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  • Writer's pictureGrace A. Johnson

introducing...of storm & sea

Back in February of 2022, I had the offhanded idea to host a romance-themed short story contest, based on the prompt “tell me you love me.” Fast forward a year later, and I released an anthology under the same name that featured the exquisite works of 12 young Christian writers.

I never would have expected our little collection to become what it has. We’ve sold over 100 copies thus far, in the US, UK, Canada, and Brazil, and our book finds new readers every month. New posts featuring Tell Me You Love Me pop up on Instagram all the time, and it warms my heart to see so many readers enjoying the sweet, God-honoring love stories these authors have crafted.

And now it’s time for a new collection.

This time, I want to celebrate adventure, honor, bravery, redemption, found family, perseverance, and the beauty of the ocean in our nautical adventure anthology! If you love writing about pirates, mermaids, sea monsters, naval officers, lightkeepers, fishermen, swashbuckling voyages, seafaring romance, maritime wars, or just the wonder of the sea, WE WANT YOUR STORY!!!

We’re also accepting ✨poetry and prose✨ inspired by the ocean and its vast depths, so bring on those moving pieces of verse and creative writing!

If Of Storm & Sea sounds like just the opportunity you’ve been waiting for, keep on reading for more information, our content and formatting guidelines, and the submission form!

If you’re not too keen on writing and submitting, we’d love if you shared this post with your writer friends or dropped the following emoji down in the comments to let me know you’re willing to help bring this anthology to life! (Comment below with this emoji: 🌊)

~ about the anthology ~

The theme is nautical adventure, that is, anything set on/by the sea and featuring an exciting premise. Pirates, navy, privateers, mermaids, fisherman, sirens, vikings, ocean myths, treasure-hunters, scuba divers, and more are encouraged to include in your story!

Our accepted genres are fantasy (basically of any kind), historical, contemporary, and seapunk (sea-based steampunk), and subgenres of romance, mystery, and suspense are also encouraged! We are not looking for sci-fi or space pirates. We want to capture the classic ocean vibe, you know? So anything that does not involve an earth-based ocean (real world or fantasy) in some form won’t be accepted. However, you’re welcome to twist our accepted genre however you wish! Include a dash of Jules Verne or retell a fairytale or Bible story, if you wish. Weave in mythological elements or explore an unknown aspect of history. Make your story unique! We’re looking for creativity here, people! 😉

Our required length is 10,000 to 15,000 words (long short story or short novella) for stories, and poems/prose up to 1,200 words! If you go over or under the word count by a few words (whether a few means 3 or 300), that’s perfectly all right! Just try and stay in the aforementioned range as much as you can!

Before submitting your story, please make sure you review the formatting guidelines below and follow them exactly. Failure to comply could decrease your chances of being selected, just sayin’.

As far as content goes, we’re keeping it simple: no profanity and no sex scenes. However, there are several nuances to consider and keep in mind concerning the content material we want presented in this collection.

Profanity: none whatsoever, including mild language such as damn, hell, ass and stronger language varying from sh*t and p*ss, to the f-word. Offensive terms and slurs such as b*tch are also not permitted. Bastard can be used in the correct historical context (i.e., “he was a bastard, born illegitimately”), as can damn, hell, and ass (i.e., “he was damned to prison,” “she’d rather go to heaven than hell,” “Jesus rode an ass through the streets”); but otherwise, just skip it. If you include language in your story, I’ll either ask you to remove it so we can consider your work, or I’ll outright disqualify it depending on how heavy the language is.

Euphemisms are allowed. From “heck” to “deuces” to “blast,” you’re welcome to use euphemisms conservatively.

Sexual content: romance is perfectly all right (dare I say appreciated?), as well as biblically addressing sexual immorality and portraying sexual issues, such as prostitution, rape, fornication, etc. However, gratuitous sexual content, sexual nudity regarding characters who are not married, explicit sex scenes, and glorifying sexual sin will result in your story being turned down, regardless of how well-written it is.

