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Taking Submissions: Diverse Weird Western anthology (title TBA)

December 31, 2014


Deadline: December 31, 2014
Payment: $5/story plus a share of royalties.

Here are the guidelines for a Diverse Weird Western anthology (title to be announced), to be published by WolfSinger
Publications (http://wolfsingerpubs.com/) and edited by Cynthia Ward (http://www.cynthiaward.com).

Ah, the “Western frontier”!  I learned all about it as a child.  I learned it was full of brave white American pioneer men
killing the native inhabitants, who didn’t realize the land they’d occupied for millennia belonged to the newcomers.  I
learned it was full of heroic white American gunmen shooting each other in high noon standoffs or over cattle.  Those few
characters who didn’t fit the above templates were generally helpless Mexican peasants; treacherous Mexican bandits; or
the occasional rancher’s wife, school marm, or  prostitute.

Omitted from the history lessons and the movies and TV shows were–the whole wide world.

For this anthology, we’re looking for stories about everyone else.

We’re looking for stories which reflect the complex historical realities and diversities of the North American “Western

We’re looking for stories about marginalized and under-represented groups.

The Nitty Gritty:


Payment is $5/story plus a share of royalties.

Submissions Reading Period

We are opening for submissions on December 1, 2014, with a deadline of December 31, 2014.  Submissions sent outside
this window will be returned unread.  

Publication Date

To Be Determined

How to Format Your Submission

Double spaced manuscript in Courier or Courier New.

Use italics, not underlines.

For other questions, follow the Standard Manuscript Format per William Shunn (I really mean it, too):  http://www.shunn.

Have your contact information on the first page of the manuscript, including your e-mail address.

Please be sure to send us a manuscript free from spelling/grammar errors, because we are unlikely to finish reading a story
with much of that (we don’t mind the occasional typo, but we expect you or your trusted grammar expert to proofread
your story and correct your errors before you submit).

How to Submit

We accept RTF or Doc files via e-mail only to the anthology editor, Cynthia Ward, at [email protected].

Do NOT send Docx, ODF, WPD, Plain Text formats, or anything else (I can’t even open some of these formats, so you
can bet they’ll be bounced unread).

Put the words DIVERSE WEIRD WESTERN SUBMISSION in the subject line with the title of your piece.

Send us a virus and we will never accept anything from you again.

What To Submit

We’re looking for Diverse Weird Western fiction of between 500 words and 10,000 words (we’re somewhat flexible, but
the anthology will be 85,000 words max, so don’t go significantly longer than 10,000 words).

No poetry.

No art.

Original fiction and reprints are both acceptable.  Let us know if your submission is a reprint and from where. Be SURE
you have the rights to reprint – we won’t chase down permissions.

Multiple submissions are allowed ONLY with the following caveat:  Please send no more than one original story and one
reprint story at a time.  Yes, this is firm.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed, provided you inform us if your story sells elsewhere.

If you don’t know what Weird Western fiction is, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weird_West.

Visit our website at http://wolfsingerpubs.com/


What is the Western frontier?

We’re defining “Western frontier” in Mexico as the “border states”
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico%E2%80%93United_States_border) and the Sierra Madres.

We’re defining “Western frontier” in Canada as including all provinces in Western Canada

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Canada) and all provinces and territories in Northern Canada

We’re defining “Western frontier” in the United States as the states and territories west of the Mississippi River, including
Alaska and Hawaii.

What are the Acceptable Time Periods for this Anthology Project?

We are primarily looking for stories set primary or exclusively between 1492 CE (Common Era) and 1924 CE.  Earlier
than 1492 is acceptable.  Near-future apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic Diverse Weird Westerns will also be considered,
but will be a very hard sell.

Stories set primarily between 1925 and 2014 will be rejected.

What Precisely Do You Mean When You Say You Want ‘Diverse’ Weird Western fiction?

