Rambling On

Anthony R. Cardno's Fiction and Commentary

Archive for the ‘editors’ Category

Tonight, I’m taking a break from interviewing people and letting my old friend (by which I mean, we’ve known each other a whole year now!) Brian White talk to you a bit about why you should, if you have a few extra bucks and love good stories from all genres, back the Kickstarter to fund Year Two of Fireside Magazine, to help the magazine move into its new format. So here’s Brian. Oh — ignore the nice things he says about me, but pay attention to the nice things he says about everyone else:

Galen Dara’s cover art for Fireside

One of the great things about my multigenre fiction magazine, Fireside, has been watching a community grow up around it as we have spent the past year funding it through Kickstarters.

By using crowdfunding to create a magazine, we have — inevitably, in retrospect — created a crowd around it. It is pretty awesome.

We see things like people who are collecting the coasters my wife makes that we have offered for rewards. People who have been drawn into illustrations in each issue. And then there’s Anthony, the only backer whose name has been used in a story in every issue. It’s really fun having these common threads running through Fireside, like seeing family every time you get together.

We’re hoping to keep this community together as we move into our next phase: relaunching Fireside as a monthly website and ebook. We’re running a Kickstarter now to fund the entire year at once, as opposed to the three issues we funded one at a time last year. It’s been a lot of fun doing it that way, but it’s time to create some stability and certainty in this experiment in publishing great fiction and in paying writers well.

Our plan for each issue in our second year is to have two flash-length stories, two short stories, and an episode of a serial experiment by Chuck Wendig. We have a terrific slate writers for the short stories: M. Bennardo, Jennifer Campbell-Hicks, Karina Cooper, Jonas David, Delilah S. Dawson, A.E. Decker, Steven J. Dines, Adam P. Knave, Ken Liu, James McGee, Jason Ridler , and Lilith Saintcrow. We already have eight of their short stories in, and they cover a wide array of genres. They are also awesome.

It will all be offered on a website being designed by Pablo Defendini, with a focus on simplicity and on readability on screens of any size. There will be ebooks too, for those who prefer to read e-ink and not a glowing screen.

If we do fund successfully by our deadline of March 5, we will be opening to flash fiction submissions on March 15. We will be re-opening to short story submissions as well in the future, sometime after we get Year Two going on July 1.

Our hope is to use this Kickstarter to give us the bridge to start moving to subscriptions as our main source of revenue, but I hope our community stays close and excited as we continue to create art together. It’s been so gratifying that people believe in us. They are the spark that brought Fireside to life.

* * * * * * *

What Brian didn’t mention is that as of this posting, there’s still a little over $15,000 in pledges to raise in 12 days. Here’s the link to the Kickstarter campaign. Help us get this thing funded, so there are more chances for me to see characters named after me!

Also, here’s the link to the magazine’s current website where, for free, you can read two of the three stories featuring main characters named after me: Christie Yant’s “Temperance” and Damien Walters Grintalis’ “Scarred.” Both of these stories will also be reprinted in my anthology THE SEVEN TORTURES OF ANTHONY CARDNO, about which more in a later post. (I mention it largely because the anthology is largely Brian’s fault.)

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This week’s interview, delayed from last week due to lots of personal circumstances, is with Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon, the editors of Apex Publications’ DARK FAITH and DARK FAITH: INVOCATIONS.

Jason Sizemore, Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon

ANTHONY: Before we talk about the new book you’ve co-edited, DARK FAITH: INVOCATIONS, I’d like to talk about the experience of putting together the first DARK FAITH anthology. How did that come about, and what did you learn from that process that influenced your work on the new volume?

MAURICE:  I host an annual convention called Mo*Con (http://www.mocon.indianahorror.org/).  Each year I invite a few horror, science fiction, and fantasy writers in, we hold the convention in a church, and we discuss topics related to genre and faith.  You tell people you’re having a convention in a church, all they hear is “church” and, again, there are preconceptions to what goes on there.  With the great line up of writers that we have regularly attending Mo*Con, we talked with Jason Sizemore, of Apex Books, about doing a Mo*Con anthology.  That project evolved into Dark Faith.  I guess you could say that I’ve always been fascinated with hearing people’s stories about faith, no matter where that story takes them.

I think every writer should take a turn behind the slush pile to see what an editor faces every day.  From the lack of professionalism, the inability to follow guidelines, to the ideas/stories they see all the time.  That was my first major take away lesson.  The second was that after we put together the original Dark Faith, we had a better idea of what kind of stories we were looking for.  Our writers did also, which was reflected in the (much better) slush pile.

JERRY:  Mo*Con gives people with wildly divergent views a place to discuss controversial issues.  The respect for ideas and emphasis on civil discourse at the heart of the convention went a long way toward winning me over when Maurice brought up the idea of doing Dark Faith together.

ANTHONY: What is the focus of DARK FAITH: INVOCATIONS, and does it differ at all from the intent or theme of the first volume?

MAURICE:  The focus honed in even more on the idea of faith.  That being said, I think the second volume is lighter in tone overall, even as it is still soul crushing.

Dark Faith 2: Invocations

JERRY:  Invocations is tightly focused on the testing of faith from a broad variety of belief systems (atheism to magic and everything organized in between).  The book does have more fun with the subject.  Imagine hunting giant Buddhas in a post-apocalyptic future or learning the secrets of the universe from a wish-granting vending machine.

ANTHONY: You held an open call for submissions for INVOCATIONS, correct? How many submissions did you receive, and how long did it take to whittle the slush down to your final choices?

JERRY:  We received just over seven hundred total submissions, enough to fill twenty-six anthologies.  It took about four months to whittle that avalanche down to a final table of contents.  From a process perspective, we went through four rounds of cuts:

Round 1 – Top 150 stories

Round 2 – Top 75 stories

Round 3 – Top 40 stories

Round 4 – Final 26 stories

The first round involved weeding out the amateur, semi-pro, and off-topic stories.  Once the easy cuts were made, thematic overlap, space constraints, and a whole host of editorial issues guided the rest.  I posted a detailed deconstruction of the process on my website (http://www.jerrygordon.net/2012/06/01/behind-the-scenes-dark-faith-2/).

