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Posts Tagged ‘Kelly A. Harmon’

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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catseye_final-72dpiI had the privilege to edit a wonderful new anthology from Pole to Pole Publishing, In a Cat’s Eye, with writing friend, Kelly A. Harmon. By the way, the title comes from an English proverb: “In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats.”

We received hundreds of stories, and had to turn down some good cat tales. But the 16 stories which share the final table of contents provide a fun and satisfying read for cat lovers and fans of speculative fiction. And I can honestly say, there are a couple of stories in In a Cat’s Eye, I wish I’d written! (Which is the highest compliment I can offer).

To read a bit more about some of the stories and their authors, here’s a link to a fascinating post on the blog of one of the contributors, Gregory L. Norris. You can find out more about the thoughts behind the cat stories of Gail Z. Martin, Oliver Smith, Steven R. Southard, KI Borrowman, Christine Lucas, Doug C. Souza, AL Sirois, AL Kaplan, and, of course, Gregory L. Norris.

If you, a friend, or family member loves cat stories or science fiction and fantasy, In a Cat’s Eye just might be the book for you. Here’s a buy link, just in case.

 

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Thanks to author Steven Southard for stopping by and sharing the Biblical background for his story, “Ancient Spin.” Enjoy!

Alas, Babel by Steven Southard

Steve Southard photo ‘First of all, I’d like to thank Vonnie Winslow Crist for allowing me to post as a guest on her blog, and also for including my story, “Ancient Spin,” in Pole to Pole Publishing’s anthology Hides the Dark Tower which she co-edited with Kelly A. Harmon.

“Ancient Spin” takes place in the land of Shinar near the site of the Tower of Babel, that lofty and legendary edifice whose story comes to us from Genesis. In the Biblical version, God sees the tower and disapproves of mankind speaking a single tongue. God scatters people across the Earth and confuses human languages. In some accounts, God also destroys “‘the tower.

Perhaps it’s all true, perhaps not. But if the Babel story is just a tale, then what is the truth? Was there an actual tower? What was it like and what happened to it? The people of Mesopotamia certainly constructed tall structures, many taking the tiered form of ziggurats. (Ziggurat—what a fun word!)

Some accounts state that Babel was built of fired brick, cemented with clay. At some point the people of the region shifted from sunbaked bricks to the sturdier fired brick. Even so, such buildings had to be built with much shallower angles (sloped like a pyramid) than our modern, vertical skyscrapers constructed of steel I-beams.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00001] Living in a flat plain, the people of the time must have considered these towers truly imposing. But even buildings constructed from fired brick would not have endured forever, and might have collapsed suddenly. In “Ancient Spin,” that’s the backstory. The Tower of Babel has just fallen and my main character is dealing with the disaster’s aftermath.

The story is very short, and if I’m not careful, this blog post could surpass the length of the tale I’m describing. You’ll meet only two characters—Eullil, and his brother, Ludarat. The name Eullil is my own corruption of the Sumerian words for “may the temple last into distant days.” Likewise, Ludarat is my twisting of “eternal man.”

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the stories in Pole to Pole Publishing’s new anthology, Hides the Dark Tower. It’s my hope you’ll buy it and enjoy “Ancient Spin.” If you do, and you end up craving more of my stories like:

“Ripper’s Ring,” http://www.gypsyshadow.com/StevenSouthard.html#Ripper

“Time’s Deformèd Hand,” http://www.gypsyshadow.com/StevenSouthard.html#TimesHand

or “The Cometeers,” http://www.gypsyshadow.com/StevenSouthard.html#Cometeers

Visit me on Twitter, on Facebook, and my website where I sign each entry as— Poseidon’s Scribe’

About the suthor: Steven R. Southard’s short stories stack up in ten different anthologies including Dead Bait, Quest for Atlantis, and Avast, Ye Airships! He’s the tall and looming author of the What Man Hath Wrought series, with thirteen stories at last count. An engineer and former submariner, Steve takes readers to new heights with engaging characters in distant places and varied historical periods. He builds stories in the genres of steampunk, clockpunk, science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

Thanks again to Stephen Southard for his guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, Quotable Wednesdays, blogs from me, and more. Have a well-constructed day! – Vonnie

 

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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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KellyAHarmon03172010e Thanks to author Kelly A. Harmon for stopping by and sharing some thoughts about her new novel, Stoned in Charm City – Charm City Darkness Book I. But before we read Kelly’s comments, here’s the back cover blurb of Stoned in Charm City:

“Forty dollars. Two crisp twenties. All that stands between Assumpta Mary-Margaret O’Connor and homelessness.

For the price of forty dollars, she helps archeologist Greg LaSpina find something he’s lost—and causes all Hell to break loose.

Literally.

With demons tormenting their every step, Assumpta and Greg become both hunted and hunter in their search for a way to send the demons back to Hell. One careless mistake could cost them their lives.

Wrestling with her faith, Assumpta considers as offer made by one very sexy demon: sleep with him, and learn how to rid the world of escaped evil.

But the offer comes with a steep price: her immortal soul.”

Stoned in Charm Cityby Kelly A. Harmon

“I grew up in Baltimore, and it was very natural to use Baltimore as the backdrop for Stoned in Charm City.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00001] Baltimore was dubbed Charm City in the mid-1970s. It came about when the mayor at the time, William Donald Schaefer, hired four of the leading ad-men in Baltimore, to come up with a campaign to do something about Baltimore’s bad image. (At the time, Baltimore had very little to recommend it: there was no Harbor Place, no Oriole Park, and no Ravens!)

It took only five full-page ads in local newspapers, each with a charm bracelet depicted at the bottom, to cement the name “Charm City.”

Here are some other fun facts about Baltimore:

*Baltimore is home to the Enoch Pratt Free Library, one of the oldest free public library systems in the United States. The main character of the book, Assumpta, spends a lot of time there. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say she meets some very interesting people there.

*Edgar Allen Poe led a prominent life in Baltimore. He’s buried in Baltimore’s Westminster Cemetery on Fayette Street. Well after he died, his personal library of books was given over to the Enoch Pratt Library. It’s in the Poe Room at Enoch Pratt that Assumpta does much of her research.

*The first successful balloon launch in the US occurred in Baltimore in 1784. The operator of the balloon? Thirteen-year-old Edward Warren.

*The Basilica of the Assumption, the US’s first catholic cathedral is located in Baltimore. (It’s not important to the story, but I mention it because Assumpta is named after the Catholic precept of the assumption.)

*Snowballs! Or snow cones, shaved ice, or slushies—whatever you call them—were invented in Baltimore during the American Industrial Revolution. (No spoilers here, so I can’t tell you why Assumpta would be dying for one of these when she comes back from a trip…)

To learn more, you’ll have to read the book!”

Want to discover more about Kelly A. Harmon and Stoned in Charm City? Visit her website, Facebook page, Facebook Fan page, or twitter.

And you can purchase Stoned in Charm City at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.

Thanks again to Kelly A. Harmon for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, Quotable Wednesdays, Saturday Owl posts, blogs from me, and ocasional Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a charmed day! – Vonnie

 

 

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