Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Update: Down to the Final Three


The 42 Stories Anthology needs three Craft of Writing entries to reach the 1,764 mark. These entrants will receive $42 (or they can have it donated to a charity pot for United Through Reading), answer an interview question in 42 words 
Details here 

Chapters that need judges:




While we try to find the final three, I'd like to mention something about spam folders. 

It's good to check them twice a month (minimum). Before being so busy, I used to submit stories, too, and found not one, or two, but several acceptance emails in my spam folder during that time. Now Google has added new folders, which are the Social and Promotions folders. They're useful, but you might miss an important email because none of these messages reach you unless you go to the folder. 

Story of Excellence Winners so far:

Alternate Reality: Steven M. Gerson

Apocalyptic: Kate Gaston

Clown: John Porcino 

Craft of Writing: TBA

Crime: Tom Barker

Culture: K. A. Kern

Dystopia/Utopia: Râna Campbell

Escape: Matt Patrick

Fairy Tale: Lorisha Adams

Fantasy: Billy J. Forshaw

Fight: Daniel Getzoff

Hitchhiker's Guide to History: Adah Marie Guy

Horror: Michael Fagan

Humor: Evie Groch

Impairment: David Kuhnlein

Indigenous: Sophia Moore

Macabre & Morbid: Kim Hart

Monster: Suann Amero

Mystery: Antonella Piemontese

Mythopoeia: Jen Mierisch

Noir: Asta aka Genevieve Payne

oDDbALL: Miriam Thor

Outer Space: Elaina Hampson

Paranormal: Chris Bullard

Parents: Gina Burgess

Poetic Prose: David K. Slay

Romance: Michael Gigandet

Satire: Elizabeth Andrews

Science Fiction: Nick DiChario

Siblings: Trey Stone

Sports: Seeking judge

Steampunk: Christopher Airiau

Sword & Sorcery: Christian Meeks

Thriller/Suspense: Rob Nisbet

Tragedy: Debbie Wingate

Trapped: Voting in progress

Travel: Barbara Meyrowitz

Vampire: Voting in progress

War: Seeking judge

Werewolf: Beth Doherty

Western: Joe Kilgore

Zombie: Seeking judge

Some writers above have yet to send confirmation emails. Most of them have replied, however. 

There will be a special blog spot for each chapter where the winners answer interview questions. If you have time, look up the winners, as they're very talented authors. Any winners mentioned above, contact the anthology team (here: if you didn't receive an email announcement.

There's also Runner-Up Award Winners. Here is who's been contacted so far. If you see your name below and have not replied to an email, please contact the anthology team.

Runner Up Award Winners:

Alternate Reality: Roger Hammons

Apocalyptic: Dr. Thomas Reed Willemain

Clown: Sharon Kretschmer

Craft of Writing: TBA

Crime: Anthony Knott

Culture: William McCann

Dystopia/Utopia: Alexis Gkantiragas

Escape: Gania Barlow

Fairy Tale: Sandra Simmer

Fantasy: Art Lasky

Fight: Ava Jean Wetzel

HGH: Glenna Anne Turnbull

Horror: Andy Betz

Humor: Elizabeth Barton

Impairment: Stephen Ground

Indigenous: Matias F. Travieso-Diaz

Macabre & Morbid: Christy Lynch

Monster: Bunny Haschen

Mystery: Tejaswinee Roychowdhury

Mythopoeia: Becky Benishek

Noir: Amy Cotler

oDDbALL: Faustine Guerrero

Outer Space: Ethan Shaskan

Paranormal: John H. Dromey

Parents: Travis Garner

Poetic Prose: D. I. Jolly

Romance: Lindy Greaves

Satire: Louise Mae Moises

Science Fiction: Harley McEvoy

Siblings: Nikki J. Davison

Sports: Seeking judge

Steampunk: Madison Marshall

Sword & Sorcery: Ej Sidle

Thriller/Suspense: Suzanne Baginskie

Tragedy: Hibah Shabkhez

Trapped: Voting in progress

Travel: Adelaide B. Shaw

Vampire: Voting in progress

War: Seeking judge

Werewolf: James Lang

Western: Donald Winzer

Zombie: Seeking judge

Note: Some judges select "Honorable Mention" stories. They are optional awards given at the judge's discretion, and not every chapter has one. Honorable mention award-winners will be named in future blogs.

