Once Upon Anthologies

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

Title: Once Upon a Hallowed Eve: An Anthology of Romantic Ghost Stories

Headlining Author: Kris Waldherr, author of The Lost History of Dreams

Word count: 7K-15K - please adhere to these limits. We allow a wide range.

Submission Window: June 1, 2019 - February 1, 2020 (Midnight, CST)

Payment: $75 paid upon publication + 2 paperback copies + 25 electronic copies for distribution to readers/giveaways

Language: English (We accept stories from all over the world. Translations are welcome and encouraged.)

Anthology Release Date: 10.27.2020

Prompt and Theme: The end of October marks the final shift into darkness, also known as the liminal time of Samhain. During this period of time, the veil between our physical world and the spiritual world comes down, allowing more communication with the citizens of the Otherworld than at any other time of the year.        

Originally, Samhain marked the beginning of Winter in Gaelic Ireland. It was believed that the Lord of the Underworld walked the earth during Samhain, along with all his cohorts: ghosts, spirits, fairies, and many other creatures. How can you use this pagan holiday in your character's lives? How can you bring a phantom, ghost, spirit, or some other spiritual entity into your story? Will your tale be about a lover come back from the dead? Will your characters battle wraiths in the night? Will they face a seance in space? During WWII? In the jungles of Africa? There's a wide berth here. Be creative. Have fun and think big. Again, setting and tone are highly important. Samhain or one of its variants must be involved such as Halloween, All Hallow's Eve, The Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos), as well as a solid emotional romance thread. For more information on Samhain and its respective variations, check out this article.

Things to note: 

  • We can only receive 50 submissions per month through Submittable. If the Submit button doesn't work or our Submittable page says that there are no open calls, then we have met our monthly limit. You can submit again on the 1st of the following month. 
  • We love diversity in all its forms.  
  • We love strong women with agency. 
  • Feminist fiction rocks.
  • We will NOT publish stories that lack consent. 
  • Things that make us cringe: Sex with entities, demonic children, gore. 
  • We enjoy historical, contemporary, thrillers, YA, and even futuristic tales. Stories do not have to be set in a completely fantastical world. We love seeing the fantastical theme blended with the real world. Think Practical Magic, A Discovery of Witches, and Witchmark.
  • We appreciate lyrical writing and elevated prose, along with high-concept premises.
  • We definitely want a good romance, which means a Happily Ever After or a Happy for Now ending. 
  • We are NOT looking for erotica or horror.
  • Editors may request revisions.
  • Response: We will make every attempt to have final decisions made by March 15, 2020
  • Why does OUA longlist, and will you longlist for this anthology? Isn't that for awards? We have a small group of slush readers and a large number of submissions with limited slots for publication. Whether or not we longlist depends strictly on the quantity of quality stories received. In 2019, several stories made it to our final pass, so a longlist was used to narrow the field. This gives us time to re-read submissions and better curate our shortlist. If your story makes the longlist but not the shortlist, you will receive personal feedback from our editors.
  • If you're wondering what kinds of stories we're looking for, take a look at 2018's anthology, Once Upon the Longest Night, which released on the winter solstice, 12.21.18, or 2019's release, Once Upon an Enchanted Forest

How we feel about romance:

  • Love affects us all. It is a universal emotion. Diversity is more than welcome.
  • Consent is requiredSex without consent is rape. We will not publish rape or rape fantasies. 
  • Romance does not always equal sex. We don't mind sex scenes--we love them--as long as emotion and connection reign and it fits the story.
  • A love story should be central to the plot but doesn't have to be the main plot. We appreciate tales that have more than one plot thread. 
  • The ending doesn't have to be tied into a perfect bow but should be emotionally satisfying.
  • Novels with varying levels of romance that we love: Uprooted by Naomi Novik, The Lost Queen by Signe Pike, Soulless by Gail Carriger, The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.


  • The work submitted must not have appeared in print or online anywhere before. We do not accept reprints or multiple submissions.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please notify us in a timely manner if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • We do not accept fanfic. 
  • Follow industry standard format for your submission, minus identifying information on the document itself. We do blind reads, but need a complete cover letter.
  • Cover letter should include your name, publishing name if different, address, email, word count, story title, and a short bio.
  • We prefer Times New Roman, 12-pt font, double spaced. Use italics for emphasis, smart/curly quotes, and em dashes, not double hyphens. *** for scene breaks.
  • Your story should be in DOC or DOCX format. 

**Remove any identifying information from your document/header, please. 

**Your work will be instantly rejected if it does not meet our word-count length or does not contain a thread of romance.

***We realize this is a long submission window, thus we will make every attempt to respond to submissions promptly. You can, however, withdraw your submission at any time.

If you have any questions, contact us at onceuponanthologies@gmail.com.

Thanks and Good Luck!

Once Upon Anthologies Admin  

Once Upon Anthologies