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Posts Tagged ‘Editing’

CLundoff Publicity photo Whimsical Words welcomes guest author-editor-publisher, Catherine Lundoff. Catherine Lundoff is a Minneapolis-based award-winning writer, editor, and publisher. Her recent stories have appeared in Tales of the Unanticipated, Curious Fictions, The Cainite Conspiracies: A Vampire the Masquerade V20 Anthology, The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Tales and The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Professor Moriarty. Her books include Silver Moon, Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories and as editor, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space). She is the publisher at Queen of Swords Press.

Catherine Lundoff’s latest book, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space), is a new anthology fans of pirates and adventure are sure to enjoy. A quick summary for my readers—Think pirates are all about the rum and the pieces of eight? Let these fifteen tales draw you into the adventures of a new kind of pirate. Sail with them as they seek treasure, redemption, love, revenge and more. Raise the Jolly Roger and sharpen your cutlass (or recharge your raygun) and climb aboard for some unforgettable voyages. Featuring stories by Ginn Hale, A.J. Fitzwater, Geonn Cannon, Joyce Chng, Elliott Dunstan, Ashley Deng, Su Haddrell, Ed Grabianowski, Mharie West, Matisse Mozer, Soumya Sundar Mukherjee, Megan Arkenberg, Peter Golubock, Michael Merriam, and Caroline Sciriha.

ebook QoSP Scourge 432 x 648 72 dpilundoff Where did the idea come from for your latest book, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space)?

I started my own small press last year and I wanted to publish an anthology. Originally, it was on a different theme and was going to have a different editor, but that fell through, so I decided to go ahead with another theme that I liked. I’ve always had a fondness for pirates, fictional as well as historical, starting with reading Treasure Island when I was a kid. Since pirates historically turn up all over the world, as well as in fantasy and science fiction, I thought it would be a great opportunity to solicit stories from writers from different countries as well as subgenres. I also opened it up to stories featuring protagonists of any gender or orientation to try and get to a reflection of the diversity of the topic.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

Ooh, that would be a challenge! I really like all the stories in different ways. I think you really have to get to a point where you appreciate all the strengths of every story you accept when you’re editing an anthology. Between story selection and rounds of editing, you’re going to be reading and rereading those same stories a LOT. Multiple rereads in, I still love all the protagonists in a book with stories that range from the aftermath of the Trojan War to outer space, (most of) the 7 seas and the lands beyond!

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?

It’s traditionally published in the sense that it’s being released by a publishing house; however, Queen of Swords Press is my small press so things get a bit complicated there. I have edited or co-edited two previous anthologies for a different small press though, so I have something to compare it to. The contrast between editing for someone else and doing it on my own is the scale of work involved. I’m doing all my own publicity for Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) as well as for other Queen of Swords Press titles and I’m taking all the financial risks. On the other hand, I get to make my own decisions without needing to answer to anyone else and pick stories based on what I like. I’m pretty pleased with the mix of stories that I selected and I know that it would look somewhat different if I had to answer to a different publisher.

What is your writing/editing process like?

I’ll talk about my editing here, instead of writing, because that’s been my latest focus. In terms of story selection, I tried to put a lot of thought into the kind of anthology that I wanted to publish. I wanted a mix of pirate stories set in different parts of the world as well as in fantastical settings and in outer space. I wanted a range of protagonists to somewhat reflect the historical diversity of pirate ships and crews. Add to that, I wanted authors from different parts of the world as well as protagonists of different genders and sexual orientations. So I did an open call where I specifically asked for international authors and for protagonists of any gender or orientation. I ended up getting submissions from authors in fourteen countries, which was pretty amazing.

From those submissions, I had to go through and pick the strongest of the stories that I got, then decide which ones I wanted in the anthology. I tried to pick based on my goals: having a diverse range of pirate stories and an anthology Table of Contents that wasn’t all white guys or all cis people or all from the U.S. Fortunately, I had a lot of really good stories to choose from so it was a more a matter of picking “best in class” rather than “I must take it because it’s the only thing like it that I have.” Editing themed anthologies can be challenging that way. I say this despite this being my third one, so you would think it would get easier with practice. At any rate, everything after the story selection part was reading and rereading and providing feedback to the authors and incorporating changes and getting copy edits back and so forth.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I had a LOT of favorite books as a child and they changed every couple of years. The first book I ever read on my own was Alice in Wonderland, then I went through a lot of Robert Louis Stevenson, fairy tales and other related work. Alexandre Dumas and Jane Austen got me through my early teens. On bad weeks, The Count of Monte Cristo is still a map of my mental landscape. When in doubt, I can always count on getting a mental image of tunneling out of the Chateau d’If with a spoon. Puts everything in perspective. I have a list of every book that I’ve read since I was ten years old so I can backtrack through the Narnia years, the Lloyd Alexander years, and so forth. I owe my fragile sanity entirely to reading, but I have to say that it was a collective effort. I can name ten to twenty favorite books, but not just one.

