Open Call: Anthology

A few months ago I decided I was going to commit to being a Real Publisher. Part of that was driven by helping my friend and fellow author Misha Burnett bring his idea for Adventure Stories for Young Readers to life. That anthology is happening, the stories are in, he’s working on edits, and I need to get the cover moving. All that’s exciting, but it’s not what the post is about. 

This is about the other anthology, the one I plan to bring out for the holidays this year. I’m looking for more stories to put in it. And I need your help. If you write, I’d love to see a story from you. If you know someone who writes, send them this link! 

Here’s the concept I’m working on: 

You can’t go home for the holidays. 

The story that stirred the idea was one written by another friend. He wrote of a man – a soldier – who was home, with his family, but yet his heart and soul were not fully with them, to take part in the joy of the season. He was walled off by a mental block, dealing with his mental health. I was moved to tears by this story, and I wanted to get it together with others. There are many walking among us, present, yet apart like walled off in glass by the PTSD and traumas that have left them feeling like they cannot be present with their loved ones. Guilt, sorrow, the triggers of constant awareness that is no longer needed on the civilian side… so many chaotic swirls of pain that drift through their minds and keep them from coming home again. 

I want to see stories that model hope, healing, and that might help someone find their way again. If you want an even more in-depth write-up of part of my inspiration for this anthology, go read Dorothy Grant’s review of a book both of us read and found to be deeply affecting. If you really want to deep dive, I also recommend that book, Arsenal of Hope, but you don’t have to read that to write a story for the anthology. You just need to understand the workings of the human heart, and the impact service has on those who faced the worst of humanity, but have to come home again to love. 

It’s not an easy transition. Many do not make it. They stay locked away in the prison of their own minds with their memories. I want to find keys. You can help with this… One key doesn’t exist. Nor, I think will one story help. But they can be part of something which might, possibly, ease some of the darkness. Let’s bring lights on outside the glass coffin, and give hope. Light a path out. 

I don’t know if it’s a quixotic effort. But I have to try. Too many are lost, and too many fall into the abyss of despair and can’t return from beyond the veil of death. I have to try to help them come home again. I’m hoping your stories can help them. 

From the original pitch I wrote: 

If you write from a military perspective, or law enforcement, or the caregivers, or even a 911 operator who has shared more traumas than any human should endure, we’d love to see your fiction with a fantasy or science fiction twist. Or write it straight. We want our heartstrings tugged, with a dollop of dark humor and most of all – hope. There must be hope at the end.

We’d like to see 5000-10000 words, but will read any length. It just needs to be very special if it falls outside that sweet spot for short stories. The anthology will be handled through BundleRabbit for accounting and contracts will be one year exclusive.

Send us standard manuscript format to between Sept 1 and October 15, 2021.

You can see this, and any other publishing-related news from Sanderley Studios at this page.


8 responses to “Open Call: Anthology”

  1. Alan Andrews Avatar
    Alan Andrews

    Hi, Cedar. This sounds life a great idea. Hope you get some great material.

    I have a few very short stories (about blog-post length), that MIGHT fit your home for the holidays theme. THEY fall under the umbrella, “The War on Christmas.” It’s a literal war between Santa’s elves and the army of General Rinch.

    If you’re interested, give me a holler, and I’ll send you a sample.

    All the best!

    Alan Andrews

    1. Alan, the underlying theme is coping with PTSD and healing from trauma. If they tie into that, go ahead and send your sample.

      1. Alan Andrews Avatar
        Alan Andrews

        I’ll look at them again and see if they might be worthy of some updating/editing to fit the theme. They’ve been sitting around collecting dust for a few years, so I’ll need to reacquaint myself with them. Thanks for the quick reply.

  2. I have a short-ish story called The Samurai and the Oni sitting here ready to go. Dying young samurai is rescued by an ugly old lady after a pointless fight at a crossroads, after which things get a little strange for our boy. The old lady is not just an old lady.


    1. Fantasy is great. Is the protagonist coping with PTSD or trauma recovery? If so, send and I’ll read. I don’t know that they all need to be tied to holidays.

      1. Kewl. There is a bunch of trauma recovery in it, as it happens. That’s a main theme with me, shit happens and then you get over it. I shall send it along to the address in this post.

        But speaking of anthologies and publishing the things that Big Pub won’t, I was blathering on some time ago about an anthology the MAd Geniuses might like called Return To Omelas. Where your MC walks away disgusted and then comes back later. With friends. There’s a chapter from my (unpublished, damnit!) book that fits to a T. A werewolf, a human in a Heinlein Mobile Infantry suit, a mage, a Valkyrie and lippy robot spiders. Vs. shoggoths, ogres, trolls, necromancers and demonic magic.

        I like to put my genres in a blender and switch it to frappe. ~:D

  3. vicki Avatar

    Your prompt reminded me of this story. Not quite the level of trauma you’re thinking of, and the author passed away years ago, and it’s been free on the internet for a decade, so probably not right for your anthology. But still worth reading, withal.

  4. Massaging an old WIP to see if it might do… it was strange to start writing again, it’s been a long while since i had the muse stir me.