Good News Galore

July 15, 2013

So many good news to report lately, so little time to blog. I’m going to use this post to catch up:

wt361_cover

* “A Gnomish Gift” was published in issue 361 of Weird Tales, out this week.  Weird Tales has been around for approximately ever, and has published the likes of Howard and Bradbury, so appearing on their pages is a special treat for me. Having cool original artwork drawn for my story (love the angry little gnome!) and sharing the TOC with the likes of Peter S. Beagle and Tanith Lee? That’s just a bonus:

wtGift

* Sold “Worldbuilding” to Daily Science Fiction.

dsf“Worldbuilding” is a tongue-in-cheek flash story that makes fun of the common SF tropes. Daily SF is a great home for it, and it will be my sixth story appearing under the DSF rocket.

* “A Shard Glows in Brooklyn” will be reprinted two more times. In September it will appear in an e-book anthology Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in NYC edited by Donna Ansari. This is a charity project and all proceeds will be donated to City Harvest.  This same story is also going to appear in the Write1Sub1 anthology, whenever that ends up getting put together.

* The Coffee anthology reached its initial funding goal on Kickstarter! There is approximately a week left in the campaign, and any additional contributions will help me buy more original fictions at professional rates. If we reach $2000, a cool final stretch goal will be unlocked!

* In related news, The Coffee anthology is open to both reprint and original submissions. I am getting a steady stream of stories and responding promptly, so send something while there isn’t a long queue 🙂

* UFO2 is off to the designer. I hope to have ARCs ready by the end of the month.

* Beyond the Sun anthology is off to the printer and should be shipping in August.

* I return to the DJ Grandpa podcast this week and we talk about Coffee, anthologies, and the challenges of crowdfunding. DJ Grandpa is one of the best–if not the best–crowdfunding podcast around. Be sure to check it out!

enigma

* There’s a new book store opening up in NYC (in Astoria, Queens to be precise), specializing in science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries. The owners want to build it up it as a cool local hangout, where people can not only buy books, but also socialize and participate in fun special events.  The soft launch is this coming weekend, and while they’re still working on a web site, you can visit their Facebook page for updates. Local book stores are a rare breed these days, and local stores specializing in genre even more so.  So stop by the Enigma Bookstore and help support these brave entrepreneurs!

Well, there you go. It’s been a busy week. I hope to report more good news soon, but for now — back to writing!

Advertisements

UFO2 Table of Contents

June 19, 2013

The following stories will appear in Unidentified Funny Objects 2, tentatively scheduled for a September release:

Mike Resnick – On Safari
Robert Silverberg – Hannibal’s Elephants
Ken Liu – The MSG Golem
Jim Hines – Stranger vs. the Malevolent Malignancy
Matt Mikalatos – A Stiff Bargain
Fran Wilde – How to Feed Your Pyrokinetic Toddler
James Beamon – Class Action Orc
Jody Lynn Nye – Insider Information
Esther Friesner – Service Charge
Tim Pratt – The Retgun
Josh Vogt – The Girl with a Dagon Tattoo
Konstantine Paradias – How You Ruined Everything
Desmond Warzel – One Thing Leads to Your Mother
MCA Hogarth – Improved Cubicle Door
Wade Albert White – The Wiggy Turpin Affair
Michelle Ann King – Congratulations on Your Apotheosis
JW Alden – Item Not As Described
K.G. Jewell – The Haunted Blender
Heather Lindsley – The Diplomat’s Holiday

There are 19 stories total (compared to 29 in UFO1) but most of them are longer, with only a few very short (flash) pieces included this time. The two books are roughly the same length.

Arnie Swekel is currently working on the cover. I hope to have a sketch to share in a few weeks.

But wait, there’s more! Nine of the stories in UFO2 will feature unique illustrations by Barry Munden (and he will draw a tenth piece to use as a header for all the stories). Here’s a preview sample, the illustration for Ken Liu’s “The MSG Golem:”

#SFWApromsg_golem_smalll


UFO2 Submissions Update – May 17

May 17, 2013

ufo1

We read just over 350 submissions to date.  Everyone who submitted prior to 5/12 should have heard from us by now. If you haven’t, please query ASAP.

I accepted seven stories so far, totaling 35,000 words. There are three more invited headliners who haven’t turned in their stories yet (they aren’t late; they have two more weeks) so that’s up to 18,000 more words. That means the competition for the remaining space in the book is going to be very, very tough. We are holding on to nine more stories in the final round of consideration so far, and more are sure to be added to that list. Already had to turn down some truly excellent stories and there’s a long road to travel yet.

Any reasonably good anthology, magazine issue, or contest gets far more quality submissions than they can use. It’s the nature of our field — supply always greatly outpaces demand. So if you got a rejection from us, or from anyplace else, please don’t take it personally. The editors aren’t merely looking for a good story — they’re looking for stories they can fall in love with. And that’s a very tough act to pull off, especially since tastes are highly subjective. Just keep sending it out there, until the story finds the editor who will think it’s perfect.

 

 


It Came from the Slush Pile

May 6, 2013

It was only yesterday that I wrote a blog post about the UFO slush pile and had this to say:

This doesn’t mean that you can’t sell us a zombie reality TV story about a road trip in space. But it won’t be easy.

Challenge accepted! Less than 24 hours later, this story showed up in the UFO inbox.

Unfortunately I can’t include it in UFO2. A certain level of familiarity with the slush process is necessary to appreciate it. And reading the previous blog post is a must for an even better experience. But I thought it would make a perfect blog post, and also serve as a warning to all those who would submit real zombie/alien/reality TV stories to our slush pile, or any other. So I offered to buy the non-exclusive rights to post the story on this blog.

This is the author’s first story sale, and I’m thrilled to be a part of that.

Without further ado, presenting

alien

IT CAME FROM THE SLUSH PILE

By Rachel Winchester

“Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, Dr. Rostrum.  It’s hard to find a psychiatrist who’s taking on new patie… — of course, I can call you Bob. No problem.

“But, this gets a little personal, and if I could call you Doc– right, yes, I guess you’re used to hearing personal stuff. OK. Bob it is.

“Right, 50 minutes. So…it all began when I was reading submissions for a short story anthology. Science fiction stuff, supposed to be funny. You wouldn’t think there would be that many people willing to put in that kind of work for a shot at $100 or so, but there were thousands of submissions.

“I drank coffee and read manuscripts and drank more coffee and read more manuscripts until my eyelids felt like thresher blades and my eyeballs throbbed with each of their harvesting passes. I divided the stories into piles: FUNNY and NOT FUNNY. Then, to my horror, I realized I had to add another pile.

“ZOMBIES.

“I mean, I like some zombie movies, but I don’t get why they’re a thing, you know? They’ve got to be a symbol for something. Maybe because no one owns zombies. I mean, Lucas, or I guess Disney, isn’t going to sue anyone over zombies.

“And the submissions kept coming. Story after unfunny story about zombies, Bob. ‘I Was Married to a Zombie’, ‘Road Trip with a Zombie’, ‘We Can Zombie It For You Wholesale’, and ‘Do Zombies Dream of Electric Brains.’ And the worst part, Bob?  The absolute. Worst. Part? The zombie stories with bonus-gratuitous-rape.

“It was a veritable Penthouse Forum for Zombies.

“But I’d promised the editor I’d read them all. I didn’t even consider stopping.

“Then I got one in Comic Sans.

“What? No, I’m okay, I’m good…it’s just that…thinking about that font…I can see it…and…

“I’m good, seriously. Right here. Right here on the couch, Bob. See? Breathing normally. But thank you for the water. I think I’m ready to continue.

“Yes, there’s more. I know, you’d think it couldn’t get any worse than Com…that font. But it did. It did.

“Something about seeing a manuscript sent in looking like second-grade teacher’s syllabus jerked me awake, that’s the only way I can explain it. It made me realize how completely irrational it was to be living on coffee and Luna bars, reading slush. It made me realize that I’d been a total bitch to my partner every time she came in to suggest I take a shower or change my clothes. It made me realize that in the background, I’d been vaguely aware she was talking to a camera crew in the other room. About me.

“I know, I know, it sounds like paranoid delusions. But trust me, it wasn’t. It was much worse. You see, I realized then that I was on a reality show.

“Something called True Lives of Starving Writers. They were inter-cutting shots of authors slaving over pirated copies of Scrivener on refurbed laptops, voiceovers about how one guy had to switch to generic beer because he couldn’t afford MGD anymore, not until some magazine accepts his zombie porn story. Then they’d show me just shredding the submissions, and, God, they would even show my relationship coming apart. As you probably know, Bob, my partner had been telling the viewing audience about how she was trapped in this totally loveless marriage.

“I was mortified. I would never…I mean, sometimes I get into my writing, but I never thought I’d cut into our time together, and certainly not for slush.

“Also, and I have to explain this, the inner workings of the slush pile are sacrosanct. I’m doing this to pay my dues too, and learn from the submissions to make me a better writer. I would never go on a reality show and talk about it. And Darla…Darla would never go on one either.

“That’s when I knew something was really wrong. I knew it like I knew the sensation in my a–… my posterior–wasn’t from too much coffee and Luna bars. And I know you’re going to think I’m crazy, but–

“Heh, yeah, I guess you would hear that a lot, Bob. But really, the pain in my…posterior, what I thought was the pain of reading a story with too many zombies and a vampire thrown in for good measure? That pain was actually a probe. An alien anal probe.

