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Posts Tagged ‘editors’

I love anthologies! I enjoy reading them because I get to sample the writing of lots of different writers. Usually, I find a new voice or two which appeal to me as a reader – then, I go looking for more of that writer’s work.

As a writer, I enjoy discovering anthologies that are looking for work, and writing a story (or poem) which fits the theme. Whether I complete the piece of writing in time to make the deadline is not important. Often, the themes aren’t subjects I’d have chosen on my own to write about, so I’m “stretched” as a writer. I “win” whether the piece makes it into the anthology or not.

A few times, I’ve been actually asked for a submission to an anthology. This is both cool and challenging. You don’t want to let down an editor who has requested your work.

Plus, I’ve been involved in editing several anthologies. Currently, I’m finishing up my editorial duties on Pole to Pole Publishing’s speculative short story anthology, Hides the Dark Tower. (And by the way, really proud of the quality of stories Kelly A. Harmon and I were able to put together for this collection).

As the editor (or co-editor), you have the opportunity to read lots of stories which hopefully fit the theme of the anthology, and select the best group of stories. Notice, I said: 1- fit the theme (writers take pay attention, if it doesn’t fit the theme, it won’t be accepted into the antho) 2- best group of stories (yes, when putting together an anthology, you need not only to think of which stories are best — but which stories fit together to create the best group of tales). Of course, there’s all the bad grammar, typos, and sloppy writing that can mar even the best story. Then, it’s up to the editor/editors to decide if they’re willing to fight their way through the manuscript and deal with all the corrections. (Most times, the answer is, “No.”)

Editor Gil Bavel posted a link to an interesting article on Eight Ways to Kill an Anthology by Geoff Brown. What do you think?

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 After a long wait, I finally have in hand my copy of While The Morning Stars Sing – An Anthology of Spiritually Infused Speculative Fiction. Congratulations to editor Lyndon Perry for this big (over 250 pages), beautiful book. The cover art, Transcendence, by Lance Red is even more powerful in-person than on-line. I can’t wait to sit quietly tonight and begin to read the stories and poems that others have written.

But wait — isn’t the 1st thing I should do is re-read my story, Blood of the Swan? Actually, no! I’ve already spent hours writing the dark fantasy story, then hours editing it after in-put from my writing group’s comments (thanks Katie & Michelle). I re-read it, scanning for typos, before I sent Blood of the Swan to the Writers of the Future Contest where it earned an Honorable Mention. Next, I made a few more revisions before sending it out to prospective publishers. ResAliens Press was the 2nd place I sent the tale to, and upon seeing this anthology — I know it is where the story was meant to find a home.

And isn’t finding the right publication for your story the trick? First, you need to find that editor who connects with your characters, recognizes the merit in the tale, and has the space for your 5,000 words or so. Then, the book or magazine has to make it through the publication process. Sadly, many wonderful small presses fall by the wayside, their projects incomplete and unpublished. And finally, you hope that readers will not only enjoy your story, but remember it once they’ve closed the book.

For memorable stories that stir an emotional response, stay with the reader, and maybe even cause him or her to think about their views on a part of life are the goal of most writers. Not an early bird, I suspect as I stay up late this evening reading the work of my co-contributors in While The Morning Stars Sing, I might witness the song of morning stars and summer moon as the bats wing, the owls call, and the grandfather clock chimes midnight.

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Yes, I know the title of this blog is cheesy. But some days are cheddar & gouda days. I decided to add a couple of fun links that are related to The Greener Forest to my blog.

First, I’d mentioned earlier that I’d drawn a maze which was included in the Balticon 2011 BSFAN book. For those of you who weren’t at that convention, my publisher has kindly scanned the maze, and it can be downloaded for FREE at the Cold Moon Press website: http://www.coldmoonpress.com/forreaders.html

 Second, I participated in a Broad Universe podcast. I must admit to being very intimidated as I stared at the microphone on my computer and tried to confidently read an excerpt of “Birdling.” I had to keep my reading, including intro & sign-off, to about 5 minutes. I “motor-mouthed” through a chunk of the text, then realized that if I wanted listeners to understand what I was saying, I needed to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n. After editing the story and stumbling through multiple read-throughs, I finally managed an agreeable reading of a snippet of the 1st story in The Greener Forest (which also appears in Faerie Magazine Issue 22).

If you’d like to take a listen, I start reading a portion of “Birdling” about 1 minute & 51 seconds into this podcast: http://broadpod.posterous.com/may-2011-celebrating-motherhood

If you’d like to meet me & hear what I have to say about submissions to The Gunpowder Review 2011, I’ll be participating on the editors panel on Weds., Aug. 17, 2011 at 6:30 PM in room 205, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, MD. This event is sponsored by the Annapolis/Anne Arundel County Chapter of the Maryland Writers Association: http://www.marylandwriters.org  I’ll also have copies of my book & the literary magazine available for purchase that evening.

And finally, take a few moments this week to step outside one night and listen to the cacophony (gosh, I love that word!). Summer is drawing to a close at Wood’s Edge (and in many other parts of the USA & elsewhere). The cicada, katydids, crickets, frogs, night birds, and a few unidentified critters are making quite a racket beneath the blanket of stars.

My advice for today: Do something fun (a maze perhaps?), do something outside your comfort zone, get out and meet people with similar interests, and enjoy the magic of a summer night.

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Balticon 2011 was a wonderful experience. On Friday, the publisher of The Greener Forest, Cold Moon Press, had a publisher’s presentation where Editor Katie did a fabulous job: http://coldmoonpress.com Cold Moon Press had so many cupcakes, cookies, and other goodies prepared for attendees, that I took the extras to the Broad Universe Reading.

Broad Universe is an organization that supports women who write (and illustrate) science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Gail Z. Martin, D. Renee Bagby, Danielle Ackley McPhail, Roberta Rogow, Jean Marie Ward, Phoebe Wray & I each read an excerpt from our writing. It was a wonderful hour-long reading. For more information about BU: http://broaduniverse.org

On Saturday, I shared an early morning booksigning time with novelist Leona Wisoker, and invited her to read with me during my afternoon reading slot. (She kindly agreed, and shared a few pages of her 2nd novel, Guardians of the Desert). We followed friends, Katie Hartlove & Michelle D. Sonnier. Great fun & a nice audience. I also participated in an Artists & Publishers Small Press Round Table that was relaxed & informative. A group of us went to dinner afterwards, including Balticon regulars writers Grig “Punkie” Larson & Jhada “Rogue” Addams.

Sunday began early with a panel on heroes, a presentation by Dark Quest Books, and I had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Robin L. Sullivan & the authors of Ridan Publishing. They’re quite an impressive group. Sunday was also the 2-hour Poetry Workshop. We made the attendees write, write, write – and invited the women in attendence to submit something to The Gunpowder Review http://gunpowderpenwomen.wordpress.com

On Monday, I managed to attend 2 more presentations that featured folks from Ridan Publishing. Robin was sick, but her authors did a great job. Look for me to apply some of the lessons I learned from them in the future. Also, I was the moderator for a panel on Cardboard Characters. And I got a few compliments on the maze I’d drawn for The BSFAN, the con’s program book.

Balticon was a fabulous place to network. It was friendly, there was an exchange of opportunities, and people were supportive. I got to meet fellow writers, readers & fans, and a few editors & publishers. I bought books by others, and folks bought a few of my books. And that’s what good networking is all about. Watch online for info on next year’s con chaired by Patti Kinlock: http://balticon.org

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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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