Saturday, September 17, 2011

Link Stuff -- Writing and GLBT Issues

So for quite a while now I've been clicking on the "Share" button on my Google blog reader whenever I came across something there that I thought other people would enjoy, but they don't make it clear how to follow someone's shared posts, and in fact I don't remember what I did to sign up to follow the two people whose shares I'm following, nor did poking around the reader window enlighten me, nor have I heard anyone else mention following someone else's shared posts -- mine or anyone's -- in the last couple of years. I'm therefore assuming that's not something any great number of folks are doing. (Please let me know if I'm wrong.) I've been posting with commentary about things I wanted to comment on extensively, or occasionally things I ran across outside of the blog reader where sharing wasn't an option, and just sharing the rest, but earlier this month I started bookmarking links in a special folder so I could do linkspam posts with greater or lesser amounts of commentary on each item, with the idea that some people might actually, you know, see them that way. Then of course I was sick for a while (again [sigh] but luckily just a stomach flu) and a few more things have piled up than I'd planned to let accumulate, so I'm going to try to get through all of them in a somewhat orderly way. After this, I'll try to keep these shorter.

Things specifically of interest to writers first:

Mike Lombardo brilliantly refutes some gentleman who thinks people shouldn't ever get paid for their IP -- thanks to Colleen Doran for posting this. I don't watch many videos online, but I'm glad I watched this one. It's a point-by-point refutation of a blog post that's basically a regurgitation of every whiny excuse you ever heard a pirate give for why it's right and proper for them to steal whatever they want, and why you're a greedy bastard (blogger's words, quoted by Mike) for wanting to be paid for your work. About ten minutes, entertaining, lots of snickers.

That Awesome Time I Was Sued for Two Billion Dollars -- Another video, just to be all organized. This is Jason Scott, who runs Textfiles.com, among other things. (He's also the guy who founded the Archive Team, the group that goes around rescuing terabytes of user-uploaded content (basically the internet's history) from sites like Geocities when they got shut down, and whatever all Yahoo is deleting this week. He gets legal harassment mail pretty regularly, and this is a talk he gave at the DefCon 17 conference about one of those times, when a guy who decided that anyone who might've downloaded a free copy of his book (which he'd originally given away for free himself, and which he was stell giving away for free from his web site even as he was suing people who had free copies -- seriously, you have to hear the story) took it all the way to a court case. Writers get sued sometimes, and so do bloggers, so I figured this might be interesting. At the very least, it's entertaining. (Note that I'm assuming nobody who reads me regularly has to be told not to act like this particular writer. [cough])

Important Versus Urgent -- novelist Camille Laguire talks about setting priorities, and the difference between important and urgent. A lot of common sense, with clear examples.

A Word or Two to Aspiring Writers -- Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff uses examples from an unnamed book by a "Nationally Bestselling Author" (I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds like someone who should know better) to discuss the ever-popular What Not To Do. Even if you're not an aspiring writer, this is worth a read, if only for the bogglement factor.

I knew the book had problems when I found myself reading the same dialogue over and over . . . at different locations and in different scenes.

There was a repeated dream sequence that, at each recap consumed at least half a page, often more. If that had been the only repeated element, I’d have been fine with it, but it wasn’t. The hero and heroine literally fled from place to place and re-enacted the same “push-me-pull-you” dialogue at each new stop. Sometimes a new piece of information would be brought forth or an epiphany would occur (to be promptly forgotten), but most often, the dialogue was simply repeated in its essentials.

It went something like this (broadly paraphrased):

“Trust me,” he says. “I’m here. I won’t leave you.”
“I can’t trust you,” she says. “I can’t let anyone in. I’m crazy!”
“No, your sister’s crazy. You’re wonderful. And I’m going to help you.”
“Really?” Can I trust him? I want to trust him. I don’t want to trust him. I …
“Trust me! I’ll protect you!”
“Okay.”
“Good. Let’s get out of here.”
“No! I can’t trust you!”
(Repeat as needed, with varying degrees of mild physical violence.)


Ooookay.... [blink] You know, if I knew you could do that and still be a bestseller, I could've saved myself a whole lot of work trying to hit wordcount targets. [Angie macros COPY and PASTE commands]

My favorite piece of advice is the last one, though:

No matter what genre you’re writing, strive to make your characters self-consistent. Don’t make a brilliant cryptographer suddenly unable to crack the Sunday Crypto-Quote. Don’t have your Oxford don talking like Eliza Doolittle pre-‘enry ‘iggins. And don’t have to women who’ve shown Darth Vader-like abilities when threatened, suddenly helpless in the face of a confrontation they’ve been prepping for throughout your whole book.

Hallelujah! Seriously, if the only way you can create tension is to give your character(s) a lobotomy, you're doing it wrong. Really. I've seen this a lot and it's always good for a few eyerolls. And why aren't editors catching this? [sigh]

FROM PASSIVE VOICE:

What Happens When an Author Dies? -- this is an excellent planning on death, wills and writers. Definitely read this if you're a writer, or any other creative producer.

Indie Author Goes Traditional – A Cautionary Tale -- in case you haven't heard, Kiana Davenport was a writer who signed with a Big Six publisher back in January of last year for a novel, after having what sounds to me like considerable success publishing short stories. She had the rights to the stories, after they'd appeared in various places, so she e-pubbed a couple of collections of these previously published shorts. Then:

In January, 2010, I signed a contract with one of the Big 6 publishers in New York for my next novel. I understood then that I, like every writer in the business, was being coerced into giving up more than 75% of the profits from electronic sales of that novel, for the life of the novel. But I was debt-ridden and needed upfront money that an advance would provide. The book was scheduled for hardback publication in August, 2012, and paperback publication a year later. Recently that publisher discovered I had self-published two of my story collections as electronic books. To coin the Fanboys, they went ballistic. The editor shouted at me repeatedly on the phone. I was accused of breaching my contract (which I did not) but worse, of 'blatantly betraying them with Amazon,' their biggest and most intimidating competitor. I was not trustworthy. I was sleeping with the enemy.

Wow. Everyone else is figuring out that having more product available in the marketplace stirs up more interest in one's work. If anything, Kiana's publication of those two anthologies would generate more interest in the novel, not less. And the stories were already out there -- "Most of the stories in both collections had each been published several times before, first in Story Magazine, then again in The O’HENRY AWARDS PRIZE STORIES anthologies, the PUSHCART PRIZE stories anthologies, and THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES, 2000, anthology" -- so chances are it wouldn't be too hard to get most of those stories from libraries anyway, right? All the publisher could see was that they were competition, and apparently the fact that they were competing on Amazon made a rather large difference.

