2021 Year in Review

To celebrate three years of Dragon Soul Press, we present the three best in each of the following categories: Author Interviews, Prolific Authors, Anthologies, Blog Posts, and the Editor’s Pick.


Top 3 Author Interviews

These are the most viewed author interviews for the year.

  1. Benjamin Chandler
  2. Laura Q. Jimenez
  3. Isabella Cheung

Top 3 Prolific Authors

These authors have submitted and been accepted into the most DSP anthologies for the year.

  1. Barend Nieuwstraten III
  2. Lincoln Reed
  3. S.O. Green

Top 3 Anthologies

These anthologies were the most popular among readers during the year.

  1. Imperial Devices
  2. Spirit
  3. Space Bound

Top 3 Blog Posts

These are the most viewed blog posts for the year.

  1. Character First Impressions
  2. Write Like It Matters
  3. Writing Flashbacks

Editor’s Pick

These are the stories that resonated the most with the editor during the year.

Upcoming Submission Calls for 2022

Listed below are some of the upcoming Dragon Soul Press anthology deadlines.
Visit DSP Anthology Calls for more titles and submission instructions.


Everlast (Rated R)

Deadline – January 31st, 2022

Publication – March 2022

Word Count – 5,000 to 15,000

Theme – Romance can be difficult on its own, even before adding the complications of time travel to the equation. These couples find themselves from separate timelines in history, but cross paths due to unforeseen circumstances.


Surge (Rated R)

Deadline – February 28th, 2022

Publication – April 2022

Word Count – 5,000 to 15,000

Theme – Cyberpunk. These characters are trying to survive in a dystopia of advanced technologies. Living alongside Artificial Intelligence has its perks, but also many deadly downfalls.


Beyond Atlantis (Rated R)

Deadline – February 28th, 2022

Publication – May 2022

Word Count – 5,000 to 15,000

Theme – Unique retellings of Atlantis-like civilizations. Preferably with mermaids, selkies, krakens, or other mythological sea creatures included.


Chance on Love (Rated R)

Deadline – March 31st, 2022

Publication – June 2022

Word Count – 5,000 to 15,000

Theme – Everyone deserves a chance at love. Whether it lasts forever or ends up being temporary, these characters will fight for the chance at happily ever after.


Valor (Rated R)

Deadline – March 31st, 2022

Publication – July 2022

Word Count – 5,000 to 15,000

Theme – All stories featuring East Asian warriors are welcome.


Organic Ink: Volume 5 (Not Rated)

Deadline – April 30th, 2022

Publication – June 2022

Word Count – 1,000 word count minimum (not line count)

Theme – All poetry pieces are welcome. There is no theme.

NOTE: Minimum word count does not mean one poem of 1,000 words. It is all of the poetry/haiku submissions with word counts combined to equal 1,000 words or more.


Age of Artifice (Rated R)

Deadline – April 30th, 2022

Publication – August 2022

Word Count – 1,000-15,000

Theme – All stories featuring steampunk (including similar subgenres) are welcome.


Haunt (Rated R)

Deadline – May 31st, 2022

Publication – September 2022

Word Count – 1,000-15,000

Theme – In a world where so many dark things go bump in the night, terror awaits around every corner as these authors take horror stories to the next level.


Beautiful Darkness: Volume 1 (Rated R)

Deadline – June 30th, 2022

Publication – October 2022

Word Count – 5,000-15,000

Theme – In a world where so many dark things go bump in the night, terror awaits around every corner as these authors take horror stories to the next level.

Note: This series replaces All Dark Places.


Life At Its Best (Rated R)

Deadline – July 30th, 2022

Publication – November 2022

Word Count – 5,000-15,000

Theme – These women are navigating through the ups and downs of life whether it be relationships, children, health, etc.

Note: This is Women’s Contemporary ‘Realistic’ Fiction only.


Magick & Mistletoe (Rated R)

Deadline – August 31st, 2022

Publication – December 2022

Word Count – 500-15,000

Theme – All Christmas stories. As long as Christmas is involved, the story qualifies. All genres. Happily Ever After not required.

Note: This will be an ebook only anthology. No paperback will be published.


Reign of Fire (Rated R)

Deadline – September 30th, 2022

Publication – January 2023

Word Count – 5,000-15,000

Theme – All dragon stories. As long as dragons are involved, the story qualifies. All genres.


Union (Rated R)

Deadline – October 31st, 2022

Publication – February 2023

Word Count – 5,000-15,000

Theme – All science fiction romance stories. Outer space and aliens are accepted. All heat levels are accepted.


Carried Away (Rated R)

Deadline – November 30th, 2022

Publication – March 2023

Word Count – 5,000-15,000

Theme – All romantic comedy stories are welcome. Does not have to be Happily Ever After. All heat levels are accepted.


