Rambling On

Anthony R. Cardno's Fiction and Commentary

Archive for the ‘fundraisers’ Category

Donna Pedersen GoFundMe

Posted by admin under fundraisers

Donna Pedersen, my sister Lorraine’s close friend and coworker, has been fighting cancer for some time now. She’s been through 6 different chemotherapies and two rounds of radiation only to be told that there is nothing more they can do. Donna’s been offered a chance at a brand new therapy that insurance companies don’t cover, but it’s expensive and she needs help covering costs. I’m sharing her GoFundMe page in the hopes that my friends who can afford to will contribute, even just a few dollars, and in the hopes that those who can’t spare the money right now with boost the signal on this. Please help in one way or the other!



New Song

Posted by admin under fundraisers, singers and musicians

I’ve co-written and recorded another song!

“Done” is  now available on my Bandcamp page.

Words by me, music and production by John Russo from the band Reverse Order.

These songs of mine never actually sell much, but any proceeds I do garner will be donated to John’s non-profit organization Reverse The Trend, which brings anti-bullying and self-esteem programming to schools around the country. Please check out their page if you’d like to book the program for your school or if you’d just like to donate to a worthy cause. You can also help them by turning your Amazon page into a SmileAmazon page and setting “Reverse The Trend” as your charity of choice. The great thing about that program is: you shop the way you normally do, and Amazon donates to your choice charity.


“Album” art

In the past year, I’ve had the privilege of co-writing two songs with two wonderful songwriters. In both cases, I wrote the lyrics, and my collaborator provided the music and melody. (Anything I learned about music theory from Bernadette Castronovo back in Mahopac High School, I have long since forgotten. She was a great teacher; I was not a great student.)

After much encouragement from many friends, I finally started a Bandcamp page to get this music out there. I’d still love to film videos for these songs one of these days, but for now at least the music is out there.

Well, at least one of the songs is. We’re still doing a little bit of editing on the song I co-wrote with Barry Mangione, “Someday,” (tracking some extra guitars and drums into it for a fuller sound).  But the song I co-wrote with  John Russo of Reverse Order, “Gravity Don’t Care,” is up on the Bandcamp page now, and I’ve decided that all proceeds from this will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

Here’s the link to where you can find and purchase the song.


As promised, today we reveal the front and back covers for The Many Tortures of Anthony Cardno. Bear Weiter (who is also an author in the anthology) donated a load of hours formatting the book, designing the interior (which includes artwork by his lovely wife Marlyse Comte) and creating and tweaking the covers.  I cannot thank him enough for his encouragement and his help over the past two months.

I also have to thank Michelle Moklebust and Lee Bloom for the photography on which the cover and interior illustrations were based. On Easter Saturday, we spent a good four hours and took several hundred photos — close-ups with all kinds of facial expressions, as well as “marionette” style photos for a possible different cover idea — so that I’d have a ton of material for Bear to work with. Michelle (also an author in the anthology) and Lee are to me, and while we worked, my niece Renee, Michelle’s son BJ and her nephew and niece Jake and Amanda laughed at us, offered ideas (especially Jake) and talked Doctor Who and other geeky fun.  Thanks to all of you.

And now, without further ado … the front cover:




And the back cover:



UPDATE:  The book is now available in print form from Amazon. Kindle edition is coming forthwith, and the print version will be available via Barnes & Noble and other outlets soon as well (and non-Kindle ebook format should follow shortly too).


Hello, friends and readers.

You may have noticed things have been a bit quiet here on www.anthonycardno.com for a while now.  I’ve been taking some time away from interviewing and signal-boosting for actors, singers and writers in order to concentrate on my own writing. I’ve been working on some new short stories (and submitting them to markets), I’ve co-written a song (with at least one, and possibly two or three more on the way), I’ve been attending to personal and family life matters, and I’ve of course still be on the road for my day job.

I’ve also been editing the charity anthology I’ve mentioned here before.  The project has finally come together and is in the final stages before release, so it’s time to start making some announcements.

THE MANY TORTURES OF ANTHONY CARDNO is a gathering of 20 short stories and two sets of song lyrics, in which the main character is, well … me. Or some variation of me. The stories range from science fiction to literary and hit pretty much all points in between. In them, I’m an egotistical actor, a beleaguered husband, a scared young boy, an orphan, a randy college student, an alcoholic, a serial killer, a nice guy in the wrong place. In every single story, the authors find a way to tweak one of my real personality or physical traits to give us these alternate …. Multiversal, if you will … versions of me.

This isn’t just a vanity project.  All of the authors donated their words to this project, to help raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, which focuses on providing support to cancer patients and their loved ones. I’m a cancer survivor, as are several of the other authors in the book; most of the rest have first-hand experience with a loved one’s battle with the disease.  And of course, just this past month we lost Jay Lake to colon cancer.

It’s my pleasure today to reveal the complete Table of Contents for the book, which will be available in print and e-formats within the next few weeks. About a week from now, we’ll also have the reveal of the cover, being crafted by the fantastic Bear Weiter.