Violence and gore: as long as it’s not gratuitous or intended to horrify or desensitize readers, violence and gore are permitted. Naturally, since this anthology will feature pirates and sea monsters and battles, I’ll only draw the line at gore that makes me sick (hard to do, admittedly), and portraying violence and death without acknowledging the sanctity of life.

Faith: explicit Christian content is 100% encouraged. Otherwise, faith-based themes, allegories, and Christian worldview are what we’re looking for here. Your story ought to ultimately point to Christ, glorify God, and leave readers feeling encouraged in their faith or challenged to know God more.

~ how to submit ~

After you’ve written your story and polished it up (I recommend having a few friends or beta readers read over it before submitting!), format it according the guidelines linked above and ensure it fits our criteria.

Then, submit it as a Google Doc through the form below! You have until December 10th, 2023 to submit your story! The selected stories will be announced on January 1st, and from there the editing process will commence. The anthology will release (Lord willing) in Fall 2024.

~ faq ~

Q: Does there have to be pirates in my story?

A: Not at all! Anything nautical and adventurous is welcome, whether there are pirates or not!

Q: Can I submit more than one story?

A: You can only submit one story. However, you can submit a story and a poem or piece of prose!

Q: What genre can my story be?

A: Anything except sci-fi/space and erotica. We’re looking for nautical vibes, not space vibes!

Q: Does my story have to be Christian?

A: Yes and no. We want every story to be written from a biblical worldview and Christian themes and to glorify God. If that means allegorical or subtle themes, fine! As long as you know your story points to God and you can assure it wouldn’t contradict the Word of God!

Q: Is there an age range for the stories?

A: We’re looking at 15+, so you could say YA and adult stories, but the characters can be any age, as long as the stories are appropriate for readers as young as 13-15 and engaging for readers as old as 27 or 93!

Q: Do I have to be an experienced writer to submit?

A: Yes and no. We’re not judging based on the author’s credentials or experience; rather, we’re judging based off of their writing ability and the quality of their work. So if you write like you have experience, we’re good! But if you have experience and no ability, we’ve got a problem.

Q: Do I have to be a certain age to submit?

A: Not at all! We accept authors as young as 13 and as old as 104! However, keep in mind that this anthology is targeted at older teens and adults, so we’re not writing middle-grade or children’s stories, and we want our authors’ writing to reflect that. (Basically, if you write like I did at 11, your chances are slim. But if you bring something amazing to the table, it doesn’t matter how old you are!)

~ inspiration ~

If you need story ideas or inspiration, or just want to visualize the vibe we have in mind for this collection, check out the official Pinterest board below!

I also have several personal Pinterest boards with all the pirate vibes that you can explore!

~ got questions? ~

Email me at OR comment below if you have any questions or want more information! Don't forget to comment 🌊 below if you'd like to lend a hand rather than write a story! 😊

Let me know down you love pirate stories or nautical adventures?? What do you think our next anthology should be about???

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Krisalyn Higerd
Dec 21, 2023

I’m so excited! If I’m chosen this will be the first anthology I’m a part of that I didn’t have a hand in publishing.

Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
Dec 22, 2023
Replying to

Aw, that's awesome!!


Anna Lane
Nov 26, 2023

Are we able to add a dedication in our stories, or are they not allowed?

Anna Lane
Nov 27, 2023
Replying to

Okay, thank you!


Krisalyn Higerd
Nov 20, 2023

I submitted a poem about a month or more ago, when will I know if I’ve been accepted?

Krisalyn Higerd
Nov 22, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much!


Blessing Connor
Oct 11, 2023

I am writing something for this! Thanks Grace for the opprotunity

Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
Oct 12, 2023
Replying to

Yay! It's my pleasure!


Krisalyn Higerd
Oct 06, 2023

Is coauthoring allowed?

Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
Oct 06, 2023
Replying to

You're welcome to coauthor with one additional author!


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