The 2020 RBE Call for Submissions

Updated: Jan 27


The photograph by Peter Gnas that will become the cover for WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE

RBE's 2020 Anthos are up -- on our new website rogue-blades.com. That's right - we're making more changes around here. The new site is mostly done, though a few things are still being built. Heroes Gathering will be remaining here at Wix for now, as the website builder host is actually upgrading to an entirely new builder that's supposed to come with all sorts of bells and whistles. The new site has been a labor of love (for real -- pushing 110 hours so far!), so check it out, give some feedback, most of all -- spread the word please!


Now on to those new anthos!


But first -- a few changes this year, hopefully ones that contribute to a firmer yet more consistent schedule. RB will now be announcing NOT opening the year's TWO themed titles on 1/26/2020, followed by opening each title for a designated period, with stated and targeted end dates for submissions, evaluations, and publications. This is being done to (1) avoid repeating last year's timing debacles, (2) ease the reading team's duties, and (3) provide flexibility in producing a third anthology each year from those outstanding until we catch up. Here's 2020's schedule:

  • announce 2 anthologies: 1/26

  • open WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE: 3/1

  • close WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE: 5/16

  • open NO ORDINARY MORTALS: 5/17

  • close NO ORDINARY MORTALS: 8/1

  • Evaluations & Acceptances intended to be closed: 9/7

  • Publications in time for Christmas 2020

That's 11 weeks open for submissions on each title. We gave a longer window to prep for our first superhero anthology, and we're looking forward to reading a new genre for RBE!


Other changes: we are no longer accepting the opening 500 words on unfinished works. Two reasons for this: the submission process has been streamlined to reduce redundant and frankly too many exchanges, and there was too much unknown in the process, which impacts scheduling and decisions. This leads right into the next change -- the initial submission now requires your opening 500 words AND the upload of the full story. We're still only evaluating those first 500 before opening your file and adding your submission to the reading queue, but now we can just get straight into the process when we do. Both of these changes should contribute to a smoother process and tighter adherence to the schedule.


And finally . . .


NO ORDINARY MORTALS

Super-powered pulp heroes. Supers with a single power who fight crime or villains. Good guys/gals versus bad guys/gals, no gray areas, no amorality, no Lord Byronic heroes. And no non-powered heroes. So think of characters like Doc Savage, the Rocketeer, Zorro, The Phantom, and Flash Gordon, but with powers and ideals like Superman and Wonder Woman (in their earlier renditions). Sorry, this means no Punisher, Logan, or even The Batman. It also means no Superman with his surplus of powers. Blatantly heroic original-to-the-author-only characters with no ambiguity in their pursuit of stopping evil and villainous behavior. Super Men & Wondrous Women only.


Current or alternate or future world settings. No rules on how superpowers exist (they can be the result of science, magic, disease, mutation, etc.), or on how they are employed (inherent, learned, device-driven, etc.). Opens 5/17, closes 8/1: 11 weeks. We will be accepting 13-15 stories, and stories should be 2k-9k words in length. Nothing shorter will be read, and our sweet spot is in the 5k-7k range. Publication is intended for Christmas 2020. Payment of $30 flat per story shall be rendered after publication. Authors will receive electronic copies and permanent discount on print purchases from RBE.


Cover art coming from Logan Whitney.


WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE

Not every hero survives. All heroes pay a cost, some the ultimate sacrifice. We're examining that theme of ultimate sacrifice as key to heroism. Not only the willingness to sacrifice all, but the act of sacrifice for the greater 'cause,' whatever that may be. These are tales of loss. Death can be a cost of heroism--but it might not be the greater loss come story's end. Heroes die. And they lose things greater than life: Family. Freedom. Innocence. Faith. Ideals. Drastic change must happen to your hero by story's end. But this is not just a book of dead heroes. Death does not have to mean defeat. Loss does not always equal failure. We want stories across the spectrum, stories of apotheosis and of nihilism and of what lies between. Heroes die and legends are born. Or nothing changes and it is all moot. A battle is won, while a war lost . . . or a battle lost to win a war.


This is character-driven storytelling, and we want to read it in all the 'Sword-and-' genres: Sword & Sorcery, Sword & Planet, Sword & Sandal, Sword & Soul, Sword & Six-gun.


Cover photography from Peter Gnas. As inspired by and foreword to be written by David Pitchford.



Our carry-over anthology MOSTLY DEAD! is closing at midnight tonight. Thank you to all the authors accepted for this title and SOMEBODY KILL THE PRINCE!, as y'all have waited a long time to get to our first omnibus, AS YOU WISH! There are several stories in the reading queue, but we are aiming for final decisions to be in by February 14th -- a day of true love. We'll post the TOC and get to editing after that.


**Don't forget -- a new website with a new Submissions page. The RB Submittable page remains.

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Spectacular background art by Didier Normand and MD Jackson

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