So, without further ado: The Table of Contents for THE MANY TORTURES OF ANTHONY CARDNO:

Foreword: I’m NOT A Nice Guy! by Anthony R. Cardno
Introduction: Who IS Anthony Cardno? by Brian White
Temperance by Christie Yant
Anthony Takes The Stairs by Eric S. Bauman
The Antics of Anton Ardno (A Todd Gleason Crime Story) by Joseph Pittman
I Have A Question by Neal Bailey
The Bar at The End of the World by Sabrina Vourvoulias
With A Flick of the Wrist by Michelle Moklebust
Scarred by Damien Angelica Walters
The Hand of God (A Davi Rhii story) by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
The Old Suit by Bear Weiter
The Optimist by Kaaron Warren
The Story Teller by Dennis R. Miller
The White Phoenix Feather: a tale of cuisine and ninjas by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Ballad of Anthony Cardno by Barry Mangione and the Musical Geniuses
Why, Anthony, Why by Frank Dixon
When The Waters Recede… by Day Al-Mohamed
The Chase by Jen Ryan
Three on a Match by Steve Berman
Brutal and Simple by Adam P. Knave
The Zombie Shortage by David Lee Summers
With Dust Their Glittering Towers: A Fly-Leaves Story by Christopher Paul Carey
Canopus by Anthony R. Cardno
Cold Statues by Jay Lake

I’m flattered by how many authors were willing to donate their work to help raise money for ACS, and I thank all of them once again. I’m particularly humbled to be presenting what I think is one of the last stories Jay Lake wrote before his untimely passing; he created this story for me in the midst of heavy chemotherapy over a year ago.

Check back next week for the cover reveal, and after that for news of the actual publication date!


“The Show Needs An App!”

If you had told me ten years ago that I’d have a chance to interview Sean Astin, someone I’ve been a fan of since The Goonies, I’d have laughed. Honestly, if you’d told me even two years ago, when I started doing interviews for this site, that I’d interview Sean, I’d have been skeptical. But it’s happened. Sean recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for his radio show Vox Populi: The Voice of the (Occasionally Interested) People. I’ve listened to the show, and I think Sean does exactly what he says in the show’s mission statement: he brings people together to talk civilly and calmly about the hot topics of the day, without regard for sound-bytes or better ratings. It’s about talking, and about listening.  So I backed the Kickstarter, and took a chance to ask Sean if he’d do an interview for my little personal website. He agreed to it, “after I run the Chicago Marathon.”  So here it is. It’s a short interview, but hopefully we get across why Vox Populi is a project worthy of being funded and more. As of today, there are 4.5 days left in the campaign, and it is funded… but Sean would like to hit the $60,000 stretch goal to build the show an app. The video at the end of this interview explains why he’s so passionate about this despite adding it late in the campaign.  I’ve seen KS campaigns raise much more than $20,000 in much less than 4 days, so like Sean I believe it can be done.  But enough of me …


ANTHONY: Let’s start with an easy one: After such a strong acting career, what led you to start a political radio talk-show?


SEAN: Well, I think I would have done some kind of political show regardless of my career. My mom was president of the Screen Actors Guild and hosted a morning tv show in LA when I was a kid. So, the desire for citizenship and using my voice was placed in me by my family. The fact that I’ve been blessed with a long career, just makes the transition easier. Lots of people are familiar with my name, so it’s easier to build an audience. At least on paper, encouraging people to see someone in a different light, particularly when it’s politics, takes work. Also, it’s not the only thing I do. In fact, it’s a hobby for me at this point; a hobby that I’m extremely passionate about, but it’s not about money, yet. It might be in the future. I am currently acting in a show for FX with Guillermo del Toro directing. So, life, particularly with my wife and three daughters is sailing by. The political show gives me the satisfaction that on some level, I hope, I’m making a difference!


It’s Our Time For An App!

ANTHONY: Your focus is on “civil discourse,” and I really admire the way you let people have their say, even if you disagree with them. But I’m sure people wonder: what would make you cut a discussion short or lose your cool with a guest?


SEAN: Ha! Fun question. Well, as the HOST I get to disconnect the call if someone flouts the premise of the show and behaves in an uncivil manner. I might get nervous about doing that, but I would do it because I must protect the integrity of the show. I think in most instances, when people are directed to “be nice” and then given the time and space to express themselves, they usually become the best contributors. I lose my cool sometimes at events in the world, Sandy Hook, Benghazi… but I believe that the HOST role carries responsibilities and I like to be responsible.


ANTHONY: I’m sure you get this all the time, but I have to ask: what was your favorite part of filming The Goonies (one of my top five life-time favorite movies)? And, more seriously: can you tell my readers about your marathon experiences and the #Run3rd movement?


SEAN: One of my favorite things about making The Goonies was driving onto the Warner Lot and feeling like a big shot. The pirate ship, Dick Donner, Steven Spielberg, My Goonies friends, the Crew, Waterslides…it was a great adventure. I love talking about running. I would direct your readers to my Mission Statement and our official Run3rd.blogspot.com site. Just know that I choose now to dedicate my runs to people, causes, ideas. I declare before 5k’s,10k’s, 1/2 & Full Marathons that I “#run3rd for (insert person etc..)” It started as a twitter campaign, which offers a prompt to people to make dedications themselves. When I or you or anyone dons the emblem #run3rd on their clothes or whatever, they are said to be running on behalf of all of the dedications. I ran 3 marathons this year, LA, SF & this month, Chicago. These events inspire the heck out of me. I just love the challenge, the community everything. Running is more than a sport to me, it’s a sacred experience!!!


ANTHONY: And 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?


SEAN: I don’t know anymore. I studied English and History at UCLA. At certain periods of my life, I was a voracious reader. In recent years, I haven’t dedicated myself to reading very much. It saddens me to say so, but it’s true. I think when I was kid, I was probably A.D.D. That may have come back. My usual answer is Candide, by Voltaire. It sound high faluten, but basically it’s a great adventure story with a powerful bit of philosophy and morality mixed in for good measure.


ANTHONY: Thank you again, Sean!  Now, what’s all this about “The Show Needs An App?”




And finally, most importantly: the Kicstarter page. All you need to do is go to www.StartTheVox.com.  That will take you directly to the Kickstarter page where you can see all the Backer Rewards Sean is offering, as well as Sean’s original video explaining the show and the project, and of course, where you can back the project yourself. Every little bit helps!



Jennifer Summerfield as Nora
in Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”
photo by Kyle Cassidy

I’ve been following photographer Kyle Cassidy for a few years now, from Livejournal to other social media. His wife, Jennifer Summerfield, is a wonderful NY/Philly area actress who also goes by the nom-du-0nline Trillian Stars.   Jennifer was recently in a really unique production of Henrik Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE, and Kyle decided the production needed to be filmed. A Kickstarter was put in place to get the filmed production out there in front of the public. Here, Kyle and I talk about how the production came about, how the play was filmed, and what you can do to take part in this really wonderful project.


ANTHONY: You’re in the midst of a successful Kickstarter campaign to create a filmed version of the recent production of A DOLL’S HOUSE performed in the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion in Philadelphia. First, can you tell us a little bit about the Mansion itself?

KYLE: It was built and occupied at almost exactly the time Ibsen’s play is set by a local businessman very similar in economic situation as Torvald and Nora [the protagonists in A Doll’s House] and it’s been preserved as a museum, so all the furniture and things like that are period. Though because it’s an actual building that people have lived in and not a set there are some things that aren’t period — it has, for example, electricity, and this is one of the conceits of having both the play and the video done there — we just accept that the Helmer’s had electricity. There’s also a burglar alarm that’s visible in some of the shots, we camouflaged it, but you can still see it in a couple shots if you know what to look for. So there are a few things, but the wallpaper and the carpets and the drapes and things like that are accurate and were collected by experts over a period of years so it’s the most accurate set you could really hope for. You’re just surrounded by the time period.

The mansion’s open for business and they do tours and a few years ago they started doing limited run plays in the space, which is how A Doll’s House happened to be done there.

ANTHONY: What is it about the Mansion that made it such a great space to mount a production of A DOLL’S HOUSE, and what makes this particular production so unique?

KYLE: The director of the play, Josh Hitchen’s is a very well known actor and director in Philadelphia; he’s famous for doing extremely intimate one-persons shows in small venues that force the audience into the play — he loves claustrophobic environments that delete the stage and put nothing between the audience and the action, so he’d been eyeing the Maxwell mansion ever since he’d first seen it. In many cases it would be difficult to get really great actors to commit to doing a full-length play that was going to run for only five performances because you’re taking a big pay cut — there are only so many audience members you can fit in that space, so you might think an actor would rather do some big play that runs for two months but Josh had an enormous number of connections from actors he’d directed or acted with before and, he had the fact that it was this great play but he also had the mansion to dangle in front of people like a great carrot. So he was able to assemble an incredible cast of very experienced actors that a lot of other people wouldn’t have been able to, partly because of the play but partly also because of where it’s being performed — in a place like this, there is no backstage — every place you go keeps you in character. It turned into one of those things where the director was able to lure a dream team into a dream theater to perform a dream play — it was a perfect storm.

ANTHONY: What influenced the decision to film the production after the show’s run ended?

KYLE: During the rehearsal process I kept saying to people “you’re taping this right? you’re hiring a film crew and you’re doing a three camera shoot of one of the performances right?” And people were like “that’s a great idea, but we’re really busy making a play.” And I think, the day before the play opened I thought “well, it’s not going to happen if I don’t do it.” So I contacted a video crew, I contacted the mansion and got an OK from them, the mansion was great, they gave me two dates that I could have the run of the place after it was closed to the public, and once I had the green light from them I contacted the actors and the director to see if they’d be able to run the play again and there was this deflating response where I found out that two of the actors were already in other plays and there was no day everybody was able to be there.

Production poster for
“A Doll’s House”
photo by Kyle Cassidy

Initially I was just thinking that it could be shot with three cameras during a regular run and everybody would be out of there in two hours. But with not having certain actors who were in scenes together the entire way in which we had to go about shooting it changed. We were forced to shoot out of sequence and this turned out to be a very great thing; we couldn’t just cover the room with three cameras anymore because not all the actors would be in the rooms together, I thought, well, now there’s no need to just stick in the one room they did the play in. This opened up everything else, and it meant we could put the cameras wherever we wanted, we could do multiple takes, we could shoot the whole thing more like a movie and less like a play. This made it a lot more expensive, a lot more time consuming and a lot more difficult to do, but it also made the final product a lot better. So we shot on two different days with different members of the cast each time. Each day was somewhere between five and ten hours — I can’t remember exactly — but cameraman Brian Siano figured out the breakdown of what scenes to do in what order to keep the actors there the shortest period of time and we went from that master list. Josh Hitchens, the director, had blocked the play, meaning figured out where everybody moved and stood, with the audience in the room in mind and when we got there, we threw a lot of that out the window. And we had to work really, really quickly. We’d figure out what scene was next, bring in all those actors, they’d do a really fast run-through of the scene as it had been staged and while watching this, Brian and I would figure out camera placements or even what room in the house to do it in, and we’d set up the cameras and do another super-fast run though and re-block the scene and the actors would sort of wing it and we’d move along to the next scene.

If someone comes over to your house and sits down in the living room with you and talks for 15 minutes, they sit in the same spot. Nobody gets up unless they’re going to get something, but you can’t do that in theater because the audience will get bored, so there’s a lot of movement put into blocking. People sit on a chair for five lines, they get up, they look out the window, they turn around, they sit down somewhere else, that kind of thing, and boring the audience is, in cinema, something you can avoid also by moving the cameras, so we did a lot of that — we could have the actors stay in one spot longer and cut back and forth between different camera angles.

ANTHONY: Some of my tech-minded friends will be upset if I don’t ask: what equipment was used to film the production, and what equipment are you using to edit the film into its final form? And why that equipment?

KYLE: We were using Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras mostly because of the size and the availability of fast, wide lenses. I think we used a 14, a 20, and a 45mm. There were a couple of shots we did with a Nikon d800 and an 85 1.8. The camera kits pack really small. Which was an advantage. We had two tripods only one of which had a video head on it, meaning that it could do smooth camera movements, so one camera was usually fixed and the other followed the action. Not having a lot of gear made things less complicated by not having to worry if we were using the right thing. We had two cameras and four lenses, so all problems had to be solved with two cameras and four lenses.

The audio was recorded on a separate device so that we weren’t using the on-camera microphones which would be catastrophic when switching back and forth between microphones in different parts of the room.

I’m not exactly sure what Brian’s editing it with, Final Cut or Premiere probably. One thing that the Kickstarter gave me the leisure to do was to hire an editor and not worry about a lot of that — it lets you just find someone who’s good at doing whatever bit of your thing and let them do it and you go on and worry about other stuff.

ANTHONY: The original goal of the Kickstarter was a modest $1,400. With 13 days to go, you’ve doubled that. What sorts of stretch goals have you added, both in terms of benefits to the project and added production value to the backers?

KYLE: I see all these ridiculously ambitious Kickstarters all the time. You know, someone’s like “I need $25,000 to go to Paris and write a poem at the top of the Eiffel tower” or what have you and they end up not getting funded and it always leaves me thinking how on Earth did you need $25,000 to go to Paris? Are you staying at Versailles? and it turns into an episode of “name that tune” in my head where I’m like “I could do that project for X dollars” — So, what I was looking for initially was pretty much just the amount of money I’d need to pay everyone for what they’d done and have nothing left over and a DVD without a slip case. That’s what I can do this for and not go broke. And really, to me, the only important thing out of the gate was that the play not get lost forever. So after that when we sold more copies I was able to give the cast a bonus and we were able to add a high-definition blu-ray version of the play and the options just get better from there. One thing about physical products like this is that they get cheaper to do the more you get — so right now if we can get to the point where I can print 1,000 copies of the DVD everything gets MUCH cheaper to do, so I can add all sorts of other stuff, I can add more graphics to the package, I can hire a sound designer to do music, I can add more special features, I can go back to the Maxwell mansion and shoot more stuff — the play takes place at Christmas so I’ve been hoping that it will snow and we can rush back and get some footage of the mansion in the snow. We could also re-shoot some scenes outside which would add more depth to the whole thing — the mansion is really beautiful and I think being able to bring the audience outside would be superfantastic. So it’s basically one of those “the more people buy it, the cheaper it gets to make and the more I can do” — so a 4 page booklet becomes an 8 page booklet becomes a 12 page booklet, and so on.

ANTHONY: I’m hoping the final 12 days of the campaign will bring in enough money to add that music in and some of those other extras. Last but not least, what is it about Ibsen in general, and A DOLL’S HOUSE in particular, that makes this work so classic and so long-lasting?

