The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature 

The submission you send us will be for writing to grace our 23rd Anniversary Year, 2019. Give us a week or two to get back to you but don't be surprised if we're quick like a bunny. We're currently running a Flash Fiction Contest, 750 words or less. Enter here. No rules except word limit. Winner gets a Dead Mule coffee mug (it's superb). Final date for submissions is April 20, 2019. So hurry up, get your flash in.

Your Cover Letter MUST contain your Southern Legitimacy Statement. If you don't know what that is, then you need to read The Dead Mule. Each section of the Mule (fiction, poetry, essay) begins with a page containing the contributor's names and their Southern Legitimacy Statement. 

Attach your work as a .doc, .docx, .txt, .rtf in the area provided. If it's really short,  it'll fit in the submission "box" so that's ok too.

We have Categories for each month(s) and guidelines contained therein. Check them out. Send us your writing. 


YOUR WORK NEED NOT HAVE YOUR NAME OR HEADERS/FOOTERS/PAGE #S. DON'T DO THAT ... thanks. You are not submitting paper/printed documents to us. This is the internet. See the fiction guidelines for more information.

There will be no fees. Nope. Not gonna' do it. If you want to help us out, check out the Prints once the Gallery is fully functioning. Posters, prints, gallery wrapped canvas of archival curated collections of Southern vernacular architecture. Reasonably priced, printed on a digital printer with insane detail and color ... more on that on the Gallery. For now, you think about your submission!

We are nothing if not for our writers! Thank you for submitting to the South's oldest online literary journal.

-The Mule Staff

Attach up to 3 jpgs to this form and submit your photographs. No nudes, no stupid sex scenes, nothing X rated. This is the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. We do enjoy black and white photography. Note: Images should not be compressed.

*For Flash Fiction competition? Submit here.

All double-spaced submissions will be rejected without being read or considered.

SINGLE SPACED. ONE SPACE BETWEEN PARAGRAPHS. NO PARAGRAPH INDENTS. Do Not Double Space Your Work. Please. That's an old printed page submission habit. We don't double-space on web pages, take a look at any website. New York Times ... Washington Post ... pick one and you'll see what we mean -- no double-spacing. 

You don't need headers with your name/address, you don't need page #s, you just need to single space, double space between paragraphs. Learn it here with the Dead Mule and it will serve you well for decades to come.

To reiterate: 


Attach your docx etc in the area provided. It's simple. Think on this: sometimes truly flash pieces, under 500 words or around there, can be copied and pasted into the text box. Try it. It's ok, or attach your .docx, .rtf etc in the area provided. You can do it! Submit to the Mule. Don't forget your Southern Legitimacy Statement.

What do yall think we'll be looking to publish? Anything you write that's worth reading. Not much to ask for, is it? Try to keep it under 2,000 words. 

Flash Fiction really truly makes us smile. The 750 word kind ...


Details, if you need more:

Our focus will be on quick, one page (internet page) descriptions of Southern encounters between strangers, friends, or family members. Almost memoir -- we're going to want you to spice up the conversation and make others want to hear your story with more than the polite nod your friend or spouse gives you when you tell it over and over. We want the "did I tell yall about ...." stories running around in your head that everyone is tired of hearing but that you've never publicly told (oh, heck, you can be famous in your own word sphere for that particular story, but we don't know your story ...)

We are going want less than 2,000 words. Less than 750 gets you a bonus consideration because if a Southerner (or any other writer) can tell a well-worn story without over-embellishing it and still get their point across, we pay real attention to that ability.

There will be no fees. Nope. Not gonna' do it. 

We  want your stories. We know you got 'em.

Talk to you soon ... looking forward to hearing from you.

-CL Bledsoe, Assistant Editor

-Valerie MacEwan, Editor/Publisher

The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

If you really truly can't figure it all out, how to submit here on submittable, as a last resort, email me Valerie MacEwan and I may be in a position to help, depending on mood, problem encountered, age of submitter etc.

A special designation for the writing that is ... personal. Learned. About growing up or being you and how  you got from point A to point B in life. Or how someone influenced that journey. Or about a journey. We want 500 - 2500 words but lean toward brevity as the soul of wit. Longer pieces will be accepted (2,500 wds) but yall gotta murder lot of darlings to get into the Dead Mule. If you're confused as to whether you're sending us a memoir or some creative non-fiction, worry not, we'll figure you out.

