Tag Archives: submissions

Deluged: It’s Been a Rough Year for the Garden Gnomes

BLAS deluge e-bookHello, people of the gardens. It’s our pleasure to announce that the long-awaited third book in the Biblical Legends Anthology Series, Deluge: Stories of Survival & Tragedy in the Great Flood, has finally been released. It is now available in the following versions and at these fine book stores in cyberspace:

Soon to be published in print, so be on your toes!

Why It Took So Damn Long to Let the Flood Waters Go

There is always a price to pay for any delay, and there certainly is no exception with the case of Deluge: Stories of Survival & Tragedy in the Great Flood. But it has had its rewards, as well. For starters, we had many more submissions from writers who were not published in previous BLAS anthologies, which made the selection process somewhat tedious. In the end, we had to make some very hard decisions. But they had nothing to do with the production timeline.

This was a difficult year for editing for two reasons:

  1. Life got in the way
  2. and we honestly had trouble finding suitable submissions

That last point may sound harsher than we intend, but we’ll explain ourselves in just a bit. First, we want to cover the first point before moving on.

All writers know that sometimes life can toss us a horseshoe and blacken the eye. Two things happened this year that became somewhat of a distraction. The first of those actually happened two years ago, but my wife and I are still involved in a legal matter in family court. My mother-in-law decided (and this was two years ago) to seek custody of her great-grandchildren (my grandchildren), but she couldn’t do so under Pennsylvania law without my wife’s help. Without going into detail, suffice it to say that my wife and I met the legal standing requirements and my mother-in-law did not. We came out with joint physical custody.

Due to the children being in school, we arranged for my wife and I to have the children every other weekend and on certain holidays. My mother-in-law would have them the rest of the time. But, and this is where the needle pricks the skin, my mother-in-law somehow believes that there is justification for limiting our time with our grandchildren even more than we already have and has spent much of the last two years trying to do just that. So we’ve spent a good deal of time in court or arguing over petty differences. It’s been a huge distraction and her designs have gotten her nowhere.

On top of that, earlier this year (early summer, I’d say), 10 years of staring at a computer screen all day for nearly every day of the period finally took its toll and I developed eye strain. That caused me to spend a little less time focused on my laptop screen. Sorry, but Garden Gnome Publications readers and authors had to suffer for it.

That happened right about the time I was knee deep in the second round of the submissions process. Regular readers will know that our BLAS anthologies typically have two or three rounds of submissions before we finally go to press. Because I was reading less and I decided to get initial acceptances under a 6-month contract or risk losing them to another publisher (when I signed those contracts, I had not developed eye strain or the contractual period would have been longer), I had to go back to original authors and get new contracts. Some of them pulled their manuscripts. I can’t say that I blamed them.

Then, of course, we had the usual submissions challenges–writers not reading guidelines or submitting work that was well-written but didn’t conform to the flavor of weird spec-fic that we were looking for (for some reason, many authors wanted to write about Noah despite clear guidelines to avoid it).

We’d like to point out that these types of submission challenges occur for only one reason: Writers aren’t familiar with our products. There can be no explanation. And that’s why we encourage writers to buy a copy (or steal one if you have to) of previous anthologies to see what we’ve accepted in the past. Surely, you can spring 99 cents for Garden of Eden and $2.99 for Sulfurings: Tales From Sodom & Gomorrah? Both of these anthologies are available at all the same previously mentioned book stores. For those interested, here are the links:

Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden anthology

Sulfurings: Tales From Sodom & Gomorrah

BLAS anthology sulfurings

We hope you’ll check out all three anthologies and leave us a review wherever you decide to purchase them.

A Note on the Future of BLAS

Garden Gnome Publications still has plans for future anthologies, so don’t give up on us. We’re still trying to work out the best and most efficient submissions process, but this is a part-time endeavor for us, so we’re asking for your patience. Nevertheless, you can expect the following announcements in the near future:

  1. New publishing schedule for Land of Nod and Resurrection anthologies, including a new call for submissions
  2. Over the months, we’ve collected quite a few flash fiction submissions, Mythicals, and submissions for Local Legends. Apologies to writers waiting for acceptances. We are going to start reading through these and publishing on the Flim-Flam Bush again.
  3. We also have plans to publish each of the BLAS anthologies in print. Deluge will be the first available in that format. We are in the process of making this happen now. Garden of Eden and Sulfurings will follow in the near future.

We also plan to revamp the website soon. We’re not real sure what happened to our theme, but something got out of whack and we had no recourse but to revert to a temporary solution. Look for that to change at some point.

On behalf of Fenrir and all the other garden gnomes, I’d like to say thanks for reading, and enjoy the Biblical Legends Anthology Series.

Allen Taylor
Editor & Publisher

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Garden Gnome Submissions Process

From time to time, the garden gnomes like to shake things up a bit as we are wont to do. We have noticed lately that there seems to be a bit of confusion about our submissions process and we were hoping to clarify things a bit. We’d like your help.

Will you take some time to give us some feedback on our submissions process? Feel free to check as many boxes as apply.

And we thank you for your assistance with this grave matter.

What's Wrong With the Garden Gnome Submissions Process?

View Results

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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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Deluge: Don’t Miss The Boat

As we enter the eight month of the year, we garden gnomes thought it would be apropos to remind everyone of our upcoming deadline for the anthology Deluge: Stories of Survival & Tragedy.

This is the third anthology in the Biblical Legends Anthology Series, following the wildly popular Garden of Eden and Sulfurings: Tales From Sodom & Gomorrah. It’s important to point out here that we are looking for diversity in perspective, so we’re not just interested in stories that reflect a Christian point of view or its diametrically opposite, atheism. We just want good stories.

While the previous anthologies focused entirely on the Biblical settings as a prerequisite for publication, Deluge: Stories of Survival & Tragedy is looking at a broader theme. We just want damn good flood stories.

Let’s talk about this more in-depthly:

Why Is The Flood Story Absurd?

As you should know by now, Garden Gnome Publications welcomes absurdity. In fact, we thirst on it. And a part of the reason why is because the original stories upon which our anthologies are based are themselves absurd. That’s certainly true of Noah and the flood.

What makes the flood story so absurd?

For starters, this event supposedly happened worldwide. The whole damn world was flooded. That’s rather odd considering that most of us have observed our entire lives that when it rains it never rains everywhere all at once. In fact, the driest place on earth–Atacama Desert in Chile–hasn’t seen rain in more than 400 years.

Another thing that makes the flood story incredibly absurd are the dimensions of the ark Noah was instructed to build. Its dimensions were so large that its size would not be surpassed in shipbuilding until the late nineteenth century. And it was constructed by only one man with his bare hands.

This is not intended to be a theological discussion. We’re merely pointing out that this story contains some remarkable elements, and we’re asking you to exceed those.

How True To The Original Story Should You Stay?

The garden gnomes are interested in stories involving a catastrophic flood. That could mean water or another substance. You can stick to the Biblical setting of the ancient past or take us to some point in the future. Our only rule is you can’t use any Biblical characters. Keep Noah and his family out of it.

We’re hoping, however, that your story borrows elements of Biblical storytelling, both in an absurdist sense and in an inspirational sense. But we’re not looking for “inspirational” stories, necessarily.

We’re really looking for stories that put the “speculative” in speculative fiction.

Stories that might impel our interest would employ the following elements:

  • Horror
  • Fantasy
  • Intrigue
  • Science fiction
  • Weirdness (OMG, do we love weirdness)
  • Mystery
  • Pathos
  • High adventure
  • Heroics, especially the epic kind
  • Magic realism
  • Apocalyptic
  • Dystopian
  • Punk
  • Supernaturalism
  • Paranormal
  • Slipstream of consciousness

And anything that will entertain the reader and make your story a speculative feast for the eyes.

