Submissions guidelines

Carnivah House submission guidelines will vary from project to project. Below are the guidelines for our first anthology, “The Infinity Swords.”

“The Infinity Swords” will be a themed anthology. We will pay $50 flat rate for original fiction of 2,000 to 6,000 words, paid on acceptance. Writers may submit up to two stories.

We will accept submissions from Jan. 1 to Jan. 15, 2008. Do not send us stories earlier than that — we’ll delete them unread. We will accept email submissions (pasted into the body of your email, please; we’ll request an .rtf file if we need one) at In the subject line, please use this format: “Submission/Your Title Here.”

What is “The Infinity Swords” about? Read the prologue, then see the notes below:

OK, you’ve read the prologue, right? So what are we looking for? We want you to write a fantasy story, set in any original universe of your creation, in which one of these swords is a driving part of the narrative. Or both swords, if you like. Plop one of these swords into your protagonist’s hands, or send your hero to wrest it away from someone else. Have a wizard try to unlock the sword’s secrets. Put one of these blades at the center of an epic struggle, or at the end of a puzzling quest. Have your characters meet up with one of the “ethereal agents” searching the multiverse for these swords.

The swords give us a “brand,” so to speak, but we don’t want to constrain writers. Use your imagination and have fun with it.

We’re open to sword-and-sorcery, high fantasy, humor, flat-out adventure, mysteries, etc. We’re not looking for hard science fiction, but if you want to try an Edgar Rice Burroughs-style mix of high technology and barbaric adventure, give it a shot. If you want to try something in a modern setting, that’s OK, too, although we prefer sword-slinging fantasy worlds. Be as deep and literary as you like, or simply blow our socks off with a ripping good tale. It’s up to you.

Some ground rules:

  1. If you have previously published stories about serial characters or a world you’ve established and think this concept would fit with them, give it a try.
  2. The swords may not be destroyed.
  3. Your character does not get to keep the sword and use it to rule the universe or destroy creation — unless, of course, you make it clear that the godhood will be short-lived or that a new creation will arise from the ashes, and that the sword eventually will go spinning off through the multi-verse once again.
  4. The swords may manifest themselves in different ways in different universes. They may be amulet-sized in one story, or tower-sized in the next. Their magic may operate differently in different universes, as well. Imagine that the swords have a vast slew of different powers, but the characters in your story are aware of only some of those powers, or that some of those powers do not operate in your fictional universe. In other words, let us sweat those kind of details while you just write a good story.
  5. Some authors were invited to submit before this open call. If you are one of them and we did not buy your story, feel free to try again.
  6. Things to avoid: a plot in which your character gains the sword and decides to give it up; elf detectives; anything Tolkien or Howard already wrote; sex and gore that goes much beyond a PG-13 rating for no good reason.
  7. We realize typos happen to everybody, and that some writers are great storytellers but lousy typists and spellers. We won’t dismiss a story simply because of a flub or two, but we’ll toss it in an eyeblink if it appears you made no effort to clean up your manuscript. If you’re not adept at spelling and grammar, have someone who is adept at those things look at your work before you send it to us.
  8. If you have questions, please post them here but realize we may be a while in answering. And if your questions are of the “can the swords do this or that?” variety — relax. We’re purposefully giving writers as much leeway on such details as we can. If you want the sword to turn someone into an aardvark, simply convince us it can happen through the power of your story.

That’s all for now. Get to writing!

— Carnivah House



  1. Gabriele said,

    Would it present a problem that I posted a 700 word snippet on my blog some weeks ago? The entire story will come out in the 5K range, and the snippet will probably be somewhat altered upon inclusion.

    In case this counts as pre-published, I’ll open one of my plotbunny cages and come up with somthing else. 🙂

  2. Steve said,

    Gabriele: I don’t think that’ll pose a problem. Submit away!

  3. Gascot said,

    These guidelines intrigued me, because I am very excited about this great idea that came to me for an advanced technological place, but they never developed guns. I think aiming to write an infinity sword tale with those ideas may help me grasp better the concept, which I will flesh out eventually (too busy wandering in other worlds of my imagination). So I will give this a try. No music or chatting until January! lol

    A question though. Can these ethereal agents, in wandering through the time space continuum, change shape? Maybe one of them in my world turned into a big fierce, angry creature, his consciousness sealed in the mind of a ferocious beast and therefore he can’t express verbally his desire… You know, something like that lol

  4. Steve said,

    Yes, the etheral agents can take on a variety of forms … go for it!

    — Steve

  5. Richard said,

    You say to avoid stories in which a character gets the sword and decides to give it up. Does this apply if the body of the tale is about the difficulty of actually getting rid of the item? (Imagining the character never really intends to keep it…)

  6. Steve said,

    Richard: We are already committed to a story that sounds very much like that … which is why we put that bit in our guidelines when we did the open call for submissions. You are welcome to try to sell us another if you feel strongly about your story.


  7. heather said,

    any especial difficulty with borrowing more than the swords from the prologue? or a bittersweet ending? i’m afraid i’m giving your gods’ children and using them as a second-level framework for telling a tragedy…star-crossed lovers who run afoul of the gods and their cursed swords.

  8. Steve said,

    Heather: That approach is fine with us. Good luck.

  9. Tim said,

    I’m checking to see if your dead line of the 15th is still standing. I have a great story going, I’m just concerned about the deadline.


  10. Steve said,

    Yes, Tim, the deadline still stands.

    — Steve

  11. Rod said,

    Follow-up to Tim’s question: are you going by a midnight deadline, and what time zone are you in?


  12. Steve said,

    Midnight, Eastern.

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