Carried Away (Rated R)

Deadline – December 31st, 2022

Publication – April 2023

Word Count – 5,000-15,000

Theme – All LGBTQ+ stories are welcome. All fantasy genres are accepted.

Author Interview with J.R. Rustrian

Dragon Soul Press took a moment to interview J.R. Rustrian, author of The Dragon’s Den in the upcoming History anthology.


1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I’ve been writing in some way since I was five years old. I would write three sentence stories in second grade as an assignment and write fan fiction in middle school and high school for myself and friends. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to take a crack at writing fiction. Looking back, I realize that the passion for writing was always there.

2. What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

In my opinion, the ability to create a live, vivid character is a good element of writing. Using your unique voice to create somebody that speaks to a reader can make or break a story. What also makes for good writing is a world that you can see yourself interacting with, a place that you will either want to live in or be terrified of being in.

3. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

Recently, I’ve noticed a lack of focus. Ideas are there, but difficult to translate into words on a page. Characters are also difficult to deal with since I place so much emphasis on whether or not these people are believable and compelling.

4. Is there lots to do before you drive in and start writing the story?

It usually starts with a premise, then evolves into who is part of that premise and where. I’ll try with an outline of all the ideas in my head, and try to put that into something resembling cohesive. I’ll jot down character backgrounds, world settings, scenes I want to see into a journal that I keep close. Then, I’ll dive in and see if anything comes from all that. 

5. Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special.

I wrote a story for Brave New Girls with a character named Leona. She’s a brainy, techy girl, but awkward and full of self doubt. What I love about her is that how much she has passion for her inventions and science in general, but struggles with typical teenage issues. In creating her, I tried to make her a bit unconventional. Most of her growth is personal and emotional, but never loses that spark that makes her who she is.

6. Where do you draw inspiration from?

I’m a big history fan, so a lot of ideas come from books that I’ve read and classes that I’ve attended. I’m also Hispanic, so I turn to Mesoamerican stories and settings for a lot of inspiration. Real life also offers a rich gold mine of ideas.

7. Who is the author you most admire in your genre?

I’m a big Philip K. Dick fan. His stories are off-beat and give a more relatable view of science fiction that I tend to emulate in stories. Michael Crichton is also great. There’s a lot of suspense and tension that just grips you.

8. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I love playing video games, cooking, hiking and watching movies.

9. Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.

I’m a huge heavy metal fan. I’ve been listening to the genre since high school. There’s nothing more calming than screaming guitars and loud drums after a long day.

10. Where can readers learn more about you?

Check me out on Twitter.

Author Interview with Emily S. Hurricane

We had a chance to interview an author in the Love At First Sip anthology. The collection provides a drink recipe in front of the short story associated with it.


  1. What inspired you to start writing?

You know, I don’t even remember! I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote a lot of fan fiction when I was a kid for various JRPGs, so a lot of my early original stories were warriors in fantasy or science fiction worlds. I also did a lot of online roleplaying back then. I’m totally aging myself, but back on proboards, I’d spend hours with other users creating characters and worlds and then RPing our characters. So as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been writing.

  1. What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Two things: proper grammar, and engaging characters. There can be literally nothing happening in a story, but if the characters are interesting and engaging, then I am sold! I am a reader of many genres and styles, but what is most memorable to me is always certain characters and their inner workings and struggles. World building and act structure and everything else that goes into a story are important, but if I don’t care about the characters, the book falls flat for me. And of course, you know, it’s got to be readable.

  1. Is there lots to do before you drive in and start writing the story?

I’m a bit of a pantser, so I do most of my non-writing part of writing a story as I go. When I have a fresh plot bunny hop its way into my head, I tend to let it percolate for a while in there to take shape. It’s almost always a character, desperate to tell their story, so I let them talk to me for a bit. Sometimes I’ll make a few notes before I jump in, but often I like to get to know my character(s) before I try to plan where the story is going to take them, so I tend to just start writing.

I use Notion for all of my outlining and character sheets and planning and word count tracking, so I do set up a blank page for a fresh project. Any notes go in there, and then as I start writing, I create tables as I need them to track characters, potential plot points, outlining, etc.

  1. Who is your favorite author and why?

I know this is totally cliché, but Stephen King is my very favorite. Aside from the fact that he’s incredibly versatile, he’s got this subtle style that I adore. Even some of his novels that aren’t outwardly HEY I’M SCARY just have this underlying sense of dread (for example, Duma Key) throughout and I don’t even realize I’m creeped out until I finish reading. He also has such talent for so many different facets of genre, with more boundary-pushing work like the Dark Tower series. He just does whatever TF he wants, and I admire that so much.

(Close runner-ups for favorite, though: Chuck Palahniuk and Margaret Atwood. Gotta shout them out too!)