So, here is what the publisher demanded. That I immediately and totally delete CANNIBAL NIGHTS from Amazon, iNook, iPad, and all other e-platforms. Plus, that I delete all Google hits mentioning me and CANNIBAL NIGHTS. Currently, that's about 600,000 hits. (How does one even do that?) Plus that I guarantee in writing I would not self-publish another ebook of any of my backlog of works until my novel with them was published in hardback and paperback.

Not only is that outrageous, it's impossible. And seriously, do you want a publisher that thinks it's even possible for an individual to delete "all Google hits mentioning" her and a book from the internet to be responsible for doing your marketing? Because I wouldn't have any faith at all in the ability of a publisher with that little understanding of the internet and of Google to do any kind of effective marketing online, where a lot of the current book buzz resides.

The publisher declared Kiana to be in breach of her contract -- although Kiana says she wasn't; it depends on the exact phrasing of the noncompete clause -- and demanded their advance back. Kiana has decided that it's worth $20,000 to be out of that mess, and to know who the enemy actually is. I have to agree. Wow. And as Passive Guy comments, this situation is a great example of why a writer might need a lawyer, even if she has an agent. Click through to Kiana's blog for more details.

And a follow-up to the previous post, with PG commenting on comments from Brian DeFiore, a publishing insider, on why Kiana "obviously" made a huge mistake in publishing her anthologies, and how if they were print books, "we would understand in a flash that publishing two books prior to a contracted-for work would constitute a breach of contract." Really? You know, unless Mr. DeFiore has seen Kiana's publishing contract, and knows the exact wording of her noncompete clause, I have no clue where he's getting this. PG can't figure it out either.

The reason an author understands publishing competitive books is a breach of contract is if it’s actually written in the contract. Passive Guy knows this is a shocking idea in the publishing business, but, alas, that’s the law.

Exactly. You know something is contractually required or forbidden because it's in the contract. If it's not, then it's just a publisher (or whatever party to any given contract) using hand-waving and intimidation and scary-sounding language to try to bully the other party into compliance.

Passive Guy is brilliantly snarky (and informative in his point-by-point demolition) in response to Mr. DeFiore's rather condescending comments. Definitely click through and read the whole thing.

Jutoh -- TPG linked to this software product that's supposed to help you format your manuscript for various e-book file types. I haven't tried it myself, but if it does what it says it does, it should be a great help to anyone self-pubbing electronically. There's a free demo, too.

What's going on with #yesGayYA -- as is often the case when a major issue goes nuclear, Cleolinda has a great summary and set of links. In case you haven't heard, Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith guest posted on the Genreville blog on Publisher's Weekly.

Our novel, Stranger, has five viewpoint characters; one, Yuki Nakamura, is gay and has a boyfriend. Yuki’s romance, like the heterosexual ones in the novel, involves nothing more explicit than kissing.

An agent from a major agency, one which represents a bestselling YA novel in the same genre as ours, called us.

The agent offered to sign us on the condition that we make the gay character straight, or else remove his viewpoint and all references to his sexual orientation.

Rachel replied, “Making a gay character straight is a line in the sand which I will not cross. That is a moral issue. I work with teenagers, and some of them are gay. They never get to read fantasy novels where people like them are the heroes, and that’s not right.”

The agent suggested that perhaps, if the book was very popular and sequels were demanded, Yuki could be revealed to be gay in later books, when readers were already invested in the series.


You can guess how well that went over. There were discussions, mostly pretty angry, on various blogs and sites.

A few days later, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, an agent who works for the same agency as the agent referred to above (who was not named by Brown and Smith, nor was the agency named) posted a refutation on another blog, essentially calling Brown and Smith liars, only slightly more diplomatically. More fireworks, including a bunch of people who decided that Brown and Smith must have lied since Stampfel-Volpe said they did, and anyone who took Brown and Smith's word was stupid because clearly Stempfel-Volpe's word was... wait, what?

What it seems to come down to is that there are people who are outraged and offended that Brown and Smith called them or their friends or their coworkers evil homophobes, even though Brown and Smith didn't do that. They went public not to talk abou their specific case -- which couldn't be done anyway, since they hadn't said which agent had made them the straightwashing offer, so there was no one specific for anyone to be angry with until Stempfel-Volpe outed her agency by responding -- but rather to discuss the institutional barriers to GLBT characters, or characters with other diversity characteristics, in YA fiction.

I've seen the same thing happen in race discussions, where someone says, "You know, this particular statement/action is kind of racist," and twelve people slam them with variations of "OMG how dare you call me/my friend a racist, you evil #$%&@!" and it's all mushroom clouds from there on. People don't get that an action is not a person. A statement is not a person. That it's possible for an action or a statement to be homophobic or racist without the person who did or said it being deliberately or even knowingly racist. That's not the point. If you take a step backward and land on someone's bare foot with your bootheel, you've hurt them; the fact that you didn't mean to doesn't make their broken toes hurt any less. When they say "Ouch!" the proper response is "Oh, I'm so sorry!" not "How dare you say I assaulted you!" There's a too-common disconnect between what's said and what's heard when it comes to bigotry issues; too many people assume that they always must be personal attacks, when often they're not.

Brown and Smith said in the PW post:

This isn’t about one agent’s personal feelings about gay people. We don’t know their feelings; they may well be sympathetic in their private life, but regard the removal of gay characters as a marketing issue. The conversation made it clear that the agent thought our book would be an easy sale if we just made that change. [bolding mine] But it doesn’t matter if the agent rejected the character because of personal feelings or because of assumptions about the market. What matters is that a gay character would be quite literally written out of his own story.

We are avoiding names because we don’t want this story to be about one agent who spoke more bluntly than others whose objections were more indirectly expressed. Naming names can make it too easy to target a lone “villain,” who can be blamed and scolded until everyone feels that the matter has been satisfactorily dealt with.


Colleen Lindsay, who hosted Stempfel-Volpe's response post, said, "I later discovered that not only did I know the agent in question, but that this person was actually a dear friend of mine, someone who most certainly wasn't homophobic." She's clearly taking this personally on behalf of her friend. The bolded passage above shows that Brown and Smith weren't attacking the agent for homophobia; they were addressing an issue with the YA fiction business as a whole, wherein there's a perception -- whether true or not -- that books with GLBT characters are harder to sell. Because that's all it takes, some number of agents or editors saying "No" because they think a book might not sell, or might be more difficult to sell, or might sell in lesser numbers. No one in the business has to be personally homophobic for that behavior to exist.