KYLE: The play is about a woman who undergoes a dramatic change in her perception of the world — she realizes not only that what she’d thought of as a perfect life — and one that from the outside all of her friends thought was perfect — isn’t perfect, but she realizes that the entire basis of society is wrong. She realizes that she’s a person and she’d been living her life as a possession. It was controversial when it came out because so much of the way society in Europe and America functioned was on the idea that women were property and that they had a role and a duty to play and people thought it was just crazy talk that a woman would do things without her husband’s permission. When it was performed Ibsen was forced to write an alternate ending where after giving her great monologue at the end Nora quickly recants — which is as silly as a Bowdlerized version of Romeo and Juliet where they all get up at the end and say “ah, the poison wore off!” and they skip away and Montague and Capulet throw a big bar-b-q for everyone in Verona. A Doll’s House only works if the play challenges, and is allowed to successfully challenge, things that are wrong with the way things are. So I think that gave it a good start; apart from being a very well written play. Another thing that’s kept it alive for so long and held it dearly in people’s hearts is that it’s one of a very few great roles for a woman to play. Theater is littered with plays about men, anybody can list a bunch of iconic roles that can make a male actors career — Hamlet, Stanley Kowalski, Cyrano, Lear, Willy Loman; there are all these great dramatic parts, but so much of theater is about men and the women’s roles in the plays are supporting. Lady Macbeth is a great role as far as Shakespeare’s parts for women, but the play’s called Macbeth, not Lady Macbeth. I think it’s very common for a lot of theaters to do not just one, but many consecutive seasons without a single play that’s about a female character. Plus Nora’s a really complicated individual who goes through a range of emotions that give an actor an opportunity to really show off what they can do.

ANTHONY: Thanks, Kyle!

You can still contribute to the A DOLL’S HOUSE Kickstarter. There are 12 days left. Don’t miss out on this.

Oh, and if you live in the Philly area, you can also catch Jennifer as another iconic female of the theater — Lady Macbeth — in The Hedgerow Theater’s MACBETH, which runs from now through November 17th. If you go, and get to meet Kyle and Jennifer, tell them Anthony sent you!


Harry Connolly is the author of the TWENTY PALACES urban fantasy series featuring Ray Lilley. He’s also about to conclude a very successful Kickstarter campaign to self-publish a new epic fantasy series, so I grabbed the chance to chat with him about that and help boost his signal as the campaign clock winds down.


ANTHONY: You’re currently in the closing days of a Kickstarter for a new epic fantasy trilogy called The Great Way, and the project has an interesting origin. Can you share that genesis with us?

HARRY: This whole trilogy started as a homeschool project with my son. When he was nine, almost ten, I dug out a book I’d bought years before, written by a LAUSD elementary school teacher, that promised to teach kids to write a fantasy novel. It was also full of lessons on grammar, punctuation, word usage, narrative structure, and so on. Lots of work sheets. I wrote about it here: http://www.harryjconnolly.com/blog/index.php/a-special-project/

And my son being who he is, I had to do the exercises along with him.

He finished his “novel” (actually a comic fantasy about 10K words long) the next summer. For me, the book I was writing ballooned into three books and took me much much longer.

ANTHONY: You said that your project “ballooned into a 350,000 word trilogy.”  Can you give us your take on the tropes of epic/high fantasy and why it lends itself to books of such size? Is it even possible to write a “short epic fantasy?”

HARRY: I do think it’s possible to write short epic fantasy. People used to do it all the time, and some still do it now. However, I think modern epic fantasy fans prefer very long stories. At least, those are the books that dominate the bestseller lists.


ANTHONY: The Kickstarter for The Great Way has been super-successful. Initial goal of $10,000, and as of when I’m typing these questions, you’re at $36,000.  What are some of the stretch goals you’ve added in to enhance the project as that pledge amount has climbed?

HARRY: So far we’ve unlocked two stretch goals: Thanks to the enthusiasm and generosity of my backers, all three books in the trilogy will be getting covers by Chris McGrath. That’s a pretty big deal for self-published novels.

The other goal we’ve unlocked is for extra ebooks: one is a pacifist urban fantasy called A KEY, AN EGG, AN UNFORTUNATE REMARK (working title: The Auntie Mame Files). Basically, it’s an urban fantasy with a protagonist who is in her mid-sixties. I think the world needs more books like that. Folks can read more about that book here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1179145430/the-great-way-an-epic-fantasy-trilogy-by-harry-con/posts/628459

Also, unlocked is the ebook for TWENTY PALACES, which is the self-published ebook that kicks off the books (published by Del Rey) that earned me so many fantastic readers. Folks who are new to my work might be interested in that. And there’s some other work, too.

The next stretch goal in sight is an rpg supplement that would allow gamers to play in the KEY/EGG setting with FATE Core rules. I have already promised a FATE Core supplement for The Great Way, for folks who pledge at that level.


