’t promise that until I know how it turns out. As an individual who is organizing what is, in large part, a collective effort, I don’t know what my operating budget is going to look like yet.

      Think of me like a collective small press startup. A story of mine will be appearing in Terra! Tara! Terror! in a couple of days, and while they plan to make a print copy at some point, they’re only giving digital copies to their contributors. I’ve done three collective anthologies in a couple of different fields as well, and only one of them gave me a complimentary copy, because only one of the three was being put out by a publishing company; the other two, like me, were organized collectives.

      That said, as an author, I really do understand how important it is to be able to have at least that one copy to put on your shelf, and I will try my damnedest to make sure that happens!

      I will also be making free digital copies available to all contributors, with the right to distribute them as you see fit. (Have you heard of Instafreebie? They’re changing their name, I don’t remember what to, but that’s the platform I’ll use.)

      Thanks for an excellent question!


    1. Hi Dilmandila! I think the best answer is “not necessarily.”

      The story should be a Western. The plot ought to fit a “Western” theme. That said, there’s a lot more leeway than you might think.

      Wikipedia has an article about the Western genre that I’ve perused to answer the question of what, exactly, a Western is, in part to help me make decisions about which stories I would accept, all other things being equal: Among the many Western subgenres, it specifically lists Westerns that, by definition, are centered in different cultures, other than the American West:

      Charro, Cabrito, or “Chili Westerns” – Mexican.

      NorthWesterns – Canadian/Alaskan. I’m writing a story for the anthology too, and mine is a NorthWestern because I’ve set it in a post-apocalyptic Saskatchewan.

      Euro-Western – Western European. Includes, but is not limited to, “Spaghetti Westerns” and “Sauerkraut Westerns.”

      Osterns – Eastern European. Apparently the early Communist Russian governments were quite enamoured of them. Often the Romani or Turks stand in for First Nations people in the plotlines (either as an enemy or portrayed sympathetically.)

      Meat Pie Westerns – Australian.

      Indo Westerns and “Curry Westerns” – Indo-Asian. I think many typical Bollywood plots would translate rather well!

      Martial Arts or “Wuxia Westerns” – The Kung Fu TV series is cited as an example. I think you could make a good argument that pretty much every samurai movie ever made might as well be a Western. Everyone knows that the Dollars Trilogy stole their plots, and even many of the scenes and shots, from Akiro Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and its sequel, Sanjuro; and The Magnificent Seven was a remake of Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai. I would even argue that a lot of anime (I’m thinking of Vampire Hunter D and Lone Wolf and Cub, off the top of my head) are basically Westerns as well.

      And don’t forget: even if you *do* center it in the American West, it by no means has to be about white people! Stories that center around First Nations people are well established in the genre. The culture of the vaqueros existed before cowboys, and cowboys borrowed a lot from them. The Pacific Coast from San Francisco to Vancouver and Barkerville would never have existed without Asian settlers. I know of several examples in Canada where large groups of retired Gurkhas settled, exercising their rights as subjects of Queen Victoria to live where they chose within the Empire. And as Cat Rambo recently pointed out, at least one in every four cowboys in the American West was Black.

      The question for me is, does it *feel* like a Western? Does it deal with the sorts of plots that Westerns deal with? (And please, while it’s well established in the genre, do not give me any stories where the plot is to drive out or oppress First Nations or their stand-ins. I just don’t want to tell that kind of story.)

      That said, so far, submissions have included a story set in an alternate world where the Greek gods hold sway; a story centered around a Norseman in pre-Settler North America; a Western relying heavily on Jewish culture and mysticism; a Western set in South America; and two Westerns set elsewhere in our solar system. I’ve had submissions from two Nordic writers, an Arabic writer, and a Mexican writer, as well as Americans, Canadians and Brits. I’ve accepted some of them, rejected others, and held some for consideration.

      So my advice is, if you’ve got something you think might fit, even if it’s not centered in the “Old West,” send it to me. I would love to see it!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Laura! No, there isn’t; but be aware that because the profits are going to be divided in royalty shares, you’re more likely to succeed with a medium length story than a really short or really long one. A flash fiction piece has to be amazing to justify a full share if it’s only making up a couple of pages in the book, and longer pieces may exclude others, so I’m a little harder on them as well. Still, please don’t self-reject! Send it anyway! You never know what any given editor is going to like! And thanks for a good question!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Ms. Morrison:

    I believe that my weird western tale “Blazing Beamard” will be a good fit for Gunsmoke & Dragonfire. This story is a reprint, and is currently under contract as a podcast for Third Flatiron Publishing. This contractual obligation will expire in September. Would you prefer that I submit the story at this time, or wait until then?

    Stanley B. Webb

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Stanley, pleased to meet you! I am always excited to read new stories as soon as I can, for my own purely selfish reasons. But whatever makes you feel most comfortable works. Since your exclusivity clause runs out long before intended publication, and no one else will see your story except for myself and our cover artist before that date, I see no conflict in sending it any time. Thanks for your interest and I look forward to reading it!

      Liked by 1 person

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