Some people came out and insisted that this never happened, that they'd be shocked if it happened, that nobody in the YA fiction business would ever ask for something like that and they should know because they know a lot of people in the business, or that they published a YA book with a GLBT character and no one had a problem with it therefore there isn't a problem. Uh huh. (That's like saying "But we have a black president now, so there can't be any racism in the US." [sigh] One person, or even a bunch of people succeeding, doesn't mean there aren't barriers. If there's a twenty-foot wall around the supermarket, some people will still get groceries. That won't stop me and my arthritis -- and a whole lot of other people who just don't happen to own grappling hooks or really long ladders -- from going hungry.)

Does it happen? Apparently so. A lot of people commented on the Publisher's Weekly article with their own experiences, and quite a few of them said the same thing happened to them. Cleolinda quotes quite a few of them, toward the end of her post.

Malinda Lo has numbers on GLBT characters in YA since 1969. The good news is that the numbers have gone up quite a lot. The bad news is that "up quite a lot" means that 0.2% of YA books published in 2010 had GLBT characters. Some generous estimates put the 2011 figure at about 1%, which is better, but still ridiculously low for a group of people who comprise 10-15% of the general population.

John Scalzi is wonderfully succinct, which is obviously not one of my skills:

My particular take on it is that the authors did the right thing by saying “thanks, no,” and that in general there should be gay characters in YA because a) surprise, there are gay folks everywhere and b) in my opinion as a father, there’s not a damn thing wrong with my child encountering gay folks in her literature, because see point a).

I hadn't meant to write quite so much about this issue, but this is important. There's more in Cleolinda's post, and I encourage you to click through.

Segueing into a Couple More GLBT Interest Links:

Why Can't You Just Butch Up? -- an article by Bret Hartinger about effeminate men and why they can't (or shouldn't have to) just behave more like macho dudes.

Gotta Love Clint Eastwood -- Clint's not the most liberal of guys, but I was mentally applauding while reading this article. In a nutshell:

"These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage?" Eastwood opined. "I don't give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We're making a big deal out of things we shouldn't be making a deal out of."

Go Clint!

The first chunk of comments is actually sane and rational, which is pretty amazing. Soon enough the homophobes and trolls show up, though. You have to love the people who can say with a straight typeface that if we legalize gay marriage, everyone will marry someone of the same sex, no more babies will be born, and the human race will die out. Wow. Logic -- get yourself some.

Angie

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blogger Issues

So, I figured out what's up with Blogger, or at least how to work around the crazy, as is probably clear from the fact that the anthology post went up last night. For anyone else using Blogger, here's what I figured out:

The closest I've found to an announcement about the change is a Blogger Buzz piece about Blogger's Fresh New Look from 31 August. That's all about the changes to the layout of the interface; there's nothing there about messing with the functionality. Or maybe that's implied in:

We’ve rewritten the entire editing and management experience from scratch so it’s faster and more efficient for you

although that's not how I'd have described it. [cough]

Speaking of speed, everything about Blogger has slowed way down; it's been frustratingly slow since yesterday. I don't know if that's inherent in the new interface, or if it's because all the users (like me) who didn't opt in earlier were pitched head-first into all this fresh newness and have been clicking around the system trying to figure out how to turn it off. I'm hoping the latter, because that implies things will speed up again once folks figure out how to manage in the new environment.

Oh, and there's this bit:

Starting today, we’ll gradually let all bloggers choose to turn on the new UI, so your Blogger experience won’t be updated until you enable it.

Wow, that lasted a whole ten days! :/ Or maybe nine -- Charles said his Novel Spaces post was messed up enough that it failed to auto-post as it'd been set to do the night of the 9th/10th.

The good news is there's a fix, although in keeping with the whole WTFishness of the situation, it's not spelled out anywhere and it's not where you might expect it to be. It's simple, but not immediately obvious (even after you've done what you need to do), which makes it more frustrating than it should've been.

If you click on New Post and get the edit window, on the right is a gear icon labelled Options. Click on that, and the third and last option is "Line breaks" with two radio buttons. One is "Use [BREAK] tag" and the other is "Press 'Enter' for line breaks." Click on the second one, and you can type or paste in your post the same way you did before.

There's no blog-level option that I found to change this universally, and when I tested it last night by starting a second new post after the anthology post went up, the default was still set to BREAK tags. I could change it to use Enter, but I had to change it; at that point I assumed that the BREAK tag option was hard-coded as the default and that I'd have to reset the option every time I created a new post. Also, when I went back into Edit mode on some of my old posts last night, they were still full of BREAK tags, which reinforced my conclusion that we were being strongly herded toward that mode for... whatever reason.

When I came back this morning to write up this what-I've-found post, though, the option had changed. Starting a new post automatically came up with the Enter option, and when I went into edit on an old post, it had been converted back to the Enter format. I don't know whether a change went in overnight, or whether it just takes the system that long to notice the last mode you used, update your New Post default option, and convert your old posts. Although if it's converting all your old posts whenever you switch, that might be another factor in the slowdowns, which would also be good news because that would mean that once everyone is settled into their preferred option, the system should speed up again. [crossed fingers]

So the bottom line is that there's this Fresh New Interface to deal with, but once you've told the system which edit option you prefer, it'll eventually remember and it's business as usual from that point on.

I still have no clue why the BREAK option was set as the initial default. If I wanted to have to deal with ridiculous defaults whenever the system upgraded, I'd have joined Facebook, seriously. Whoever's responsible for that one needs a smack upside the head to jar a few brain cells loose, but at least it's not a permanent option the way it seemed to be last night.

Oh, and one good thing about the change, to be fair. When you hit Preview now, you get a separate window. You can look over the preview, go back to the edit window to change something, then go right back to the preview window without losing your place there. Previously, hitting Preview brought up the preview in the same window, and if you saw something you wanted to fix, you had to scroll up and hit Hide Preview to get back to edit, then hit Preview again and scroll to find your place to continue proofreading; this is something that's been annoying for a long time, particularly for the anthology market posts, which tend to be very long. So the development team gets a cookie for this particular improvement.

Back to business.

Angie

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Anthology Markets

If you've just wandered in off the internet, hi and welcome. :) I do these posts every month, so if this post isn't dated in the same month you're in, click here to make sure you're seeing the most recent one.

Markets with specific deadlines are listed first, "Until Filled" markets are at the bottom. There are usually more details on the original site; always click through and read the full guidelines before submitting. Note that some publishers list multiple antho guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.

Non-erotica/romance writers: check out Apocalypse Hope, Mutation Nation, Rocket Science, Damnation and Dames, Horror Library, Mortis Operandi, the Fantastic Stories Anthology, the Wuxia Anthology and Panverse Four.

