San Cicaro Open Call:

Earlier this year we did an open call and produced Welcome to San Cicaro, the first of Thunderbird Studios’ original anthologies. We got some great stories and exciting new writers, and had a blast doing it. In fact, we enjoyed it so much… we’re doing it again!

Once more, we’re taking another plunge into the mysterious, paranormal jewel of the Golden State—San Cicaro. Want to play in our city? Here’s another chance.

As before, we’re looking for yarns of dark urban fantasy, the weird, the macabre and the hopeful. Tell us of unassuming teenagers stumbling upon witch meetups, who weave spells for good or ill. Of hell-born creatures leaving scenes of carnage that confound the police. Of trolls trying to fit into the society of the homeless. We want them all. 

The best way of course to understand the vibe and atmosphere of the stories we are looking for is to pick up a copy of Welcome to San Cicaro, and give it a read. You can also check our prior call for more details.

Details:

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. Most importantly, we may connect your story not only to the prior anthology, but to stories published in this release. Our ultimate goal is to add tiny details that join your story into a greater, connected narrative.

Authors will be recompensed with a one-time payment of $135 for five-year publication rights, with exclusive rights for the first year, non-exclusive after that. Note that this is an improvement over last year, and that we’re also retroactively increasing the pay for the prior anthology’s authors. If we do a third anthology, we will likely increase payment again to match. Submissions open on August 8th, 2019 and will close on October 11th, 2019. 

Please submit to the open call at admin@tbirdstudios.com with the subject line “San Cicaro.” In the body please include a cover letter about yourself, including links to your bibliography and any details about your story. The story itself should be an attachment of file type RTF, DOC or DOCX. No multiple submissions (just one story per person) and no simultaneous submissions (don’t submit the same story to other publishers) please. We also want original stories only; nothing that has been published before. This includes stories hosted on your blog or published for your Patreon followers.

Thematic Rules:

  • Please invent. If your story calls for a landmark, business or ethnoburb (like a Koreatown), just create it. Please create your own characters and avoid reusing existing ones.
  • Don’t explain the mystery. Hypothesize all you like, but keep the supernatural stuff fairly underground. We’re really not wild about a POV character who shows up with all the answers.
  • Play with next generation technologies. Despite the times, San Cicaro’s hospitals and research firms are still cutting edge. What if fairy livers had powerful medicinal properties? Or if troll muscle fibers were the key to human regeneration? Just keep it under serious NDA.
  • No world-destroying monsters. A werewolf or vampire who stalks the night is great. Zombies are fine. But the zombie apocalypse is not. 
  • Get cultural. We love diving into the origins of supernatural creatures. The etymology, how superstitions have changed, how Hollywood got it wrong. Although our focus is to entertain, discovery of true-to-life folklore is a bonus.
  • Don’t go too big. We’re not here for dragons, giants or anything too noticeable. We’ve done so once and we’d rather not repeat it. San Cicaro works best when the magic is at least a little ambiguous.
  • Reference the first anthology. We encourage links to past stories, as it creates a sense of continuity and history. However, be conscious of what outsider POVs would actually know about. A good rule of thumb; if an event would be big enough to make it into the local newspaper, it’ll probably be referenced elsewhere. We don’t want characters who are omniscient about all San Cicaro’s mysteries.
  • No aliens. No UFOs, no invasions. 
  • Use extreme subject matter with care. Vivid gore doesn’t wow us. Consensual gratuitous sex scenes are a tough sell. The non-consensual variety are a hard no. We want stories, not shock.

Closing Notes:

If you have further questions or want to ask about an idea or landmark (akin to the San Diego Zoo or the Golden Gate Bridge), feel free to inquire with us. Just send an email to admin@tbirdstudios.com with the subject line “San Cicaro Question.” Likewise if you want to make a dedication to someone, let us know with your submission and we’ll name a street after them. We’d like to give a huge thanks to Cerqueira over on Unsplash for the great picture we used for the banner. And be sure to check out the San Cicaro Pulse for more open call tips. Good luck to everyone submitting, we can’t wait to read your work and re-immerse ourselves in the strange and exotic world of San Cicaro!