ANTHONY: What are some of the rewards backers can still sign up for, in the closing hours of the Kickstarter?

HARRY: Well, at $12 they’ll get KEY/EGG, TWENTY PALACES and the first book in the trilogy, THE WAY INTO CHAOS. At $25 they’ll get the two extra novels plus the entire trilogy. That’s three or five books, which is a pretty decent deal if you like ebooks. Gamers who play FATE can add $5 to get the supplement.

There are also trade paperback editions of The Great Way (which will have the McGrath covers) and a hardcover omnibus edition. The omnibus edition is for Kickstarter backers only. Once those rewards are sent out I won’t be making any more of them.

There are also other rewards like a fiction critique. And cookies.


ANTHONY: In the 1,000 backers Stretch Goal, you mention that your upcoming short story collection will include a new Twenty Palaces short story. So I have to ask, as a fan: after this successful Kickstarter, have you considered doing one to continue the ended-too-soon Twenty Palaces series?

HARRY: Sorry, but no, I don’t.

I know people hate to hear that because they love those Twenty Palaces novels. I myself am amazed at how devoted the books’ fans are.

But the truth is that Kickstarter, for all its benefits, is just a way to *start* working toward success. Yeah, my KS campaign has been astonishingly successful–certainly more successful than I ever expected–and right now the number of backers I have is climbing toward 800.

However, my real goal is to grow my readership to a thousand times that number, or more if I can. If I wrote another Twenty Palaces novel now, while my readership was still too small to sustain a series, I would never find the kind of success I’m aiming for.

I have ambitions, let’s say. I talk about it in depth here: http://www.harryjconnolly.com/blog/index.php/let-me-tell-you-about-my-ambitions-and-why-they-dont-include-kickstarter-right-now/ but the gist is that I tried Twenty Palaces novels out in the market and they came up “devoted fanbase that is too small to sustain a career.” Writing another now would be treading water.

Besides, I’m hoping that my new books will please those readers just as much, if not more, and they won’t mind missing Ray and Annalise too much.

ANTHONY: I’d forgotten about that essay, but I’m glad asking you the question might direct people to it who missed it when you first posted it. Speaking of posting: you published your son’s project on your website. Any plans to bring it out as an ebook or limited print run, as part of the stretch goals for your Kickstarter?

HARRY: There is! Above, where I was talking about backers receiving “other stuff” in that unlocked stretch goal, one of the things I was talking about is the comic fantasy my son wrote. It’s, you know, a novella written by a kid, but it’s very funny (deliberately funny, I mean) and I’ve already convinced fine artist and children’s book illustrator Kathleen Kuchera to make a cover for it. http://www.pinterest.com/kathleenkuch/my-art/

I’m a big fan and I think readers will be delighted by how bright and beautiful her work is.

ANTHONY: Once the Kickstarter is over, how can people who didn’t back the project purchase The Great Way?

HARRY: The current plan is to offer it as ebooks in All The Usual Places, plus POD editions. In fact, I plan to make the POD editions returnable and high discount so bookstores can stock it, if they want. I know there are a few Twenty Palaces fans out there who are booksellers.

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?

HARRY: Hah! My normal answer to this question is that I don’t have favorites and don’t believe in them, but I won’t do that here. Instead I’ll just recommend RED HARVEST by Dashiell Hammett. It’s a mystery and a crime novel and yeah, it’s nearly a 100 years old now, but the story is compelling as hell. Hammett may have invented a new plot when he wrote that book.

And while it doesn’t have the sf bling or fantasy magic, it does have one character, a flawed but Competent Man, who risks his life to stand up to corruption. The protagonist is tarnished but heroic, and my first novel sale came about because I was trying to translate the frisson of that book into contemporary fantasy.


You can follow Harry on Twitter @byharryconnolly, check out his website, livejournal, Facebook … and most importantly, you can journey over to The Great Way Kickstarter and help Harry reach some of those stretch goals … and get some solid fiction in return!


I had a chance to once again chat with Bart Leib, co-publisher at CROSSED GENRES. This time, we talk specifically about how the company’s e-magazine is preparing to move into Year Two with a subscription drive, and we end with a very cool EXCLUSIVE announcement.

Front cover of the new CG collection

ANTHONY: Just about a year ago, you successfully ran a Kickstarter to relaunch CROSSED GENRES magazine. How has the first year gone?

BART: We’ve released the first ten issues so far, and the response has been tremendous. Version 2.0 of the zine has been very like the original run, in that we’ve strived to showcase typically underrepresented groups, and readers have really appreciated it.

And that was made easy because of the very large and diverse pool of submissions we’ve been getting! We’ve been excited every month to see lots of great submissions – I don’t think we’ve gotten through a single month without having to agonize over which stories to accept. And every month the submission pool has had great representation of PoC, women, and QUILTBAG MC’s.

ANTHONY: Every issue of CG features a different theme that plays with what “science fiction” and “fantasy” can encompass. What have been some of your favorite themes from the past year?

