Writers, fire up your keyboards! Submissions will be opening up soon for the weird west anthology A Fistful of Demons.

Tall tales of forbidden trails

A Fistful of Demons is a upcoming short story anthology set after the events which take place in The Widow’s Son. Set to release in Fall 2022, the anthology will explore the ramifications of an America reeling from the attack of the hordes of ravenous undead unleashed by the Man with Bronze Teeth. Although the stories share a common world, each will take a unique approach to exploring the devastating changes wrought on the American continent by the army of evil.

Who’s writing the stories?

Hopefully you! We already have an amazing list of authors signed up for the project, including Robb Allen, John A. Douglas, Brad Mitzelfelt, Alexander Nader, Brina Williamson, David J. West, and Joriah Wood, but we’re looking for even more authors. The targeted length for the anthology is 100K words. It’s gonna be epic. Submissions will open on November 1st, 2021.

But I haven’t read The Widow’s Son

Not a problem! In fact, it’s probably a plus, as your story will be fresh and unique. No prior knowledge of the source material is required.

So, what’s the world like?

The year is 1869. Hordes of the ravenous undead have cleared all non-natives from the Rockies to the Mississippi. Indians now rule those territories under a confederacy led by Geronimo. Mexico is a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Mormons have established The Free State of Deseret. The United States is reeling and geographically divided from the fight against the undead, and unbeknownst to anyone, vampires have infiltrated Congress and are planning a insurrection. Ulysses S. Grant is President, and unlike his inept predecessor Andrew Johnson, Grant enthusiastically supports the Occult Reseach Bureau, a Federal agency dedicated to protecting American citizens from the unholy and unnatural. Angels and demons are real, as are the cryptids of American folklore and Native American mythology. Steam power is highly advanced, allowing for mechs and even cybernetic augmentation. Zeppelins roam the skies. Weapons are more or less historical as per the period, but nothing says your character can’t have some kind of prototype. Gadgets are encouraged, as are holy relics and ancient weapons and items of power.

Any god from ancient mythology is fair game, as they’re all really angels or demons. In the book the character Mary Anne is gifted an ancient magical spear from an Irish demigod—so don’t be shy about stuff like that.

The Widow’s Son has a particular Christian bent to it, but don’t feel like your story requires that. Although in the book the Catholic church supplies holy weapons, faith is faith, so feel free to branch out. An ancient Islamic demon-slaying scimitar? Why not! Buddhist beads of power? Sure. The only thing really established in the book was that the Catholic church and vampires have been sworn enemies for two millennia and a secrect Order of priests, nuns, and monks fight to keep the evil at bay. In fact, given the history we would expect the Eastern Orthodox church to have its own cadre of vampire-hunters. An itinerant Eastern European monk hunting vampires could be a very interesting character.

How long will submissions be open?

The submission window will be from November 1st, 2021 to January 31st, 2022.

What kind of stories are you looking for?

We’re looking for adventure stories that explore a West where angels and demons are real, monsters roam the wilds, and magic exists. Pulp, Gothic, even Romance, it’s all fair game. But please, no Erotica. We’re keeping this PG-13.

How long will the stories be?

We’re looking for stories around 6K words in length, but that’s only a rough guideline. 4K would be a minimum (no flash fiction or poetry please), and the upper limit would be around 12K.

What does this pay?

So glad you asked! We will be launching a Kickstarter in late Spring or early Summer 2022 to raise funds for paying authors. Our goal is to pay you a pro rate of 8¢/word, but that will require a substantial level of funding. At a minimum, we will guarantee 3¢/word, with the rate going upwards on a sliding scale to 8¢/word depending on the funding level achieved.

How do I query?

Detailed query instructions will be posted when the submission window opens on November 1st, 2022.

I have questions…

We’re building a community of writers on a private Slack workspace where people can ask questions, share ideas, and brainstorm. Drop me a line at ryanwilliamson@msn.com and I’ll invite you.

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