Tag Archives: anthologies

It’s Raining Again, Let The Deluge Begin

Deluge: Stories of Survival & Tragedy in the Great FloodWhat would happen if a sudden torrential downpour destroyed all of America in the space of 40 days and 40 nights? What if a volcanic eruption on the moon Io resulted in a massive raining down of sodium chloride in which a future exploratory party from Earth was caught up and their space-to-surface vehicle destroyed? What if ….

Submissions Now Open For Deluge Anthology

The most asked question the garden gnomes have received in the past two months is, When will Deluge: Stories of Survival and Tragedy in the Great Flood come out? Sorry, but we’ve been dragging our feet–for a number of reasons (and not all of them bad).

But here’s the bottom line: We don’t have enough quality submissions yet to answer that question.

We have probably half the number of flash fiction stories I’d like to see and no poems or essays. Curiously, we received more short story submissions for this anthology than we did for either of the previous two–Garden of Eden or Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah. We’re not sure what that means.

What we didn’t get were any essays, nor did we receive any poems that we’d consider. So I’d like to talk about what we’d like to see and then open the door to possibilities.

Can A Poem Be Speculative?

If you have read Frederick Turner’s epic poem Genesis, then you might answer in the affirmative. But that poem is written in a formal style, and that’s not what we’re looking for. Although, you might say we’re interested in poems that deal with epic themes.

In a nutshell, these are the types of poems the garden gnomes enjoy:

  • Narrative – They may be lyrical, but they must be narrative. If you don’t know what this means, don’t submit.
  • Poetic – Sorry, but we have an aversion to prose poems, which may contain poetic elements, but they are prose. On an electronic reading device, most readers will not be able to tell the difference between a prose poem and a flash fiction or short story. Therefore, we’re more interested in poems that have a distinctive poetic form whether they be free verse or formal.
  • Speculative – The poem must deal with a “what if?” It can fall into a horror genre, fantasy, science fiction, a punk genre, or any of the other speculative fiction genres, but it should approach the subject matter with speculative awe.
  • Weird – Let it be weird. The weirder the better.
  • Literarily awesome – We’re not looking for literary poems. There are journals that will publish these. If it would fit into Poetry magazine or The New Yorker, we don’t want it. If you could submit it to Tin House, Rattle, or any poetry journal with the word “Review” in its title, then we don’t want it. If you’re not sure where you could send it to have it accepted, but you still believe it is high quality poetic limestone, then send it our way.
  • Flood-related – Address the anthology theme.
  • Long – We want at least 50 lines and up to 500. Lines. Not words, not characters.

We realize it is more challenging to pen a poem than a short story or flash fiction story. If you can’t do it, don’t try. This is a challenge for the poets. However, we reserve the right to move away from poetry if we can’t find what we’re looking for.

What’s a Speculative Essay?

We garden gnomes have always been surprised that we don’t get many attempts at essays. It’s not even hard to write one. And we’re not really asking for long ones. We’re just asking for essays that address the theme in a more creative way than an academic essay would answer anything (do they really answer anything?). Types of essays creative nonfiction we’re interested in include:

  • Reported essays – Take the theme, do some research, interview an expert or two, and write a damn good story, creatively. No stodginess.
  • Personal essays – Have you survived a flood? Do you know someone who has? Have a personal take on a flood? Take us there. Think Hunter S. Thompson meets Annie Dillard with an Edgar Allan Poe twist, or a dash of Philip K. Dick.
  • Creative essays – An essay generally starts with a statement or a question then proceeds to answer it. The use of facts, figures, anecdotes, etc. all serve to support the main idea. But we’re looking for something a little more creative. Not a linear logical argument, per se, but more of a journey through a maze that takes us from Point A to Point B and a personal discovery. Give us a denouement.
  • New Journalism – Gonzo, personal narrative where you are a part of a larger story. Combine fact with fictional technique.
  • Hybrid essays – Fact with a little fiction, as opposed to fiction with a little fact. Make a point, but don’t be afraid to stray from the thin lines of reality. If it’s interesting, we’ll consider it.

