The Alchemy Press Book of Astrologica: Stories of the Zodiac edited by Allen Ashley

Guidelines by the editor

Alchemy Press is pleased to announce The Alchemy Press Book of Astrologica: Stories of the Zodiac for print publication and e-book versions in 2013. This themed anthology will be edited by award-winning editor Allen Ashley.

Allen says: 'I am looking for stories about the signs of the Zodiac, the characteristics associated with those signs and/ or people born under them. I will also consider stories involving the mythical characters and creatures of the astrological signs, perhaps their history and origin, perhaps their present and future state. Note: I am not saying that one has to believe in the paraphernalia associated with modern astrology; but authors should seek to use some of this as inspiration and underpinning of their narratives.

I want stories based on the conventional Western Zodiac, the twelve Star Signs, not the Chinese calendar, the Vietnamese calendar, Aztec beliefs, etc. Stories should preferably be specific to a star sign, rather than pan-astrological. If you wish to try the latter, please query first with a broad outline. I will most likely be seeking at least one story per star sign, possibly more.

Stories will be expected to contain at least some element of fantasy in its broadest sense. Stories may be fantasy, horror, science fiction, slipstream, fabulist or realist but demonstrating imaginative use of and/ or acquaintance with fantasy tropes. Use of mythical or historical detail is permissible but authors must not use copyrighted material from any artistic medium. I am not looking for "Doctor Who is a Leo".

My preference is for stories that veer towards an intelligent and considered exploration of the theme. All the regular expectations of good plotting, solid characterisation, well-developed settings and holding the reader’s interest apply - as usual. Do not be afraid of adding a touch of wit and /or playful experimentation; make your story more ad astra than a horror scope.

My broad understanding of the conventional Western Zodiac is: Aries the Ram; Taurus the Bull; Gemini the Twins; Cancer the Crab; Leo the Lion; Libra the Scales; Virgo the Maiden; Scorpio the Scorpion; Sagittarius the Archer; Capricorn the Goat; Aquarius the Water-Bearer; Pisces the Fishes. There are slight variants accepted and acceptable on these. I will expect your story to reflect this in a pertinent way. Let it inspire you, not stifle you.

I am looking for properly developed stories, not poems, essays, daydreams or wishes. They should be written in English and preferably be in the range 3000 to 8000 words long. Query first if your story is outside these parameters. Stories must be previously unpublished, original to the author, not under consideration elsewhere and not a translation of someone else's work.

This is a level playing field. Stories will be judged on their own merits. The age, gender or nationality of the author will not be relevant.

Submissions should clearly indicate which zodiac sign(s) your story concerns: e.g. "Taurus: The Lost Lair of the Minotaur"; "Gemini: Double Trouble in the Twin Towns". Don't make me guess, I'll just get annoyed.

Manuscripts should be typed/ word processed in a conventional font (e.g. Arial, Times New Roman, Courier New) at a legible pitch (e.g. 12 or 14). They should be double-spaced. (See here.)Pages should be numbered. An approximate word length should be stated on the first page or cover sheet. Stories should be formatted in either Rich Text Format or a reasonably old version of Microsoft Word and sent as an attachment to the editorial address:

Submission period runs from 1 January 2013 to 31 March 2013. Do not submit outside these times; your story will be ignored if you do so. Response time: within two months after the end of the submission process. Editor's decision on story selection is final. You are welcome to contact the editor with queries, questions, suggestions, etc.

This is an exciting and innovative idea for an anthology. Your horoscope says you will meet a tall, thin computer and enjoy the gift of inspired creativity. Riches will not ensue but the rewards are still manifold.

Successful contributors will receive a nominal fee of £10, royalties plus a copy of the book on publication. We are purchasing First World Rights, including book and electronic rights, with a six month moratorium subsequent to publication.

The editor will read every eligible submission and respond personally. There is no committee or filtering process, it's just me.'

© Allen Ashley, 2012.  


  1. Do you accept YA for any of your anthologies?

  2. This is an anthology for mature readers and as such YA fiction may not be appropriate.

  3. Can I write a story themed around Ophiuchus, which is a constellation in the ecliptic and therefore in the zodiac, but which tends to get forgotten about?

  4. Trying to share with Facebook and Twitter but neither is working, whether I'm signed into my Blogger/Google account or not. Will cut-and-paste your URL.

  5. Hi Pete,
    Just sent you a story, hope you've got it and it's suitable.
    Bob :)

  6. Heard a rumour you've extended the deadline for this, is that true? Am still working on something.