Remember to remember . . .
​   Twitter

Friday, April 15, 2022

Pen Names, Pseudonyms, Nom de Plumes

Hi everyone,

We're reading submissions for the 42 Stories Anthology this month and will hopefully reach our goal by May or December this year. No guarantee.

Let's chat about names.


The whole pen name schtick came from the theme of the book having 1,764 names in it, sure. However, that's only half of the story.

I've had many pen names. 

My dad named me after his favorite uncle. Bertram was a lawyer by day and trumpet player by night. He had an accident, which led to him being bedridden.

Dad always looked to him for guidance when he was young. Then, one day, probably a rainy one, Bertram died tragically.

Mom got to name my sister and brother. Then, when I was born, Dad named me after the lawyer/trumpet player. 

The only problem with the name was that he shortened it to Bert, and I was a child in the '80s being called "Bert."

So, naturally, the first question kids asked, "Where's Erine?"

Just imagine, being circled by 30+ kids laughing "Where's Erine?" Some of them threw things at me. Saying "bullied" would be a light way to put it. Teachers laughed with the kids. One day, I punched a few of them and the teacher and the laughter turned to screams of horror.

I was probably one of the first 5-year-olds kicked out of that kindergarten for punching a teacher. (Now, I'm a teacher 😅).

There were other problems with being called "Bert."

In short, I hated the name.

My parents were divorced, and I went to live with Mom at 8. 

She asked if I wanted to change my name to "Allan." 

"My middle name?" 

It so happened that a story I liked called The Raven was by a writer who had the middle name, Allan, too. Plus, we shared the same birthday and eyebags problem. So, I was down for the shift. 



As it turns out, Bertram means Bright, Famous, Raven.


Something changed when I was 23. I had started getting published and needed a writer's name. I went with "B. A. Mullin," thinking it was kind of funny sounding: "Be a Mullin." 

At the same time, I blogged on The blog, Ten Things That You Should Know, had 133 posts and over 50k readers. Sometimes the blog hit the #1 spot on the site. My username: "Devilsthrill." 

The username actually goes back to when I was 19. There's a song that inspired me to write my series, Demon Blade Bearer, called Devil's Trill. I was listening to Vanessa Mae's version at the time and wrote and wrote and wrote. 

Suddenly, I had ten books written within three to fives years. As an ode to the song, I used "Devilsthrill" as an online name. It was also a typo that stuck. I wanted the name to be DevilsTrill. 


At 31 my dad got sick, and we were friends. I decided to use the name "Bertram" with the stipulation that no one called me "Bert" unless they wanted to get punched in the face. 

That year, I moved to Japan with a dream: Find a manga artist and make Demon Blade Bearer a manga and maybe an anime in Japan and America. I'd introduce myself as "Bertram."



At my first job, without asking, the trainer introduced me as "Bert." He didn't get punched, but it was one example of the disrespect I went through until quitting. 

Got a job as a foreign teacher at public schools and while searching for an artist, continued teaching. 

Because students had issues saying "Bertram," I just went with my initials: "BAM." 

For the past seven years, everyone has either called me Bertram, or BAM.

I don't dislike being called "Allan," but it feels like a childhood name that I no longer use. 

Subsequently, I applied to a private school last month. The director kept calling me "Bert" even after I said my name was Bertram or BAM. You should never nickname someone unless they're okay with it. That's called respect. I didn't take that job and am still teaching at public schools instead. 

If you thought this covered all of my pen names, you were wrong. I've got a Hebrew name, "Abraham." There's also Eval Jaeger, Scott Allan Terrier, and Shelly Macaroy. Those are characters from stories of mine, and I've used their names as pen names. Shelly has about 4 horror publications. The other two have one each.

In case you're wondering, I found an illustrator two years ago. She's working on Demon Blade Bearer. Here's her Instagram: Kou Hirose (@kou_hk_yk) • Instagram photos and videos
Here's a sketch she drew of me:

Thank you for reading until the end. Looking forward to seeing the submissions everyone sent. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

42 Stories Anthology: Down to the final 99

One major difference between Project 42 Stories Anthology and other anthologies is that no other ones have so many stories in one book. 

