Smothered, Scattered, and Covered
Southern Nightmares Volume Two: Smothered, Scattered, & Covered will be the second anthology organized as a group effort from members of the Atlanta Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.
The title of this anthology is Smothered, Scattered, & Covered. We are going to take these three ingredients and blend them into a satisfying dish. We’re going to consider the interesting characters that inhabit 24-hour diners at three in the morning, the Southern traditions around hospitality and food, while letting us engage in a little more quick and messy spatter that Georgia Gothic did not quite have room for.
Late night at the diner is a time full of a cavalcade of characters. Those up too early on their way to toil to those up too late trying to erase that toil. A pack of youths crackling energy seeking coffee and sustenance after the shadowcast has finished. A loner taking advantage of the endless coffee to study for tomorrow’s exam. Those who are a barely contained catastrophe. Those who get to try to prevent the chaos, even if only in an attempt to avoid tedious cleanup and paperwork. There’s a cheerful greeting when each of these characters come through the door and the rituals of hospitality are observed.
Consider this iconic visit to the Waffle House as inspiration for why we love 24-hour diners:
There’s a lot of ways to interpret Southern hospitality. One is that it “first existed as a narrowly defined body of social practices among the antebellum planters classes.” Consider this: the labor and hardships of the enslaved are what allowed southern planters to entertain their guests so lavishly and seemingly so effortlessly.
Over time however, it was widely adopted as a societal norm. This was reinforced through religious observances in the South preaching the hospitality of the home. This makes hospitality an exercise of reverence. The societal norm of hospitality incorporates the church-inspired virtues of politeness, kindness, helpfulness, charm, and charity. Even if rudeness is deserved, the ritual of these virtues must be presented, even if it is only to provide deniability for the rudeness delivered. Underpinning all of these virtues as a delivery mechanism is good home cooking.
The South is home to America’s primary contribution to world cuisines with Cajun and Creole cooking. Low Country cooking takes many of the same ingredients and interprets them very differently. Barbecue always involves smoke and never includes hot dogs. Southern Cooking and Soul Food are inextricably intertwined. Every major crisis of the last forty or more years has brought waves of immigrants entering through the gateway of Atlanta. When they decide to rebuild their life here, they often turn to restaurant work. Sharing food is an invitation into the culture and family of the chef.
Cooking is messy. So is change, and mixing with different communities. And so is family. So invite us into your home and share your messiness with us.
Kelley M. Frank was the interior artist for Georgia Gothic, and she’s excited to return to provide cover art for Smothered, Scattered, & Covered. Alex Hofelich, one of the co-editors for Volume One, is joined by another member of the Atlanta Chapter of HWA, Venessa Giunta. To complete the team, we are excited to be joined by IGNYTE Award winning editor of NightLight, Tonia Ransom.
Since these diners specializing in hashbrowns and waffles are all over the South, and we’ve figured out a revenue paradigm, we’d like to open this anthology to a little wider submission pool while reserving a certain number of slots for Atlanta HWA Chapter members. We want to hear all sorts of Southern Nightmares while also dancing with those that brung us.
Our intent is for the anthology to showcase the depth and breadth of the theme through a variety of styles available to tell stories about the South. Sexual themes and stories with strong sexual content will be considered, but don’t focus on gratuitous prurience and be aware that this is not a market for erotica. We advise against killing animals in the stories; nothing gets more hate mail than killing pets.
We are aiming for an aggregate length of the stories and poems to be between 75,000 and 90,000 words. For reference, 15 stories at 4,000 words each is 60,000 words total; 20 stories at 4,000 words each is 80,000 words. We will consider any story up to 7,500 words in length, with a preferred word count in the vicinity of 4,500 words.
We will consider a limited number of reprints, if you have a story that perfectly matches the theme. At least 60% of the fiction material (based on the number of stories, not wordage) contained in the anthology will be original to the anthology.
This is approximately 15 to 20 slots for short fiction (no more than five reprints) and maybe 10 slots for poems. While not required, we would especially like to hear from fellow HWA members. Submissions will open in February 2022. Each author may submit one original, one reprint, and up to three poems.
One of the tightest knots we needed to unsnarl for this project was revenue. For Georgia Gothic, we wanted to showcase the work of a number of Atlanta HWA chapter members and have something available to sell at any event that we attended as a group. We did not relish the option of pitching this book to agents or publishers during a time of uncertainty, nor did we want to consider an angel investor. If one person as an individual registers the book in their name, they would be responsible for taking in the revenue and then splitting it up among the contributors while also covering any taxes on the income.
We found PubShare, which, for a nominal cut of the proceeds, will handle the intake and sharing of revenue among all the participants. Several members have had positive experiences with the service in the past, so we decided to give it a shot. We did our best to develop an equitable percentage breakdown and this model has a lot of promise to handle similar future projects. This might allow for a self-publishing approach to producing anthologies that others may be able to consider as a viable alternative to producing token-payment anthologies.
Poems and reprints will get no less than one percent, and original stories, art, and editing will get larger percentages.
*Please note that any direct reference to Waffle House is done out of love and appreciation for this 24-hour diner that is an essential part of the community. Alex’s favorite meal is the All Star Breakfast (pictured above) and his wife Melissa’s is a double order of hash browns all the way with two eggs over medium, always paid with a tip exceeding 20 percent for the hard work, efficient service, and delicious meal. No endorsement from Waffle House should be inferred or implied.