Today we recap RBE's 2018, tomorrow we announce the new 2019 anthology themes.
Speaking of annual anthology themes . . .
RBE reopened its submissions doors in January 2018 with a revolutionary idea: open 3 disparate themed titles at once, leave them open till full or Fall, release them for Christmas.
Thus was born CRAZY TOWN, CROSSBONES & CROSSES, and SOMEBODY KILL THE PRINCE!
CRAZY TOWN (stunningly eerie cover photography from Peter Gnas) made it through as intended. Despite the deluge of submissions, it was challenging to find the 'hardboiled noir' feel we desired. We almost despaired at finding what we sought, but then submissions began to click and the TOC to fill. RBE's first new anthology in years and its first non-strictly heroic fantasy title and its first urban title and its first hardboiled noir title and its first photography cover wrapped up nicely and made the Thanksgiving-Christmas release target. Its first review validated our hopes.
CROSSBONES & CROSSES is RBE's first non-fantastical at all title. Although it has not progressed as intended, it is shaping up very nicely, and I think readers will be delighted with our first swashbuckling historical. RBE friend and artist extraordinaire Didier Normand delivered a terrific logo-look for this cover. The intended 13 story TOC will be slightly expanded, so we are still seeking our final 2 crusader (the crosses half) tales. This really will be a great title with an excellent lineup of authors and stories, so if you have it in you to pen an action adventure historical, please do so; I really think you'll be proud to be listed in this title. C&C will begin editing and go straight into production as soon as these last tales are accepted, so release should hopefully be in March.
SOMEBODY KILL THE PRINCE! did not perform well, to be honest. Fully recognizing that this is a difficult theme to write to, I still did not believe it would not be filled. RBE went to both extremes this year, dark and dirty and somewhat nasty in CRAZY TOWN, and lighthearted, wholesome, family salute to a terrific tale in SKTP!. Unfortunately, we are just past halfway on acceptances, with few quality tales trickling in. Also, with the present word count and projected averages to come, we will not hit the target total. Due to this, I have decided to make a few adjustments. First - there is a planned sequel to SKTP! called MOSTLY DEAD! Very similar in concept, it was intended to be announced in 2020. I am instead now going to open it to submissions as soon as we finally close SKTP! This will not count as one of 2019's open calls. Because the final word count of SKTP! (and the future MD!) will be too slim for efficient printing, RBE will not be releasing either title as standalones. Instead, once both TOCs are filled, we will release a print and electronic omnibus titled AS YOU WISH! This omnibus will be covered by a beautiful watercolor from artist Bill 'Indy' Cavalier. Obviously, RBE still is in search of just the right stories to complete SKTP!, so if you've ever had a desire to write all the mostly good parts of a diabolically-minded person of royalty getting his or her plans thwacked real well by the good guys or gals - please write it! We really want to read it.
Long and short, RBE still likes this 3-at-a-time open call. There are a few tweaks to the process, mostly giving more concrete timeline parameters to all of us. Tomorrow we will describe 2019's themes. I hope you'll be as excited about them as I and the RBE First Reader Team!
In summary, CRAZY TOWN is complete, CROSSBONES & CROSSES needs 2 more crusader tales, and SOMEBODY KILL THE PRINCE! needs 4 more stories and won't be released until the omnibus of SKTP! and MOSTLY DEAD! are full. Please visit our Submissions page for info and, of course, submitting.
RBE thanks all of you -- supporters, writers, artists, submitters, reviewers, and readers -- for 2018! We could not do this without any of you, and believe me -- I really want to be doing this for decades to come! See you tomorrow.