All double-spaced submissions will be rejected.

Single-space. Space between paragraphs. No ID on the manuscript, please. We know who you are by your REQUIRED Southern Legitimacy Statements. Once you click your way into submitting, the path will become clear. Attach a .docx, .doc, .rtf etc or copy/paste into the entry box area, if you submission is around 500 words.

1. Cover letter with Southern Legitimacy Statement

2. Your submission

3. We read.

4. We respond, generally within a week...

Submit away!! 

Our guidelines for Essays:

(see Memoirs for other guidelines)

Up to 2,500 words. Flash Essays, up to 750 words, are most greatly appreciated. We truly enjoy reading succinct, well-done quick-read pieces.


All double-spaced submissions will be rejected.

YOUR WORK NEED NOT HAVE YOUR NAME OR HEADERS/FOOTERS/PAGE #S. DON'T DO THAT ... thanks. Read the fiction Guidelines, if you think you might need an up to date, how to submit online bit of a tutorial ...

We love a quick, down and dirty description of a place. Amuse us with a character study, set the scene and then wow us! It's such a challenge to ask for Southern writing in sparse phrases. 

Notice that we will accept larger essays, 2,500 words +/- and, while we love essays about place, we'll consider whatever you send us. 

Attach docx etc in the area provided, just like an email attachment. Just like almost every Submittable do. If it's less than 500 words, you can try copy/paste method in the box provided for said endeavor. Good luck -- we'd love to hear from you.

If you absolutely, positively no way can figure out how to use Submittable, you can email me and I will try to assist you. No guarantees. Submittable is pretty much an in-your-face process. Try it. And don't forget your Southern Legitimacy Statement. If you're not sure what the SLS is, that means you haven't read the Mule. So do so then submit.

Creative non-fiction:

Wikipedia helps out here -- Creative nonfiction (also known as literary nonfiction or narrative nonfiction) is a genre of writing that uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives. Creative nonfiction contrasts with other nonfiction, such as academic or technical writing or journalism, which is also rooted in accurate fact, but is not primarily written in service to its craft. As a genre, creative nonfiction is still relatively young, and is only beginning to be scrutinized with the same critical analysis given to fiction and poetry.


Again, Wikipedia will further explain what we're looking to read here:

Nonfiction or non-fiction is content (often, in the form of a story) whose creator, in good faith, assumes responsibility for the truth or accuracy of the events, people, and/or information presented.[1] A work whose creator dishonestly claims this same responsibility is a fraud; a story whose creator explicitly leaves open if and how the work refers to reality is usually classified as fiction.[1][2] Nonfiction, which may be presented either objectively or subjectively, is traditionally one of the two main divisions of narratives (and, specifically, prose writing),[3] the other traditional division being fiction, which contrasts with nonfiction by dealing in information, events, and characters expected to be partly or largely imaginary.

Nonfiction's factual assertions and descriptions may or may not be accurate, and can give either a true or a false account of the subject in question; however, authors of such accounts genuinely believe or claim them to be truthful at the time of their composition or, at least, pose them to a convinced audience as historically or empiricallyfactual. Reporting the beliefs of others in a nonfiction format is not necessarily an endorsement of the ultimate veracity of those beliefs, it is simply saying it is true that people believe them (for such topics as mythology). Nonfiction can also be written about fiction, typically known as literary criticism, giving information and analysis on these other works. Nonfiction need not necessarily be written text, since pictures and film can also purport to present a factual account of a subject.

We are so far behind in reading/publishing poetry, we honestly don't recommend you submit with the expectation of  a quick reply. It might take a few weeks for us to get to your work. So, if you're willing to wait, we're willing to read -- eventually. Send us 3 poems. Only three.



Please send us up to three poems per submission. We will accept poetry throughout the year. Lots to do ... 

We look forward to reading your poems. Truly we do. Query about chapbooks, we do occasionally publish them, see Helen Losse's Snippets of Holiness. 

-Valerie MacEwan, Editor/Publisher

The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature