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Posts Tagged ‘Pole to Pole Publishing’

“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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Inspiration can be found in many places: people around you, things you hear or see, quotes, prayers, a hug from a dear friend… I often find inspiration for writing, art, and life when reading.

Imagine my surprise (and delight) to be asked by Sally Peters Roll for a quote from one of my books for her new book, When I Look To The Sky. Of course, I said, “Yes!”

So on page 66, below a quote from Rumi: “Beauty surrounds us.”  and on the opposite page from a quote from Edgar Allan Poe: “It is a happiness to wonder; it is a happiness to dream.,” you will see: “The world is full of mystery and magic. We just need to look, listen, and believe that wondrous things are still possible.” – Vonnie Winslow Crist

Cover-Electronic-GreenerForest The quote is from page 11 of my fantasy story collection, The Greener Forest, and expresses my view of the world.

So readers, if you’re looking to slip into “that magical place where Faerie and the everyday world collide,” you might enjoy my story collection from Pole to Pole Publishing, The Greener Forest. It is described by E.J Stevens, author of the Hunter’s Guild urban fantasy series, Spirit Guide young adult series, and Ivy Granger urban fantasy series as: “An intriguing look at the diverse relationships between humans and fairies. A wonderful, imaginative, multifaceted collection.”

And TJ Perkins, author of the Shadow Legacy fantasy adventure series, the Kim & Kelly Mystery Series, and Four Little Witches, described The Greener Forest as: “Magickal, enchanting and so enticing. I was pulled in and couldn’t stop reading!”

Or if you’re looking for a little inspiration, you might want to check out When I Look To The Sky – A Collection of Quotes, Poems, and Prayers for Loss, Grief, and Healing  by Sally Peters Roll, MSW. (And remember to keep an eye out for an inspiring quote from me!)

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The holidays are over and family houseguests have all returned to their own homes. The time has finally arrived for me to focus on my new collection of stories set in Lifthrasir, the world of my epic fantasy novel from Pole to Pole Publishing, The Enchanted Dagger.

crist-daggerThree of the stories to be included in Beyond the Sheercliffs are well on their way to completion. Working titles of these tales are: “The Velvet Gown,” “Greathearted,” and “Magpies.” By the way, I’m introducing each story with a scrap of a nursery rhyme. I imagine children everywhere, Lifthrasir included, sing rhymes!

It’s a tricky thing to write stories connected to a novel. I’m giving some background information on several of The Enchanted Dagger’s characters and letting my readers glimpse other parts of Lifthrasir. Plus, introducing a new race.

While expanding my fantasy world by writing Beyond the Sheercliffs, I’m mentally preparing to complete Book II of The Chronicles of Lifthrasir, (title still too nebulous to name) where my readers will follow the continuing adventures of Beck, Logan, Fafnir the dragonette, and friends (and enemies).

So Best Wishes to my readers for a Happy and Healthy 2017 as I dive into the world of Lifthrasir and write, write, write!

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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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I’ve been a fan of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern series of books since they were first published. I think I fell in love with the idea of a dragon who was both apart from a character and a part of the character. I even had compassion for the poor watch-beast who tried to protect Lessa in the first Pern book.

Perhaps it’s because I was born in the Year of the Dragon (I’ll leave you to figure out which Year of the Dragon that is), but those magical reptiles have always held a special place in my heart. I’ve included a dragon in a few short stories, most notably in “Weathermaker,” included in my book The Greener Forest (soon to be updated with an additional story and poem included and released from Pole to Pole Publishing).

Plus, a dragon plays an important role in my novel, The Enchanted Skean – though Fafnir is a wee dragon in this first book of The Chronicles of Lifthrasir. For fans of the The Enchanted Skean, look for a novelette length tie-in book from Pole to Pole Publishing by year’s end.

Now, back to Pern! I loved the fantasy vibe of the series, even though it was officially science fiction. These books tread that delightful ground between genres where I often like the stories I read (and write) to exist.

So hoorah! Though Anne McCaffrey is no longer with us, her marvelous dragon-filled world can still bring joy to fans new and old. As for me- I can’t wait to see what movie technology and good live-action can do for The Dragon Riders of Pern. Here’s the link to the article.

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weston201415 365 Thanks to author Neil Weston for stopping by and sharing the inspiration for his story, “The People of the Tower.” Enjoy!

From Poem to Story by Neil Weston

‘I’m one of these writers who wants to write stories with a flowery, poetic form as their backbone. Not an easy combination to pull off, as witnessed by a well of rejections! After getting my story, “The People of the Town,” accepted into Pole to Pole Publishing’s Hides the Dark Tower anthology, using a similar format, I was finally able to breathe that this style could work. It was only my second short story acceptance and, more importantly, was an experience in patience and belief.

