The San Cicaro Series Returns

Updated 1/8: Pay rate increased to $200. 

This winter season, Thunderbird Studios is opening its doors to another round of stories for their “Decades of San Cicaro” project. This new anthology will continue the tradition of unusual fantasy and macabre tales in the “Jewel of California.”

As before, we’re looking for tales of urban fantasy, magical realism, the weird, the dark and the hopeful. But unlike the prior anthologies, we’re unlocking the past. You’ll have to add a bit of historical fiction to the mix, with stories taking place between 1930 all the way to the 1980’s.

Get ready for the most challenging submission window yet.

Details:

Stories should take place in the city of San Cicaro between the years of 1930 to 1989. Submitted short stories should have a minimum of around 5,000 words up to a soft limit of 8,000 words. We can go as high as 10,000 but will be looking to whittle that down. Formatting should follow William-Shunn guidelines.

Aside from editing and proofreading your work, the editors will also make very minor changes to fit your tale into San Cicaro itself. We may recommend street names, slightly modify passages to mention landmarks, or other such continuity tweaks. Researching and mentioning landmarks and places from prior anthologies goes a long way to impressing us. It takes work off our plates and helps connect the experiences. 

Authors will be compensated with a one-time payment of $200, with retroactive bonuses. If we do a fourth San Cicaro anthology and increase the payrate, you will be given a bonus to match it. We’ve done this for the authors of Welcome to San Cicaro and The San Cicaro Experience

The open call will be between December 7th, 2020 and February 28th, 2021. Please submit to the open call at submissions@tbirdstudios.com with the subject line “San Cicaro Decades.” In the body please include a cover letter about yourself, with links to your bibliography and any details about your story (especially research notes). The story itself should be an attachment of file type RTF, DOC or DOCX. For inquiries, reach out to admin@tbirdstudios.com with your questions.

No multiple submissions (just one story per person) and no simultaneous submissions (don’t submit the same story to other publishers) please. Presented stories should be original and never before published, even on blogs or to Patreon followers.

Thematic Rules:

  • Character discovery is king. We love characters who learn more about themselves from encountering the supernatural. Not every story will use this theme, but these tend to be our bread and butter.
  • No Stranger Things knock offs. We love the show, but we don’t want to copy their flair.
  • Be careful with old Lovecraft stories. We’re afraid of receiving a lot of Cthulhu fiction with the dates smudged. While there’s potential, it could be very competitive. Make sure the story elements are in the public domain, or we will reject for legal reasons. And please be sure it fits San Cicaro before you submit…
  • Don’t explain the mystery. Hypothesize all you like, but don’t try to explain why everything is happening. A POV character who shows up with all the answers isn’t going to go well with us.
  • No world-destroying monsters. A werewolf or vampire who stalks the night is great. Zombies are fine. But the zombie apocalypse is not.
  • Don’t go too big. Dragons and giants are very hard to hide in an urban environment.
  • No aliens. No UFOs, no invasions. You can hint at cosmic horror however.
  • Flashback stories are fine. Just so long as the main thread is in the past.

Finally, be sure to check out our primer for help regarding historic events across California, and to address questions regarding very thorny topics. Please check back here this week for more information. Good luck writers!

A big thanks to Aaron Huber on Unsplash for the photo.