Shannon Page is an author I have worked with off and on for years. She’s a consummate professional and I’m really looking forward to reading this anthology.
On the Crafting of An Anthology
Witches, Stitches & Bitches—A Three Little Words anthology, from Evil Girlfriend Media.
Three little words...three simple, innocent—well, okay, maybe not so innocent—evocative words.
When Evil Girlfriend Media publisher Katie Cord asked me if I wanted to edit one of her “Three Little Words” anthologies, I jumped at the chance. I love editing, and hadn’t had much chance to do it professionally. Better still, she let me choose which of the three I wanted to take on. Now, nothing against zombies or vampires, but I knew at once that the witch book was the one for me.
I’ve always identified with witches. I was born on Halloween night, so people delighted in telling me I was a little witch before I even knew what that meant. Of course, I went through a period (like so many girls) when I’d have much rather been a fairy princess; but I eventually got over that and embraced my intrinsic witchiness. I’m writing a series of novels starring a young witch in San Francisco (the Nightcraft Quartet, which begins publication next year with The Queen and The Tower). Even my LiveJournal handle has the word “witch” in it.
So that was a natural. But stitches and bitches? Not as much of a connection there. That’s okay, I figured; let’s see what stories come in. I imagined needlepoint and revenge fantasies.
But wow! Authors are creative! (I know: not exactly earth-shattering news.) I got such a flood of marvelous stories filled with so much imagination, I looked forward to my email inbox every day. We had knitting and surgery and zombies stitching on new limbs. Devious and clever women; bitchy witches; female dogs. And we even had needlepoint and revenge fantasies—but nothing like what I’d imagined.
I received nearly three times as many stories as I needed to fill out the collection—not bad for the very first offering of a brand-new publishing company, paying nowhere near professional rates. I read every story that came in, even the ones where I could tell from the start that they weren’t a good fit. I wanted to see where each story ultimately ended up. I wanted to be surprised—and, a few times, I was. To me, a good anthology is like the perfect smorgasbord: a little of everything; something for everyone. That’s why I like more open-ended themes; they give the authors room to explore, to show off that marvelous creativity of theirs.
Then came the painful process: winnowing them down. I had to reject some really good stories, including stories from friends...including stories I’d specifically requested from friends. (Fortunately, my friends being good people, they forgave me.) But I knew I wanted to put together the strongest group of stories possible. I selected for length and tone and style and subject matter. I wanted balance, and variety. As I mention in the book’s introduction:
“The sixteen stories collected here range from light to dark, fun to disturbingly spooky, and everything in between. We have retellings of fairy tales, modern edgy fantasies, stories of delicious revenge. We have romance, and some broken hearts. We even have a few tales by male authors, just to be inclusive.”
And when all was said and done...I think we ended up with an awesome book. I hope my readers agree!
I’m about to run off to a long family reunion / vacation thing. So, me on the internet might be scarce. Though, I always have Twitter and my phone. The cat / house sitter has the usual instructions to text me daily cat pictures and to spoil them rotten. In the meantime, here’s a link round-up: an interview, an announcement, a photo, a release!
First up, I was interviewed on Jim Knipp's blog.
Rogue Games has announced my book, Colonial Gothic: The Lost Colony.
David Mitchell and his brother did a horror photo based on my In a Gilded Light collection story “Finishing Touches.”
And a reminder that my Coins of Chaos anthology is released on Oct 15 while I'm away.
The quieter I am online, the more heads-down I am on a project. I’ve been working my butt off, knocking projects off my list left and right. Mostly, it’s been KEYSTONES, Karen Wilson Chronicles book 3 and Shattered Shields, a Baen anthology I’m co-editing with Bryan Thomas Schmidt. I’m on the final push of the anthology. After I finish that, I’m going to be working on Colonial Gothic: Roanoke.
There’s also a couple of things I’m working on that are under NDA that are super exciting but definitely not sharable right now. Someday. Hopefully someday soon. I’m pretty jazzed about one in particular that’s come about because I was the GoH of GothCon 2013. Sometimes, I live in a state of total, constant amazement.