ANTHONY: You’ve co-edited both volumes. What is your process for deciding the final Table of Contents and then story order? Have there been any violent disagreements? (I’m picturing Editor-Dome in Maurice’s living room right now…)

MAURICE:  The first time around was a lot easier.  The stories that worked REALLY worked and stood out from the rest.  This time around, there were so many GREAT stories that it was a lot tougher to get that final pool cut.  I really feel like at times we were team captains and we were choosing up members of our side until we hit our word count limit.  This whole process was made easier by judicious application of Riesling.  Another place where Riesling is your friend is in figuring out the order.  It becomes a lot easier to see a flow to the stories…

JERRY:  We had forty stories left when we met to decide the final table of contents.  We played with half a dozen potential approaches, discussing the merits of each story and how they might work in concert.  In the end, we took turns drafting stories like NFL players.  With each round we recalculated the word count, talked about the remaining stories, and made another round of picks.  The last few rounds were positively heart wrenching.  This is a small business, and putting on the editor’s hat means disappointing talented writers that also happen to be good friends.

ANTHONY: Do your individual editing styles differ when you’re working on an anthology of your own? What do you each bring to the table as co-editors?

MAURICE:  I do quite a bit of freelance editing, but my style doesn’t really change.  I’m looking for the best stories, ideas that intrigue me, or some ineffable quality that makes a story great.

I like to think that I bring a particular vision to Dark Faith.  It’s a project that’s close to my heart and who I am.

JERRY:  On the first book, Maurice set the initial vision and worked very hard to solicit a cadre of amazing writers.  I honed that vision and handled the logistics.  This time around we traded duties back and forth, stepping in for each other when our schedules turned from busy to insane.

Maurice Broaddus

ANTHONY: I won’t ask you each to pick a favorite story from INVOCATIONS, but I will ask what authors we can expect to see in the book and if there’s anything in particular you think will stun readers.

MAURICE:  “Subletting God’s Head” by Tom Piccirilli kind of sets the tone for this volume (which is why it is first) then “The Cancer Catechism” by Jay Lake immediately rips your heart out.  “Magdala Amygdala” demonstrates that there is something fundamentally wrong with Lucy A. Snyder (I kid because I love).  And “A Strange Form of Life” by Laird Barron is a particular favorite of mine (I’m not scared to choose a favorite child!)

JERRY:  Readers are almost universally surprised by the broad range of stories and ideology.  An Asian artist that can reshape reality with her sketches.  A middle-eastern robot fighting his addiction to a futuristic drug called faith.  African folk magic and family rivalries mixing it up in the boxing ring.  A small-town boutique that offers you the chance to shop for your own personal god.  I could go on.  It’s an eclectic mix of tones and worldviews.

As for personal favorites, I love Richard Wright’s “The Sandfather.”  This story sneaks up on you emotionally, and I’ve already had several reviewers email me to say the story blew them away.  The subtle beauty of Alma Alexander’s “Night Train” also impresses.  Looking at the table of contents, I want to hijack this interview so I can talk about Kyle S. Johnson’s haunting portrayal of a North Korean family and Tim Pratt’s wishful fantasy and K. Tempest Bradford’s take on mythology.

ANTHONY: Are there any authors who have work in both volumes, or was that something you consciously avoided?

MAURICE:  The answer’s a little bit of both.  We didn’t want to completely overlap TOCs, but we didn’t want to rule out great stories from writers who have already demonstrated that they get what we’re looking for.  I think we set some arbitrary percentage of how many authors could repeat (which we probably ignored, thus I can’t remember what it was).

JERRY:  We went into the book hoping to bring about a third of the original authors back.  Maurice and I solicited a second third and dove into the slush pile to find the remaining stories.

ANTHONY: What else would you like potential readers to know about INVOCATIONS?

MAURICE:  You need to buy many copies of it and pass them out to your friends.

JERRY:  This book will entertain you, make you think, and magically remove ten pounds from your waistline.

ANTHONY: What’s in the near future for each of you?

MAURICE:  My urban fantasy trilogy, The Knights of Breton Court, is being re-released as an omnibus (by Angry Robot Books).  I have a short story in the current issue of Shroud Magazine and have stories coming out in a bunch of upcoming anthologies (Appalachian Undead, The New Hero, Vampires Don’t Sparkle, Relics and Remains, and Cadence in Decay).  My short story, “Awaiting Redemption”, will be in the HorrorWorld Anthology as well as available for a listen on Pseudopod.com.  Apex Books will also be publishing my novella, I Can Transform You.

Jerry Gordon

JERRY:  My apocalyptic novella, Breaking The World, is set to be released in 2013 (Apex Publications).  It follows a trio of teenagers forced into adulthood by the end of the world.  I also have a short story out in the current issue of Shroud called “Ghost in the Machine.”  In it third-party politics, torture bans, and a mysterious ‘Ghost Program’ conspire to change the course of our Republic.  Add to that “Vampire Nation” for the forthcoming Vampires Don’t Sparkle! tribute anthology (Seventh Star).

ANTHONY: And my usual closing question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it yet to convince them that they should? 

MAURICE:  The Gift by Patrick O’Leary, Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, and Beloved (heck, anything) by Toni Morrison.  If I have to convince you to read any of them, especially Morrison, I’ll just pluck out your eyes because you obviously aren’t doing anything worthwhile with them anyway.

JERRY:  Talk about your impossible questions!  My brain freezes just trying to come up with a top ten list.  I can’t give you a favorite, so I’ll just give you a recommendation.  The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.  The book, given to me during a rough patch in my life, contains a lifetime of wisdom.  I’ve purchased several copies for friends over the years.

ANTHONY: Thanks again to you both!

 

You can purchase DARK FAITH: INVOCATIONS through Amazon, Barnes & Noble or directly from Apex Publications. On Twitter, you can follow @MauriceBroaddus and @jerrylgordon. You can also keep track of the authors/editors on Maurice’s website and Jerry’s website, and they’re both on Facebook: Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon.

 

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To Open The Sky by Robert Silverberg

The answer is: To Open The Sky.

The question: What was the first book about colonizing outer space you remember reading?

Robert Silverberg’s To Open The Sky is not anywhere near as well-known as space colonization novels by Ray Bradbury ( The Martian Chronicles, the second colonization book I ever read), Arthur C. Clarke, Gene Wolfe, and countless others. It’s also not as well-known as other Silverberg works (The Chronicles of Majipoor, for example) and in fact is long out of print.  Regardless of all of that, it holds a special place in my heart. I reread it every few years and feel the excitement I felt the first time I read it, as I realize what religious founder Noel Vorst’s long-term master plan is, played out over a century or more, for getting humanity beyond our own system and out to the stars. We never get to see the actual colonies that are founded, but Silverberg’s future Earth and colonial Mars and Venus tell us enough.

I’m not the only science fiction fan fascinated with the concept of humanity’s colonization of other planets.  Bryan Thomas Schmidt is inspired and fascinated by colonization stories, even moreso than I am. With the essential end of NASA’s space shuttle program and the slow beginning of the commercial space program (with SpaceX’s Dragon rocket launching just this week), Bryan sees a need now more than ever for readers to look to the stars and regain the excitement that sf of the ’40s and ’50s, and the real events of the ’60s to the present, gave us.

So Bryan, a writer and editor of science fiction (his own first sf novel, The Worker Prince, was an Honorable Mention on the Barnes and Noble Notable SF List and he recently edited Space Battles for Flying Pen Press), has decided to put together an anthology of mostly-new colonization stories. The book will be called Beyond The Sun. Bryan’s invited twenty-something authors to submit stories to be considered for approximately sixteen slots in the book, joining four headliners: Mike Resnick. Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Nancy Kress. And …. Robert Silverberg.

Now, the Silverberg story will be one of the book’s few reprints but it’s a story I’ve never seen before. This is one of the two main reasons I want to see Beyond The Sun published, to readily access a Robert Silverberg story about space colonization that isn’t part of the universe he gave me in To Open The Sky, but which will be vibrant and exciting nonetheless.

Draft cover art for Beyond The Sun

But the book won’t be published if Bryan can’t raise the funds to pay the authors (the headliners and the mid-list and the newbies he’s invited).  He’s got just a few hours over 5 days to hit the funding goal of $5,000, and with Kickstarter (unlike IndieGoGo), it’s all or nothing. If we get to the deadline and Bryan’s not at $5,000 … no Beyond The Sun. Which is a shame considering how passionate Bryan is about this project, and considering how wonderful the contents are bound to be regardless of which sixteen authors get chosen to join the headliners.

And here’s the other reason I want to see this project fully funded, and it’s a very selfish one: I’m one of the twenty or so authors Bryan invited to submit a story for consideration. If Beyond The Sun gets funded, and Bryan chooses my story to be included … my colonization story would be in the same book with Robert Silverberg, one of the men who excited my own interest in SF more than thirty years ago. And that is just too cool an opportunity to pass up.

So that’s why I’ve backed the BTS Kickstarter at the highest level I can afford — not for the perks I’ll get for pledging at that level, but to increase the chances that the book will see print. It’s a book I’ll want to read whether I’m in it or not (and there’s no guarantee I will be, until I finish the story and Bryan accepts it).

Why should you back it?  Well, if you love good science fiction, especially good sf about colonization, consider it like pre-ordering a book through BN or Amazon, without the risk. If you pledge and the book doesn’t get fully-funded, you’re not out a cent. If you pledge and it does get funded, you’re guaranteed a first printing of a great anthology, and you’ll get whatever other perks are attached to your pledge level (which include things like personalized, autographed copies; having yourself Tuckerized into a story; or a critique by a well-known sf editor, among others).

Why else should you back it? Because (especially if you’re a friend of mine, sf fan or not) you’ll possibly be helping me achieve a dream: being included in the same anthology with Robert Silverberg.

So click the link, watch Bryan’s video explaining why this book is so important to him, read the bios of the headliners. If you choose to back, there are some story excerpts on the Updates page and links to where you can find other excerpts. And even if you can’t back the project financially … please spread the word. Hit the “Like” button and the Tweet button. Get the word out there. We’ve got 5 days to raise over $3,000 dollars. More has been raised in short time periods on Kickstarter, with the right word of mouth.

And thank you in advance to all of you who do help Bryan make his dream, his book, a reality, and thus possibly help mine as well.

BEYOND THE SUN KICKSTARTER PAGE

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Beyond The Sun

Posted by admin under authors, editors, fundraisers

Every now and then I like to feature Kickstarter projects that I’m particularly interested in, and more often than not those projects involve short story anthologies. Here’s the latest, a chat with frequent guest Bryan Thomas Schmidt.

Beyond The Sun cover concept

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince (2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. A sequel The Returning followed in 2012 and The Exodus will appear in 2013, completing the space opera Saga Of Davi Rhii. His first children’s books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Books For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Lost In A Land Of Legends (forthcoming) appeared from Delabarre Publishing in 2012.  His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012) and is working on Beyond The Sun,forthcoming. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and is an affiliate member of the SFWA.

 

ANTHONY: So Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 seems to have gotten good reviews and had steady sales, and now you’re raising backers for another anthology, Beyond The Sun. Tell us how that came about?

BRYAN: Since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by the Universe and space travel, the idea that one day humans could go out and discover what’s out there. An anthology on space colonization seemed a natural extension of that. And with the recent downsizing of NASA and death of Neil Armstrong, I found myself remembering all the times I spent dreaming about other planets and worlds. As an adult, I’ve travelled the world, exploring other cultures, and in large part, it comes from that same drive to discover the other, the different, the new. Beyond that though, I hear about young people, particularly boys, not being into reading like they used to be, and I want to create stories kids like me would enjoy. Additionally, I wanted to create something teachers and parents might use to encourage that urge to discover in younger generations. Lastly, I love working with other writers, and I saw a chance to bring pros and newcomers together to fulfill this in a way that benefits all of us.

ANTHONY: Well, you do have some big names involved.

BRYAN: I do. Robert Silverberg gave me an old story that has not appeared much which is really good, of course. Mike Resnick is a good friend and headlined Space Battles. He’s done so much to help me, my only way to return that is to give him work, and luckily, he gladly accepts.  Nancy Kress is a new friend but she’s explored colonialism a lot in her work so she’s a perfect fit. All of these, of course, are Hugo and Nebula winners on multiple occasions. But I also have a fourth headliner who’s won the same awards and she’ll be joining us if we get the funding.

ANTHONY: Some of the lesser names, you might call them, are not unknown either: Cat Rambo, Jennifer Brozek, Jason Sanford…

BRYAN: Yeah, all of whom have become friends and are people whose work I admire. Joining them are Analog regulars Brad R. Torgersen (Hugo/Nebula nominee this year) and Jamie Todd Rubin, and Sanford’s Interzone fellow Matthew Cook, along with novelists Jean Johnson and Erin Hoffman.

