Submissions open January 6, 2022

We will be accepting submissions in a limited number of categories starting Thursday, January 6, 2022. Believe it or not, we are still working through some of the submissions from last year, in which we received more submissions than all of the last five years combined. The pandemic seems to have been an invitation to many to write down thoughts, to finally start that novel, to craft a poetry collection. This is all wonderful, and we encourage creative writing in all its forms. Because of this, we will be setting submissions caps and deadlines for each category. As the year progresses and we clear through submissions, we will be opening up additional categories, so please check back with us from time to time.

2022-2023 Short Story Anthology

Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash

The theme for our Fourth Annual Short Story Anthology is The Natural World. Stories should take place predominantly outdoors or in some natural context, with nature a defining aspect of the work. Man-made environments and situations should take a backseat in the characteristics of landscape, plot, and other elements of your submission. Merriam-Webster defines “the natural world” as “all of the animals, plants, and other things existing in nature and not made or caused by people.” We would love to see stories that explore how interactions with nature cause tension, excitement, wonder, and/or increase the knowledge of the reader and characters in the story. Reconnecting with the natural world is vital in these times of pandemic, resulting in working from home, avoiding crowds, being cooped up in enclosed spaces, away from each other. How can we maintain our humanity without nature? How often should we try to be outside, in nature? What can happen because of it? Without it?

Visit our Bookstore

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Our catalog has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two years! If you haven’t checked it out recently, please hop on over and pay us a visit.

And remember, it’s never too late to start writing. Perhaps one day, you will see your own words on our pages!

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Everyday Assays

An assay is an investigative (analytic) procedure in laboratory medicine, mining, pharmacology, environmental biology and molecular biology for qualitatively assessing or quantitatively measuring the presence, amount, or functional activity of a target entity. The analyte can be a drug, biochemical substance, chemical element or compound, or cell in an organism or organic sample. (Wikipedia)

Photo by Propertius Press

Our fourth Short Story Anthology will dive into the everyday, but not in the usual manner. Taking a hard look at the quality and quantity of the moments of our lives, the 2022 Short Story Anthology will explore the mundane as a part of the sublime whole of our lives, sifting, mining, and measuring those brief seconds and weighing them in counterpoint to the value and meaning of life itself.

Are you a writer who is up to this challenge? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and join us as we dream of the possibilities in the whole, disarming, and fabulous array of precious and wonder-filled, everyday moments of our lives.

Arthenia Bates Millican, American Author

imageThe writing of Arthenia Bates Millican opens a window to a world that is hidden from many, unless you were alive in the southern United States in the mid-twentieth century, and even then, you may not have experienced it. The lives of “Black folk” were the subjects of her creative, yet authentic pen, as she faithfully transcribed into fiction the unique stories that she observed and heard among some of her friends, relatives, and neighbors. Raised in a family that valued education and standing in the community, as she grew into adulthood, Dr. Millican found that listening to, and learning about, the values, work, and passions of the laboring classes revealed a stronger fabric of community and spirit than perhaps some had realized. For many first-time readers of her work, the voices of the people may initially appear quaint, perhaps even unintelligible, but the earnestness and fragility of their everyday circumstance is unmistakable. You are drawn in, you hear the click of knives chopping vegetables, you smell wood smoke, feel the sweat of a dusty walk to town in the heat of a summer day, hear the swish-swish softness of taffeta as your neighbor settles into the adjacent pew at church. And the most troubling of circumstances can be ringed with a wry observation amid laughter in spite of heartbreak.

These are happenings that all but the most jaded can feel, and to which most can relate at least on some level. The value that Dr. Millican placed on the black experience is one of authentic realism, and few capture it with the deft selection of words that she has. She has been compared, rightly, to Zora Neale Hurston, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and Thomas Hardy, in the way each has given a microphone to voices of the everyday experience of folk who may be forgotten in the faster, more urban places of civilization. Dr. Millican knew and recognized that these experiences are a vital part of our human language and understanding, and to ignore them would be a grave injustice – not only to them, but to us. Her stories cut right to the heart of what it is to be a part of a family, a neighborhood, a village. Her characters care about one another even when they are at odds; they pierce directly to the point without artifice or “beating around the bush.” Life is short and precious; people can be mean or sordid, but that doesn’t make them worthless; beliefs can be hard to bear but sometimes they are the “warp and woof” of a community, the very thing that brings people together, in spirit and reality.

The latest collection of stories published by Propertius Press is The Bottoms and Hills: Virginia Tales, by Arthenia Bates Millican, to be released on the occasion of the author’s 99th birthday, June 1, 2019. We are proud to be a part of this project, in conjunction with the Arthenia J. Bates Millican Literary Foundation. Pre-order your copy today at http://bit.ly/virginiatales and check the Facebook page frequently for updates at https://www.facebook.com/thevirginiatales/.

 

Editing the Manuscript

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Image from Shutterstock

You’ve written your story, and now comes the time to dig in, to sift through the words, to pare back and refine and polish. Or do you? Would you send a raw manuscript out to potential publishers?

I hope the answer is a resounding “no.” Although an exceptional plot and engaging, well-developed characters can sometimes redeem a poorly penned story, and likewise, a unique take on an unexplored, fascinating and relevant subject can make a nonfiction work ring with meaning that survives ratty presentation, it’s never a good idea to skip using the grammar reference, dictionary, and thesaurus.

You want your work to shine above the others, and unfortunately many publishers simply won’t bother with a poorly-worded submission. In order to give your work the attention it deserves on the publisher’s side of the desk, give it the attention it deserves prior to sending it out.

If grammar and spelling are challenging for you, engage a friend to help, or the services of a professional editor. Look for recommendations, or read through some examples before hiring someone.  Honestly, some manuscripts that were stated to be professionally edited appeared to us to be anything but. Be careful about sending your work to the lowest-priced or most expedient service available, such as those offered through popular self-publishing packages. Some of the most poorly-written submissions we’ve received were unfortunately the results of poor writers paying for these kinds of services.

As in all things, you do get what you pay for. However, as it is with some of the best things in life, excellent help is available for free!

Consult with some of the resources available at local community colleges, libraries, and writer’s groups. Honest and accurate feedback is essential to making your best work. Try not to argue over suggestions about word choice and clarity. The end result is up to you, but helpful advice can ensure your work is not only read, but recommended. And that will increase the popularity and enthusiasm surrounding your book!

Happy writing, and editing!

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