A speculative essay may start with a “what if” question or end with one. What if Hurricane Katrina had gone further inland? Could it have destroyed Baton Rouge the same way it took down New Orleans? What if it went west and destroyed Houston instead? What if global warming accelerated to the point where all world coastal cities were under water within ten years? What if the Great Flood was local and only affected those in present day Iraq.

There are a ton of directions you could go with a flood-related essay. Use your imagination. Tell us a story that could be reality TV.

Is Speculative Fiction Dead?

We still want flash fiction and short stories. If for some reason we don’t get enough publishable poetry or essays, we’ll fill up the anthology with more fiction. That can’t be bad, right?

You’re welcome to send us a novelette up to 20,000 words. If we like it, we’ll publish it and pay you for it. Otherwise, we are accepting additional short stories and flash fiction stories from 300 to 10,000 words. Read more on our BLAS anthologies guidelines page. For more specific information regarding Deluge: Stories of Survival & Tragedy in the Great Flood, check out the guidelines page for that anthology.

The deadline is midnight EST November 23, 2014.

Send your submissions to submissions @ gardengnomepubs.com. Send your questions to editor @ gardengnomepubs.com.

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Warmth

by Kris Varga

warmth by Kris VargaCold. The word shutters over the mind. Cold is the cobbled streets in the brink of winter, resonating with the season appropriately. Cold is the city under a dainty snowfall while fleeting teal sparks reach for the heavens. Cold is the sound of vacancy among Gomorrah, whose electricity has been discontinued via an electromagnetic pulse. Cold is the soul at the brink of survival.

Patrick was cold.

“The Day of Shock,” Patrick creatively coined it, left him immobile and incapable of returning to an energy pod to restore his battery. He computed a light chuckle in his thoughts, one that was innocent enough to maintain the positive attitude he was designed to omit. His bio-constructed flesh tingled as his eyes transfixed on snowy open vastness. Patrick had traveled this path many times, but this time he gained a new perspective, catching a glimpse of himself as if a stranger. He computed a silent sigh.

“Soon enough,” he speculated, “Evelyn will return.”

Evelyn always returned.

#

Four days, two hours, thirty-six minutes and fifty-seven seconds ago, Patrick and Evelyn had passed through the quieter outlets of the city’s boundaries: the grasslands, as they were referred to by the people of Gomorrah. Their weekly destination, however routine, pleased Patrick.

Beyond the bubble-shaped buildings and transcendent automobiles, emitting violent screeches to convey each individual’s animosity towards another, lay the incandescent fields, preserved for the rare produce proprietors who lived a “simpler life.” Twenty-four degrees above the Earth’s meeting with the sky rested the sun, whose lackadaisical clock reminded Patrick of the bells that would ring ever so briefly from Divine Intelligence’s control tower. The grocery bags in Patrick’s hands would only slow down their travels.

“Patrick, slow down! I wanna enjoy the sunset.”

“My dear, we must hurry—for time, you see, is dwindling. It is almost of the eve.”

“Sing me the Clair de Lune.” Her eyes smiled their childish embellishment. “Pretty please?”

Patrick halted and glanced cheerfully at the heart of the city, then at the enticing sun, then at Evelyn’s purity. Against all odds, Evelyn’s smile won out, and she placed her knapsack on the ground and rested cross-legged in the open field as Patrick hummed the tune to his best ability. Even though this was not a part of his programming, Evelyn seemed to enjoy the flawed sound he produced. “Human-like”, she would call it.

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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Are You Weird Enough?

by Allen Taylor

weird frog birdWorking on my third Biblical Legends anthology now, I’ve noticed that for every anthology I’ve edited so far I have received a handful of well-written stories that I can’t publish. I won’t publish.

That might sound odd, especially if you’re the type of person who believes that quality literature should be published. In fact, you may even believe that the best submissions should get their place in the anthology. But I don’t go that route.

Despite my best attempts to encourage writers to be weird, it is inevitable that I get submissions for each anthology that don’t even attempt to be weird. And, frankly, I’m a bit befuddled.

Watch Out For That … Flood

I went so far in the guidelines for Deluge: Stories of Survival & Tragedy in the Great Flood to ask writers to send their best tales of an alternative flood scenario.