ANTHONY: And then there’s the little people…like me.

BRYAN: Well, you’re not unknown, just not as much for your writing yet, but that will come. You were in Space Battles, and so were several others. But as people may know from SFFWRTCHT (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat), encouraging and helping others, especially fellow writers, is something I love to do. And to be in an anthology with people of this caliber and make pro or semi-pro rates is a huge opportunity. I like helping others achieve their dreams, but the advantage here is that, in the process, they help me achieve mine, which is a cool parallel to have. At the same time, I have to make sure the anthology is the best it can be, so I’ve invited twenty writers to vie for thirteen spots alongside the headliners.

ANTHONY: You mentioned that Silverberg gave you a reprint and I know there are a couple of others, but the plan is mostly for brand new stories, right?

BRYAN: Yes, Resnick, Kress and our fourth headliner all plan to write new stories. Resnick’s promised to use his African knowledge for it, in fact. Those Hugo winning stories are amongst my favorites of his. I have reprints from Silverberg, Jason Sanford, and Autumn Rachel Dryden, whose story, “Respite,” is one of the inspirations for this anthology. Hers and Jason’s appeared previously in early issues of IGMS and it’s a privilege to reintroduce them to people now.

ANTHONY: Like Space Battles, there wasn’t an open call for submissions. Is that going to be your modus operandi? Why not invite the public?

BRYAN: Space Battles wound up with a far more open call than this but I have novels to write and promote, freelance editing clients to please and 7 anthology projects in the works. I just can’t read that much slush and it’s hard to find someone whose sensibilities are identical enough that you can let them do it for you. I do invite new people with every project and I do look for people I’d like to work with and haven’t. But I have to face certain time limits realistically and so, at this time, an open call just doesn’t make sense. I’m not opposed to it in general though.

ANTHONY: Why Kickstarter as opposed to finding a publisher?

BRYAN: One, anthologies are a hard sale right now. Two, KS actually provides me a chance to use more up and coming writers. A publisher would want 10 headline names. Three, I get more creative freedom. Four, I can raise enough to pay far higher rates to artists and writers than a press would allow me, unless a big NY trade house came aboard, and I am still proving myself, so trusting me with a project like this, when they do so few, is a hard sell.

ANTHONY: How hard is putting a Kickstarter together?

BRYAN:  Not too bad but you do need to do your research. The hardest part is that being unemployed since May 2010 and surviving on freelance, I just don’t have much money for videos and promotion. But I found a woman who did a great video for $15 provided I did a voice over, gave her a concept and provided some images. And Mitch Bentley chipped in on cover mock ups as well as other artists. Plus the writers are allowing me to tease their stories to backers when we reach certain levels, so that will also be great to show people that we really will have not just variety but quality.

ANTHONY: Well, the headliner’s names kind of speak for themselves, right?

BRYAN: Yes, but even diehard fans may not love every story an author writes, and the new talent is a question mark for some. Sharing Jason and Autumn’s stories allows me to show stories from all three writing tiers.

ANTHONY: Very cool. Well, I’m going to write the best story I can in the hopes of making one of those open spots, but either way, I can’t wait to see it.

BRYAN: Thanks, me, too. I’m very excited. I loved the diversity I got from my writers for Space Battles, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with this concept.

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Editor John Klima

It’s no secret that I am a lover of the short story format. The more anthologies and print mags and online mags there are featuring flash fiction, short stories and novellas, the better. So when a Kickstarter for an anthology or magazine comes to my attention, I not only contribute, I invite the people involved to talk about it here. Today’s interview is with ELECTRIC VELOCIPEDE editor and publisher John Klima. In addition to founding and publishing EV, John has also edited the anthologies LOGORRHEA and HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

 

ANTHONY: Tell me a little bit about the history of Electric Velocipede and where things stand now.

JOHN: I founded Electric Velocipede in 2001 after I left publishing as my full-time job to become a computer programmer. I missed publishing almost immediately but got some inspiration from Gavin Grant of Small Beer Press to start my own zine. We’ve published two issues a year, with the occasional double issue thrown in. In 2009 we won the Hugo Award for Best Fanzine; we also received four nominations for the World Fantasy Award. We partnered with Night Shade Books in 2009, but dissolved the partnership at the end of 2010. In 2011 we moved online with issue #23. We’re currently getting issue #24 online and plan on getting out #25 before the year ends. Beyond that, we don’t have any fiction in reserve and will need to re-open to submissions in order to put together more issues.

ANTHONY:  What can readers expect in EV going forward after the Kickstarter?

JOHN: If the Kickstarter succeeds, we’ll have the funding to put out four issues in 2013. We’ve published a range of writers from new to established, including people like Jeffrey Ford, Catherynne M. Valente, Jeff VanderMeer, Genevieve Valentine, Ken Liu, Aliette de Bodard, and more. As I said above, we’ll get out issue #25 at the end of this year and start putting together issues for next year.

ANTHONY: What is EV’s policy on open submissions from authors?

JOHN: We take submissions from anyone. We’re currently closed to submission however.

ANTHONY: What made you choose Kickstarter for your fundraising efforts, as opposed to IndieGoGo or any of the other tools out there?

JOHN:  I’m using Kickstarter instead of raising the money solely on my own. It was the service I knew beforehand from backing a few projects and was comfortable using. It wasn’t until after I had myself set up on Kickstarter that I realized there were other tools available. If we find ourselves in need of fundraising in the future I’ll certainly investigate all my options.

ANTHONY: What are some of the perks people can receive for backing the Kickstarter?

JOHN: We’ve got some basic perks like an electronic copy for your e-reader of choice of issue #25 and a four-issue subscription, but we also have a few fun things available. We have a cool t-shirt (there are photos on the Kickstarter) in men’s and women’s sizes that people can get along with a four-issue subscription at the $50 level; there’s a $45 level for a custom mouse pad and four-issue subscription; at $100 you get a 2013 calendar using Thom Davidsohn’s amazing cover art and a four-issue subscription. There’s also baked goodies (I do a lot of baking in our house), editorial services, and more.

Electric Velocipede

ANTHONY: How has the Kickstarter been going so far?

JOHN: We’re at 85% funding with more than two weeks to go. It’s been going well.

