Muddy Backroads: Stories from off the beaten path

Muddy Backroads: Stories from off the beaten path. This is a call for submissions flyer in mostly green tones overlaid over a muddy road.

For this anthology, the editors are looking for stories that move away from the norms of daily life to explore the side roads that take us away from the known. What do your characters do when they step away from what’s seen as normal or the usual? What happens when they find themselves in unexpected situations or locations? What if nothing about their lives is what most consider typical? When a character takes a “muddy backroad,” he, they or she moves away from society and out into a place where anything can happen. We want to see where those backroads and back alleys take us. No mud actually required.

The editors this year are Luanne Smith, Jodi Angel and Bonnie Jo Campbell.

The Judge will be Alan Heathcock, author of Volt: Stories.

Important points to consider:

  • We are interested in believable dialogue. We love dialect and regionalisms, but there is an art to writing them well, and we will judge poorly written dialect and slang harshly.
  • We’re looking for a sense of time and place, so be careful of anachronisms.
  • While we want to see character development, we still want a story. Give us a beginning, a middle, and especially, an end.
  • Grammar and mechanics count. Please proofread.

Submission Deadline: August 1, 2021

Submission Guidelines:

  • Submissions are open March 4 – August 1, 2021.
  • A reading fee of $10 must be paid at the time of submission.
  • All submissions must be in English.
  • We accept previously published fiction and nonfiction as long as the author discloses the publication history of the work in the cover letter accompanying the submission.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify Madville immediately if the story is accepted elsewhere and you wish to withdraw it from consideration. There will be no refunds of the reading fees.
  • Writers may submit more than one story, but each must be submitted separately.
  • We hope to announce the stories we’ve selected by December 1, and publish the anthology by April, 2022.


  • Short stories, whether fiction or nonfiction, should have a total word count of no more than 5,000 words.
  • Please include page numbers.
  • Please double-space and use a 12pt. font.
  • Do not include an acknowledgments page.
  • Submissions will be judged blind. Please remove any identifying information from the submission. 
  • Submit as a .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .txt file format.
  • No revisions will be accepted once the submission is uploaded.

All authors chosen for the anthology will receive two free copies of the book.

There is a $10 reading fee.

Submission Deadline: August 1, 2021.


MORE INFO: Email questions/comments to, but please do not send your submissions to this email address. We only accept submissions through Submittable.