The story originally started as a short-form poem and was inspired by my earlier poetic creations of servile/servant, warrior Japanese Kimono Droids (soft-faced, androids wrapped in colorful, steel, Kimonos and impervious to almost any munition) and a fascination with Japanese culture, history and mystery. A Kimono Droid inspired poem can be found in issue seven of Eye to the Telescope online.

My imagination is bleak, and I wanted these droids or variations of them to be the only things to survive an apocalyptic scenario. When I hit upon a near future destroyed by over industrialization, the shaping of the tale became evident. I have a penchant for irony and was keen to see the ending reveal painfully downbeat. My favorite poets are Bukowski, Plath, Shelley and of the modern crop of speculative poets, Alicia Cole. I think they all impacted on my vision and approach and to take a chance on some beautiful, brutal words, which then inspired the shape of the landscape in my head. Thanks as well to the Internet and multitude of websites for slowing me to fine tune dress and language and food.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00001] I like my poetry to be self-contained tales, and I think practicing Twitter fiction was a perfect form by which to learn to choose words carefully. With the editorial expertise of F.J. Bergmann, you can find one of my favorite creations in Mobius: the journal of social change, Vol 24, No 1 (under Neil Weston), which provides an insight into how and why “The People of the Town” evolved in the manner it did. Even though I’m always eager to finish one tale and tell the next, from poem to short story was about a calendar year of adding, subtracting words. This was truly a tale that refused to be rushed into being, much to my frustration! But I think the end result delivers my vision…’

To learn more about Neil Weston, visit his Facebook page.

If you’d like to read more of his work, you can check out a story in Forging Freedom Dimensions and a piece of flash fiction in Big Pulp.

Thanks again to Neil Weston for his guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more Guest Authors, Quotable Wednesdays, posts from me, and more. Have a fascinating day – Vonnie

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jgottwig Thanks to author Jeremy Gottwig for stopping by and sharing the journey from inspiration to published short story of the science fiction tale, “Who Abandon Themselves.” Enjoy!

Inspiration to Story by Jeremy Gottwig

‘Years ago, my wife (a religious historian) told me the story of the Abelard and Heloise. I’m not sure why it came up. Knowing her, it was probably just bouncing around in her mind.

Either you already know the story or you can use Wikipedia, so I’ll spare you my three penny synopsis. I will say that the story of Abelard and Heloise is sad, scandalous, sexy, and a little bit painful. It stuck with me, and years later it inspired my piece, “Who Abandon Themselves”, which is now available in the Hides the Dark Tower anthology.

Being the science fiction junkie that I am, I plucked these characters from Medieval Europe and dropped them onto different planets in a star system very unlike our own. In other words, I was not kind to these characters, but nor was their own time. “Who Abandon Themselves” focuses on a brief, fictional moment near the end of their relationship, but I envisioned a backstory that resembles historical reality. I recommend that you read my story before you dig into the facts. You shouldn’t encounter too many spoilers, but I suspect the story will be more enjoyable if you encounter these characters without context and fill in the details later.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00001] I would like to end on a personal note.

The title of my story, “Who Abandon Themselves”, is taken from a quote by Peter Abelard in one of his letters to Heloise: “The men who abandon themselves to the passions of this miserable life, are compared in Scripture to beasts.”

I love this quote, but I have to be honest: being married to a religious historian doesn’t make me a genius at deciphering religious texts. This quote feels like a moment of raw clarity in the middle of an otherwise unrestrained rambling. I encourage you to seek out the letter in its entirety if you want to see what I mean.

This reminds me of the process of writing and editing stories.

I rewrote the ending to “Who Abandon Themselves” half-a-dozen times. It had stagnated, and my cosmetic changes had little effect. My wife listened to me read and reread the thing after each little tweak. She provided honest (and brutal) feedback. My own moment of clarity came while reconsidering the relationship between my characters. Something clicked, and everything changed. I rewrote the entire ending from scratch. My wife liked it, and I submitted the story to Kelly and Vonnie.

employee01 And so I dedicate this story to my wife. She inadvertently gave me the idea, she loaned me her expertise as a historian when I had questions, and she listened to me read and reread the thing until we were both satisfied.”

To learn more about Jeremy Gottwig, visit his website or follow him on twitter and Pinterest.

And here’s where you can find his book, Employee of the Year.

