Etched Offerings: Voices From the Cauldron of Story

Misanthrope Press announced our first ever open-submissions themed fiction anthology, Etched Offerings; Voices from the Cauldron of Story in July 2010. We are now re-opening to submissions for this anthology. Please read the guidelines carefully before submitting; the main reason we’re having to re-open is due to a shortage of submissions that correctly fit our theme.


 If you are reading this anywhere other than http://www.misanthropepress.com, we urge you to visit our website and view the full guidelines page. We have had to reject several submissions that did not fit our intended theme because people didn’t fully review the guidelines first; we don’t want you to waste your own time by being another one. Etched Offerings: Voices From the Cauldron of Story is a Pagan religion themed short fiction anthology. We are seeking stories about, or relevant to, contemporary Pagan paths and lifestyles, regardless of tradition. Stories about the gods and goddesses, about modern Wiccans, witches, shamans, and other magickal practitioners, as well as fantasy stories of myth and magick are all welcome. Please see the explanation of what we mean by “Pagan” at the bottom of this page. We understand that there is more than one valid definition of this word in common usage, but we are operating under only one of them.  

Stories that retell existing myths and legends are acceptable, but there needs to be an original twist or fresh perspective in the telling. Also, please bear in mind if taking this approach that this is a religious anthology, not simply a mythology collection. It’s a subtle difference, but an important one.

Stories not strictly about Pagan topics, but featuring Pagan characters are very welcome. While it doesn’t need to be the focus of the piece, the character’s path should be prominent.  (In other words, please don’t take that cop story you’ve been trying to get published and simply throw in a line about your police chief being a Druid and hang a pentacle around his neck. It doesn’t have to be the point of the story, but it should actually be a part of it.)

We are not looking for stories that focus too heavily on how difficult it is to be Pagan in our society. It’s a valid issue, very much so in some geographic regions, but it’s not what we want to focus on in this anthology.  We’re looking for stories that celebrate the joys and rewards of following a Pagan path, not ones that lament the challenges we face. If your character faces such a challenge and overcomes it, and your story focuses on the triumph of that, that’s acceptable. We won’t, however, accept many stories of this nature, so keep that in mind when submitting.

Along these same lines, while we will potentially accept a very small number of stories that deal with the clash of religious beliefs and/or groups, we won’t be accepting any stories that directly criticize or bash the beliefs of another group. It’s a fine line, we realize; if you’re not confident in your ability to walk it, pick another topic for your story.

We do love speculative fiction here at Misanthrope Press, and therefore are very open to fantasy and horror stories. Your portrayal of magick and the gods can be highly fictionalized and unrealistic, just as long as it doesn’t a) portray actual Pagans in a negative light (as a whole; obviously the antagonists can also be Pagan) and b) it is clear that the fictionalized elements are just that. In other words, don’t call your character “Wiccan,” and then have him pointing a wand at an attacker and shouting protego!  Also here, as with the mythology mentioned above, please keep in mind that this is an anthology for a real Pagan audience. Fictionalized elements of myth and magick are great, but there should be some real in there, too.

And one final note, regarding the contributors we’re seeking. While we aren’t asking that only writers who themselves follow a Pagan path submit, we do want to make it perfectly clear that this is, at its core, a religious anthology, not a secular fantasy or mythology collection. That said, there are a great number of non-pagan authors whose work has resonated deeply with the Pagan community. If we can add to that particular body of work, that wouldn’t be a bad thing at all! Again, we urge you to *please* see the section on Paganism at the bottom of this page.

 What we mean by “Pagan”

The word “Pagan” means many different things to different people. There are two main definitions we would like to address. First of all, we want to clarify what we do not mean. To many Christians, and especially many Catholics, the word “pagan” (note that is is not capitalized) means, essentially, anyone who is not a follower of a Judeo-Christian faith. This is not what we mean when we say “Pagan.”

The second use of the word “Pagan” (note that, this time, it is capitalized) that is common in our society today is in reference to a broad category of religions such as Wicca, Witchcraft, Asatru, and Druidry. This definition of “Pagan” is the theme of our anthology. If you are yourself a practitioner of a Pagan path, then you should have no problem here. If you are not, then please do yourself a favor and do some research. Search terms such as “Wicca” and “Witchcraft,” and review more than one source. “Witchcraft,” for example, is not the same thing as “Satanism.” Satanists are not Pagans, and are not a fitting topic for this anthology.

Another suggestion we’ve encountered for understanding what Paganism is would be to reference the “New Age” or “Metaphysical” section in your local bookstore. Many stores, however, also include speculative topics such as UFO’s and 2012 in this section, as well as Christian-based books like A Course in Miracles, which are not Pagan topics. Using this suggestion, I’d narrow it down to say look at the books on the “Magic and Witchcraft” shelf within the “Metaphysical” section.

If you are still unsure whether your topic fits, and don’t want to tie your story up in our slush pile while you wait to find out, feel free to query us and ask. We’re more than happy to give more personalized guidance regarding our desired theme, and will greatly appreciate the effort on your part for reaching out.

The nitty gritty:

Submissions will be re-opened beginning immediately through April 30th 2011. We aim to have all decisions back to authors by sometime in June 2011. You will receive both an auto-responder and a personal confirmation from an editor to let you know that your submision has been received. Please query only if you do not receive a confirmation from an editor within two weeks of submitting, or if it is past our stated timeframe of by the end of June 2011. We will not be sending any acceptances until all submissions have been received and reviewed, so status queries should not be necessary. Please see our main guidelines for further details regarding this policy.

Word count 1,000-7500 words. This may be flexible for stories that are otherwise a good fit; please query if you have a piece you believe would be a good fit for this anthology but that is outside of this range.

In order to make this the best collection possible, we are willing to include a very small number of reprints in this anthology. If you would like to submit a reprint, please make sure that you are not under any previous contractual obligation not to, and then query before submitting.

Author payment will be $5.00.

The anthology will be published in trade paperback format, sometime in the Fall of 2011.

Please see our standard guidelines page for manuscript formatting details. 

Subject line should be: pagan anthology/author name. Please actually use this format, as it’s how we’ll be able to tell your submission from spam, and be able to tell what project your submission is for.

Send submissions to: submissions (at) misanthropepress.com

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