What writing project are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on Blood Moon, the sequel to my menopausal werewolf novel, Silver Moon. Blood Moon focuses on the same protagonists as in the previous novel and has more mystery and romance elements than the first book. Apart from that, I’m working on a couple of new short stories and some gaming-related projects. And the next books for Queen of Swords. I like to keep things lively.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

It’s a toss-up between “Learn to love rewriting” and “Pick a day job you don’t hate, because you’ll spend more time there than anywhere else.” They are both useful, if somewhat depressing, in their own way. I think both pieces of advice are also very realistic and sometimes, we need to hear that. I know there’s a strain of thought, particularly in genre fiction, that “real writers don’t need day jobs,” but I think that gets less and less realistic for most of us as the field changes. And rewriting for me is like painting: you do a sketch, and then, start adding layers. Those layers add depth and beauty, if you do them well, in the same way that rewrites help you to create a better story and become a better writer.

Want to learn more about Catherine Lundoff and Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space)? Check out her:  WebsiteFacebook pageQueen of Swords Press Website, and Amazon Authors Page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) from Books2Read or IndieBound.

Thanks to author-editor-publisher Catherine Lundoff for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Meriah Crawford on February 14, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” – Thomas A. Edison

I’m not sure if I am astounding myself, but I am working hard on numerous projects:

*Judging a poetry competition–both a fun and challenging job. I love reading what creative minds come up with!

Rocket space ship . Mixed media*Editing 2 anthologies, “Re-Launch” and “Re-Quest” for Pole to Pole Publishing. And I will be reading for 2 more anthologies (“Re-Terrify” and “Re-Enchanted”) shortly.

*Finishing a novel, adding to 2 in-progress short story collections, and working on a nonfiction book.

*Writing several short stories and poems for anthologies or magazines.

*Thinning the book herd. (My bookshelves are sagging dangerously low).

*Putting together a bibliography of my writing and illustrations – then, entering the speculative work into http://isfdb.org  Plus, if the publication qualifies, adding it to my listing on Poets & Writers data base.

*Working on genealogy–and putting together several books based on that information. Yes, I know these publications won’t be “best-sellers,” but it’s a nice way to preserve the information and make it available to family members and other interested people. And I have no “time limit” on these books — as more information trickles in and I want to include as much as possible. (Librarians be warned, I will need help in doing the research to “ground” these historical accounts in history).

*Knitting 30-plus scarf & hat sets by Christmas for daughters (I do call my daughters-in-law, “daughters,” too, because they are dear to me), sisters, nieces, etc. I was given a huge amount of lovely yarn, and I’m aiming to use up much of it in the process. Plus, knitting at least a dozen men’s hats for sons, nephews, brothers-in-law, etc. for Christmas.

*Then, there is family: time spent with husband, kids, grandkids, friends, my mom and other family members. And art – I want to paint at least 2 new pieces of cover art this summer. And visits – I’ve fallen behind on my visits due to a 2017 and 2016 filled with trips to NC and SC to help older relatives who were dying. Wait, I’ve forgotten gardening! My gardens so need work. And the birds – feeders need to be repaired or replaced and birdhouses need to be hung.

I could (and should) go on. But I hope you get the idea.

I encourage you to look at your life. List what you are doing and what goals you can set for yourself. Can’t think of anything to do? Check out the volunteer opportunities in your area. I challenge you to astound yourself!

 

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Pole to Pole Publishing http://poletopolepublishing.com just opened submissions for their next themed, speculative anthology, Dark Luminous Wings. And yes, I’m one of the editors again.

Editing a themed anthology is both challenging and rewarding. As an editor, you have the opportunity to read hundreds of stories – each trying to address the theme in an unique manner. But their “unique” story isn’t as unique as many authors believe it to be.