***

30 September 2011 -- Shades of Gray -- ed. S.L. Armstrong, Storm Moon Press

This is a place where morality takes a backseat and the lines of right and wrong blur. In Shades of Gray, we are looking for short, M/M stories that push the envelope, are dark, sexy, and erotic. Hurt/comfort, dubious consent and forced seduction, imprisonment, angst, sadism, masochism, and perversion, all carefully wrapped in the package of erotic romance. We don’t want to see angst and torture for angst and torture’s sake, but because it will ultimately unite your two heroes who triumph over the darkest times in their lives. We want dark tones with bright rays of hope.

We will even consider sociopaths as main characters along the lines of Dexter and American Pyscho. All torment must be redeemed through romance and eroticism. Will will NOT accept outright rape, disgusting fetishes used as torture, or snuff stories. Dark yes, gross no.

Length of submissions should be between 10,000 and 15,000 words.

Only short stories that still have their First English language rights still attached will be considered, and we do ask for exclusive electronic and print rights for two (2) years, at which time, all rights revert. We do not accept simultaneous submissions.

Payment is $0.013 per word (based on final, edited word count) paid upon publication, plus a PDF copy of the e-book, and two contributor copies of the print book.

We are accepting submissions until September 30th, 2011. Acceptance notifications and contracts will be issued during the month of October. All content to be featured in Shades of Gray will be edited. Planned release for both the e-book and print book is January 31st, 2012.

Again, please, look over our standard submission guidelines for all the details with regards for our lines, anthologies, and requirements.

***

30 September 2011 -- Unmasked & Undressed -- ed. Eric Summers, STARbooks Press

Once again, STARbooks Press is putting together a collection of hot, fun, sexy stories about superheroes, their sidekicks, and their fans. What made Unmasked STARbooks Press best-seller of all time were the great characters, steamy sex, and humor! Surely, you have a superhero whose story you want to tell.

Keep in mind: Every superhero has at least one special ability and one secret weakness. Use these to your advantage. If you contributed to Unmasked or Unmasked II, or both, let’s see a sequel!

Your characters need to be at least 18 years old.

We are seeking well-written stories that are erotic, not just pornographic. There are no limits to the possibilities or scenarios. All we ask is that writers be creative, have fun, and offer our readers something fresh and new. And humor is always greatly appreciated! We want well-developed characters and plots, believable and accurate situations (even if it is fantasy or science fiction, it must make sense), and settings, along with internal consistency. All characters must be at least 18 years of age. Please use lube and not spit.

Feel free to query me about the idea you may have about a story for this anthology at eric@starbookspress.com.

Thank you,
Eric Summers

Submit your query to eric@starbookspress.com in the body of an email. Include a short bio, your name, postal and email addresses, the title and a five-paragraph excerpt of your story. Indicate whether or not your submission has been previously published and, if so, where and when. You don't need to sell your story in the letter; your work will speak for itself. If your query is accepted, we will be in contact with you about submitting the complete work. The end product should be around eight pages of single spaced 12 pt. type. Occasionally, novellas are accepted, but they must be exceptional. Be sure to edit and proof your query.

***

30 September 2011 -- The Boys of Summer -- ed. Mickey Erlach, STARbooks Press

Everyone knows what happens when the thermostat hits 100! Remember those summers between semesters at the lake? How about that camping trip before your senior year in college? Did you have a summer job with a landscaping company to pay for school? Were you a lifeguard at a nude beach?

One cannot help but be horny with all those hot young guys stripped to the waist, sweating and playing or working in the blazing sun. With so little else to remove, getting it on is never easier than on a hot summer night!

Come on and give it to us – those Hot Boys of Summer. We want it steamy; we want it often; we want it good.

Your characters need to be at least 18 years old.

We are seeking well-written stories that are erotic, not just pornographic. There are no limits to the possibilities or scenarios. All we ask is that writers be creative, have fun, and offer our readers something fresh and new. And humor is always greatly appreciated! We want well-developed characters and plots, believable and accurate situations (even if it is fantasy or science fiction, it must make sense), and settings, along with internal consistency. All characters must be at least 18 years of age. Please use lube and not spit.

Feel free to query me about the idea you may have about a story for this anthology at mickey@starbookspress.com.

Thank you,
Mickey Erlach

Submit your query to mickey@starbookspress.com in the body of an email. Include a short bio, your name, postal and email addresses, the title and a five-paragraph excerpt of your story. Indicate whether or not your submission has been previously published and, if so, where and when. You don't need to sell your story in the letter; your work will speak for itself. If your query is accepted, we will be in contact with you about submitting the complete work. The end product should be around eight pages of single spaced 12 pt. type. Occasionally, novellas are accepted, but they must be exceptional. Be sure to edit and proof your query.

***

30 September 2011 -- Apocalypse Hope -- ed. Tehani Wessely, Fablecroft Publishing

The world is ending: climate change, natural disaster, war and disease threaten to destroy all we know. Predictions of the future are bleak. But does the apocalypse really mean the end of the world? Is there no hope for a future that follows?

FableCroft Publishing is seeking speculative fiction stories on the theme "Apocalypse Hope". The stories must in some way address the idea that after the apocalypse (whatever and wherever in your universe that might be), there is a future for the peoples who survive it. The rest is up to your imagination.

Stories should be between 2,000 and 8,000 words. Please query the editor before sending stories outside those limits.

Original stories are preferred. Please query for reprints.

No simultaneous submissions please.

For multiple submissions, please query first.

Submissions close: September 30, 2011

Anticipated publication date: June 2012
Electronic submissions only. Please send story as an rtf or doc attachment to fablecroft [at] gmail [dot] com, with the subject line: SUBMISSION: Title of Story

Please ensure your story file includes your contact details including postal address and email address.

Stories should be formatted to usual electronic submission standard. Times New Roman font of 11/12 point preferred, with at least 1.5 spacing.

Please be cautious to only submit final, proofread copy – ensure you have checked all your edits and removed all track changes in your document.

The editor will respond with a submission received email within 48 hours, but story selection may not occur until up to one month after the deadline. This anthology is open to international contributors.

Payment will be AUD$50.00 and one contributor copy of the print book. Further royalties will apply for e-book revenue.