I’m also doing things like volunteering with the HWA and also volunteering at the local Boys & Girls Club on creating/running their haunted house. It’s not writing work but its good work nonetheless.
With Lily shifting to her own amazing, awesome work, I did hire a new minion—Chris Ward—who will be referred to as The Minion or Chris or Chris the Minion depending on my mood at the time. Pretty happy about this. He will be working for me and for Apocalypse Ink Productions.
Now that it is October, the month of All Hallows Read, I’d like to recommend a couple of scary books for you.
IN A GILDED LIGHT by me. It gave the first five reviewers nightmares.
FAMISHED: THE FARM by Ivan Ewert. Gentlemen ghouls from the creation of the US.
DARK HARVEST by Norman Partridge. A wonderfully creepy book.
AMERICAN ELSEWHERE by Robert J Bennett. It’s very much like Stephen King meets Lovecraft. So worth a read.
Charity: CALLER UNKNOWN by ME is included in the BUNDLE OF HOLDING +5 to benefit Defenders of Wildlife and the Wikimedia Foundation. Only three days left to get an awesome bundle of ebooks and help out two charities.
Announcement: "Dreams of a Thousand Young" will be in Jazz Age Cthulhu. Yes I know I'm late on posting this.
Funded: The Sheynan trilogy by Dylan Birtolo, to be published by Apocalypse Ink Productions, has been funded. New stretch goals have been plotted out.
Kickstater: Broken Eye Books has a kickstarter that now includes a critique from me: $75 level - BROZEK CRITIQUE: Everything included in the WEIRD LOVE reward, plus you receive a critique from Jennifer Brozek of either a story up to 5,000 words of text or a novel synopsis and query. 1 of 2 is already taken.
I met Scott at a convention. He was funny, happy, and enthusiastic. A real pleasure to be around. When he asked me to write for By Faerie Light, I agreed and I'm so pleased with how my story, "A Nightmare for Anna," came out. Thus, I'm not unbiased about this anthology or kickstarter. Just 10 days to go to fund this kickstarter. And there's so much more offered by Broken Eye Books than the marvelous anthology talked about below.
What is By Faerie Light? It's the bump in the night, the forgotten memories, the stolen children. It's the worlds unseen within your dreams, hidden in the trees, lost in your cupboard. It's the tricksy, dark, otherworldly personalities of the fae.
By Faerie Light is an anthology of dark fantasy. Specifically, it focuses on the supernatural creatures you like to call fae. These are tales of moral ambiguity and emotional intensity. Frightful and fanciful. They draw from our own mythologies and folklores, but these aren't fables or retellings of classics. There are no lessons here to learn. We just want to play with your heads.
And really, that's our greatest joy. The fair folk are such a treasure trove of wonderful stories. They’re unpredictable and complicated. Anything can happen anywhere and anywhen. You never really know just where you stand, and even when you think you do, you’re generally wrong. They are unconcerned with your quaint customs and morals. You’re typically just a bother, a toy, a fling to them. It’s when they start to pay attention to you that you should worry.
And what better way to bring something so multifaceted, so complex, to life than in an anthology, my most favorite of beasts. You get to see through the eyes of different authors, each with their own take on what it means to be fae. What it means to be human interacting with a cold, remorseless, alien world.
Eighteen short stories woven together by the editors, Caroline Dombrowski and myself. All from top-notch authors with the knack for hitting just the right notes of creepy and weird: Jennifer Brozek, James L. Sutter, Elaine Cunningham, Erin Hoffman, Shanna Germain, Cat Rambo, Jeffrey Scott Petersen, Christie Yant, Lillian Cohen-Moore, Torah Cottrill, Erik Scott de Bie, Andrew Romine, Ed Greenwood, Amber E. Scott, Jaym Gates, Nathan Crowder, Julia Ellingboe, Minerva Zimmerman, and Dave Gross. Each bringing to life an exciting and strange new world to explore.