Tell us a story of a catastrophic flood somewhere and at some time. It can be past, present, or future. It can be on Mars or one of Jupiter’s moons. Maybe it’s in an alternate space and time. Or maybe it’s a flood of dark matter into the earth’s ionosphere. Whatever the case, give us strong characters with a need to survive.

Still, I get stories of some character named Josiah who is Noah’s cousin’s best friend. He and Noah are as tight as a nut and bolt on the Titanic.

I’m not calling anyone out, and that scenario is one I made up, by the way. But you get the gist.

It seems that writers want to tell their flood stories, but they don’t want to let their imaginations loose to do it. There could be any number of reasons for this, which I won’t go into. The gnomes could be partly responsible. But I thought I’d offer some encouragement to writers who want to have a story published for one of the BLAS anthologies to, first, rip the straightjacket off your imagination.

I’d encourage you to start by reading at least one of the anthologies we’ve already published, preferably both. It’s not because we want your money. It’s because we want your best and most imaginative tales. Ideas give birth to new ideas. Even then, I’d say many of the stories we’ve already published, though they may touch on the weird, aren’t weird enough.

Which brings me to my next question: What is weird literature?

Well, Asshole, What IS Weird Lit?

Weird lit is somewhat difficult to define. It’s more a tone than a genre. But there are some distinctive elements. And it runs the gamut from extremely weird—like many Bizarro authors—to simple absurdism. We like it all.

One of our goals at Garden Gnome Publications is to publish weird literature that is representative of the breadth that can be found in the weird lit pantheon.

Diversity of style is difficult to achieve. Of course, the garden gnomes are partly to blame because maybe we haven’t done all that we could to reach every corner of the weird lit marketplace (at least, where the writers hang out). We do, after all, have day jobs. But that’s a morbid digression.

If I had to say succinctly what we’re looking for in all of our Biblical Legends anthologies, I’d say it’s three things:

  • Weirdness
  • Excellent storytelling
  • Boundless imagination

Stories do not have to stick closely to the original. As long as readers can tell your story is based on, in same way, the original Bible story, it’s good. You can be Christian, atheist, or somewhere in between. Heck, we won’t even ask. All we want is a good story that makes us laugh, say “huh?”, or send us to the toilet to make us retch at the horridness.

We aren’t officially re-opening the submissions process (we’re still reading some of the short stories we already have), but if you have a story you’d like us to consider for the flood anthology, send it now. Our biggest needs are flash fiction, narrative poems, and essays. We’d really like to see some gut-wrenching or thought-provoking essays on the flood theme.

To learn more about the guidelines for the formats we seek, read our submissions page, and get familiar with the BLAS submissions page, as well. We look forward to seeing what seeps out of your gray matter. Otherwise, we’ll see you in a crater on the dark side of Ganymede.

Allen Taylor publisher at Garden Gnome Publications and editor of the Biblical Legends Anthology Series. Check out Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom and Gomorrah now.

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Payment

by Gary Hewitt

payment by gary hewittTwo guards approached.

“Why are you here?”

“I have come to see if the stories are true.”

Two lowered rifles met the visitor’s chest.

“What have you heard?”

“The rich prosper and the poor are fucked.”

The elder of the sentries snorted and kept his gun level.

“Are you rich or target practice?”

“Check your records and look for Mr Kitchener.”

He made a call and put his weapon away.

“Go straight to Big Eddie. It’s up the end of the street.”

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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The Salt Pit

by JD DeHart

the salt pit by JD DeHartWhen Nephesh moved into the town, he was blown away by the vastness of the metropolis. Compared to the twin cities, his hometown was just a dot in the desert. There was a noticeable scent of brine in the air that never seemed to leave, burning the nostrils.

Perhaps it had addled the brains of the residents. Perhaps that was why they danced late into the night, their tattoos singing and their chains rattling, binding and wrapping each other. Perhaps that was why they had worshiped the beast, resting on its haunches in the middle of the cities, a smile on its face that said, “Welcome, have some fun, do not go away.”

The first night in the twin cities, Nephesh made the company of a bright young girl. Everyone else seemed to be giants bathed in ebony, but she was a light, wisp, paper-thin angel.

