Amara looked up to the sky; the moon showered her with pale light. The sign was clear. She lowered her gaze to the field before her, to the bodies laying there, contorted in death. With a heavy sigh, Amara walked forward to her fate . . .
What We Want
Catacombs: Martyrs on Earth and Elsewhere is an anthology of stories about fictional martyrs past, present, and future, on Earth or some fictional world. The title is tentative so keep in mind that the final product could have a different title.
This anthology has some specific rules. Please read carefully.
Stories must be historical or speculative fiction; a combination of the two would also be fantastic.
We are looking for stories about individuals who give up their lives for their faith or for some cause greater than themselves. Judeo-Christian history is replete with stories of individuals who died for their faith, who sacrificed their lives rather than renounce God. Many of these martyrs, such as Sts. Stephen, Sebastian, Agatha, and Lucy, for example, are well known, recognized by one Christian sect or another, and are listed as Saints. For this issue, please send us plausible stories of unknown martyrs from any historic period or some future period or alternate reality, so long as the martyrs are martyred for the faith as understood by traditional Judeo-Christianity.
Please be sure to invent your own martyr and not use an actual historical or legendary figure.
We are also open to stories of individuals who died for other causes dear to the heart of Western civilization. If your hero died for a freedom enshrined in the Bill of Rights for instance, go ahead and try it.
For this anthology, we are not interested in stories centered on individuals who died for the values of other great world religions such as Buddhism or Islam, or for pagan or neo-pagan religions such as Hinduism or Wicca respectively. Nor are we interested in heroes of communism, fascism, or for any other form of socialism. We will only accept stories of martyrs in the main theme of Judeo-Christian/Western Civilization. Please do not send a story that redefines or deconstructs the Judeo-Christian Tradition or Western Civilization or makes a martyr out of someone doing that.
Here are a few hints that might be helpful.
“They” say that there are no new plots or stories anywhere. “They” may be right, but you are the only you there is, so send us a story as only you can tell it, one that’s atmospheric, engaging, meaningful, and highly entertaining, has fascinating characters, one that takes place in a unique location or time period.
We originally envisioned this anthology as another issue of the Potter’s Field series, but it has gone away from that. We’re still looking for works that end up in graveyards in some way. However, it does not have to be a conventional graveyard. Here’s one example: back during the days of the Black Death, bodies were crammed—literally crammed—into mass graves underneath churches. Even today, in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, you can take a walking tour deep under the church and see walls of skeletons and dirt. Such a place would also qualify as a graveyard. Your hero could end up in buried in a church, a conventional graveyard, a potter’s field, or elsewhere.
Dying can be horrible, and many historical martyrs and heroes died horrifically, but we do not want stories that center on the gore, blood, splatter, or slice-and-dice. Sure, it might be good fun to make balloon animals out of someone’s intestines, or find out how long the heart will continue to beat after it has been ripped from the body with a spatula, but that’s not what we want. Your hero has to die and other characters may die as well. That’s fine. Just put a lid on the icky stuff. Your martyr might be burned to death, skinned alive, or drawn and quartered, but don’t make that the point of the story.
A word about sex and extreme language: We don’t mind it, necessarily, but the sex and/or colorful language must have a purpose. Keep in mind too that someone prepared to die for Christ is probably going to be following his commandments. Someone dying for free speech might be less particular.
Please know your historical period. If you don’t know anything about the time or setting and write it anyway, you must be banking on my not knowing it either. The editor was a history major in college, so don’t bet on it. Know your stuff or don’t write it.
Please know about Judeo-Christian Tradition and Western Civilization. If you don’t, please study it at length before submitting a story. We’ll probably notice that you’re uneducated on the topic and reject the story quickly. Study up on it or don’t write it.
If you choose to write a speculative fiction story, science fiction or fantasy, etc.—and we hope to get some in this vein—please note that the setting must be internally consistent and the hero’s sacrifice must still be based in the Judeo-Christian Tradition and the values of Western Civilization. That is, the future world, alien culture, alternate universe, what have you, must share those integral values in some plausible way.
Please don’t preach. Sermons don’t make good stories. Your character may preach, of course, but the whole story shouldn’t be a homily or a sermon. It should be a plot with conflict and action enacted by believable characters. That action may be violent or intellectual or legal or so on, but it must be there. Stories go places.
Lead editor for this anthology is Robert J. Krog. It is open to submissions from Feb. 1 until July 31.
This anthology is scheduled to be published on Oct. 1 in trade paperback format with a color cover.
The word count of your story should be between 2,000 and 10,000 words. We will be somewhat flexible on the word limits. Of course, story quality usually overrides word count limitations, usually.
We are not looking for interior illustrations at this time, nor are we open to poetry.
Stories for Catacombs must be written in English. You may use the King’s English or American English [but don’t mix them in the narration, please. Characters will of course use the voice appropriate to each. Please use standard manuscript format: 12 pt Times New Roman, double spaced, page numbers at bottom right corner, etc.
Other useful hints:
Do not underline. If you want italics, use italics.
Put quotation marks around your dialogue, so that we know it’s dialogue.
Do not, repeat, do not use headers or footers. (Except page numbers. )
Your bio should include your thoughts about your writing style and what drives your stories. Of lesser interest is your favorite color of pizza. And do not include your publishing credits, please.
We are primarily looking for original stories but might consider reprints.
Pay rates for original stories is $25.
Reprints will be paid $12.
Contributors will receive checks or PayPal. Alban Lake prefers PayPal but can do checks.
Contributors are also eligible to buy additional copies of Catacombs at 20% off the cover price, plus S&H at cost.
How to Submit
Submit your work to [email protected]
Be sure to put STORY SUBMISSION and the title of your story in the subject line.
“STORY SUBMISSION – Giving Up”
Your email must contain your name, mailing address, word count, your story’s title, and a brief bio written in the 3rd person.
CONTACT INFORMATION EXAMPLE
685 Shadow Lane
Warwick, RI 02889
PayPal: [email protected]
Word Count: 4501
If your submission does not include your contact information, Alban Lake Publishing reserves the right to delete your submission unread and without notifying you.
If your contact information changes, please notify us immediately. If we can’t get in touch we cannot print your work.
Your email must contain a short biography (no more than 200 words), word count, and contact information. Please do not include more than three previous publications in the bio.
Submit your work in RTF or DOC format only. Absolutely no DOCX files.
Please, do not put any fancy formatting into your submissions, such as adding your name, title and page number randomly throughout the story, headers and footers, or anything else that might take away from reading and editing. This is because it can cause problems with both reading and editing your submission. It is important to note that style is much different than the above and centering certain parts, bold, or italicized type is acceptable. It takes a great deal of time to read and edit things properly, so if we see things like this Alban Lake Publishing reserves the right to delete your submission unread and without notifying you.
We seek FNASR and exclusive print and electronic rights for one year after date of publication. Email all submissions to [email protected] with manuscript as an attachment. Do not include the story in the body of the email. Any questions can be directed to this email as well.
We look forward to working with you.