We're just putting the final wards on this title now. You know, for your protection. It’ll be available to the public in November, but you could get it a little earlier by joining in our Kickstarter, which offers this anthology along with four novels and some other special goodies to choose from.
It appears you’ve heard their call already. They’re beckoning you, aren’t they? May history forgive us for unleashing this overwhelming, amoral tide of tales upon you.
Just a reminder. Me, Kat Richardson and Lillian Cohen-Moore are reading at University Book Store tomorrow night! 7pm. It's Lily's first reading. It's in celebration of the second Karen Wilson Chronicles book release. Kat's got a Clockwork Fairytale Story to read.
Right now, a lot of my writing is long form writing. I’ve been working on my Shadowrun novella for a bit but I keep being interrupted by edits or proofing of short fiction. It messes with the way I write sometimes.
The Nellus Academy Incident, Book Four, my Battletech YA webseries, is now running on Battlecorps.com. I just turned in the revisions on Book Five, the final section of the series (episodes 21-25). I was happy that I was still pleased with most of the writing.
I also just proofed my story, Dust Angels, for Beyond the Sun anthology. Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s sci-fi anthology due out from Fairwood Press very soon. Again, I didn’t hate the writing. I’m slowly getting better. I feel like I’ve leveled up a bit.
Also, two Kickstarter anthologies, Time-Traveled Tales and What Fates Impose, are running right now. TTT is funded already and that makes me happy dance. I have one of my weird west Mowry stories in that anthology. WFI is half funded and I’m really hoping for a successful kickstarter on it. I have a Karen Wilson Chronicles story in it set between books 3 and 4. Also, one of the limited levels is to get the third Karen Wilson Chronicles book, Keystones, before the rest of the world does.
I’ve just sold my novelette, Dreams of a Thousand Young, to Innsmouth Free Press for their Jazz Age Cthulhu anthology. It’s got a Summer/Fall 2014 release. I’m very pleased about this one. It was a story I thought about writing for years. It’s nice to get a good Lovecraft story out there.
Right now, I’m in the process of reading stories for my Baen anthology, Shattered Shields, co-edited with Bryan Thomas Schmidt. Some of the stories we’re getting are just amazing. It pleases me to no end. The full ToC won’t be revealed for a while but, I love working with pro-authors. They always give such good story.
Finally, I do have three other anthologies I edited coming out later this year. Coins of Chaos is due out in October. Chicks Dig Gaming, edited with the marvelous Jean Rabe, is due out in November. Beast Within 4: Gears & Growls is due out in December (I think).
Sale: I just signed the contract for “A Nightmare for Anna” for a forthcoming anthology “By Faerie Light.” Sounds like it’s going to be a fabulous anthology.
Interview: Designer’s Diary: Savage Mojo – Shanghai Vampocalypse (Suzerain) - http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=35173
Publication: Happy new book to me! I'm very pleased with CHILDREN OF ANU, the second book in the Karen Wilson Chronicles. It was edited by the awesome John Helfers and the cover image is by Amber Clark of Stopped Motion Photography. The girl on the cover of the book is a representation of one of the villains in the book, 14 year old Victoria Mordecai.
Health: I started using Fitbit just over a month ago. Numerous authors talk about how a healthy mind contributes to a healthy body. I believe it. Thus, Fitbit. There's something in the awareness of movement and steps taken that make me want to do more. To improve. It's kind of like having a word count makes me want to write more. I've made a concerted effort to move more - number of steps taken and number of flights climbed. It feels good.
Freelance Gig: I've been working on a quiet freelance gig for a while. Now I can talk about it. Along with writing for the Shadowrun Returns kickstarter anthology with a story called "Lock and Key," I've been writing and editing on the Shadowrun Returns videogame. I'm loving the work even though it's hard and sometimes the hours are long. I really think those of you who like videogames will really enjoy it. I'm really happy to be working on it with such fabulous people at Harebrained Schemes.
Sale: Also in the Shadowrun universe, I've signed a contract to write a Shadowrun novella focused around a High Threat Response Team Doc Wagon team. Tentatively titled: A Day in the Life of a Lifesaver.