ANTHONY: What other projects are you working on in addition to editing and publishing EV? 

JOHN: My agent and I are finalizing a few anthology ideas and I’m working on the first book of a YA series. I have a book I’m putting together for the American Library Association, and I’m generally doing too many things at once at my job as an assistant director at a large public library. Somewhere in there I find time for my wife and two kids.

 

Interested in helping support a great genre short fiction market put out another year’s worth of issues? Follow this link to the Electric Velocipede Kickstarter … and remember, the more they raise beyond their $5,000 goal, the more they can do!

And of course you can visit the magazine itself to see what all the fuss is about: Electric Velocipede.

You can follow John on Twitter: @johnklima and the magazine too: @EV_Mag.

 

 

 

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FIRESIDE

Posted by admin under authors, editors, fundraisers, interviews

This is a week of posts related to various Kickstarter projects I’ve backed and hope you will too. None of them are my own (currently, I’ve got nothing I think I should be doing a Kickstarter for), but all of these are important to me for one reason or another. Some of them are projects of friends. Some of them are just projects I think are cool. Most of them are both.

 

Today’s focus is on the recently-successfully-concluded Kickstarter for issue # 2 of FIRESIDE magazine. I backed the first issue, and ended up as a main character in Christie Yant’s story “Temperance,” which opens with my character concluding the worst bender of his life by puking into an open grave … during a funeral.  For issue #2 I chose the reward to be a main character in Damien W. Grintalis’ story, still unnamed, and I can’t wait to see what horrible things she’s going to do to “me.”

Here’s Fireside editor/publisher Brian White, talking about plans for #2 and beyond:

 

ANTHONY: What is the main concept for Fireside?

 

BRIAN: Fireside has two goals: to publish great storytelling regardless of genre and to pay our writers and artists well.

The idea for Fireside grew out of a stew of information and ideas that had been simmering in the back of my brain for about a year, mostly coming out of conversations and ideas I’d been seeing on Twitter and blogs that I follow: about pay for writers, about new business models for publishing, and about the health of short fiction. I’d been starting to see a lot of talk about crowdfunding, especially Kickstarter, and one day I realized: I can publish a magazine. Funding even the first issue of Fireside wasn’t something I could have done out of my own pocket. But crowdfunding allowed me to do two things: eliminate a financial risk for myself, and gauge if there was genuine interest in what I wanted to do. I didn’t have the money, but I could invest my time, sweat, and enthusiasm in the magazine.

So once I realized I could do this, I quickly decided I wanted to do something like what Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio did with the anthology “Stories”: find good story-driven fiction, but not focused on a particular genre. I also knew I wanted to try publishing a comic in each issue along with short stories, because I’ve just started reading comics in the past few years, and I love them and wanted to experiment with that.

In the introduction to “Stories,” Gaiman writes of his response to a question about what quote he would want inscribed on the wall of the kids’ section in a public library. He captured the reason why we love good stories in his response:

“I’m not sure I’d put a quote up, if it was me, and I had a library wall to deface. I think I’d just remind people of the power of stories, of why they exist in the first place. I’d put up the four words that anyone telling a story wants to hear. The ones that show it’s working, and that pages will be turned:

“… and then what happened?” “

ANTHONY: What can readers expect in your first issue and beyond?
BRIAN: Each issue will have four short stories of between 2,000 and 4,000 words and one comic. I’m hoping that each issue will be very different in terms of the mix of genres, and therefore each will be a little surprising.

ANTHONY: What is Fireside’s policy on open submissions from authors?
BRIAN: Because of the nature of Kickstarter and because I was starting from scratch, the first two issues of Fireside were invitation-only. By having writers and artists lined up, I was able to offer a lot of rewards tied to each contributor.

However, we do want to start taking submissions. Starting with Issue Three, at least one slot will be held for submitted short stories. I’m not sure what form this will take, but it will probably be a limited window of some kind, both because I am totally new at dealing with submissions, and because we are quarterly and will have only the one slot per issue for now, I don’t think rolling submissions make a lot of sense.

ANTHONY: What made you choose Kickstarter for your fundraising efforts, as opposed to IndieGoGo or any of the other tools out there?
BRIAN: Mainly it was because Kickstarter is the most recognizable of the options, and because more people have heard of it, I thought they’d be more comfortable giving it their credit card information.

ANTHONY: Looking back, is there anything you’d change about your campaign?
BRIAN: The only thing that is apparent right away is that I think we overpriced a couple rewards that didn’t really have any takers, but other than that, I think things went really well. For Issue Two we experimented with a three-week campaign instead of the traditional 30 days, and it worked out great, and cut out one of the slow middle weeks, which are kind of nerve-racking anyway because it seems like interest has died out.

ANTHONY: How can people who missed out on the Kickstarter subscribe/become supporters of Fireside?
BRIAN: Fireside is for sale in several places, and we have subscriptions through Weightless Books. Links to all of those options are available athttp://firesidemag.com/getfireside.

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This is a week of posts related to various Kickstarter projects I’ve backed and hope you will too. None of them are my own (currently, I’ve got nothing I think I should be doing a Kickstarter for), but all of these are important to me for one reason or another. Some of them are projects of friends. Some of them are just projects I think are cool. Most of them are both.

Today’s spotlight is on CROSSED GENRES. CG started as an online magazine, then became a publisher. They recently hit a financial setback and turned to Kickstarter to rejuvenate. And so far the campaign has not only exceeded expectations, it’s exceeded one stretch goal and, with a few days to go, looks to meet a second stretch goal as well. If they can raise a few more bucks, they can follow through on their intention to pay authors pro rates. I’d love to see this happen, and not only because I plan to eventually submit work to them!

I conducted a new, short interview with publisher Bart Leib about the campaign and their goals:

CROSSED GENRES issue #12 (LGBTQ) cover by Julie Dillon

ANTHONY: What is the main concept for Crossed Genres?

 

BART: Our small press started with our magazine. Each month we choose a genre or theme, and all submissions for that issue have to combine the theme with some aspect of science fiction and/or fantasy. We’ll continue this when we resurrect the magazine in 2013. And if we succeed in reaching our 2nd stretch goal, we’ll achieve a long-time dream of ours: to pay writers professional rates for their stories!

 

ANTHONY: What can readers expect in your first issue and beyond?