“Aliens had kidnapped me, beamed me up, and were making me believe I was on a reality TV show about science fiction writers, and they were doing it because they were on a road trip and they were bored.

“You got that, Bob? I was a goddamn travel game some alien teenagers had picked up during a road trip pit stop on Earth.

“As I realized my plight, a gizmo on the aliens’ space-van dashboard started to beep. It got louder and louder…the aliens started to run around the van, tentacles flailing over their heads.  But I knew that sound. I sat straight up in bed, my alarm clock beeping at top volume. I was in my own bed, and whole thing was a dream!

“But, Bob…waiting for me, on the desk in the corner, were all those unread submissions.  And there, on the floor next to the desk, were three piles of manuscripts:  FUNNY, UNFUNNY…and ZOMBIES.

 END

Rachel Winchester (@RaqWinchester) was born in Roswell, NM, and believes her love for science fiction was inevitable.  She has lived and worked around the world, including in Bucharest, Kuala Lumpur, Sana’a, Athens, Caracas, and Los Angeles. She now works as a government consultant.  This is her first story sale.


UFO2 Submissions Update

May 5, 2013

ufo1

First of all, thanks again to everyone who pledged and promoted our Kickstarter campaign. We are fully funded and are able to produce the book in the fashion we wanted to, without cutting corners!

We received around 150 submissions in the first four days of May. The associate editors and I have been reading furiously to try and make sure that we respond very quickly and don’t hold anyone’s story hostage unless we’re seriously considering it for inclusion. As of right now, everyone who submitted on or before May 2 should have heard from us, either with a rejection or a round 2 bump. If you did not receive a response to your story submitted prior to May 3, please query us.

Here is a brief list of things we’re seeing too much  of among the submissions:

– Stories with contact info and byline still intact. I have to manually remove them before sending them over to the readers for anonymous consideration. This makes me sad.

– Zombies

– Stories that aren’t funny in any way, shape or form. We’re not sure why they were sent to us instead of a venue that isn’t seeking humor.

– Zombies

– Cliche aliens, usually with some sort of probing thrown in

– Reality TV stories

– Zombies

– Vampires

– Road trips complete with every road trip cliche, except they’re space road trips in space. Usually with a pit stop on Earth.

– Zombies

This doesn’t mean that you can’t sell us a zombie reality TV story about a road trip in space. But it won’t be easy.  When I see the word ‘zombie’ in a submission my eye begins to twitch, I extend my arms and walk around the office for a while moaning “rejeeeeect” — so you have to overcome that. Good luck.

Things that I would like to see more of:

– Unusual settings and scenarios. There are only so many times I can read a story about mythological gods in modern setting or aliens landing in rural America. Surprise me!

– Stories from international authors. We are actually doing quite good with that, so far. We have received stories from all over the world, and want more! Keep in mind that, while we are not considering reprints, we’ll make an exception for stories that were published in another language, as long as they have not been previously published in English.

– Art. We still need a cover artist/designer and possibly interior artists. While I am talking to a couple of people, we haven’t settled on anyone yet — send me a link to your portfolio soon if you wish to be considered!

 

 


UFO2 Kickstarter Campaign Ending Soon

May 2, 2013

Just over four hours remaining in the UFO2 Kickstarter campaign. We raised nearly $6500 so far, with $1500 to go! Over 200 people backed this project already, and if you haven’t yet, please do, and help us reach our goal.

I added my short story ebooks as an extra reward for everyone who pledges $25 or more. So, on top of the signed copy of UFO2 (or whatever else you select), you will get $5+ worth of eBooks (everything I release in 2013). This is the preview of the cover for the ebook version of “A Shard Glows in Brooklyn,” which I will release as an e-book along with “Requiem for a Druid” in early June:

shard

I should also add that we received around 100 submissions in the last 36 hours! Associate editors and I are reading furiously and will begin sending out responses in another day or two.

So please pledge to the UFO2 campaign and spread the word of it to others!

 


UFO2 Submissions Open Tonight

April 30, 2013

ufo2

The submissions are opening tonight for the UFO2 anthology and will remain open throughout the month of May. Please read the guidelines here and feel free to submit when ready (yes, a few hours early is OK.)

I would also like to remind everyone that the UFO2 Kickstarter campaign has entered its final 48-hour stretch. At this point we still need to raise nearly $3,000 in order to be funded. The anthology will be published regardless, but our level of success on Kickstarter will determine the overall volume of fiction I can buy for this book, whether I can afford to buy additional content for the web site, whether I can afford to pay for the highest-quality copy-editing and book design services…  In short, I need the extra funds to make UFO the best possible book I can produce.

Please consider pre-ordering your copy via Kickstarter as well as spreading the word about it to anyone who might possibly be interested in the next two days. Thank you!

Click here to view the UFO2 Kickstarter page.