Taking Submissions – Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies

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THE SUBMISSION PERIOD IS NOW CLOSED

Deadline: 31 August 2020
Payment: 6c per word for original stories, 2c per word for reprints (Australian currency)
Publisher: IFWG Publishing Australia (co-published in North America through the IFWG Publishing International imprint)
Note: Open to Australian writers only (citizens, residents and ex-pats)

To be edited by award-winning author Deborah Sheldon, Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies will comprise stories from Australian writers obtained via commission and open callout. The commissioned writers are the multi-award-winning and bestselling authors Jack Dann, Kaaron Warren and Sean Williams.

On-spec submissions are welcome from Australian writers of every persuasion including non-parents. Ideally, stories should be between 1500 and 5000 words, give or take. (Stories significantly longer than 5000 words would have to be outstanding.) Reprints will be considered, but must not be available for free anywhere online—the anthology will have only a small number of reprints, regardless. Artwork by commissioned Australian artists will complement selected stories.

The anthology will be a visceral, frightening read. Each story must nominally tick the box of “body horror” but there is no restriction on subgenre: anything from sci-fi to fantasy to gothic to supernatural to psychological and beyond will be given equal consideration. Feel free to play with the theme and not take it too literally. Ideally, your story should make the reader feel uncomfortably aware of their physicality, morbidity or mortality.

While graphic violence and swearing are acceptable, submissions must have a literary bent. Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies aims to deliver an elegant—and elevated—anthology of body horror.

What to avoid:

  • Gratuitous gore used purely for shock value.
  • Familiar tropes, such as Rosemary’s Baby, The Handmaid’s Tale, the face-hugger/chest-burster from the Alien film franchise, Martians kidnapping and impregnating female Earthlings, and so on.
  • The submission of first drafts, often indicated by spelling and grammatical errors.

Required rights:

  • First worldwide electronic and print rights in the English language, exclusive for one year, and non-exclusive rights thereafter.
  • For reprints, non-exclusive rights apply.
  • If the story is subsequently reprinted, please credit Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies (IFWG Publishing Australia) as the original publisher.

How to submit:

  • Your story must be in a Word document, double-spaced, Times New Roman in 12pt.
  • Your name, contact details and word count should be on the first page above the title.
  • Use double-quotation marks, single space after full stops, first-line indents, page numbers, and Australian-English spelling. No tabs and no double-returns between paragraphs.
  • Send to Deborah Sheldon at spawnsubmissions@gmail.com with the story title and your name as the Subject heading.
  • In the body of your email, provide an author bio of about 100 words (give or take), and include your Australian citizen/resident/ex-pat status.
  • If your story is a reprint, provide the full details of its first publication in the body of your email, with links if possible.
  • You can submit more than one story. Submit each story in a separate email.
  • Stories that require anything more than line editing or adjustments for house style will be rejected. Please submit only polished work of a high standard.
  • No simultaneous submissions, which means do not submit your story to another market at the same time.
  • Give yourself the best possible chance—please do not ignore these guidelines.

Response issues:

  • All acceptance and rejection emails will be sent by 31 October 2020.
  • No feedback will be offered for rejected stories. Please don’t ask.
  • Do not resubmit a rejected story, even if you have made substantial changes.
  • Accepted writers will receive payment via PayPal or bank transfer within 30 days of publication.
  • Accepted writers will also receive an ebook and one complimentary paperback.

Important note about the publication date

Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies was originally slated for release in February 2021. In response to the economic turndown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, IFWG Publishing Australia has decided to delay release of every upcoming new title. Therefore, Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies will be released later in 2021, with a strong likelihood of a mid-year publishing date.

Crowd-funding for a hardback edition, which would include illustrations for each story, is also being considered.

IFWG Publishing Australia will provide further updates on the anthology’s publication schedule in due course.

EDITED 25 Sept 2020.

Books Deal with Kaaron Warren & Ellen Datlow

Kaaron Warren & Ellen Datlow taken by Cat Sparks

Ellen Datlow & Kaaron Warren (photo by Cat Sparks)

IFWG Publishing is extremely pleased to have acquired the publishing rights for five titles by Kaaron Warren, one of which is a collaboration with multi-award winning editor Ellen Datlow.

Three Warren titles are transfers of rights from a previous publisher (Slights, Mistification and Walking the Tree) and two are original works: Morace’s Story (a middlegrade novella that closely ties with Walking the Tree, where both will be published worldwide simultaneously), and Tool Tales, a chap-book that will contain original photography by Ellen Datlow paired with micro-fiction by Warren—all associated with images of old tools that are odd, weird, or whose utility are largely forgotten over time. Warren’s prose sources inspiration and stream of consciousness from these images.

All five titles will be published on return to normalcy in the marketplace following the current COVID-19 crisis, but Slights will be available in ebook format in coming months. All three reprints will be augmented with new creative material, notably a bonus related short fiction piece for Slights, and Walking the Tree will be closely associated with Morace’s Story—it will be the same story as Walking the Tree, but through the eyes of a young protagonist. IFWG views this pairing as an exciting project with an original approach to bridging literature across different age groups. IFWG will provide more news on enhancements to Mistification at a later date.

