From the rock star in his fairytale Gothic mansion in Central London whose neighbour plans a double basement excavation, to the retiree in a fisherman's cottage in the northeast of England whose neighbour tells lies to a court to acquire the back garden that is not theirs: we are plagued by bad neighbours.
One recent article in the Daily Telegraph Online which reported the trauma caused by at best inconsiderate, but at worst criminal, neighbours accumulated five hundred registered comments within half an hour of being published.
It does not take a crime writer to know that a plague of bottom-feeders calls for an exterminator. But it does take the creatively criminal-minded to come up with the bestest plan ever...
Such is the inspiration for "Death of a Bad Neighbour: Revenge is Criminal
" - an anthology of all-new crime and mystery stories.
Submission window is October 2021.
Incidentally, the rock star is Jimmy Page, he of Led Zeppelin fame. His expansive neighbour is Robbie Williams,
some crooner or other.
And the original suggestion for an anthology came from Carter Blakelaw who was mid-discussion of his story "Tinnitus"
at the time (please don't use "Tinnitus" as a story title. Now it will sound second-hand).
10 cents a word plus a share of royalties
So, I'm after around 20 short crime or mystery stories to fit the Death of a Bad Neighbour
theme, 2,000 to 5,000 words
(you're the best judge of the sweet spot length of the story you tell), paying U.S. 10 cents a word for first English language text (eBook and print) and audio publication rights
(exclusivity of these rights reverts to the author 12 months after publication or
18 months after the submission deadline, whichever is sooner, and waived for Best Of
The submission deadline is October 31st
Accept/reject decisions during December, if not before. Payment on acceptance.
Target publication date is April 2022. The anthology will be available 'from all good bookstores' in eBook and in print. Audio is scheduled to follow in July 2022.
The anthology will remain in print, eBook and in audio indefinitely
and a royalty will be paid pro rata by word count on each sale from the very first sale
(approximately 0.75 per cent of net receipts per 1000 words after the distributor & store have taken their cut; this estimate depends on the final length of the anthology
— these numbers are indicative only
; I reserve the right to choose the distributor(s) and outlets and set cover price(s)).
(Please see the specimen contract linked-to below for more details of the terms
— the specimen contract is indicative only and may not be exactly what is signed on the day.
If your story is accepted be sure to check the contract you are offered and that the royalty distribution is acceptable prior to signing.
One submission only per author. No simultaneous submissions. Anything submitted outside the October 2021 window will be ignored.
It must be fiction—not your personal vendetta
I'm not looking for extreme violence, nor explicit sex, nor strong language unless the story absolutely demands strong language.
Nor is the anthology to be a collection of biter-bit
tales. Think of it as on the tart side of cozy — not
least because any act of revenge is going to be morally ambiguous. Beware that events or characters must bear no resemblance to real life
events or characters (you will have to warrant this to be true to the best of your knowledge & belief in the contract). However, if you know what this hell is like, you can certainly share that feeling
. Humour? Make me smile. Genre – SF, F, Romance or H? Maybe, but that's not the main kick my readers will be reading for, and I must satisfy them. Literary? Admittedly more of a challenge — just bring stories with a bit of zest to my crime theme!
You are invited to think of the theme metaphorically as well: The Good Samaritan was a good neighbour, Hitler a bad one, and a deathwatch beetle
that keeps you awake at night might turn out to be a mixed blessing.
One of the tests for inclusion will be whether a reader who has suffered from a bad neighbour can connect to a story such as yours and find
it elevating or cathartic, while a reader who has not so suffered might gain some feeling for what utter misery a bad neighbour drags in their wake.
Whatever else, give your story a beating heart.
British English or US English? — use whatever English your story demands. Readers are sophisticated enough to understand the language that best fits a story. I will not be editing for any specific national or regional English usage.
EXPECT UPDATES TO THIS PAGE:
22nd July 2021 update
How do I contact you with a question?
The specimen contract will be available here, shortly, for your perusal. If you need a handy guide to understanding contracts, you could do worse than check out
the SFWA walkthrough of a standard anthology contract here,
or hire a lawyer.
I will shortly publish an email address where you can send questions (see below). Any question you ask may be turned into a FAQ, and I will publish a FAQ page as well.
I will publish the submission process here before the start of October. I will require standard manuscript format in a single Word (.doc or .docx) or RTF file only. No PDFs nor any other alternative formats.
Email your questions to: faq-me
Other news will be posted here so I invite you to bookmark this page, get writing, and come back regularly for updates, or:
I can send you author and/or reader reminders and updates about the anthology:
hosted and edited the CrimeCityCentral podcast which published one short crime or mystery story per week, in audio, continuously for just over two years.
CrimeCityCentral was a sister podcast to the Hugo Award-winning StarShipSofa and FarFetchedFables, both still produced by Tony C. Smith as part of
The District of Wonders (NB Tony C. Smith is not connected in any way with this anthology). More recently, Jack has designed and published Carter Blakelaw's Top 100 Writing Tips
book under the publishing flag of The Logic of Dreams.