Friday, August 21, 2009

Depths of the Ocean: More High Seas Cthulhu

It was my intention to post about product placement in television and fiction books - oh, and films, etc. But as other matters press upon me, I'll save that one for later in the week. Right now, I'd like to talk about stories set on the high seas.

For those who don't know, after my reading of a few million words for a previous anthology, I started to avoid sending open anthology calls around the Internet. In fact, some of my calls are still lurking in the pages of Writers Digest, which means I get submissions for books printed years ago.

To help slow the flow of submissions, I now make a cunning mention on my blog. Usually word gets around, but not quite as much as "major announcements."

And, as some people were not completely sure of what I was hinting at in the last three anthologies request, I'll be blunt this time. :) I'm looking for stories for a 2010 anthology.

What type of stories? They must be set on or darn close to the ocean or large body of water. The book is a sequel to High Seas Cthulhu.

Setting: Still an ocean or big body of water. Mostly modern, some historical is welcome.

Word Count: 5K (longer must be negotiated)

Payment: 5 cents/word first publication, 3 cents/word reprint.

Deadline: June 2010 - Although it could move up (never sure about these things)

Reference: If in doubt, read the existing book: High Seas Cthulhu. You might also consider visiting the link on my blog, where the authors of the last book wrote about how their stories came to be: High Seas Cthulhu: Below Decks

As for High Seas Cthulhu, it can be found in most books stores and online, ebay, game stores. Pretty much anywhere. I urge reviewing a copy to save yourself time by avoiding the repetition of tales from the first book.

How to submit? (Umm. I get plenty of email, and much of it is blocked by spam software. But let's try it this way. Submit to: (Subject: High Seas 2 YOUR NAME).

The subject is very important because I'll use software to sort the submissions, and without High Seas 2, it'll likely get dumped into spam).


  • Deep Ones are easy to write about in this anthology, so only use them if you have a unique slant. Most everyone will submit Deep One tales and you want yours to stand out. Or better yet, avoid Deep One tales.

  • Edgy is good. Please avoid this opening: "Dear reader, you might think me insane for what I'm about to put to paper..." (I've read that story. :> ) Put a modern spin on the story/creature/character, and make it yours.

  • Dark is good. Mood, tone, and a feel of darkness works in this anthology, but know that many people will be going the same way, so play with the approach.
Lastly, Cthulhu: Nope, no Cthulhu unless requested. Next to Deep Ones, this big fellow is the most popular critter people write about for this type of anthology. We can only have so many Cthulhu awakens and destroys the world tales in the anthology. So to improve your chances, avoid using him. Or at least query me about it before you do.

Feel free to post questions here, as that way I can answer them and create a FAQ at the same time.


Steve Buchheit said...

I was doing good until the "rethink the Deep Ones". Ah, well. Maybe it's really about something else after all (just a stub at the moment) - time to crack open the brain and see what spills out.

John Goodrich said...

Heh heh heh.

Yeah. I'm sending something.

Voland said...

Hi William!

Great concept - I'm going to stick both feet in a bucket of cold salt water and see what crops up ;-)

Oh - and read "High Seas Cthulhu" of course!



Anonymous said...

Does it have to be a Terrestrial sea?


Daniel J. Hogan said...

Man, there goes my "Cthulhu sank the Titanic" idea.

I may give this a go, if I can think of something. It'll be a fun challenge regardless.

What about the Great Lakes?

David Conyers said...

Hey William, would you consider:

a) stories set in Lovecraft's Dreamlands setting?

b) stoires set in the modern era?

c) science fiction stories set on other worlds?

Assuming of course that they are all Mythos tales?


Charles Gramlich said...

I've got the first High Seas. I haven't read it yet but will do so and see if anything strikes me as an idea. Thanks for letting us know of the opportunity.

Matthew Baugh said...


William Jones said...

Steve - I don't want to turn people away from Deep Ones, but they tend to be popular topics when water is around. :) It all comes down to your approach. I will say that since the post, I've had over 20 queries of variation of Deep One stories. For a writer, that means there is plenty of competition for the anthology's "Deep One" story.

However, I can assure everyone that there will be Deep One stories. :)

William Jones said...

"Does the tale have to be terrestrial?" This question has appeared a few times in queries. The answer: nope.

Now let me qualify that. :) The guidelines state modern stories, or limited historical (the reverse of the first book), so that limits far future tales - maybe. I'd query about specific settings.

However, given HPL's universe, setting a story on an alien world with it being modern isn't that difficult. A quick jump through a portal/gate/dimension and you're there.

BTW, I like the question as it was one I had when putting together the post.

William Jones said...