The goal started with a simple aim: 1,764 stories and an equal number of authors in one book of 42-word stories within 42 chapters. By simple, I meant ambitious. 
("Clark on the hill," Made by Tando Saka, 1920-1998, built in 1976).

After realizing that it would take too long to get so many unique writers in one book, I let current authors send up to 4 stories each with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, stories being under unique nom de plumes, and kept posting a call in submissions from July 2018 to now. 

Currently, we only need about 99 stories out of 1,764. It really hasn't been that long of a wait either. 

Categories still opened:

Hitchhiker's Guide to History: Both historical nonfiction or fiction are fine.



Sword & Sorcery
And the Craft of Writing. Click the link for details.
Hope you send something soon.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

42 Stories Anthology Book Cover front/back Needed

 A book cover (front/back) is needed for the 42 Stories Anthology

Estimated dimensions:
Mass market paperback: 4.25 x 6.87. Trade Paperbacks: 5.5 x 8.5 to 6 x 9. Hardcover books: 6 x 9 to 8.5 x 11

Send your submission to anthology ( with the subject "42Art Submission_Name."

The artist can be creative with how the name of the chapter appears on the piece.

The book cover (front/back) can be in color.
Here is an example of what we're looking for:

Artists are paid $42

Friday, September 10, 2021

Hyphens, Em-dashes, and Ellipses


(From ESL Grammar: Link)

Some writers have emailed asking if we had a rule at 42 Stories Anthology that hyphens counted as words. 

This is not a case of "rules." Hyphens change your word count. 

You can send a story that you counted by hand that's 42 words with a 42-character title and 42 word 3rd-person bio, but you didn't use as we recommend and your numbers come out off. 

Explanation below.

Simple solution: Use as recommended and don't count by hand. 

Maybe you're wondering "Why?"

No one wants to count 42 words out of thousands of stories by hand, so we use 

For the title, counts spaces between, after, and before as characters. Please keep that in mind with titles.

Why are some hand-counted word counts and the generators sometimes counting differently? 

Look at this sentence written three ways:

"Hello, he said"
"Hello - he said"
"Hello-he said"

The sentence without hyphens should be three words. Microsoft Word Docs shows three words at the bottom to your left.

When you connect two words, they become one word as shown in the Microsoft Word Doc counter.

Below is a hyphen used to be an em-dash. You should not use a hyphen like an em-dash. Some counters read your hyphen like an extra word as shown in the Microsoft Word Doc recognizes the dash is not a word, so if you used Microsoft Word instead, our counts will not match. is more accurate, so we use this site instead of Microsoft Word

Below is a separated em-dash for a pause, which is what writers should use for pauses. Notice the counter on Microsoft Word recognizes that the em-dash is not a word. Microsoft Word counts the hyphen as a word and not an em-dash, because the hyphen is placed in the sentence incorrectly and the software doesn't recognize it.

Em-dash example

If you are using hyphens like em-dashes, I recommend that you stop doing it in all of your writing. Hyphens are generally used to connect two words into one and similar situations. Hyphens are not for pauses between words. 

I won't get into whether em-dashes should technically be separated or connected to words. For the anthology, either way is fine. Be creative. In both circumstances, and Microsoft Word Docs displays the correct number as shown below:

However, doesn't get the correct wordcount when you connect two words with an em-dash. 

Here's ignoring the em-dash

Here's counting the same sentence as two words with an em-dash connecting words

Both counters are good for different purposes. When checking numbers, the staff at 42 Stories Anthology uses because it's more accurate. 

When putting a title in all CAPS, we use

Microsoft Word and count . . . as 3 words. does not, which is why I use it and not Microsoft Word when checking numbers. This could be another reason numbers don't always match. is accurate and updated frequently.
Also, ". . ." with spaces is a correct ellipsis and ... without spaces isn't correct. 

Off Topic
Please wait 6 months after submitting your story before inquiring on its status. 

On the Release
Many writers are in a hurry for the anthology to come out, so is the staff. We are trying hard to find great works and get the book out and will respond to submissions within approximately 6 months.

Update as of September 10, 2021
Stories accepted: 1,479
Stories needed: 285 to complete the anthology

Note: If you accidently used a hyphen as a pause between words in a story we accepted, you can email the anthology ( a revised version of your story. Please check your numbers in 

Related note: Let's all combine our efforts to end the double hyphen. Below is the face most editors make when they see -- in a story. 