 

BART: Our “first” issue will actually be our 37th! We haven’t actually decided what the first new genres will be, but we have plenty to choose from – we have a list of over eight years worth of themes that we didn’t get to during the first three years. If we reach our stretch goal to pay professional rates, it may influence the themes, but no matter what, the themes will be diverse and progressive.

 

ANTHONY: What is Crossed Genres Magazine’ policy on open submissions from authors?

 

BART: CG Magazine has always had open submissions. That will continue when we re-launch in 2013.

 

ANTHONY: What made you choose Kickstarter for your fundraising efforts, as opposed to IndieGoGo or any of the other tools out there?

 

BART: We had already run two successful Kickstarter campaigns. Actually we were fairly early adapters, running our first campaign in early 2010. We were already familiar with the process of going through Kickstarter, which makes everything very streamlined and simple. It also has a great existing ecosystem, and that helps more people find the campaign.

 

ANTHONY: Looking back, is there anything you’d change about your campaign?

 

BART: Well it’s still going on, but we do wish we’d known ahead of time that it was going to be such a success! Most things have gone very well, and we only wish we could offer even more to our amazing backers! But the rewards we are offering have been very well received. Really the only “regret” is that we haven’t reached even more people!

 

ANTHONY: How can people who missed out on the Kickstarter subscribe/become supporters of Crossed Genres?

 

BART: Our Kickstarter is still going on! It runs until 5PM EST on Friday, June 22! There’s still time to get some great rewards and help us become a pro-rate market!

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This week’s guest is editor John Joseph Adams, whose latest book is UNDER THE MOONS OF MARS, new short stories celebrating the 100th anniversary of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic hero John Carter of Mars.

 

the elusive John Joseph Adams in his natural habitat

John Joseph Adams  is the bestselling editor of Wastelands, The Living Dead (a World Fantasy Award finalist), The Living Dead 2, By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Brave New Worlds, The Way of the Wizard, and Lightspeed: Year One. Forthcoming anthologies include The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination (Tor Books) and Armored (Baen Books). In 2011, he was nominated for two Hugo Awards and two World Fantasy Awards. He has been called “the reigning king of the anthology world” by Barnes & Noble.com, and his books have been lauded as some of the best anthologies of all time. He is also the editor of Lightspeed Magazine, and is the co-host of The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.

 

 

ANTHONY:   John, thanks for taking a few moments to chat with me about UNDER THE MOONS OF MARS. How did the project come about?

JOHN:  I’d heard that Disney was going to be adapting A Princess of Mars into a movie, and it sounded like–at LAST–the adaptation was finally going to happen. There had been a number of false-starts over the years, but it seemed like this one was finally going to happen, thanks in no small part to the success of (and SFX technological advancement provided by) Avatar. Being a fan of the original books, I was quite excited, and the idea of doing the “new adventures” of John Carter sprang to mind. It seemed like a good, marketable idea, and a book that would be a hell of a lot of fun, so I started putting together a proposal and recruiting authors for it. Once I started reaching out to people, the number of folks who were excited about it really reinforced my thought that it would be a great project, and luckily Simon & Schuster agreed and published the anthology.

ANTHONY:  The book features a fantastic line-up. Was there an open submission process or was it invitation only? Are there any authors you’d hoped would take part who weren’t able to?

JOHN:  The book was invitation-only; unfortunately, I had to keep it that way because I was under orders to keep the project secret basically until it was done being assembled; the publisher wanted to wait to announce it until we had a table of contents to show off. Also, I had recruited a pretty large number of authors for the book in the proposal stage, and I knew it would be unlikely that I’d have much extra room for anything beyond that. Plus, for a book like this one, which is a VERY specific topic, I knew if I did an open call for submissions, a lot of writers would end up with stories that they probably wouldn’t be able to sell anywhere else. Although the Barsoom stories are public domain, most short fiction venues are unlikely to run a story set in another author’s milieu.

Neil Gaiman and Michael Moorcock were both initially interested but ultimately couldn’t contribute due to their schedules, so that was disappointing. And there were a number of authors I would have loved to have on board who said no at the proposal stage for one reason or another. One contributing factor to this was that the anthology had to be put together on a pretty short timeline if we were going to have the book ready to publish to coincide with the release of the John Carter film.

The not-so-elusive John Carter, in his natural habitat

ANTHONY:  The preview for the book on Amazon mentions a number of great artists, like Charles Vess and Mike Kaluta, contributing story illustrations. How did you decide which artist to pair with which stories for the illustrations?

That was mostly decided by Lizzy Bromley & Tom Daly at Simon & Schuster and my agent, Joe Monti. I was consulted, and I could have taken a more active role in those decisions, but I’m no art director, and I don’t really have a lot of connections to many artists, so I was happy to have someone else take the lead. I was pleased to see Mike Cavallaro participate, as I’m a huge fan of the graphic novel he did with Jane Yolen called Foiled. Likewise John Picacio, who I’ve been a fan of for years, and, of course, it’s an honor and a privilege to have work by Charles Vess. And it was also really cool, of course, to be exposed to artists I wasn’t as familiar with previously.

You can actually view all of the illustrations on the anthology’s website, johnjosephadams.com/barsoom.

ANTHONY:  John Carter is easily Edgar Rice Burroughs’ second most popular creation after Tarzan, even though Burroughs didn’t write anywhere near as many books about Carter and in fact half of the Barsoom novels focus on other characters. What do you think is the enduring appeal of John Carter in particular and Barsoom in general?
JOHN:  On the most basic level, the Barsoom stories are just great adventure stories, and so they’re sort of inherently appealing. But they also cross all kinds of genre boundaries. They’re obstensibly science fiction, but they feel a lot like fantasy, and there are elements from other genres as well, certainly romance and western fiction to name a few.

I think that as kids, we all wanted to be able to travel to Mars, and wouldn’t it be great if we could and it turned out to be the fantastical place with strange and interesting aliens and beautiful princesses? And a lot of us still have such dreams–so I think that’s a large part of what makes it so appealing–and enduring.

ANTHONY:  2012 is also Tarzan’s 100th anniversary, and Burroughs’ Pellucidar series hits 100 in 2014. Are you involved at all in anniversary anthologies for those books?

JOHN:  I’m not–at least not at the moment! For Tarzan, it would be too late to do anything to celebrate the anniversary, obviously, but Pellucidar…who knows!

ANTHONY:  What other books do you have coming our way this year?