  1. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

Time! There is just never enough time. I work from home as a freelance writer and editor, while also taking care of two small children and my husband who works outside of the home full time. Juggling all of this and also trying to do basic things like sleep is very challenging. I love a challenge, but some days it’s harder than others to fit everything in, so it can be stressful. But I love writing too much to ever do anything else with my life. It’s 100% worth the blood, sweat, and tears I put into it!

  1. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I don’t think I have any interesting writing quirks! I’m kinda basic when it comes to writing. I like to have coffee and munchies and relish the silence—when I can work without Peppa Pig or My Little Pony in the background, it’s so nice!

  1. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Too many! My muse has no focus for genre, and because I enjoy reading in so many, I enjoy writing in them all too. I’ve got a ton of erotica shorts in various niches, a historical western romance trilogy, a dystopian werewolf series, horror anthologies, a fantasy/sci-fi series, some contemporary serials, dark romance serials, and most recently, I curated and participated in two anthologies, one erotica and one clean romance.

It’s so hard to say which is my favorite…I loved writing them all for different reasons. I think I’m most proud of Joy, which is a literary novella that currently lives on Wattpad. I originally wrote it for the Open Novella Contest, where it won a few accolades. Eventually I plan to let it breathe and flesh it out some, outside of the constraints of the contest. But I don’t think I can properly choose a favorite out of my books.

  1. Are you working on anything at present you would like to share with your readers?

I’m currently serializing a dark paranormal romance on Radish Fiction called Her Tyrant Alpha, and I’m having a blast with it! It’s a spin-off companion book to my Bloodlines series (which is dystopian werewolf with a bit of steam, but not romance), and the main character, Ashelin, has pretty much zero boundaries. It’s been a super fun ride exploring all of her inner workings, and also building more werewolf lore into the Bloodlines universe.

  1. What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

I get asked this a lot, and my answer is always to just write! Write as much as you can. Even if you think it sucks. Hell, even if other people think it sucks. Don’t stop! Write every day. Even if you can only manage a sentence because you have no time, don’t go a single day without writing. Tapping that creative keg takes working the writing muscle, and you have to work it out every single day. It might be hard for a bit, but all good things are, and if you stick with it, it will get easier, and you will get better at it!

Sub-advice: don’t be afraid of criticism! Don’t let it get you down, and don’t let it stop you. If the criticism is useful, take what you need out of it to learn, and discard the rest, and keep writing. Always be writing!

Sub-sub-advice: track your word count. Even if you only write three words in one day. Use a notebook or a spreadsheet or a calendar, but record your daily word counts somewhere. This gives you accountability to make sure that word count isn’t at zero, but also you can watch yourself improve over time. And I promise you will improve!

  1. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing or playing with my kiddos, I am either reading, baking, or crocheting. And usually two out of three at the same time, haha! If I’m going to be busy with my hands then I’ll queue up an audiobook so I can still read even if I’m puttering in the kitchen or playing with yarn.

I’ve been known to enjoy video games too, but with work and small children it’s harder to carve out time to really get lost in a game. I do enjoy building stuff in Minecraft with my daughter, though. Anything creative!

  1. Where can readers learn more about you?

The easiest way to find me is at www.emilyshurricane.com! I keep it up to date with all of my book listings, and if you click the Social Media tab you can find all of my socials everywhere across the internet (including my Discord server!).

5 Tips to Renew the Joy of Writing

Sometimes, writing can feel more like a job or a burden, especially when the creativity won’t flow. Here are some tips to get in the zone to meet those writing goals.

Dabble in Something New

Write from the Point of View of a different character. Stretch your limits and try a new genre. Swap a romantic relationship to a spiteful one and see where it takes you. Do your ‘good guys’ always win? Let the ‘bad guys’ have this one. Create a “what if” alternate ending to a current project. More often than not, these will alleviate any writers’ block you may be experiencing as new ideas bloom.

Change of Scenery

Stir the pot and change your surroundings. If you normally write at home, try relocating to a coffee shop, library, or somewhere with people milling around in the background. You’ll get in some “people watching,” which provides natural inspiration for characters. 

Writing Mashup

What if robots went on a rampage in Victorian England? What if a human wants to be where the mermaids are? Let the creativity flow by using an online generator to give random combinations to write about. Making this a daily habit seems to successfully help many authors stay in the writing flow.

Free Write

Sometimes you just need to get words on paper to feel productive. Set a timer and write whatever thoughts flit into your mind until the end. It can be about what you did today, how you feel about your current work in progress, what you hope to achieve, random bits of dialogue between characters, etc. There doesn’t need to be any rhyme or reason to it nor does the grammar need to be perfect.

Reward System

Is everything going well with your writing, but you’re feeling a bit underappreciated? Set up a reward system for yourself. Say your writing goal for the day is 2,000 words and you’ll get to eat a cookie if you meet it. If you finish your goal for the week, you go to the movies. Be as creative and personalized as you want with choosing rewards.