Clockwork Canada (Anthology)–Call for Submissions

For those of you writing short stories in the steampunk genre, “Clockwork Canada” Anthology is calling for submissions:

“Just a reminder that I’m open to submissions for my steampunk anthology, Clockwork Canada, until April 30th. I pay 5c/word and the book will be published by Exile Editions.”–Dominik Parisien

Clockwork Canada (Anthology)

Dominik Parisien will be editing Clockwork Canada for Exile Editions. The editor is interested in stories from 2,000 to 8,000 words. (Under 5,000 words is preferred.)

Stories must be set in Canada and written by Canadian authors. Canadians living abroad must indicate their status in their cover letter. Please indicate if you consider yourself any of the following in the cover letter: Aboriginal writer, culturally diverse writer, Francophone writer, new generation writer (definitions below). You are welcome to indicate your gender and if you self-identify as LGBTQIA (otherwise called QUILTBAG).

What is Steampunk?

Coined as a term by K.W. Jeter in 1987, Steampunk is variously described as retrofurism, technofantasy, and alternate history; at its core, Steampunk is a hybrid genre that makes varying uses of anachronistic technologies, social criticism, DIY and maker culture, and a sense of adventure and play. Proto-Steampunk works such as the novels and stories of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Edgar Allan Poe have influenced the genre, along with scientific romances and the dime novels of 19th. One of the earliest examples of modern Steampunk, which had a greater emphasis on the problematic nature of technology and imperialistic culture, is Michael Moorcock’s Nomads of the Time Streams trilogy. Frequently associated with Victorian culture, Steampunk has in the last decade reached beyond that historical period and been explored in other cultures and time periods.

There are more rigid interpretations of Steampunk available but I am not interested in them. Adaptation and reconfiguration are a major component of Steampunk, and definitions of a genre must be fluid if they are to remain relevant.

Some examples of Steampunk books include Michael Moorcock’s The Warlord of the Air, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling’s The Difference Engine, Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century books (such as Boneshaker), Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate Books (such as Soulless), Genevieve Valentine’s Mechanique, Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan series, and Karin Lowachee’s Gaslight Dogs.

Steampunk’s highly visual component has, unsurprisingly, translated well into movies. Some examples include The Prestige, Howl’s Moving Castle, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Wild Wild West, 9, and Sherlock Holmes.

For more basic information on Steampunk, see the wikiSteampunk Magazine, or Beyond Victoriana.

 What I’m Looking For

I am interested in all permutations of Steampunk, including Boilerpunk, Clockpunk, Gaslight Romance, Raygun Gothic, Stitchpunk, and other variations.

Stories must be set in Canada. There are no restrictions on the time period, though technology should be limited to pre-twentieth century. I want to see Canadian takes on classic Steampunk elements, but I would also like to see more than just steam technology. I highly recommend reading Amal El-Mohtar’s excellent article, Towards a Steampunk Without Steam, for inspiration in this respect:

Many great Steampunk stories interrogate and engage with historical and cultural elements in their setting. In particular, we often see the exploration of characters and stories that were ignored by dominant historical narratives. Although alternate history is a large component of Steampunk, be aware of Canadian history and utilize it or rework it in original ways. For example, how would the proliferation of more capable steamships and airships have altered immigration in Canada? How would the western expansion, the Trans-Canada Railway, and the Underground Railroad have been affected by alternate forms of transportation?

I am looking for stories that explore diverse settings with all manner of characters: Aboriginals, Francophones, senior citizens, LGBTQIAs, PoC, etc.

Submission Details

Length: 2,000 to 8,000 words. Under 5,000 words is preferred.

Payment: 5 cents/word for original fiction and a contributor’s copy.

Reprints: will be considered if the story has appeared in journals and magazines, but NOT in book form (collections, anthologies, etc.). Payment for reprints is 2 cents per word. Indicate where the story was first published and when in the cover letter. Reprint stories must also be set in Canada.

No poetry, plays, or novel excerpts. Only short fiction will be considered.

No simultaneous submissions. The only exception is for stories submitted for the $15,000 Vanderbilt / Exile Short Story Competition sponsored by Exile Quarterly / Exile Editions (see

No multiple submissions. If you received a rejection before the deadline you may submit again.

Submit stories in standard manuscript format as .doc, .docx., or RTF with indented paragraphs, italics in italics and bold in bold. Include full contact information and word count on the first page. Include a cover letter (name, story title and word count, contact information, previous publications) in the body of the email. Include a brief biography and indicate if you are an Aboriginal writer, culturally diverse writer, Francophone writer, or new generation writer. Submissions in English only, although stories translated into English are acceptable.

Send submission to dominik [dot] parisien [at] gmail [dot] com

Indicate in the subject line: Submission: Story Title, Last Name.

Reading period: December 1, 2014 to April 30, 2015. Do not submit stories before this date.

All acceptances or rejections will be sent before June 31. Please do not query before this date.

Rights purchased: First English-Language Rights & Non-exclusive Anthology Rights (Print and eBook).

The book will be published in Spring 2016.



Canadian: Canadian permanent residents, Canadian citizens, Canadians living abroad. Canadians living abroad must indicate their status in their cover letter.