Daniel - There are so many Lovecraftian critters that can sink the Titanic that you're still in the game. :)

William Jones said...

David -

a) stories set in Lovecraft's Dreamlands setting?

Answer: Hmmm. Depends on the story. That is a good universe for sailing tales, so I'd have to say yes. Now with that said, I'm certain the race is on to write such tales.

b) stoires set in the modern era?

Answer: Yepper. I thought, and I'll have to double check, the guidelines were "modern with some hisotorical."

c) science fiction stories set on other worlds?

Answer: You know that I think of many HPL tales as being SF already - and horror. If you are asking about "far future" settings - then probably not. It would really depend on the tale, and most likely only 1 if any would appear in the anthology.

However if you're thinking along the lines of Sphere or Abyss, then those would work.

William Jones said...

Daniel - I overlooked this part of your question: Great Lakes?

Answer: Certainly. I suspect all manner of strange things live in the Great Lakes. And they certainly qualify as a large body of water.

William Jones said...

Matthew - Hmmmm.

William Jones said...

For those wondering, I have 12 completed manuscripts submitted already. 2 reprint suggestions, the rest original. And I'm not going to count the queries.

I'll also not update the number of submissions on a weekly basis, simply because that would become tiresome for everyone, and take much time. I'm mentioning it here to give you a feel for the number of writers submitting.

williemeikle said...

You'll be getting a sub from me too William... can't miss out on a chance of being in both :)

Vesper said...

Hi William,

I'm reading "High Seas Cthulhu" right now and enjoying it... :-)

So my question is : will No. 2 be set exclusively in the Lovecraftian universe or will it include other weird tales of the seas?

Thank you! :-)

Denise said...

Thinking about this...but mindful of the speed I write, which is s l o w l y.

If you find yourself overwhelmed (deluged?) could the deadline move very substantially forward, say to sometime later this year?

And is there a lower limit on word length?


Unknown said...

I have an idea for this-a comical one that, if nothing else, will provide you with a little amusement while you are sifting through the tons of subs.

Before you ask, it won't be Cthulhu goes to Vegas or The Deep Ones playing Black Jack. It will be practical, maybe even a little profane at parts(if that is ok), and centered around two characters in strong disagreement.

Rick said...

Looks like you've hit a popular note with this, William!

David Conyers said...

Thanks William. Gives me a few things to think about.


William Jones said...

Vesper- Thanks for reading the book, and I'm delighted you're enjoying it.

As for High Seas #2 - it really isn't anchored in Lovecraft's universe, just as the tales in High Seas Cthulhu (1) weren't set in any particular universe. I think it is possible to venture into any manner of setting so long as it works with the story and the tale is either modern (in some fashion) or historical (meaning fantastical).

Any of that help?

William Jones said...

Denise - Nice pun there. :) The only reasons the close date would alter is if the distributor had a request for the book to be released earlier. Or, if all of the great stories suddenly appeared and no more were needed.

A few people have wondered if I accept stories as they come in. Usually not the same day. But I do accept stories before the deadline. It keeps the author from going to another publisher, reduces the paperwork, and limits the suspense.

But with my anthologies, I tend to place stories in a thematic arc, so the end tales are usually the most difficult to place.

Based on the present submission rate, I'd say that there is a chance the anthology could close a month early - maybe. I'd certainly post a note on the blog to let anyone know if it neared that point.

William Jones said...

Bradon - I'm always open to ideas. Feel free to submit a detailed query if you'd like any comments from me.

William Jones said...

David - No problems. Thanks for your questions and posts!

Vesper said...

Thank you for your answer, William. Something to think about...
Yes, I love the first High Seas. (The next book on my night stand is Rudolph Pearson...)

William Jones said...

Vesper - Thanks for taking the time for reading both books!

Jeff Talanian said...

Story sent in last night. Thank you for the opportunity to possibly contribute.

Jeff Talanian

Vesper said...

Hi William,

I was wondering if you were planning on acknowledging the receipt of the short stories or not...

Thank you. :-) :-) :-)

Unknown said...

Mr. Jones, are you still collecting stories for this antho or are you full up?

William Jones said...

Vesper - Yes, I do email when a story is submitted, and I am very far behind in my emails. I did get yours, and you will still get an email from me. However, if someone is curious about a submission, feel free to query me.

Brandon - Yes, I am still accepting and getting quite a few submissions. I will certainly post when the anthology closes. Thanks for asking!

Unknown said...

Very nice! I shall resume writing the one I had been working on-it had been pushed aside for something else.

Jason Andrew said...

I have an idea poking me now about WWII.

Oddly, I can only see times when people posted and not dates.

Hopefully, I am still submit. :)