Your story does not need to be limited to these elements nor does it need to contain all of them. These are just some of the things that we like. Most of all, we like a good story well told.

Other Speculative Considerations

If you are a poet, we won’t leave you out. We love poetry. Especially narrative poetry. We want your poem to tell a story. We also want it to include the speculative elements that would be found in a traditional prose story.

Nonfiction writers can get in on the action, as well. If you have survived a flood or know someone who has, then we’d like to hear your story. Embellish it. Make it come to life. Tell it creatively and tell it boldly. We’re all about the fantastic, whether in fiction or nonfiction. We like to call these true stories personal, or reported, essays.

An Invitation to Submit to the Deluge

The official deadline for this anthology is midnight, August 23, 2014 EST. We’re hoping we won’t have to extend that deadline this time, but if we do, we do.

We encourage all submitters to check out our previous anthologies–Garden of Eden and Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah.

As always, questions are encouraged. Send your inquiries to editor @ gardengnomepubs dot com. Send your submissions to submissions @ gardengnomepubs dot com.

Yes, we are a paying market. It’s a token payment, but we do pay. You can get information on payment on our Biblical Legends Anthology Series page. Otherwise, specific information about this anthology and what we are looking for can be found here. Be sure to follow our general submission guidelines.

We’re looking forward to receiving your submission soon. Stay faithful, my garden friends.

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Sulfurings: Current Needs

If you haven’t heard by now, Garden Gnome Publications is taking submissions for its second anthology in the Biblical Legends Anthology Series. The first anthology – Garden of Eden – has been on the shelf for almost two months. We’ll be taking submissions for Sulfurings until April 7, 2014 at midnight EST.

But what are we looking for, exactly?

Our official guidelines say we want narrative poetry, essays, flash fiction, and short stories, but we’d like to take this time to elaborate on those current needs. So here goes.

Narrative Poetry

Last week we discussed the difference between narrative poetry and lyric poetry. Since then, we’ve received at least a couple of palatable poems. But not all of them match our length guidelines.

The garden gnomes prefer longer poems, although the reason may not be clear.

Longer poems give the poet more opportunities to be creative with the theme. We think it may be prudent to drop the minimum line length, but we’d still like to see at least a couple of longer poems just for the sake of diversity. It takes a lot of chutzpah to pull off a long poem in the first place, so if you have what it takes, we’d love to see it.

More than length, however, what gets most poets is theme.

While we’re looking for poems that address the theme of the anthology, we prefer subtlety in this area. Tangential awareness, metaphor, indirect reference, and derivative expressions are encouraged.

In other words, instead of addressing the theme directly, we’d be more delighted if poets hinted at the theme through language and imagery. Readers should come away with a sense of mystery and intrigue, or perhaps scratching their heads. Remember, this is speculative fiction, er, poetry. Speculative narrative poetry. Whatever that means.

Speculative Essays

We’ve struggled with the proper term for what we’re looking for in this category. Simply calling them “essays” won’t do because we’re not expecting the typical expository writing that involves a thesis statement backed up by facts and logical analysis. We’re more concerned with taking the reader on a journey, a storytelling journey in a creative manner that doesn’t involve storytelling in a fictional sense.

The closest thing we can come up with in comparison is what journalists call a reported essay. One term is “creative nonfiction,” but that’s so vague it almost has no meaning.

Still, the term “reported essay” is problematic because it tends to be personal in nature with elements of reporting. There’s nothing wrong with that and if the garden gnomes received a reported essay that is worth publishing, well, we’ll publish it. But the subject matter of our anthologies might prove personal narratives in the form of reported essays a bit too challenging. Therefore, we prefer “speculative essay.”

A speculative essay can take any form as long as it isn’t fiction, however, it can use fictional techniques to tell a story and may even include elements of journalism or academic writing. The goal is to tell a compelling story that educates, informs, intrigues, entertains, raises questions, or some mix of the above.