Aboriginal: Means status, non-status, Métis and Inuit people.

Francophone: Someone whose mother tongue is French and still speaks it.Steampunk-vehicle

Culturally diverse: People of colour. The term is defined by the Government of Canada as “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.”

New generation: Between the ages of 18 and 30.

The Indie Book Tidal Wave …What Does it Mean for Bookstores, Publishers & Writers?

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Tidal pools, Botany Bay, BC (photo by Nina Munteanu)

We’re all agreed: the publishing industry is in upheaval. A kind of change that ripples in fractal waves throughout its entire expression and existence. A kind of change that creates a great paradigm shift. A kind of change that heralds in a new world.

Of course, much of this is due to a change in perspective: how we approach things and direct ourselves; the models and designs we use as our vehicles of expression; and how we apply them in relationship with our world.

So, what I’m saying is that the publishing industry is changing because we are changing, not the other way around. We are directing that change. We are directing that change every bit as much as we are directing changes in other important elements in our lives.

You don’t need to embrace new-age spirituality, mystery school teachings, non-locality particle physics, quantum entanglement or “intuitive science” to appreciate that our entire existence as a species, a living community and a planet is in upheaval.

You know what I mean. Wherever you look, it’s crazy (put your own examples here; there are too many). And in the midst of all this, miracles happen. What does this have to do with indie publishing? Well, nothing…well, everything. Let me tell you a little about me and my books…


Bouquinistes along River Seine, Paris (photo by Nina Munteanu)

I’ve had over a dozen books published with small to mid-sized presses as well as my own small press, recently started up. My first book made it to the shelves of big bookstores like Chapters/Indigo and Barnes & Noble. I’ve seen my books on the shelves of small indie bookstores in Toronto and Vancouver areas and in a Paris bookstore. I’ve also had the heartache of seeing too many of my books returned from these same large bookstores, no longer “stocking” a particular title (although they kept it in their online catalogue). Over the years my thinking as both writer and publisher has shifted: mostly to do with what bookstores are doing; who to publish with; and what formats to provide my readership (e.g., e-book, print, audiobook).

Along with that shift, my definition of “big thinking” also changed. The possibilities are endless in a world where an unknown individual can achieve worldwide fame through a single twitter feed.

In the first in a new series of articles devoted to “Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing” Dean Wesley Smith recently shared some interesting facts and opinions about how changes in book production along with reader technology has affected the industry.

He dispels the notion of many indies that their books can’t easily get into bookstores. Distribution channels for books, particularly indie books, are more than arcane. Smith advises indie publishers and writers that, “If you are already doing some things correctly, there’s a big chance your books are already in bookstores and you don’t even know it.” He’s right. I’ve published several of my books with indie publishers and both my publisher and I were unaware of some of the bookstores my books ended up in all over the world! I only found out because I frequently google my books for just such surprises. “And of course, in this new world,” Smith continues, “you don’t even know what it means ‘to have your books in a bookstore’.”

What does it mean to have your book in a bookstore? It’s in the store if it is sitting on one of the shelves, says Smith. It’s also “in the store” if it’s in the bookstore’s online database, which is where most indie books end up—virtually there, if not actually there. Considering how most people shop for books these days, and the inadequacy of shelf exposure (only so many books can appear on the shelf with their covers visible as opposed to their less compelling spine), this is not necessarily a lesser thing for the indie writer and publisher.

Botanical Beach beachcombing

Investigating the tidal pools of Botanical Beach, BC (photo by Nina Munteanu)

Ten years ago, says Smith, most bookstores used to order “to stock”. Today smart bookstores order “to replace”. This is now possible because of quicker distribution, and swift and high quality digital POD methods of book production (including neat quirky things like Espresso Book Machines or EBMs). Along with this new policy comes another potential change in the transaction model—that of returns. Smith reports that the returns system is “drifting away and is now under 18% standard and still dropping.” They were more like 50% not too long ago, which can be potentially disastrous to a small publishing company or self-published author with small revenue-base. Smith reports that many large publishers are even offering no-return choices, usually with higher discounts, which bookstores are accepting. This is great news again to small and new publishers, who cannot afford the uncertain and sudden cost of returns. Of course, returns will likely remain as a reassurance to booksellers when picking up unknown titles. In fact, this practice was adopted to permit booksellers to carry more new and untried authors without putting them at grave risk.

Smith confirms something I envisioned a while ago: that bookstores won’t disappear; instead they will morph into a more diverse set of small and specialized stores, stocking less numbers of any one book (one or two copies tops) for show with the ability to order new books and get them quickly. This is the new model Smith talks about: stock low and order to replace. So, “instead of ten of the last Patterson, there are two of the Patterson and eight other author’s books in the same shelf space,” says Smith.

So, for indie book publishers and writers, and bookstores who carry them, we are seeing the rise of a new paradigm; new trade arrangements that include consignment agreements, small but diverse inventory, and huge opportunity.

botanical beach sandstone cliffbeach

Sandstone beach in Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew, BC (photo by Nina Munteanu)


Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of award-nominated speculative novels, short stories and non-fiction. She is co-editor of Europa SF and currently teaches writing courses at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. Visit for the latest on her books.