JOHN:  As we’ve discussed, Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom just came out.

Coming up in April, I have Armored, an anthology of stories about mecha and power armor, from Baen. It includes stories by Jack Campbell, Brandon Sanderson, Tanya Huff, Daniel H. Wilson, Alastair Reynolds, Carrie Vaughn, and others.

I’m also currently wrapping up work on two reprint anthologies. One is an anthology of epic/high fantasy fiction to be called Epic, which will be coming out from Tachyon Publications this fall. And due out this summer from Night Shade Books is Other Worlds Than These, an anthology of portal fantasies and parallel worlds stories. And, as usual, I’ve got a couple of other things in the works that I can’t officially talk about yet, but I hope to be able to announce soon.

Then, in February 2013, I’ll have The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, from Tor. That one features stories by Carrie Vaughn, Alan Dean Foster, Daniel H. Wilson, David Farland, Seanan McGuire, and Naomi Novik, among others, plus an original short novel by Diana Gabaldon.

ANTHONY:  And my usual closing question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?

JOHN:  The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. When I read that book, it BLEW MY MIND. After reading it, my reading life became all about finding other books like that one. Up to that point, I’d read a number of sf novels that I liked a great deal, and still to this day remember fondly, but it wasn’t until The Stars My Destination that I realized the heights that science fiction was capable of attaining, and it wasn’t until then that I narrowed my reading focus almost exclusively to sf in my efforts to find more books that effected me in that same way.

There’s a paragraph in the book from the early part of chapter one that describes “common man” protagonist Gully Foyle’s state of mind. He’s been stuck, as the lone survivor, on a spaceship for 170 days, and watches as another ship approaches his, ignores his distress call, and leaves him to die:

He had reached a dead end. He had been content to drift from moment to moment of existence for thirty years like some heavily armored creature […] but now he was adrift in space for one hundred and seventy days, and the key to his awakening was in the lock. Presently it would turn and open the door to holocaust.

So that’s the key to Gully’s awakening. I think of The Stars My Destination as mine.

ANTHONY: Thanks again, John! Always a pleasure!

 

You can follow John Joseph Adams on Twitter as @JohnJosephAdams and you can see more about all of his books by visiting his website.

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This week, I chat with editor/publisher Bart Lieb about Crossed Genres.

 

Bart Leib

Bart R. Leib is co-publisher and founder of Crossed Genre Publications. Bart’s fiction has been published in M-Brane SF Magazine and the anthology Beauty Has Her Way from Dark Quest Books (2011). His nonfiction has been published by Fantasy Magazine. He is a regular article contributor to Science in My Fiction.

Bart lives in Somerville, MA with his wife Kay and their son Bastian. When he’s not writing, editing or playing with his son, Bart is… sleeping. That’s all he has time for.

 

ANTHONY:  Bart, thanks for taking the time to chat! Let’s start out with a quick description of Crossed Genres for my readers. What is the imprint’s goal? What sets it apart from other genre anthology publishers?

 

BART:  Crossed Genres started out as a magazine; each issue crossed science fiction & fantasy with another genre or theme. Our first issue was published in December 2008. We retired the magazine in December after the 36th issue.

 

We retired the magazine so that we could focus on the publication of novels and anthologies. We’ve released two novels in the past 14 months (A Festival of Skeletons by RJ Astruc, and Broken Slate by Kelly Jennings), as well as anthologies and quarterlies of stories from the magazine. Our schedule now includes 4-6 novels/anthologies per year.

 

From the very beginning Crossed Genres has worked to support and promote underrepresented people in our publications. The magazine had issues dedicated to LGBTQ characters, characters of color, and the big final issue’s theme was DIFFERENT. Our upcoming anthology Fat Girl in a Strange Land has fat women as the protagonists, something almost never seen in literature. Giving voice to underrepresented authors and characters is a trend that will continue in CG’s future.

 

ANTHONY:  After several years of magazine publishing, Crossed Genre’s first anthology is Subversion, which became available in December. I’ve included a description of the book at the top of the post. What was the submission process like? Was it invite-only, open submission, or both? Were there any authors you specifically pursued?

 

Subversion

BART: Subversion was our first invitation-only anthology. After a couple of years of publishing, we had worked with a number of very talented authors, and I felt comfortable that we could get an excellent body of work from invitations. 44 authors were invited to submit, and I received 36 submissions, from which I chose the 16 in the antho.

 

I will say that, while I was extremely pleased with the submissions I got – I had to turn down some good stories because the anthology was too full – I did miss the process of open submissions somewhat. We’ve always loved getting submissions from unknown authors, & getting to publish talented people for the first time – it’s been one of the best things about being a publisher! In the future I think most if not all of our publications will be at least partly filled with open submissions. (Our upcoming anthology Fat Girl in a Strange Land was open submissions.)

 

ANTHONY:  I know I asked you this in the #sffwrtcht on Twitter when you were the featured guest, but I’m hoping you can elaborate a bit now that you have more than 140 characters: what differences are there in the submission and selection process for the anthologies you have coming out versus the magazine issues?

 

BART:    Well the magazine was always open submissions, which as I mentioned before wasn’t true for Subversion. The big difference was that the magazine had a much quicker turnaround time. We would accept submissions for an issue one month, then the following month we’d have to make our selections & edit the stories for release the first day of the following month. That breakneck pace made the process kind of harrowing from our perspective. By comparison, the same part of the process for an anthology is spread out over 6-8 months. How we select stories is basically the same: We pick what we feel are the best written stories that best represent the genre or theme.

 

There were a very few times during the magazine’s run where we rejected stories which we felt had enormous potential because they were too rough and needed a lot of rewriting – because of the magazine’s turnaround we simply didn’t have the time to wait for the author to do the rewrites. I’ve regretted that, and fortunately with anthologies and novels we can take the time to work with authors on improvements more. It was one of the reasons we decided to retire the magazine.

 

ANTHONY:  I think editors hate when I ask this question, but what is your procedure for determining story sequence (in a magazine issue and an anthology if the process differs from one format to another)?

 

BART: Haha, story sequence is hard to explain. Most importantly, you need a big hook in the first story, to grab the reader; a good follow-up second story to prove the first wasn’t a fluke; and a closing story that really represents the theme perfectly. It’s an extremely subjective process and it’s a bit different for each anthology or issue. Plus, if an issue only has 5 or 6 stories, that can be very different to put together than something like an anthology with 14-20 stories.