***

1 October 2011 -- Mutation Nation -- ed. Kelly Dunn, Rainstorm Press

Mutations. Such tiny changes, such radical extremes. Mutations are not what we expect and more than we bargained for. The red-headed beauty on the fashion catwalk, Cronenberg's "Brundlefly" abomination—both are the result of mutations, but with wildly different results. Mutations can beautify or deform, create or destroy. Mutations have the power to build a new physical look, alter brain chemistry, affect emotions. With mutations in the mix, humans can wind up stranded in a hellish unfinished limbo, or evolve a little too well into something the rest of us might not recognize.

Who are these human oddities? How do these characters and/or the people in their lives deal with the curse—or the blessing—of their mutations? This anthology will contain stories that explore these human mutations—and their consequences.

Your mutation story should contain these basic elements:

1. One or more human characters with a single or multiple mutations.
2. One or more human characters dealing with a problem/problems related to the mutation.
3. If your mutation results in a monster, that monster should be a new or different twist on humanity—not a vampire, werebeast, zombie, or other overly familiar supernatural creature.

The form the mutation takes is up to you. You might choose a mutation that causes physical changes, and/or changes in brain chemistry; a mutation known to biological science or one of your own design. The mutation could be the result of an experiment, environmental factors, or even caused in some way by the character's own actions.

There are infinite possibilities to explore.

I am looking for compelling characters, strong plotting, and vivid imagery. I would prefer that the feeling of terror be mingled with a sense of wonder or the darkly miraculous. The word "mutation" does not have to appear in the story, but it should be very clear that the conflict of the story has arisen as a result of one or more mutations.

Details:
Genre:
This is a horror anthology. Think "Twilight Zone" in terms of range. Stories can contain elements of science fiction, dystopia, dark fantasy, gothic, and psychological horror. Stories can take place in any time period.

Words: Stories should be between 3,000 and 7,000 words, with a length of 5,000-6,000 words preferred.

Rights: First-time World Anthology and first-time electronic publication rights only are purchased by Rainstorm Press for paper and electronic publishing. No simultaneous submissions or reprints.

Payment: $50.00 will be paid upon acceptance, plus one print contributor's copy and one electronic contributor's copy.

Deadline: All submissions must be received by October 1, 2011. Target release date is December 1, 2011.

Format: Manuscripts may be submitted by e-mail attachment. Word documents only, please. Standard manuscript format. You can see an example of the correct formatting here: http://www.sfwa.org/2008/11/manuscript-preparation/

Send submission to: mutantantho@earthlink.net

Feel free to send any questions you may have to this email address, as well.

***

31 October 2011 -- Rocket Science -- ed. Ian Sales, Mutation Press

Science fiction does take place in a vacuum. Travel more than 100 kilometres vertically from where you’re standing, and you’ll be in space. Where there’s no life-sustaining air; where the cold, and direct sunlight, can kill. There’s no gravity, and background radiation will cause cancer in one in ten people. Yet the future of our species quite possibly lies up there, or somewhere that will require us to cross space to reach.

Too often, science fiction glosses over the difficulties associated with leaving a planetary surface, travelling billions of kilometres through space, or even living in a radiation-soaked vacuum. The laws of physics are side-stepped in the interests of drama. Yet there’s plenty of drama, plenty of science fiction drama, in overcoming the challenges space presents. Whether it is, for example, an alternate history take on the Apollo Lunar landings; the discovery of an alien artefact on a moon of Jupiter; or the story of a mission to the nearest star.

ROCKET SCIENCE is looking for original stories which realistically depict space travel and its hazards. The reader needs to know what it would be like to be there. This doesn’t mean stories must be set in interplanetary or interstellar space; but the technology and science involved must be present somewhere. It could be a story set in a spacecraft, on an asteroid or space station; or about a mission soon to leave Earth’s surface. It could be a first contact, a rescue against the odds, or a study of some unusual space phenomenon. Whatever suits. Don't be afraid to be literary.

But no space opera, definitely no space opera.

ROCKET SCIENCE will also feature relevant non-fiction – history, science, technology, perhaps a study of notable books / films / tv. Feel free to submit.

Reading period 1 Aug 2011 to 31 Oct 2011. Do not send before.

Word limit 6k. Payment GBP10.00 per 1k words. No reprints.

Please stick to the theme.

ROCKET SCIENCE, edited by Ian Sales. To be published by Mutation Press in 2012. For more information: visit this page for updates or email rocketscience.editor@gmail.com

***

1 November 2011 -- Damnation and Dames -- ed. Amanda Pillar and Liz Grzyb, Ticonderoga Publications


We are looking for stories which show the paranormal and noir crime worlds colliding. You might find werewolf femme fatales, vampire hardboiled detectives, alcoholic psychic journalists, zombie bankrobbers, ghostly gendarmes, demonic insurance salesmen, down-on-their-luck djinns, double-crossing mummies, or even fae with a love for red herrings.

The anthology will be published by Ticonderoga Publications in 2012.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Send us your best paranormal noir stories.

1. -- Story length 1,000 to 7,500 words. (Longer stories may be accepted, although payment is capped at 7,500).
2. -- Original stories only: no reprints, multiple, or simultaneous submissions.
3. -- Stories may be submitted via email at paranormalnoir@ticonderogapublications.com.
4. -- Manuscript format: double spaced, large margins, sensible font, Australian English spelling.
5. -- The editors reserve the right to use their discretion in selecting stories.
6. -- Deadline: 1st November, 2011.
7. -- Payment: 2 copies of anthology and Aus 2 cents/word (GST inc., maximum payment $150) on publication.

***

UNTIL FILLED -- Horror Library, Vol. 5 -- Cutting Block Press

Cutting Block Press is pleased to announce an open submissions period for the 4th Volume of its Horror Anthology Series, +Horror Library+, to be published in trade paperback during 2011.

We're looking for the highest quality examples of all forms of Dark Fiction, running the gamut from traditional horror, supernatural, speculative, psychological thriller, dark satire, including every point between and especially beyond. No Fantasy or Sci-fi unless the horror elements are dominant. Read +Horror Library+ Volumes 1-3 to see what's already pleased us. Special consideration will be given those pieces that we find profoundly disturbing, though blood and violence on their own won't cut it. While we will consider tales of vampires, ghosts and zombies, we tend to roll our eyes at ordinary ones. They're just too plentiful. Your best bet is to surprise us with something that is different, while well conceived and tightly executed.

Guidelines: Stories will range between 1,000 and 6,000 words, though we'll look at longer works of exceptional merit. In that case, query before submission. Buying 1st worldwide anthology rights. No reprints. Paying 1.5 cents per word, plus one contributors copy. For established authors, rates may be negotiable. Response time: six months or sooner. Deadline: We will accept submissions until filled. All Queries to horrorlibrarysubs@yahoo.com.