We’re looking for, in the words of Strange Horizons Magazine, “fiction from or about diverse perspectives and traditionally
under-represented groups, settings, and cultures, written from a non-exoticizing and well-researched position.”

This includes – but it not limited to – fiction by and/or about:

– indigenous peoples (see definition below)

– people of color

– people who identify as mixed race and/or mixed ethnicity

– women (includes anyone who identifies as a woman or girl)

– immigrants

– working-class

– the economically disadvantaged

– middle-aged characters / older characters / elders (wise and otherwise)

– non-Angophone / non-English speaking

– diversity of body type

– diversity of physical ability / differently abled / disability / physically atypical / biologically atypical / spoonie

– diversity of mental/cognitive/intellectual/psychological/neurological ability, including the autism spectrum and the

– non-Protestant Christians and under-represented Christian religions, faiths, spiritual practices, and belief systems
(includes, but is not confined to, African-American denominations and churches, Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Greek
Orthodox, santeria, syncretic vodou, Shaker, Quaker, and Mormon [Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, “Jack
Mormons,” and others])

– theistic and deistic non-Christian religions/faiths/spiritual practices/belief systems and believers – may be monotheistic or
polytheistic (includes, but is not confined to, Deism, Judaism, paganism, Ifa, nonsyncretic vodou, Hindu, Islam, Shinto,
Taoism, Theosophism, Rosicrucianism, Ordo Templi Orientis, Wicca, Witch-Cult, theistic Buddhism, theistic
Unitarianism/Unitarian Universalism, and all Native and indigenous religions, faiths, spiritual practices, and belief systems)

– nonbelievers and the undecided (includes, but is not confined to, atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, nontheistic Buddhists,
nontheistic Unitarians/Unitarian Universalists, other nontheists, and skeptics)

– lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, asexual, pansexual, fluid, questioning, and undecided (includes, but is not confined to,
anyone who identifies with the LGBTQIA spectrum and/or QUILTBAG spectrum).  (If you’re unfamiliar with the term
QUILTBAG, see http://www.apex-magazine.com/reaching-into-the-quiltbag-the-evolving-world-of-queer-speculative-

– genderqueer, fluid, trans*, and intersexual (includes, but is not confined to, anyone who identifies with the LGBTQIA
spectrum and/or QUILTBAG spectrum).

– aromantic, polyamory, polyandry, polygyny

– professions and pursuits which existed in the “frontier West” but which are rarely (if ever) seen in Western or Weird
Western fiction

The above divisions are somewhat arbitrary and categories may overlap.

“Indigenous peoples” are defined as Native American (whether from North, Central, or South America); Native Hawaiian;
Native Pacific Islander; Australian Aboriginal/Native Australian/Tasmanian/New Zealander; and all other indigenous races.
We are particularly interested in Native American indigenous / aboriginal contributors, characters, and perspectives.

Do You Want a Cover Letter?

Cover letters are optional.

If you wish, please feel free to note in your cover letter if you consider or define yourself as belonging to one or more of
the above peoples, religions, categories, or groups.  This is very helpful, but also purely voluntary.

Do You Allow Erotica, Ultra-Violence, or Splatterpunk?

No.  All stories must have no stronger than a PG-13 rating. Please, no graphic violence or gore and definitely no erotica.
Be careful with the use of foul language as well.

Is There Anything You Definitely Do NOT Wish To See in Submissions to the Diverse Weird Western

* Historical / anachronistic mistakes or cluelessness (i.e., unless you’re writing a damned convincing *alternate* history,
don’t put Wicca or Ordo Templi Orientis in a story set in the 1850s, don’t put the women’s vote in the United States in
1791, don’t have legal slavery in the Southern states in 1867, and don’t think I won’t fact-check)

* Protagonists who are white, straight, male, cisgender, able-bodied, thin/muscular, Anglo/white American males under the
age of fifty.  I enjoy such stories, but that’s a description of almost every protagonist I’ve ever encountered in a Western
story, movie, or TV show [weird or mundane] in my 53 years on the planet.  Hence, our theme of diversity.

Is There Anything Else You Don’t Want to See in Submissions to your Diverse Weird Western Anthology?

Why, yes.  Yes, there is:

•    Bigotry, racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, ageism, sizism, anti-Semitism, anti-Islamic prejudice, anti-atheist prejudice,
anti-religious prejudice, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Latino/anti-Hispanic prejudice, anti-immigrant sentiment, misogyny,
misandry, and any and all other forms of prejudice on the part of the story or author (this is distinguished from bigotry /
prejudice on the part of character(s), including but not confined to viewpoint characters)
•    Tokenism (

•    Magical Negroes (
•    Magical Savages (same idea as preceding, applied to indigenous peoples)
•    Noble Savages (
•    Damsels in distress – (
•    Lack of agency (
http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Agency, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agency_%28philosophy%29)
•    Prostitute with heart of gold
•    Frito Banditos, Latina spitfires, sleeping peasants
•    Romanticized Gay Best Friend –
•    Great White Saviors
•    Great Male Saviors
•    Blaming the victim (
•    Size shaming
•    Slut shaming
•    Any form of diversity and/or non-normative appearance/ability/belief/behavior/etc. which is included for purposes of
shaming or mockery (humor and parody are fine, but if you write parody/humor, you do not get to pick sides and you do
not get to “punch down”)
•    Forrest Gump (developmental difference = child-like innocence and/or simple wisdom –
•    Uncritical acceptance of Manifest Destiny
•    Guns (or other weapons) solve all problems
•    TSTL (Too Stupid To Live,
•    Too Dumb To Live (
•    Exceptionalism (the story is about the *only* woman, PoC, Quaker, gay, etc, who has ever become a
soldier/scientist/engineer/etc in his/her world)
•    Glory Syndrome:  Story about how an issue disproportionately affecting a disenfranchised racial or ethnic group –
slavery, Manifest Destiny, racism, Wounded Knee, Chinese Exclusion Act, income inequity, etc. – affects white people.
Also, story about how an issue disproportionately affecting women – sexism, rape, glass ceiling, genital mutilation, income
inequity, etc. – affects straight white cisgender men.  Also, story about how an issue disproportionately affecting LGBT /
LGBTQIA / QUILTBAG people – homophobia, gay-bashing/trans-bashing, marital inequity, Stonewall, etc. – affects
straight cisgender people.  And so on.  Named after the movie Glory [1989,
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097441/], the
story of how racism affects the white commander of the first company of black soldiers during the U.S. Civil War).
•    Space Westerns (Westerns set in space and/or on other planets, either overtly (Serenity/Firefly) or covertly (Star Trek,
Star Wars):
•    Stories that do not include a strong element of the Western genre (no straight science fiction, straight fantasy, straight
horror, etc)
•    Stereotypes / prejudices / generalizations not listed above

Also, while steampunk and zombie stories are allowed, I expect to see disproportionate numbers of steampunk Weird
Westerns and zombie Weird Westerns in the slush pile, so both will be a very hard sell.  Avoid these subgenres and you
will greatly increase your odds of placing a story in this anthology.

More generally, if you are unfamiliar with the Weird Western, here is a good starting point:
Please note that, while we may make an exception or two for mundane cross-genre Weird Western stories (i.e., a non-
speculative Weird detective Western, a Weird Western romance, etc), we are looking for stories in which the Western
genre is mixed with one or more speculative and/or fantastic element(s) (i.e., science fiction, fantasy, supernatural horror,
speculative fiction, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, alternate history, steampunk, steamfunk, dieselpunk, dieselfunk,
magic realism, fabulism, ghost story, occult detective fiction, etc).

Yes, it is OK to combined more than two genres/subgenres; it’s even encouraged.

Thank you very much for your interest.  We look forward to reading your story.

Via: Wolfsinger Publications.


December 31, 2014