Thanks again to Jeremy Gottwig for his guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, Quotable Wednesdays, blogs from me, and more. Have a fantastical day! – Vonnie

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mcguckin briana Thanks to Briana McGuckin for stopping by and sharing her journey as a reader, writer, and person with cerebral palsy. She has a story in the newly released speculative anthology from Pole to Pole Publishing, Hides the Dark Tower.

Broken, Brilliant by Briana McGuckin

‘My mother once told me: people with cerebral palsy are brilliant minds trapped in broken bodies.

This was not a don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover remark. She wasn’t teaching me about tolerance. This was part of a pep talk.

I was born about a month early, and I fit in one of my father’s hands. When I finally learned to walk, I did it on my toes—knees bent, leaning in upon each other to support my own weight.

Details are boring, but one way or another oxygen gets in where it shouldn’t and damages brain tissue. That’s CP. The severity of the resultant disability, and its complications, are so different across individuals because the damage can be slight or extensive, and affect different areas of the brain.

My hamstrings and heel cords are tight—as dictated by the garbled orders coming down from my brain. My hips were twisting, my knees bending, and my heels rising, all to accommodate the tension in my body. My legs were the worst of it, and still are.

I had a seat belt installed at my school desk when I was very young because I would concentrate so hard on what I was doing that I would fall right out of my seat. Later on in life, I was one of those “lucky” kids who got to walk the perimeter in gym instead of playing dodge-ball, or running the dreaded mile, but I promise you that I had already done my time in the form of physical therapy; for as long as I can remember, there were always kind strangers in the house bearing giant medicine balls, and little toys for fine motor-skill development. (Anyone else remember when Polly Pocket actually fit in your pocket?)

I had major surgery when I was ten, lengthening my heel cords and hamstrings, and getting metal plates put on my hips to set them straight. I missed some school, re-learned how to walk, and then went under once more to have the metal plates removed.

What does all of this have to do with writing? Well, it actually has more to do with reading.

My parents didn’t know how I was going to turn out, you know? A baby is a baby. If I couldn’t walk, they wouldn’t know it until it was time for me to start walking. If I couldn’t talk, they wouldn’t know until it was talking time.

But I was a talker. According to Mom (and moms exaggerate a bit, so bear that in mind) I was babbling full sentences well before my time, and to anyone who would listen.

Encouraged, my mom read to me often, and perhaps my entire destiny as a reader (and thus a writer) hinges upon one single habit of hers: while she was reading, she pointed at the words. She read me children’s books this way, and she even read out from the Danielle Steele books she was reading. It slowed her down, and she had to flip past all the dirty parts, but I bet in her estimation I didn’t have a lot of other ways to entertain myself. She saw a child who was doing a lot of work disguised as play—frustrating work, on giant medicine balls.

One day she forgot to point. She still loves to tell that story. “Mommy! Use your finger!” It was confirmation that she was doing something right for me.

I was reading before we got to reading in school, needless to say. My teacher was annoyed because my mother “might have taught [me] wrong,” and then—the next day, it seems to me—I had been placed in the “gifted readers” reading group. Suddenly I was winning spelling bees and writing little stories that received high praise from my teachers. And from there it just kept growing.

I say all this to contrast two internal pictures that I had of myself. On the one hand, I always understood that there were things I couldn’t really do, and places I didn’t fit in. I have been called ugly names, shoved into lockers, and gotten into little schoolyard scraps over being awkward and clunky.

And surgery is swell and all, but as the years go by old failings of my body creep back up on me. I can walk well enough, but my heels are inching off the ground again, and my knees are turning in. Strangers and acquaintances alike pull me aside to tell me the ways in which I can fix my body – and never because it’s a conversation I have started, but rather because it’s a problem they can see (and think that they can solve).

They mean no harm, but all the same it reminds me of my flaws. Something is wrong with me.

On the other hand, I have these words. I can take them in and spin them out, doing deft and delicate work mentally that is really beyond my physical capacity. In the wild expanse of my imagination, nothing can stop me: my reason is a muscle I can flex, train, and use. I may not be able to undertake whatever I choose, but I can understand. And I can give that understanding to others. Stephen King calls writing a form of telepathy.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00001] Nothing is wrong with me.

I guess I am a writer because I am not a runner. I choose to cherish myself for the things I can do rather than berate myself for the things I can’t. I choose it every day, and sometimes it’s hard.

It’s so easy to focus on our flaws, whatever they may be. But our flourishing is more important. We are all broken. We are all brilliant. Go with brilliance, I say.

Nothing is wrong with you.’

To learn more about Briana, check out her blog, Moon Missives.

Thanks again to Briana McGuckin for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guest posts, Quotable Wednesdays, blogs from me, and more. Have an inspired day! – Vonnie

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