Convention: From June 12-16, I will be at Origins Game Fair as part of their Library. I will be appearing on panels and manning a table selling my books. Please come by and say hello. Get a book signed. There's a no shyness zone around me. Here's my list of panels:
- Thursday, 11am – Crafting the Love Scene
- Thursday, 12noon – Writing the Other
- Friday, 11am – Women Writing Horror
- Saturday, 10am – Good Guys Wear Black Hats
- Sunday, 10am – The Art of the Short Story
- Sunday, 12noon – Avoiding Pitfalls
- Sunday, 1pm – Writing Your First Novel
Event - Monday, 18 March, from 6-9pm, I (Battletech, Shadowrun) will be joining James Sutter (Pathfinder) and Jak Koke (Shadowrun) for Games & Gizmos first ever book signing in Redmond, WA. Come join us to buy books, get your books signed, and kick it with three RPG authors. We'll be hanging out, playing boardgames, and answering all of your questions that we can. There will be mini-cupcakes and sandwiches to snack on. I suspect, since Paizo is local, there will be more Paizo people joining the fun in an unofficial capacity.
Review - Roleplayers Chronicle gave Colonial Gothic: Locations a very nice review.
Announcement - Cat Labs announced the Shadowrun Returns Anthology Reward For Kickstarter Backers and I'm one of the authors for it.
Announcement - I've been sitting on this for a while but now I can announce that I am co-editing an anthology with Jean Rabe for Mad Norwegian Press. It's called Chicks Dig Gaming and it is part of the "Chicks Dig" line of non-fiction essays by women in SFF. I absolutely adore this anthology we're creating. I'll get ya'll a link to stuff as soon as I have it. Chicks Dig Gaming is due out in November 2013
Cover art. While I was out at the Rainforest Village Writer Retreat, the cover for Writing Fantasy Heroes popped up. It has a fab line up of people.
For my birthday, the Husband took me to the King Tut exhibit in Seattle. We took the audio tour which was well worth it. Having seen them with my own eyes, I now understand why men would kill for Egyptian artifacts. They are really amazing to see. Beautiful craftsmanship and gorgeous to gaze at. The history, the age, of the artifacts can be felt. Ryan told me that walking through the exhibit would give me story ideas. And he was right. If you get a chance to see the exhibit, take it.
After the exhibit, the iMax movie, and dinner, I came home to a whole passel of good stuff. First was a confirmed pro story sale. Then was an interview request. Next came an email from the anthology committee verifying one of my anthologies was eligible for a Stoker—which means nothing more than someone nommed it and they have to make sure everything is all good—but I’m chuffed someone thought so well of Dangers Untold to nom it. Then another bit of awesome news dropped that isn’t finalized yet but soon. And finally, I had a about a bajillion Facebook birthday wishes to read. That was a really nice surprise.
Lastly, a reminder that Mastication is my birthday gift to you. Get it free on Apocalypse Ink Productions webstore.
Here's the official cover of Beast Within 3: Oceans Unleashed - So pretty!
Official release date: 7 Dec 2012
Table of Contents for Beast Within 3: Oceans Unleashed
Edited by Jennifer Brozek
Foreword by Jennifer Brozek
The Roe Girls by Mae Empson
Dry Run by Pete Kempshall
Wreckage by Rosemary Jones
Rites of Justice in Civilized Societies by Amanda C. Davis
Beyond the Reach of Moonlight by Jamie Lackey
The Murmur of Lorelei by Jason Andrew
Salt on the Dance Floor by Nisi Shawl
Mother Water by T. S. Bazelli
Beneath Feather and Fur by Minerva Zimmerman
Woman of War by Ivan Ewert
Trolling by Michael West
Safe by Mari Ness
Spawning Season by Montgomery Mullen
The Wedding Seal by Josh Reynolds
Hunger by Jennifer Pelland
The Summoned by Wendy Wagner
Cover art by Shane Tyree
Interior art by John Ward
Publisher: Graveside Tales