Pole to Pole Publishing’s 2016 anthology, In a Cat’s Eye, featured darkly speculative stories about cats. Kelly Harmon and I read hundreds of stories, and wanted to have one (and only one) story representing “expected” speculative cat roles, plus a few “out of the box” tales as well.

Therefore, only one cat as witch’s familiar, Egyptian cat, transformation into a cat, cat god, and robot cat story were accepted. There were several good stories in each of these cat-egories (pun intended), but we were committed to a mix of stories, so once a “slot” was filled, we didn’t accept a similar tale. So those writers who discarded their first, second, and maybe even third story idea, and came up with something very different had a better chance of serious consideration – like steampunk cats, zombie cats, mutate space cats, and clockwork world cats. To see the results, you can purchase In a Cat’s Eye here: http://poletopolepublishing.com/books/in-a-cats-eye

We approached Pole to Pole Publishing’s 2015 speculative anthology, Hides the Dark Tower in a similar manner. Once we had a Rapunzel, castle-fortress, sea witch, shot, water, and signal tower story, we didn’t accept a second story which repeated the theme or storyline. We looked for tales which were “different,” like towering circus signs or smoke stacks. To read those tales we did publish, you can check out Hides the Dark Tower here: http://poletopolepublishing.com/books/hides-the-dark-tower

I hope a few of my readers will write and submit a “dark luminous wings” story for the latest Pole to Pole Publishing anthology. What do we mean by the theme? I can’t tell you! As the stories come in, a book will form. It will be a dark, magical, imaginative, winged journey for both the editors and our readers. So think “out of the box” and send us your best story! http://poletopolepublishing.com/submissions

 

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Today, of all days, it seems a difference of opinion is what it’s all about. But I’m not here to talk politics!

I did get drawn into a Facebook conversation about unicorns and Pegasus. (I know — my geeky side is about to shine).

Someone argued that a winged unicorn must be called an alicorn. I beg to differ. Alicorn is indeed a term sometimes used for a winged unicorn, but I believe the word means the horn of a unicorn. Originally, it appears alicorn comes from the Italian alicorno, alicorne meaning “unicorn.” And alicorno, alicorne appear to have their origins in a Latin word for unicorn: unicornis. (And I just confirmed what many have thought, I was one of the weird kids who chose Latin as my “language” in middle school and high school).

Alicorn remains a really cool word, just as the idea of a unicorn’s horn as a cure for poison is most magical. Alicorns or unicorn horns also appear on various coat-of-arms and other insignia, as well as in spell books and healer’s journals of long ago.

catseye_final-72dpi Which brings me to the first review of “In a Cat’s Eye,” the marvelous anthology of cat stories I recently edited (with Kelly A. Harmon) for Pole to Pole Publishing. I’m delighted with the review, and thank NerdGirl and NerdGirl Vamp for a wonderful review.

Alas, one of my favorite stories in “In a Cat’s Eye,” the reviewer, while saying it was good, didn’t really get. Oh, no!

But then I pause — language, politics, editing, and reviews all benefit from a difference in opinion — even if we don’t see it at first. For how boring this world would be if we were all alike.

 

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Skean copy As I promote my Young Adult fantasy/adventure novel, The Enchanted Skean, I’ve given talks for several writers’ groups. The latest program was sponsored by the Annapolis Chapter, Maryland Writers Association on the Young Adult/ Cross-Over Market — and it also included The Enchanted Skean‘s strange journey from a scribbled first chapter to a published novel.

As you’ll see and hear, my presentation is animated and enthusiastic. A couple of the points I made: Be ready when opportunity knocks (I wasn’t). Be persistent (I am). Writers don’t always agree with their editor’s comments, but an editor is editing for the reader and (sigh) they’re usually correct in their suggestions. And, yes, it’s hard to admit my editors are usually right about their suggestions – I really don’t like to revise work, but I know it’s part of the publishing process.

I had fun doing the program, and I hope you’ll enjoy it. (Please ignore my rather disheveled appearance. I drove over 2 hours in rush hour traffic on a hot day to do the presentation). So here are the 2 links. Thanks to Annapolis Chapter MWA for inviting me, and thank you David Joyner for recording the talk and sharing. Enjoy!
Part 1:  https://vimeo.com/73053339
Part 2:  https://vimeo.com/73054182

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 Hooray! The 2011 issue of The Gunpowder Review arrived in 2 large boxes on my doorstep today. I opened the first box, heart thumping, and examined the newest edition of the women’s literary magazine that I’ve edited for the last 3 years.

I think the front and back covers look stunning. Front butterfly photo is from Katie Hartlove. Back cover photos are from Jean Voxakis, Danuta Kosk-Kosicka, Patti Kinlock, Kristin Stephens Crist, and Robin Bayne. And the poems, prose, photography, and artwork on the inside of the magazine are just as wonderful. I feel priviledged to publish the work of so many creative women, and look forward to hosting a publication reading on November 13th at 1 PM at the Bel Air, Maryland, Barnes & Noble. The public is not only invited, but encouraged to attend – so if you’re in the area, why not stop by?

 And the weather was so balmy today, that husband, Sandy the Black-Mouthed Cur, and I took a hike on the North Central Railroad Trail. We walked beneath deciduous trees that had few leaves remaining on their branches, over bridges spanning a creek that had enough momentum to turn many a mill wheel in the olden days, and beside farmland, woodland, and flood plain. Though there were exposed roots aplenty, fern gullies, and mossy rocks – I didn’t spy any Fairyfolk. Still, I believe that they were there peering at us from rabbit holes and birds’ nests.

There was a feeling of timelessness in the names of the tiny roads we crossed. I must research the history of the NCR Trail and the little towns we walked through. History holds so many secrets and endless inspiration for writers. I’ve used a bit of personal history to YA Urban Fantasy already, and I’ll surely use more.

So hurrah for hikes on sunny days, history, creative women, and the arrival of The Gunpowder Review 2011. Now, back to typing…

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 Today, before I begin working on my November novel, YA Urban Fantasy, I glance out the window. I expect the arrival of this year’s Gunpowder Review any day now, and I don’t want to miss the delivery person. I pick up last year’s issue with a water lily photo on the front cover from writer, photographer, and 2012 Balticon chair, Patti Kinlock. I flip through the pages, pausing every now and again to glance at a favorite piece of work.

As the editor, I know every word between these covers. And a year after the 2010 issue appeared, every error that I didn’t catch when proof-reading jumps off the page at me. I sigh, and hope that our wonderful designer, Katie, or I have spotted and corrected all errors in the 2011 issue. But there are gremlins hiding everywhere – so mistakes do happen.

 I turn The Gunpowder Review 2010 face down, determined to write another 2,000 words on my November novel today. But can’t help admiring one last time, the fabulous artwork & photos from Mary Lou Lanci, Mary Stevens, Wendy Stevens, and Kristin Stephens Crist that grace the magazine’s back cover. As impatient as I am for the 2011 Review to arrive, I’m also a little sad to see this fine collection of women’s work put on the “back issue” shelf.

Now (if the gremlins will stay away from my computer), back to the rats, pigeons, and goblins of my YA Urban Fantasy.  Now, where was I? Oh, yes: “A hand grabbed Roni from behind as she walked past an alley on her way from Casa Rosa to the subway entrance…”

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Over the past few days, several writers have asked about the differences in the stories & poems published by literary and genre magazines. (By genre, I mean science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, etc.) One writer even suggested that the rule for literary magazines is to “tell not show.” Dear me!

As the editor of a women’s literary magazine, “The Gunpowder Review,” published by the Gunpowder Pen Women http://gunpowderpenwomen.wordpress.com  I can assure writers that you still must SHOW not tell to get published in most literary magazines. I think the biggest difference I’ve notice as a writer/illustrator is that lit mags tend to not publish genre fiction & illos — whereas genre mags will sometimes publish literary prose & poetry as long as it’s subject appropriate.

Those with a sharp eye will notice the exception: genre poetry. If a sf/f/h/mystery poem tiptoes near enough to mainstream subjects, it has a reasonably good chance of being accepted for publication in a literary mag.

But I must tell you, if a story or poem is well-written, most editors will bend their “rules” and accept an urban fantasy or slightly supernatural mystery or near-future sf piece. And I think genre flash fiction can sneak into literary magazines easier than a 2,000+ word tale. Unfortunately, things like high fantasy, space westerns, vampire/werewolf tales, military sf, etc. are too genre no matter how well-written or short to fit into most lit mags.

Of course there are some editors who refuse to publish anything they view as genre, just as there are some teachers who rarely reward a genre story with a good grade. But even they can have their minds changed. When I took a “Writing the Novel” course as part of my Masters in Professional Writing, the instructor warned me, “You can write fantasy if you want, but it will be hard to earn even a “B” in the course.” I wrote fantasy — and much to the instructor’s credit, he changed his mind and rewarded my novel with an “A.”

So good luck to all you writers out there with writing & submitting your work. Whether you’re a genre or mainstream or literary writer, it’s important to research your markets.  And for you sf/f/h/mystery writers who want to see your writing in a lit mag, look for an editor who’s willing to stretch the boundaries of the “literary” magazine label.

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 Ethereal Tales, a print magazine from the UK, has one of my fantasy short-stories in their newest issue. The version you can now read (if you order a copy of Ethereal Tales Issue Seven) feels finished — but that wasn’t always the case.

The story, “The Garden Shop,” has gone through numerous revisions. It began as a 600-word tale, which I expanded to nearly 3,000 words. Later, I edited the story down to the core 1,000 words. Though the protagonist was always “Katie,” her character, physical appearance, and “otherness” has changed several times.

The plants in the shop have had the same names since the first draft (they’re their real botanical or common names), but their personalities and actions have varied. The intruder who disrupts this Eden was always male, but his motivation and behavior have also undergone numerous changes.

Four, five, six… I’ve lost count how many drafts of “The Garden Shop” have been saved on my computer. But I never gave up on the tale. I knew the central idea had merit, and my knowledge of plants would add authenticity to the story. And I knew if I kept going back to “The Garden Shop” every so often, I’d produce a publishable piece of fiction.

My message to writers: Revise till you get it right. Your persistance will eventually pay off.

My message to readers: The finished story you read in a magazine is often the result of many hours of writing and rewriting. But authors are willing to put the time into their fiction to deliver you an enjoyable tale!

 Want to know more about Ethereal Taleshttp://www.etherealtales.co.uk/  If you look at the Sneeky Peeks for Issue Seven, you can read the beginning of “The Garden Shop.” But be warned, as cheerfully as this tale begins, it has a rather dark magical ending!

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 Spring has finally come to our bit of yard near the edge of the woods. Even after the snowiest winter on record in Maryland, the dogwood trees are loaded with blossoms as if to confirm their symbolism. According to a reprinted version of Kate Greenaway’s 1884 book, “Language of Flowers,” dogwoods stand for durability.

Durability is an excellent attribute to have if you’re a smallish tree in a county that has bitter winters. It’s also an excellent trait to have if you’re a writer. You have to endure repeated rejection of your prose or verse. And even when an editor says, “Yes,” there are often multiple revisions to work on before the publishable version of the writing is ready for print.

At the foot of my favorite dogwood, which is rooted in the beginnings of the woods, are some snowdrops. Their nodding white flowers bloomed weeks ago when there was still snow hunkered down in the shadowy crevices of the forest. I recall the lovely blossoms, even though all that’s visible now are the spear-like leaves of the snowdrops.

It’s no wonder in floriography (the language of flowers) snowdrops symbolize hope. And hope is another characteristic that’s quite useful for a writer. Even when a publisher says,”No,” to one of your projects, you must push on. Writers submit and resubmit their stories to editors always hopeful that as they work on their craft, they will find a “home” for each tale.

On the north side of this dogwood tree there is some moss. It appears to be an ordinary moss to me, though a botanist would surely have a special name in both Latin and common tongue for this fuzzy member of the plant kingdom. According to Kate’s book, moss represents maternal love.

 Sometimes, writers think of their stories and illustrators consider their art work to be their children. How silly that sounds to many, but are these small creations not the result of months of incubation and hours of intense concentration as each detail is perfected? In the end, the birth of a tale or painting is followed by some loving discipline as the unruly bits are eliminated and new meritorious characteristics are added. The final step in the creative process, like motherhood (or fatherhood for that matter), is the sending forth of the child into the world — knowing even as you watch your little one climb onto the school bus or your envelope of poems vanish in the mailbox slot that what happens next is out of your control.

The world of writers and illustrators requires durability, hope, and tough love. But aren’t those also qualities each of us needs as we find our way through the maze of our day-to-day world?

 Learn more about Vonnie’s writing at www.vonniewinslowcrist.com

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