Tool Tales brings Ellen Datlow into the project as an artistic contributor, which contrasts with her usual expert role as an editor. IFWG was approached by Warren and Datlow following their social media success in matching Kaaron’s speculative fiction writing against Datlow’s collection of images of tools, to turn this exercise into a print and ebook collection. IFWG recognised the potential interest in this project in the wider reading community, and also saw it as a superior reference work for writers’ workshops and classes.

IFWG Publishing views these acquisitions as a strong investment, injecting two projects with unique offerings to the market (Morace’s Story’s pairing with Walking the Tree, and the creative collaboration between Warren and Datlow in Tool Tales). Additionally, IFWG values the addition of five titles bearing Warren’s respected name to its current catalogue of two books (the multi-award winning novel, The Grief Hole, and her collection of short fiction, The Gate Theory).

Kaaron Warren’s Bio:

Shirley Jackson award-winner Kaaron Warren published her first short story in 1993 and has had fiction in print every year since. She was recently given the Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Award and was Guest of Honour at World Fantasy 2018, Stokercon 2019 and Geysercon 2019. Kaaron was a Fellow at the Museum for Australian Democracy, where she researched prime ministers, artists and serial killers.

She has published five multi-award winning novels (Slights, Walking the Tree, Mistification, The Grief Hole and Tide of Stone) and seven short story collections, including the multi-award winning Through Splintered Walls. She has won the ACT Writers and Publishers Award four times and twice been awarded the Canberra Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Her most recent novella, Into Bones Like Oil (Meerkat Press) is on the Final Ballot for the Stoker Award, the Recommended Reading List for Locus and the Aurealis Award Shortlist.

Ellen Datlow’s Bio:

Ellen Datlow has been editing sf/f/h short fiction for four decades. She was fiction editor of OMNI Magazine and SCIFICTION and currently acquires short stories and novellas for Tor.com and Nightfire. She has edited many anthologies for adults, young adults, and children, including The Best Horror of the Year series and Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories, Final Cuts: New Tales of Hollywood Horror and Other Spectacles, and the reprint anthologies Edited By and Body Shocks. She’s won multiple Locus, Hugo, Stoker, International Horror Guild, Shirley Jackson, and World Fantasy Awards plus the 2012 Il Posto Nero Black Spot Award for Excellence as Best Foreign Editor. Datlow was named recipient of the 2007 Karl Edward Wagner Award, given at the British Fantasy Convention for “outstanding contribution to the genre” and was honored with the Life Achievement Award given by the Horror Writers Association, in acknowledgment of superior achievement over an entire career and honored with the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award at the 2014 World Fantasy Convention.

She runs the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series in the east village, NYC, with Matthew Kressel.

News: Book Launch of Warriors of Vhast Book 4

This year’s launch, for the fourth volume of the Warriors of Vhast series, Scouring the Land, again took place at Amor Bar in North Hobart. Rather than doing a speech, the floor was thrown open to questions and a very productive Q&Q ensued.

Questions came in that covered a wide variety of areas. Some of these involved the origin of the books, the history of Vhast itself, and what will happen after the series finishes. Most of the people present asked at least one question, much to our surprise. The Q&A showed that attendees had read the books (and that most had also read at least some of the short fiction available through Patreon as well).

The way the Q&A was received showed us that next year we should look towards live streaming a session and allowing readers around the world to take part interactively.

After much chat, and quite a few drinks, we closed up again for another year when we will be back for more drinks and the launch of Book 5, Gathering the Strands.

Some photos taken at the event (courtesy of Cary Lenehan):

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Update: Upcoming Australian Horror Anthology

IFWG is extremely happy to tease you a little more about our earlier announcement, when we revealed that Deborah Sheldon had signed up as editor of a forthcoming anthology. She will have four commissioned short fiction pieces by A-grade Australian authors, with the remainder of the TOC made up from a callout in 2020 to Australian horror fiction writers. The anthology’s cover art, design and illustrations will be commissioned from Australian artists.

We can now reveal that our commissioned authors will be:
Isobelle Carmody
Jack Dann
Kaaron Warren
Sean Williams

We are over the moon with this amazing line-up and know that not only will we get unique takes on the theme of this anthology, but the mix of these wonderful authors in a single anthology will also contribute to a combined effect that will be grander than the sum of their excellent pieces.

We can reveal that the theme will be a subset of the Body Horror sub-genre but we would rather reveal the full scope of the anthology when we make the call-out for non-commissioned submissions around March next year.

Interview with Kaaron Warren

Join author, Kaaron Warren, in a wonderful interview where she lists her favourite books (revisited from our post on our IFWG Publishing International site).

Link to The Grief Hole page.

Enjoy a free reading of the first chapter of her newest book, ‘The Grief Hole.’ Thanks to Alex Weaver for the audio recording.

Reading of Chapter 1 of The Grief Hole

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News: The Grief Hole Wins Best Horror Novel Category in 2016 Aurealis Awards

We in IFWG are over the moon on just now finding out that Kaaron Warren‘s The Grief Hole has won the Best Horror Novel category in the 2016 Aurealis Awards. Congratulations to all the winners, all the short listed work, but special congratulations to Kaaron on her award.

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The judges stated that The Grief Hole “…is an intelligent, haunting and exquisitely horrific novel that unanimously and unequivocally impressed the entire panel in all areas of the judging criteria, and which will no doubt become a highly regarded touchstone of Australian horror.”

Again, we would like to also thank the book’s editor, Sophie Yorkston, and artist, Keely Van Order, for the significant contribution to the product as a whole.