Strange Aeon: 2023 (Wonder) is a continuation of the Strange Aeon anthology series. As always, I want good, solid stories in a cosmic horror/Lovecraftian vein. I specifically say Lovecraftian rather than Cthulu because I’d like stories across the entire Mythos, including additions by the original group of Mythos authors like Robert Howard and Clark Ashton Smith. . In fact, I’d like to use more stories that do not have specific Lovecraftian references and that move away from the traditional Lovecraft style and voice. Try to avoid pastiche and tell fresh new stories in your own settings. Style preference applies to gore and sex as well: think early Weird Tales, no excessive language or explicit sexual references. (You do not have to remove all profanity from your submission—I can read around it—but, if your story is accepted, you will be required to remove it from the final version.)
I am especially interested in stories of mad science, monster-based horror, weird western, and stories that “peel the onion.” Indeed, I cannot emphasize strongly enough the need for these categories. Victoriana and Lovecraft era period pieces will have a much harder time finding acceptance.
The theme of this year’s anthology is wonder and I am specifically looking for stories that have a sense of grandeur and discovery. That being said, please send anything you consider a good story. Feel free to query for any questions. If you are planning to write a story especially for this anthology, by all means query the idea first.
For this anthology I’m asking for non-exclusive rights and will happily take reprints. Simply tell me the publication history so that I can give proper copyright acknowledgment. I will prioritize original stories over reprints and older, more obscure reprints over more recent ones. Simultaneous and multiple submissions are acceptable; please do so in a professional manner. For multiple submissions, feel free to send all submissions attached to a single email. If you are in doubt about a story or story idea, feel free to query.
Though I am not especially interested in non-fiction or poetry, I will consider it. At most, only one non-fiction piece and one work of (long) poetry will be used.
I’m not overly concerned about length. 5,000 to 10,000 words is preferable but I know that horror doesn’t always lend itself to a strict word count and I’ll look at any length. (I think the longest pieces that have been used have been just over 20,000 words and the shortest about 2,000.) I don’t care about submission formatting as long as it’s legible, clean copy. Electronically, I need the manuscript attached as an RTF, DOC, or DOCX file. Please submit to the email address mkeatonauthor (at) gmail (dot) com with the word Submission in the header.
The goal is a final book with ten to 15 stories averaging 5,000 to 10,000 words apiece. I will be accepting submissions no later than the end of April (or until the anthology is filled. If you are writing a story specifically for this anthology and are concerned about the “is filled,” feel free to query me in advance). I will update these guidelines and notify any already accepted authors if the date has to be pushed back. I plan to start making final decisions beginning in May. All submissions should have final confirmation of acceptance or rejection by the first week of May.
What's in it for the author? There will be a token payment of $20 and a compensatory copy for the author, or $35 for authors outside the USA. Contributors will get a bio to promote their own work. (I would like to avoid a specific word limit on bios; please respect the reader and the fact that every additional page raises the cover price. I reserve the right to edit bios for space.) Copyright will be retained by the author. Payment will be upon acceptance with comp copy to follow release of the anthology. If, due to unforeseen circumstances, the anthology is canceled, the author is, of course, to keep the $20. 
1] Authors new to working in the Mythos may find this a bit confusing. Let me be clear: do not use characters, creatures, book names, or anything else from modern authors. Modern authors are under copyright. Lovecraft and the other members of his original “circle” are largely under public domain. Please, do not accidentally infringe on anyone’s copyright. Always check first. In addition, gaming rules and supplements are also copyrighted works and should not be used. If in doubt, only use Lovecraft’s own work as a source just to be on the safe side. Better yet, create your own. This is always important when writing but especially in the murky pseudo-shared world of the Mythos where the lines are more difficult to see. If you questions have or concerns about this, a quick internet search should tell you what you need to know. (One exception is if you wish to include Cobalt Green milieu references. Any Cobalt Green tie-ins should be queried first but since I own the copyrights, I also have the leeway to grant usage rights. Nevertheless, I would still rather see your original ideas.)
2] Since any publication, the first time, in any form, is by definition a use of First Rights, if you sell an unpublished work, even on a non-exclusive contract, then you have used your First Rights. And once First Rights (North American, World, Print, E-, or whatever other form they may be) are used, it's all reprints from there and most places are no longer interested. I would love to see your work, but I don’t want you to lose out on another market because of confusion about the rights. As noted earlier, I am interested in reprints for this project. One of the goals of this anthology is to help writers and readers in this specific genre interest discover each other. For this, reprints work very well.
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