Have a safe and happy month.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Project 42 Stories Anthology Guidelines


The theme of this anthology is to have 1,764 stories by 1,764 writers of different names, which is 42 x 42 by 42 x 42 writers. Multi-subs are okay as long as you use a pen name for each story (max of 4 stories per writer). If you have to ask why the need of a pen name, kindly reread the first sentence again.


Story rules:

Each story needs a title with approximately 42 characters (between 40 and 44).

All stories need to be exactly 42 words.

All bios are in 3rd person and exactly 42 words long.

Use this site:

Note: Hyphens count as a word as do ellipsis so be careful.


The subject line of an email should include 42subs, the category, and your initials. Examples:



Your middle initial will help differentiate you from others. There are 42 categories, and the subject line helps us know which category’s readers to send your work to, so please remember this part.


Each chapter has a cover. All of the covers have been selected except for the Crime, Fight, and

book cover. If you are interested in drawing one, email me:


The publication date is TBA, but once published, a token amount will be donated to United Through Reading. Also, the 42 chapters have a Story of Excellence Award. Award winners receive:


$0.42, which can be added to the anthology charity.

Story podcasts and read on YouTube by the author or possibly an actor

A 42 Anthology Story of Excellence certificate

Writing the introduction to their chapter

Possibly more


We need about 300 stories to reach our goal. Please send us something for consideration. Keep the guidelines in mind.


Pay: This anthology will come out in all possible formats. Unfortunately, payment for all authors cannot be guaranteed. At this time, we have no plan to pay authors aside from award winners mentioned and authors of the Craft of Writing category. We will, however, consider paying authors if it is possible.


When you send us a story, you agree to the terms of the anthology and to your work being published in the Project 42 Stories Anthology. The terms and submission link are here:

Or just go through Submittable:

42 Stories Anthology: Craft of Writing

You cannot have a story in the anthology and enter this chapter.

What is your answer to this question? "If you could inspire and encourage thousands of other writers and readers with 42 words, what would you write?"

Include a 42-word 3rd person bio (highlighting why you were selected for this category)

Email: with the subject:

Craft of Writing and your last name (this doesn't have to be exact).

No stories currently accepted in the 42 Stories Anthology (unless you withdraw them)
You have won a writing contest or award, such as:
The Bridport Prize
Bristol Short Story Prize
Pushcart Prize
National Poetry Competition
The First Novel Prize
Flash 500 prize
Bath Novel Writing Prize
Emily Dickinson First Book Award
PEN/Faulkner Award For Fiction
Writers of the Future Contest
Or a related prize

Almost any writing award is okay. Or your story was a bestseller anywhere excluding Amazon.

What do you get?
- Special guest judge for one of the other 41 categories. The guest judge reads 42 stories of 42 words and selecting award-winning stories (roughly 10 pages).
- Highlighted as a special guest writer in the anthology.
- Your interview answer in the Craft of Writing chapter.
- If it fits, your name will be on the back cover of the book.
- Payment of $42 USD

In the email:
CL should mention what contest you won and a link to your story (so we can become your newest fan).
The answer to the prompt.

Your 42-word 3rd person bio highlighting your achievements. This way, you can inspire others through your successes.

Another submission method:


For writers: What would you classify as a "prestigious award in writing"? Would the award be limited to stories, or would awards for plays be acceptable? 

Answer: It's fine to send a submission and see if we accept it for the Craft of Writing, but the list we use of "prestigious award in writing" is above. However, we realize that "prestigious writing" is subjective, and this part is flexible to us.


For editors: Would editors who work for publications that do not pay pro rates be acceptable?

Answer: It's fine to send something and see if we decide to use the submission for the Craft of Writing, but for editors we're looking for people you can search online and see a Wikipedia page on such as David Remnick, and if Mr. Remnick is reading this, we hope you'll send something. The chapter is to inspire authors, and who better to do that than editors (and agents) writers have heard of.


For publishers: Would publishers who are involved in vanity press and/or press that does not play pro rates be acceptable?

Answer: We are looking for publishers who actively help writers and will highlight that in their 42-word bio. This isn't just including publishers, but writers as well who will highlight how they help other authors in their 42-word bios.