Manuscript format: 12 point courier font, standard margins, left side of header: name, contact info, right side of header: word count, top of first page: title, author

Variances from traditional manuscript format: single space, NO INDENTS, ONE EXTRA space between paragraphs, use bold, italics and underline as they are to appear in story

Subject box: Short Story submission - title of story

Attach story in MS Word Document or RTF (only). Please paste your cover letter in the body of the e-mail. Send submissions to horrorlibrarysubs@yahoo.com.

[See the web page for a special offer on copies of Horror Library Vol. 1 for writers doing market research.]

***

UNTIL FILLED -- Mortis Operandi -- ed. Kfir Luzzatto and Dru Pagliassotti, The Harrow Press

MORTIS OPERANDI is looking for stories that revolve around the investigation of a crime and in which the supernatural plays a central role. While we’re expecting a fair share of murders, we strongly encourage stories that revolve around OTHER kinds of crime — for example, arson, assault, blackmail, bullying, burglary, dowry death, embezzlement, fraud, kidnapping, larceny, libel, piracy, product liability, slavery, smuggling, terrorism, treason, and toxic pollution are all fair game.

By "supernatural" we mean magic, monsters, and/or miracles, but we don’t consider psychic abilities (although the inclusion of a minor character possessing them will not in itself disqualify a story), extraterrestrial life, or UFOs to be supernatural.

Types of stories may include whodunits, police procedurals, hardboiled fiction, and courtroom dramas. All genres and treatments are welcome, including ecclesiastic, fantasy, humor, horror, historical, military, romance, and parody. Settings outside the U.S. and U.K. are welcome. Settings on other worlds aren’t.

We want well-written stories that demonstrate originality of concept and plot. Zombies, vampires, and werewolves will be a hard sell, and romantically inclined vampires will be staked on sight. Think outside of the coffin.

Stories will be judged exclusively on the basis of their literary merit; a history of prior publication is not necessary.

Get more information about our thoughts on this antho at Market Scoop.
Submissions & Queries: anthology [[ at ]] theharrowpress.com
==No simultaneous submissions. One submission at a time.
==Please attach your stories to your email in Microsoft Word, RTF, or text-only format. Stories pasted in the body of an email will not be read.
==Please include the words “Submission: Mortis Operandi” in the Subject line of your e-mail.
Length: 3,000-6,000 words. Please include an approximate word count in your e-mail submission.
Reprints: No
Language: English
Payment: US $50/story, upon publication, and a free copy of the book
Rights: Exclusive English anthology print and electronic (e-book) rights. Please read our Sample Contract (pdf) for full details.
Submission period: Opens 1.1.11 -- Closes when filled.
Publication Date: 2012

***

UNTIL FILLED -- Fantastic Stories Anthology -- ed. Warren Lapine, Wilder Publications

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination is a yearly anthology. Edited by Warren Lapine, Wilder Publications Box 10641, Blacksburg, VA 24063

I’m looking for stories that cover the entire science fiction, fantasy, and horror spectrum. I love magic realism (think Tim Powers and Neil Gaiman) and hard sf. I want a story to surprise me and to take me to unexpected places. I love word play, and would like to see stories with a literary bent, though decidedly not a pretentious bent. I could spend some time telling you what I don’t want, but I’ve found that good stories can make me buy them regardless of how many of my rules they violate. Let your imagination run wild, push and blur the limits of genre, or send me something traditional. I want it to see it all. My experience as an editor tells me that over time I’ll develop preferences and that the anthology will take on its own personality. When that happens I’ll change the guidelines to be more specific, but for now I’m going to explore what’s out there before I decide what direction to go in.

Payment: 10 cents per word on acceptance for original stories (maximum of $250.00) or 2 cents per word for reprints (maximum of $100.00). A check will accompany the contract so no simultaneous submissions please. I am purchasing First English Language Book Rights and non-exclusive electronic rights.

Story length, I have no limit on story length but the longer the story is the better it will have to be.

Sorry no e-mail submissions. Why is this? Don’t you know that e-mail submissions is the future? Yes I do know that, but it’s not the way I want to do this. For me the best part of being an editor is having people over to have slush parties and interacting with them during the reading process. Editing on a screen is a thing devoid of fun or joy, I edit for the fun and joy of it.

[Note: definitely click through on this one; there's some very useful info in the comments.]

***

UNTIL FILLED -- All Access Pass -- ed. Amelia G, Blue Blood Books

Short version of what I’m looking for is: well-crafted fiction or memoir, cool erotica with music and/or music culture as a central theme, $50 first run + reprint rights, $25 reprints. More formal version below.

Call for Submissions: All Access Pass

Backstage Passes editor Amelia G is reading for a sequel to her anthology of rock and roll erotica, called All Access Pass. Below are general fiction guidelines for Blue Blood fiction projects. For this book in specific, music must play a central role in the story. Events could take place at a punk club or an outdoor festival, characters may be musicians, music may just really speak to a particular character, but it needs to be important. Stories ranging from balls-out memoir or entirely fantastical vampire sex are all fine, within the appropriate theme and quality standards.

When submitting electronically, please make the subject of your email ALL ACCESS PASS SUBMISSION.

Before sending anything over, please ask yourself if your work passes the Blue Blood litmus test: Is it intelligent? Is it sexy? Is it edgy/counterculture? Is it cool? Email electronic submissions to submit@blueblood.net For submissions of fiction or nonfiction text, please have your writing in a Word document with a .doc suffix (not .docx), RTF, TXT, InDesign, or Open Office format. It is preferred if you include an author bio or link to your website or online profiles.

The All Access Pass anthology is seeking erotic stories with a counterculture feel — Gothic, industrial, techno, rave, punk, metal, dyke, mystery, gangster, hard-boiled, science fiction, cyberpunk, steampunk, vampire, werewolf, medieval etc. At the moment, our needs are for stories primarily from a male or female heterosexual viewpoint, lesbian viewpoint, or female bisexual viewpoint. Often, we can also place male homosexual and gender bender stories in anthologies. We look for work between 2,000 and 7,500 words. Most accepted fiction is shorter than 4,000 words. Death and horror elements are acceptable so long as they do not prevent the piece from being sex-positive. Characters may die but not as part of the sexuality. Kinky is great — leathersex, bondage, vampirism etc. are all fine. Negative attitudes about sexuality are not fine. All sex must be consensual and arousing. PLEASE DO NOT SEND US STORIES PROMOTING NAZIS, RAPE, INCEST, OR THE SEXUALIZATION OF MURDER. NO SNUFF, RACISM, OR HOMOPHOBIA. If you can write genuinely arousing fiction which still works as a story, do contact us. Payment is net 60 on on-sale date and we generally purchase first worldwide rights (exclusive from acceptance to one year after publication) along with nonexclusive reprint rights.