BART: We’re especially fond of the themes which are more open to interpretation, because authors know we love it when they push the boundaries of the theme’s definition. “Discovery” (issue 4) was particularly intriguing, as was “She” (issue 6). The upcoming issues, 11 (coming in November) and 12 (December) are the Favors and Young Adult issues respectively, and we’re very pleased with the results of these ones.

ANTHONY: Every issue of CG includes a New Author Spotlight. Why do you feel it’s vital to not just publish new authors but also give the readers an insight into their process and background?

BART: During the magazine’s first three-year run, we attracted a lot of new/undiscovered authors. This was partially because we’ve always been open to stories and topics which many publications shy away from. New authors are often more willing to take chances with their writing. The result is stories which push boundaries and challenge perceptions, which take uncomfortable topics and put them front and center.

When we decided to push for the funds to bring back the magazine paying SFWA-level pro rates, there was some justifiable fear that established authors would push out new authors from CG’s pages. So we established the New Author Spotlight: We guarantee that at least one story per month will be from an author who’s never had a pro-rate sale. We included the author interview so authors would have a chance to showcase why their story, and writing in general, is important to them – and how fiction can catalyze and alter public discourse.

ANTHONY: How do you decide on the theme for each issue, and what themes are you excited for in the near future?

BART: Our process for picking themes is myriad and opaque – even for us!

A few times in the past we sat down and brainstormed a ton of theme ideas. As of now – not counting the themes we used in the zine’s first run or the first year of the new zine – we have enough remaining on the list to cover nearly eight more years of issues. When it comes time to make decisions, we look over the list and pick some themes we think will balance nicely with each other.

We usually post them in 6-month blocks. As of right now, all the themes for 2014 have been posted on the submissions page  so authors can look ahead and think about which themes they want to write for.

We’re really looking forward to reading submissions to the current theme, Unresolved Sexual Tension. 😉 The Food issue (#17, Submissions in January) and the Flash Fiction Free-For-All (#18, submissions in February) will probably be very fun too!

ANTHONY: In order to see a second year of CG, the current subscription drive needs to be successful. What are the various subscription options?

BART: We’re currently offering a one-year (12 issues) subscription. The ebook subscription includes monthly issues, as well as the collected biannual anthologies, which collect 6 issues together and include original cover art.

There’s also a print subscription, which includes everything in the ebook subscription PLUS print copies of two biannual anthologies. (Unfortunately this is only for US residents since shipping outside the US is prohibitively expensive.)

We haven’t offered a lifetime subscription except as Kickstarter rewards, but if people want that they should let us know! 😉

ANTHONY: If people don’t want to subscribe, but would like to help the magazine continue, what can they do?

BART: Buying books is always good! We have two novels, a single-author collection and four anthologies currently available, in addition to the first biannual anthology from the magazine (Find Titles Here).

ANTHONY: And the cover of that first biannual collection graces the very beginning of this interview! How else can they help?

BART: Donations are also welcome, and can be made via the website (a button on the magazine subscription page).

Beyond that – help spread the word about the magazine! We need a lot of subscriptions in order for CG Magazine to become self-sustaining, so the more people who hear about it the better!

ANTHONY: Any other news about Crossed Genres you’d like to share?

BART: We’re very happy to say that our next anthology, after a delay, is finally almost ready! Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way will be released in late October. As a taste of what Oomph will be like, here’s a look at the cover and Table of Contents:






































“Hat Trick” – Beth Cato

“Power Line Dreams” – A.J. Fitzwater

“Exact Change” – Christine Morgan and Lucas Williams

“Short Circuit” – Kirstie Olley

“Random Play All and the League of Awesome” – Shane Halbach

“The Writing is On the Wall” – Brian Milton

“The Breeze” – Mary Alexandra Agner

“Fortissimo Possibile” – Dawn Vogel

“Knuckles” – Ken MacGregor

“A Twist of Fate” – Holly Schofield

“Trailblazer” – Anthony R. Cardno

“Mildly Indestructible” – Jay Wilburn

“Blanket Statement” – Aspen Bassett

“Great White” – Brent Knowles

“Speak Softly” – Day Al-Mohamed

ANTHONY: Oh, hey, I see a familiar name in there! I’m excited for this one. And folks, you’ll be able to order it from CG’s website and it’ll help them keep the magazine running!



Zach Bonner with dvds of LITTLE RED WAGON, the movie about him.
(photo credit:

I’ve interviewed a lot of talented teens for this site over the past 2+ years, actors (like Sam Lant, Brandon Tyler Russell and Austin MacDonald) and musicians (like Burnham, Hollywood Ending and The New Royalty) who are also motivated to give back to their communities through charity work.  Zach Bonner isn’t an actor, singer or artist … but he is a national personality now, thanks to the charity work he started doing when he was only six years old. Zach created the Little Red Wagon Foundation to help youth in need, particularly homeless youth. He’s now 15 and continuing the good work he’s doing.

ANTHONY: Let’s start with the story of how old you were when you first became active in community service work.