“Welcome,” she said to him in her lovely voice.

“What is all the ruckus about?” Nephesh had asked. Now, he knew.

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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Starlight

by Erin Vataris

starlight by erin vatarisGeula was afraid of the dark. She was afraid of the shadows that oozed out of the brick walls in the middle of the night and piled on the floor near her bed, thick and deep, waiting for her to step into them. She was afraid of the sound of the wind as it whistled past the windows in the darkness. She was afraid of the sound of the baked bricks cooling, the tick and crackle of the mortar between them, but most of all, she was afraid of the black empty dark.

Sometimes, when she hung her feet over the edges of the bed, the darkness climbed up them and made them disappear until she pulled them up and found them again. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, especially on the black dark nights when the clouds covered the stars and there was no moon, she thought she could feel it climbing up the side of the sleeping ledge, seeping into her sleeping mat and trying to make all of her disappear.

Geula didn’t want to disappear. She didn’t want the dark to eat her, so she stayed still on her mat and closed her eyes so she couldn’t see how dark it was. She squeezed them closed so tightly that the darkness couldn’t leak in, and then she pushed her fingers against her eyelids until she could see bright flashing spots even after she opened them again.

She did it again and again until she couldn’t see the darkness anymore, then sometimes she could sleep, but the darkness was still there. It was waiting for her to fall asleep so it could climb up the ledge and into her mat and eat her all gone.

Her legs hurt from where Immi had whipped her for falling asleep at the loom yesterday, so she wiggled them a little bit. Not much, or the mat would crackle and the darkness would know she was there. Her lungs hurt from trying not to breathe too loudly. Her eyes hurt from pushing on them. But she was still there. It hadn’t gotten her yet. Geula tried to think about staying awake, but she was so tired. She just wanted to go to sleep. She wished they would let her leave a lamp on, but oil was more precious than one silly little girl’s silly little fears.

Abbi had put an altar in the alcove of the sleeping room for her and traded Immi’s fine-woven linens for a statue of Asherah with a bronze crown that glittered. He sighed the whole while, but he put Asherah in the altar where the moonlight could shine in the window and catch her crown.

Asherah was a fine goddess to protect her. Geula knew that. She knew that Abbi gave her an altar and not another whipping because he loved her, just like Immi had whipped Geula’s legs out of love and didn’t want her to ruin a whole length of cloth by falling asleep and tangling the shuttle so it had to be all unwoven. Geula knew that.

When the moon shone in and the bronze crown sent stars dancing over the walls of the alcove, Geula could almost see Asherah moving. She could feel the goddess’s gaze on her while she shifted and pushed on her eyes and tried to sleep, and Geula was almost as afraid of that as she was of the shadows that filled up the alcove on cloudy nights. On cloudy nights—nights like tonight—she couldn’t see Asherah at all. She could just hear her moving in the darkness, and she knew, just as surely as she knew the darkness wanted to swallow her up, that Asherah was moving.

Asherah lived in the statue in the altar in the alcove, and Geula wasn’t quite sure whether Asherah wanted to help her or beat her for her childishness.

Asherah never helped her. She just stood there being stone and bronze during the daytime, and at night she roamed around her alcove where the altar was, eating the olives and honey milk they left for her and trying to get out. Sometimes on the darkest nights, the nights with no moon, Geula could hear her feet like raindrops, and she wondered what would happen if Asherah got out.

Those were the worst nights, where she laid on her mat and shivered, afraid of the darkness, afraid of Asherah. Those were the nights when she was so afraid that she couldn’t even make herself get up to pee, and she would lay in bed afraid until it all came spilling out of her in a hot wet stream that dried on her legs and made her mat stink. She got whipped when that happened, a big girl like her peeing in her bed, and Immi made her carry her own mat down to the river, heavy and reeking, to wash it. That was bad, but on the worst nights the darkness was worse than whippings. It was worse than washing her mat. It was worse than everything.

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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[Untranslatable]

by E.S. Wynn

[untranslatable] by E.S. Wynn from Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & GomorrahTranscript SM-15746:

The only warning I received came in the form of the flash when [The Weapon] hit the center of Sodom. A handful of seconds. Five, maybe.

I am grateful for it.

I’m grateful, because it was more time than most were given.

[The Library] has been my home for almost fifty years, and now I fear it will become my tomb. If you’re familiar with Sodom as it was before the sudden strike that erased it from existence, surely you’ve seen [The Library]. It was beautiful once—a spiraling tower of gold-marbled hunchunite capped with a shining dome of polished platinum and perched amongst the trees at the southern edge of the city, just beyond the university district. I–I remember cursing how far I had to walk to get there sometimes, but now . . .

Now, I’m starting to think that maybe [The Library]’s distance from the city center was the only reason I survived.

Most of [The Library] is gone. Fifteen floors. [The Weapon]? [Untranslatable–]

How foolish war is. All of that knowledge. All of those texts—gone, lost, fused and melted, and shattered. Thousands of years of knowledge erased in an instant. All that’s left is this basement, these archives, these back-up copies of critical texts.

I never thought that [The Enemy] would use [The Weapon]. They always threatened our nation with it. War is like that. Threats, espionage, some fighting, little skirmishes, but never . . . never something like this. Never something capable of killing so many so quickly.

So many, so many dead. Even if Sodom is the only city that was attacked—even if Gomorrah or Admah or Zeboim still stand, even if our nation is still strong. . .

Millions. Millions called Sodom home. Millions.

[Untranslatable]

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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Garbage

by Guy & Tonya De Marco

garbage by guy & tonya de marco from Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & GomorrahMr. Gray uploaded a new orbital script into the E-DEN’s main navigation computer and the forward retros fired in a complex pattern of bursts to place the ship into a stable orbit.

“Tell me again why we’re not just dumping our cargo into the local star’s corona,” said Mr. Silver. “It’s just sulfur, and it’s worthless on any planetary system.”

Mr. Gray turned his one electronic eye to his mechanical friend. “We’ve been paired for most of our mean time between failure lifetimes. Have I ever let you down before?”

“Yes. There was that time on Vega-2, where you posed as a pimp and tried to rent me as a pleasure-bot.”

“Besides that!” said Mr. Gray as he unlocked his wheels and rolled over to the projection table. “You never let anything go. Almost like we’re married.” He fiddled with the knobs on the table for a few minutes.

Mr. Silver looked at the forward window. “What planet are we orbiting?”

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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The Mortician of Sodom

by C.J. Beacham

the mortician of sodom by C.J. Beacham from Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah“See you on the other side,” Teodor said. “And remember to breathe.”

I grimaced and sat down to catch my breath. After the explosions this morning, I never expected to see another side of anywhere.

#

I woke this morning when the mountain groaned. It had rumbled twice in recent memory, but no stories from the past eight generations mentioned eruption. When the ground shook today, however, windows rattled until one smashed. My eyes popped open. I rose from the lambskin, peered through the crack between the door and frame. Other eyes peered from doorways across the dusty road. Distant explosions and shrill voices echoed from the mountains, and I sensed the odd glow growing towards the cities of the plain.

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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In the Distance, a Clap of Thunder

by David Anderson

a clap of thunder by david anderson from Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & GomorrahThe rock smashed against Rodger’s face with a sickening smack as the mob continued to hurl stones at him, and the Chenku Class Vessel Captain lurched forward, almost passing out from pain as a dirt clod burst on his back, obviously being mistaken for a rock by one of the villagers. A soldier of Gomorrah stepped forward, picking the captain up by the arm and dragging him away to the quarters of the head city guard. The implant in Rodger’s inner ear automatically translated any speech to English, allowing him to understand the words of his captors.

“From what province or land do you come, stranger?” said a large tan man in a robe and armored sandals. He aimed the point of a sword at Rodger’s head, indicating that he wanted a response. Unfortunately, the translator didn’t work both ways, and he didn’t know how to talk back to them, a problem that was usually avoided by not talking to the locals on these types of expeditions. It was always observance-only on these safaris, as mandated by legislation back home. Nothing that could potentially alter the timeline was allowed.

“Perhaps you wish to suffer the same fate as your friend?” the head guard asked as he repeated his inquiries. Rodger wanted to answer, but he couldn’t. He spoke in English to the man, but it only confused matters.

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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