***

UNTIL FILLED -- Unnamed Wuxia Anthology -- ed. John Dishon, Genreverse Books

What are you looking for?

You’ve probably guessed it: wuxia. I want wuxia stories. If your story isn’t wuxia, then submitting it here won’t do you any good. Even if your story is really good, the focus of this anthology is the wuxia genre. The anthology is intended for those who have never heard of or read wuxia before, and for those who have. So for the noobs I want to introduce the genre to them properly, and the veterans will know if I haven’t done that. And since the whole point of this project is to promote the wuxia, then I’m going to have to insist that your story be an example of said genre. If it is, then please submit it below. If not, you’re better off submitting it elsewhere.

If you’re not sure what wuxia is, you can read about it here.

Yeah, it’s wuxia. But is it your kind of wuxia?

Yes, it is. Because I don’t have any specific kind of wuxia I’m going for. It can be old school or new school, it can be proto-wuxia, such as some of the chuanqi of the Tang era (an example of that would be “The Kunlun Slave” or “The Curly Bearded Stranger”), or anything else. Maybe you have your own unique style you’d like to try out. Let me have it. I don’t want a book full of Jin Yong rip-offs. Some stories in that vein are fine, and I would like to see some, but I want some variety as well. With the English language we have the opportunity to take the genre in new and unexpected territories, and to use different techniques to tell our stories. We needn’t try to copy Chinese writers. What exactly I mean by that will be left up to the writers. If a standard Jin Yong or Gu Long kind of story is your thing, then send it in. But if you’re trying something new or different, then I want to see that too. The most important consideration is that it is a good story, which means it should have compelling characters put in interesting situations. Your story should have that regardless of the genre.

So I am open to stories set in modern settings as well. The essence of wuxia lies in the values expressed by the two characters that make up the word, 武 and 俠, not the time period the story takes place in. Again, feel free to experiment.

I think it’s wuxia.

Great. Send it in. If your story is a borderline case, or you’re not quite sure if it’s wuxia, then send it in anyway. The worst that can happen is it gets rejected. You don’t need to query first. Make sure you look at the “What is Wuxia?” page linked to above before making your final decision, though. There is some leeway. “Martial arts fiction” is how wuxia is often translated into English, and while that is an over-simplified translation, it’s a good guide. However, the xia part of wuxia deserves attention to. I believe it is possible to have a wuxia story that does not have any fighting in it at all, but there must be a lot of xia in that case. I’ll stop there before I complicate the issue too much. It is a tough genre to define.

How do you want it?

As stated above, all submissions must be made through Hey Publisher. The form is below. The form will accept .doc, .rtf, and .txt files. It will not accept the new .docx format for some reason, so if you are using a newer version of Word, make sure to save it as .doc instead of .docx. Sign up is easy on the form. You can go through one of various social network services, or just create an account with Hey Publisher. Either way, it only takes a few seconds. Do not email me your submission. All email submissions will be deleted without being read, no exceptions.

For proper manuscript formatting, see William Shunn’s Proper Manuscript Format. If you’ve ever submitted a story to a magazine before, then you’re probably already familiar with these formatting guidelines. You don’t need to include your mailing address, if you don’t want to. Make sure you have a valid email address on there, though. One that you regularly check.

How long should it be?

2,000-30,000 words. Anywhere in between there is fine. That means no flash fiction, and no novels. Also, no novel excerpts will be considered. No excerpts of any kind will be considered, actually. I want a complete, self-contained story.

Simultaneous submissions are accepted. I anticipate the submission process to be a long one, so I don’t mind if you submit to more than one place at once. Just make sure the other place(s) you submit your story to feel the same way.

Multiple submissions are accepted. If you only have one story to send, that’s fine. If you have three stories you would like to be considered, that’s fine too. I’m looking for the best wuxia stories I can find, so let me see all of them (well, all the good ones. Don’t submit the bad ones). You can have more than one story published in the anthology.

Previously published stories are accepted. The best stories might not be the newest stories. If your story has been published before, such as in a magazine or on a blog, then you can still send it to me. If it’s a great wuxia story then I want to showcase it to the English-reading world in this anthology. It would be silly to say no just because another magazine had published it already.

What will the submission process be like?

First, write a great story. Edit/rewrite/revise that great story. Make sure someone besides you reads it, so you can be sure it’s good. Then submit it to me, via the form below. Your story will then be sent to me. When I open your submission to read your story you will receive an email saying so. At this point, wait for a bit. How long the wait will be is unknown. If I immediately am not interested in the story, then you will receive a rejection notice pretty soon, probably no more than a week after I start reading it.

If I like your story, then prepare to wait longer. If your story is a “maybe” then I will put it under consideration and you will receive an email saying so. This will likely be the longest wait period, and I can’t begin to say how long that could be. I want to find the best stories, but that could take a while. I’m sure some of the best stories haven’t been written yet as I type this. So hang tight. That’s why simultaneous submissions are allowed. I will update this website frequently to let everyone know how the selection process is going, so you can keep up with my progress that way.

Eventually, I will either accept your story or reject it. If your story is rejected, you will get an email saying so. If it is accepted, you will get an email saying your story has been accepted.

How much does this thing pay?

1-5 cents per word, depending on how much money I raise for the project. I would like to be able to pay everyone 5 cents a word, but that means I would have to raise $5,550 USD. Here’s hoping. But for the purposes of deciding if you want to submit a story to me, plan on 1 cent per word. That’s probably the most realistic guess. Tell everyone you know about this project and ask them to donate so there will be more money to pay the writers.

What rights are you seeking?

Anthology rights. That means I’m buying your story for the purpose of publishing it in an anthology. The anthology will be printed, and it will also be available in electronic format. This anthology will be published globally, so I will be seeking permission to publish it everywhere. However, aside from the print and online versions of the anthology, I don’t want anything else from you. You are and will remain free to publish your story anywhere else you want. You retain the rights to your story; you’re just giving me permission to publish it in my anthology and sell it globally in print and in electronic formats.

I’m not seeking First-anything rights. Even if this anthology is the first place your story will be published.

Wait, there is one more thing I want. I want the exclusive right to publish your story. Meaning that your story can’t be published at the same time as my anthology is published. Obviously, if it’s already been published then that’s fine, but you can publish it anywhere else new while I’m publishing it in my anthology. I am seeking exclusive rights to publish your story for three months after the publication of the anthology. So once the anthology has been out for three months, you can publish your story anywhere you please.