ZACH: I did my first project when I was 6 years old collecting food, water and supplies for the victims of Hurricane Charlie that was in 2004. In 2005 I founded the Little Red Wagon Foundation.

ANTHONY: I feel like more kids are getting involved in charity work earlier in life than they did even a decade ago, and you’re one of the prime examples of that, sort of a leader-of-the-charge. Why do you think we’re seeing this increase in youth involvement in charities of all kinds?

ZACH: I think kids and adults are realizing that kids can be active members of society.

ANTHONY: Your foundation’s focus started out on homeless youth. Is that still the main focus, or have you expanded to other populations and needs?

ZACH: Homeless youth are still the main focus. We do a lot with education, awareness and youth volunteerism but at the end of the day it all ties back into homeless youth in one way or another.

ANTHONY: Similar to that other wonderful charity, Blessings in a Backpack, you provide homeless youth with a backpack full of the essentials. But you also include some candy and a toy. Why?

ZACH: The backpack idea started when I was researching homeless youth. At that time it was hard to find many websites about organizations helping homeless youth. The one I did find that were going out and doing street outreach work usually had a list of items they wanted or needed to take to the kids. I decided to combine all the items that I was finding on different websites and put them all together into one easy package for the kids to receive. The outreach workers went out they could hand the whole backpack (sackpack) to the kids. In the process of my research I found that although they were meeting the basic needs of the kids they were not meeting what I call the kid needs. I wanted the kids to know that I cared about them not as a statistic but as an individual as a kid. We decided to put a small toy and candy in the backpacks. Through trial and error we developed the backpacks into what they are today and we concluded that a yo-yo was about as perfect of a toy as we could give. The development of the backpacks has always come from the feedback of the kids.

Zach with backpacks ready to deliver

ANTHONY: Good that you’re taking the actual kids opinions into account. I’m still fascinated by your cross-country walk. Can you share some of the personal experiences you had during that trek, and what you learned from doing it?

ZACH: The walk was an awesome adventure and a great tool to raise awareness. I met a lot of interesting people and saw America from a different perspective. One day I am going to write a book about my adventure. My favorite part of the walks was always interacting with the homeless youth.

ANTHONY: I look forward to reading it! You’re now fifteen. Your commitment clearly has never wavered. You’ve been at this for how long? And where do you see yourself ten years from now?

ZACH: I will have been at it for 9 years Aug 29th. I hope in 10 years I will still be helping. I have to make a living and support myself eventually so I would like to go to law school and become an attorney.

ANTHONY: In 2008, you said “Some kids like to play baseball and some kids like to play football. But I like to do community service work.”  Community service can be a 24 hour job, but everyone needs a break occasionally. What do you do when you need that break?

ZACH:  I like hanging out with my family or friends.

ANTHONY: The Little Red Wagon Foundation works in a number of ways to help homeless youth. What projects do you have coming up?

ZACH: I want to do my glass box project at The Grove in LA to celebrate my 16th birthday.

ANTHONY: How can people across the country get involved with the Foundation?

ZACH: Just check out my website, follow me on twitter @Zach_Bonner or look me up on Facebook. I am always tweeting about what I am up to.

ANTHONY: We have to talk a little bit about this honor you’re a Finalist for: The Peace First Prize. What’s the PFP all about, and how did you become a finalist?

ZACH: I am not sure how I learned about it but I am so excited to be a finalist and hopefully be a winner. The Peace First Prize will give me the opportunity to learn how to run my foundation better, how to be a better leader, and spread the word about homeless youth. It is like the Nobel Peace Prize for youth. Of all awards I think I want this one most because it will allow me to grow and give me the tool I need to do so. It is a huge honor.

ANTHONY: There’s a way people can help spread the word about the Prize and help you win it, right?

ZACH: There is a little misconception going on. The only way to win is through a very rigorous selection process. They do have an opportunity to help the finalist spread the word about the Peace First Prize and the finalist organizations. That is by recommending the finalist through a Facebook link. I encourage everyone to go and read about the work all the finalists are doing and sharing all of their stories with others. Of course I want to have LRWF featured in an article but I also want to support the other finalist and the work they are doing. We are all in this together and when one of us shines we all shine.

ANTHONY: Is there anything else I haven’t asked that you’d like to let my readers know about?

ZACH: There are over 1.3 million homeless kids in this country. The numbers keep rising. Some are homeless within families and some on their own. Never forget these are kids. They are no different from any kid you know. They need our help. They need your help.

ANTHONY: And my standard 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?

ZACH:  I do not think I have a favorite. Right now I am reading 1984 by George Orwell.


Want to know more about Zach? In addition to the links he mentioned above, you can also hear another recent interview with Zach, conducted by my friend Sam Lant & his friend Mandalynn Carlson on his radio show BEYOND THE SPOTLIGHT. When you get to the page, click on the Archive link for the 8/31 episode (with guests Thomas and Brielle Barbusca, Dylan and Ellery Sprayberry and Zach Bonner).


And here’s the trailer for LITTLE RED WAGON, the movie based on Zach’s life and his walk across America: