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Taking Submissions: Silent Screams

October 31, 2015

Deadline: October 31st, 2015
Payment: Charity anthology, 1 cent per word and a contributor’s copy

Stories are powerful—they can open our perspectives to allow us to see things in ways we haven’t before and can be used to provide a voice to those who otherwise would remain silent. With that in mind, I am pleased to announce that I am now taking submissions for the upcoming horror/dark fiction anthology, Silent Screams. The focus of this anthology will be to give a voice to and point public attention toward those who are vulnerable who have no means to speak for themselves—from victims of human trafficking and the sex industry, to the aborted unborn, to third-world sweat shop workers. As writers (and perhaps particularly as writers of dark fiction), we have the opportunity to do some good by shining a light on the uncomfortable truths that our society often prefers to ignore.


I’m looking for unpublished stories (no reprints) ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 words (soft) that EITHER focus of the plight of specific silent victims of our modern world OR that play with the idea of silence in general. (Think of Harlan Ellison’s classic “I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream,” or the famous tag-line from Alien: “In space, no one can hear you scream.”) What does it mean to be a voiceless victim, and what could be done to alleviate that kind of suffering?

I want horror stories of pretty much every subgenre, including dark science fiction. My tastes for this sort of thing lean more toward the surreal and uncanny than to the realistic, and most of what I enjoy would fall under the “Dark Fantasy” sub-heading (think the type of stuff written by guys like Robert Bloch and Jeff VanderMeer). I love stories that don’t spell everything out. Feel free to leave some mystery.

I’m a sucker for great writing (who isn’t?) and I love a good twist ending. Even though the overall tone of this anthology will most likely be rather grim, I’m certainly not opposed to a little levity or even humor, where appropriate. I’m big on metaphor and symbolism. A solid moral core and understanding of right-and-wrong is a must. Stories that inspire a sense of compassion are gold.


Overly political stories. If the entire purpose of your story is to bash a certain political party or ideology (whether liberal or conservative), I won’t be interested. Fair enough?

I have nothing in particular against traditional monsters (zombies, werewolves, vampires, and their undead kin), but unless you have something stunningly original to do with them (or if they just fit so perfectly with the anthology’s theme that your story knocks me down with its brilliance), they will probably be a tough sale. Ditto to Lovecraftian/Cthulhu stuff (although I wouldn’t be opposed to a Lovecraft-inspired piece that took his concept of cosmic horror in a different direction than the typical elder gods route). I’m also not likely to purchase any straight sword-and-sorcery stories.

I’m not easily offended, but I’m also not impressed by graphic sex, buckets of gore, or piles of profanity. Do what you need to in order to tell your story in the best and most effective way possible, but let’s keep it classy.

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Even though this anthology is designed to point the finger at real-world social ills, any depiction of sex involving a minor is a no-go.

I am seeking first digital and print rights with two-year exclusivity from the date of publication. At the end of the two-year contract period, all rights will revert back to the author.

Silent Screams will be a charity anthology, with all after-costs profit going to The Salvation Army, which provides humanitarian support for the homeless, those who have been hit by natural disasters, and victims of human trafficking. That said, I think it’s important that authors are paid for their work, so I am offering payment of one cent a word for accepted stories. Contributors will also receive a complimentary print copy of the anthology.

The submissions period will end on October 31, 2015. Final selections for the anthology are anticipated to be made in mid-November with a goal of publication in December, 2015 or early 2016.

All submissions must be in standard SFWA format (click link for example and instructions). Send stories as either.rtf or.docx files to [email protected] . Be sure to include your name and the title of your story in the subject line of the email, and include a brief bio in the body of your email.

I look forward to reading your stories!

Via: Josh Strnad.


October 31, 2015