 

I highly recommend reading Jennifer Brozek’s blog about the subject.

 

ANTHONY:  Subversion is just the first anthology from Crossed Genres. What’s coming in the rest of 2012?

 

Fat Girl in a Strange Land

BART:  February 17, 2012, we release our next anthology, Fat Girl in a Strange Land. The release coincides with the Boston-area convention Boskone.

 

In mid-July, we’re releasing a collection of short stories by Brooklyn writer Daniel José Older. The release coincides with another Boston-area convention, ReaderCon.

(Crossed Genres will be represented at both conventions mentioned above.)

In early September, we’re releasing our next novel, INK by Sabrina Vourvoulias.

Our next release after that will be MENIAL: Skilled Labor in SF  in Jan/Feb 2013, which I’ll talk about in the next question…

 

ANTHONY:  How can writers submit for upcoming anthologies?

 

BART:  We’re currently only open for novel submissions. However, we’re now open to submissions for MENIAL: Skilled Labor in SF. Submission guidelines can be found HERE.

 

ANTHONY:  For novels, do you have an open slush pile policy or a specific reading period?

 

BART:  Novel submissions are generally open all the time. If we get too overwhelmed – if our publication schedule fills up too far out – we may close novel subs for a while, but at the moment that doesn’t look likely. Send us your novels!

 

ANTHONY:  And for my usual closing question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who has never read it to convince them that they should?

 

If I had to pick one, I’d say Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes. The gradual unfolding of the main character’s intellect, and the triumphs and pain the process brings, creates one of the finest and most sympathetic characters I’ve ever read.

 

You can follow Bart on Twitter as @MetaFrantic for the latest on Crossed Genre.

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Wow, that title sounds fancy, doesn’t it?

With Jennifer Holliday, a 2011 highlight

It’s December 31. I am hanging out, as I do every New Years Eve, with my college friends/adopted siblings. Jon & Cindi (and their son Xavier) are hosting, as always. Scott & Margaret are here with son and daughter Jared and Morgyn. Peggy is here with her son Max. Plus there are two dogs, a cat, a rabbit. Assorted local family and friends will drop in, too. It’s always a dual celebration, as Jon’s birthday is January 1.

Typically, this is not the ideal setting for long rambling thoughts about the past year. But we’re having a lull at the moment. Three of the four kids are reading quietly. So are half of the adults. So now seems to be the time.

I’ll admit it’s been a rough year. Car problems, financial problems, lots and lots of work travel bouncing me all over the country (especially these last few months). I’ve been a real cranky-pants at times, so the first order of business is thanking everyone who has put up with that crankiness, and everyone who helped me deal with what at times felt like insurmountable problems. They are too numerous to list here: if you are among them, you know who you are and I thank you.

On the writing side of things, the year was a mixed bag. I didn’t manage to complete either AMBERGRIN HALL or CHRISTMAS GHOSTS, my long-simmering novel and novella. Both are so close to completion it almost hurts, and I’ve made progress on untangling the plot knots of the first and filling in the hole in the plot of the second, but still … didn’t finish them. That is a goal for 2012. On the positive side, I sold my first genre short story, a science fiction tale for the SPACE BATTLES anthology edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and due out mid-2012. That felt terrific. Also, it seems like this year’s sales of THE FIRFLAKE were better than last year’s. This is an guess on my part, but it feels like I had more emails and tweets telling me “I’m buying your book” this year than I did last. It might have helped that I joined Goodreads in an effort to help advertise the book, and that I spent more time posting on the book’s Facebook page.

Reading-wise, having joined Goodreads has helped me keep even better track of what I read and what I thought (although I’m still behind on writing reviews of some of what I read, and likely won’t get those done before tonight’s festivities start). I’ll wait until later this week to post my “Favorites of 2011” final list. Between office and on-line bookclubs, and writing book reviews for ICARUS and CHELSEA STATION magazines, I’ve also read a lot of authors I’d never read before as well as revisiting old favorites.

Probably the biggest accomplishment of 2011 has been the increased use of this website. I added a second short story (“Canopus,” joining “Invisible Me”), and I made the decision to start blogging regularly. When I made that decision, I had no idea I would end up developing an almost-weekly Interview feature. It’s all Anthony Garguila‘s fault. Although his didn’t end up being the first interview I ran (that honor went to author Evelyn Lafont), it was meeting him at a high school band reunion he attended with his mother that instigated the whole “interviewing creative people” thing. I’ve had the honor of interviewing up-and-coming authors like Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Linda Poitevin, Chad Helder and Christie Yant; genre pros like Jay Lake and Jeremy C. Shipp; friends Dennis Miller and Joseph Pittman; and career authors like Lawrence Block. I’ve interviewed artists (Lynn Bennett-MacKenzie), editors (Ellen Datlow), webcomics creators (Namesake, School Spirit, Cura Te Ipsum, Multiplex), actors (Brandon Tyler Russell) and musicians ranging from indy artists like Casey Stratton and Matt Lande to teen pop-rockers Burnham and Hollywood Ending. I’ve learned a lot about interviewing, and I’ve learned a lot about the creative process as it manifests in different fields.

2012 looks to get off to a good start for interviews as well. Carolyn Gray (author of A Red-Tainted Silence and Long Way Home) and actors Austin MacDonald and Sarah Desjardins and Brad and Todd Mann are all due up in January. Author Kaaron Warren, editor John Joseph Adams and singer Jennifer Holliday will be along in February.

What I’m loving about the interviews is that they’re fun. This isn’t my day job, it’s a hobby I’m enjoying quite a bit. One of the things that has helped me interview so many interesting people has been Twitter. I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made through that site, including but not limited to the folks named in the preceding few paragraphs, as well as Marianne Burnham, Helen MacDonald, Desiree Russell, Leigh Geraghty, Nina Diamond, Tomatito Adams, Sabrina Vourvoulias and too many others to name them all.

Bringing things full circle: despite the rough patches of the year, my health has been largely good and the travel has enabled me to spend far more time with the friends and family scattered around the country than I would have otherwise. As always, I end the year thankful for my health and for the love that continues to lift me up. Whether you’re a friend for decades or someone I’ve just gotten to know thanks to social media: thank you.

Here’s to a 2012 that is full of love, fun, health, peace and prosperity for all of us. Catch you next year!

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