Flash Fiction

The garden gnomes believe flash fiction has become popular enough that most people know what it is by now. Nevertheless, we’re looking for stories that are 300-1,500 words. Stories do not need to be linear or follow any particular narrative structure. In fact, they can be downright experimental (like this memorandum, for instance) as long as they adhere to the theme and address the speculative question posed by the garden gnomes.

Short Stories

It’s not hard to figure out what a short story is. Anything between 1,501 and 10,000 words with a beginning, a middle, and an end that tells a compelling story within the theme of the anthology and which addresses the speculative question posed by our call for submissions. We could use a few more of these for the Sulfurings anthology. We hope you’ll consider submitting your story by midnight EST on April 7, 2014.

We are also taking stories, flash fiction, speculative essays, and poems for the next anthology, Deluge.

Novelettes

We have not stated our needs on novelettes to date, but we’re open to receiving stories that address the theme of our anthologies up to 20,000 words. We have not decided what we’ll pay for these, but if you feel like you can address the speculative theme and tell a compelling novelette-length story, we’d like to see it.

So there you have it, straight from the garden gnomes. We hope this clarifies some of your questions. If not, feel free to query editor @ gardengnomepubs.com. If you are ready to submit your flash, essay, short story, poem, or novelette, please do so by reading our submission guidelines and sending your document to submissions @ gardengnomepubs.com.

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Join The Flim-Flam Games

Flim-Flam games prizeFor a few months now, Garden Gnome Publications has been taking submissions for a rolling contest we call Flim-Flam Games. It’s like playing the lottery without buying a ticket. The prize is a measly $5 (you need a PayPal address). And there’s no entry fee.

While we’re not offering a pot of gold, we are encouraging fledgling literary artists to get creative and send in their best flash fiction. Most flash fiction markets don’t pay at all, but the garden gnomes are at least willing to pay $5 for the best monthly story that meets the strictures of three arbitrary criteria, namely:

  1. What the garden gnomes like
  2. What our readers like
  3. And the writer’s ability to incorporate the monthly theme(s)

Wonder what those themes are? They’re listed on our Flim-Flam Games submissions page. In March, we’re looking for stories that incorporate dragons, clovers, or ashes into the storyline in some way. It can be subtle or in your ugly face. We don’t care, as long as you get those little gems in the mud where they belong.

When Should You Submit To The Flim-Glam Games?

Right now, of course.

A little more explicitly, whenever you have a story to tell.

To be even more specific, try to submit before the last week of the month because we publish stories as they come in. You submit, we read, and if we like it, we put it in the queue to be published as soon as possible.

Since last September, we’ve published flash fiction stories almost every Wednesday. If we got more submissions, we’d publish more often.

We’re taking submissions for March 2014 right now. If you want to address a specific theme, as long as the theme for that month has been published, we’ll go ahead and take your submission. If we like it, we’ll add it to the queue to be published for that month. So, go ahead, check out our Flim-Flam guidelines and send us a flash.

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Yes, I’m Stoned (What’s Your Excuse?)

It’s Monday meme time. Enjoy this Garden Gnome meme for the day.

garden gnome I'm stoned

Meanwhile, send us some flash. And if you’re feeling really squirrely, play our game. Flim-flam!

Flim-flim!

Isn’t that fun?

One more thing … what’s a garden gnome without a garden? Enter the Garden of Eden anthology and partake of some forbidden fruit.

Don’t forget. Garden gnomes are sexy. Stoned or not.

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How To Become A Garden Gnome

If you’ve always wanted to be a garden gnome, now is your chance. Garden Gnome Publications are looking for volunteers to post Craigslist ads in your local town announcing a call for submissions. All you have to do is list us in your hometown. If interested, contact the chief garden gnome at gardengnome at allenleetaylor.com. Instructions will be on the way.

become a garden gnome

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