***

UNTIL FILLED -- Panverse Four -- ed. Dario Ciriello, Panverse Publishing

We are now reading for Panverse Four (publication date Sept 1, 2012). We'll be reading very selectively, and submissions will remain open until the anthology is filled. With the change in reading habits and the cost of print books, Panverse Four will very probably be our first digital-only edition, and will be available in all the popular digital formats (Kindle/mobi, ePub, pdf, etc). We are currently thinking through the digital-only idea, and will of course notify our authors in due course.

What we're looking for in Panverse Four:
Pro-level novellas of between 17,500 and 40,000 words. We are particularly interested in core SF stories, as well as Fantasy and Alternate History. With Fantasy, note that we gravitate toward urban and edgy, though we do have a weakness for non-sappy stories involving Faërie or Sidhe characters. Your story should be original and unpublished in any medium including web publication.

Depth of characterization will count for a lot—however clever the idea, if we don't care for the protagonist, we'll reject it. We like stories that instill wonder. Give us a character we care for, a world both interesting and well-developed, and a story that carries us along, and you've probably got a sale.

What we don't want in Panverse Four:
Military SF, High Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Horror, RPG, superhero, shared-universe stuff, etc. Vampires and Cthulhu-mythos stories are strongly discouraged unless you've done something absolutely original with either theme. No gratuitous or wildly excessive sex or violence: what this means is that sex or violence which serves the plot is okay, within limits; the same goes for language. Think R-rated rather than XXX-rated.

Response Time:
We'll respond to all submissions inside six weeks; if you haven't heard after that time, please ping us. If we're on the fence over a story, we'll keep you in the loop rather than leave you wondering. Yes, we've been on the other side of the slush pile, and it's our intention to maintain a gold standard in this regard.

How to Submit Stories:
Your submission should be professionally formatted, with paragraphs indented but not separated by line breaks.

Please send only your best work, and take the time to proofread and format it properly. If your submission completely ignores these guidelines or is full of typos, we're unlikely to read it. Please send us only one story at a time. No simultaneous or multiple submissions.

NO 'BOOK BLURB', please: I don't want to know in advance what the story's about! There's no better way to annoy me in a submission than to ignore this rule.

A cover letter is optional, but please keep it very short.

If we really, really like a story but feel some edits or rewriting are needed, we'll make suggestions and discuss them with you rather than just bounce the story outright. We're doing this because we want to help you make this story the best it can be. If you're not open to constructive editing, don't submit to us.

Finally, please don't expect critiques or reasons for rejection. If your story is rejected, it's probably because it either doesn't conform to our needs, or doesn't grab us enough to make us want to publish it.

Email us your submission at pansubs (at) gmail (dot) com as an attachment in either docx, doc, or rtf format. Write SUBMISSION: (Story Name) in the subject line. Stories pasted into the email will be deleted. Please don't attach anything except the story.

Payment and rights:
Each contributor will receive $75 on publication. We buy FNASR for a period of one year.

Here's the deal: we're working on a shoestring, and we're going to be to spending time and money on getting this series—and YOU—noticed. Expect reviews in LOCUS, TANGENT ONLINE, ASIMOV'S and several other prominent venues; we'll blog about this anthology, notify everyone on our large email list, and generally market our butts off; and of course Panverse Four will be available in all digital formats via Amazon.com and other online outlets.

If you're thinking, "Waitaminnit! The pro mags would pay me 6 cents a word!" by all means try them first—we're rooting for you! But the sad truth is that the very few remaining pro markets between them only have room for maybe 10-15 novellas a year, and they're not known for taking chances on novellas by new authors.

Panverse, on the other hand, exists primarily to publish authors writing at these longer lengths, and our titles have received several excellent reviews in LOCUS, ASIMOV'S and elsewhere. Stories from Panverse Two made both the LOCUS and TANGENT ONLINE reading lists, and Alan Smale's AH story from Panverse Two, 'A Clash of Eagles,' has just won the 2011 Sidewise Award!

The Panverse series is the premier anthology for all-original SF/F novellas in the market today.

Required Format for all Submissions
We're easier on this than many publications and don't care if your ms. isn't double-spaced since it takes a second to fix this on an electronic sub; but a poorly-formatted ms. marks you as an amateur. So, in order of importance:

Mandatory
Font: 12pt Courier or Times New Roman. NO FANCY FONTS unless the story requires weird formatting for some internal reason (better be a good one, and even then only in small bits).

First (title) page should have author's real name, address, email, and phone number at top left; the wordcount goes at top right, and the story title, as well as the name you wish the story to appear under, should be halfway or so down the first page.

Author's last name, story title, and page number, in header or footer of each page.

First Line Indent (1/4"-1/2" ) for new paragraphs; please do not use line breaks between paragraphs.

Save and attach ms. as docx, doc, or rtf file only: all other formats will be deleted!

Preferred
1" margins on all sides.

Use a single hash sign (#) to indicate scene or section breaks.

Bonus Points
Use a double hyphen with no spaces (i.e., xxx--xxx) for an em-dash (—); better still, use a real em-dash!

We prefer italics for italics rather than underlining italicized text--this is the digital age!

(Don't sweat these last two, 'cause we know how to fix them, whereas it might drive you completely insane unless you're an MS Word geek. If you cover the mandatory items, were cool with the rest.)

Blogger "Upgrade?"

Has anyone else tried posting on Blogger this morning? I came on to do my anthology post, and found that some brainiac at Google (I'm assuming, since Google owns Blogger, that someone at that level at least approved this crap) decided that Blogger wasn't working well enough the way it was, that it needed an overhaul. Now you have to manually insert a BREAK tag wherever you want to force a carriage return, like when you end a paragraph, or want a blank line, or a line with a *** on it, or whatever. Basically, unless you're in the middle of a paragraph you want to auto-wrap, you need a BREAK tag at the beginning of every freaking line. Going into edit on an old anthology post, the left hand column is a stream of BREAK tags. Posting without them -- you know, like we used to do -- results in all your text collapsing into an unreadable monoblock. Inserting them where they now need to be is a major pain, and even this short post is annoying to compose; the thought of having to use them in something the length of the anthology posts has me seeing red.

I'm not at all happy about this. I'm feeling a strong desire to thwap whoever was responsible for this with a two-by-four. This is a classic case of, "Don't fix what isn't broken, stupid!"

Angie, incredibly pissed off this morning

PS -- the Anthology post will be delayed while I sit here fuming and hoping that the idiot who did this experiences a sudden rush of brains to the cranium and rolls it back the way it was. Apologies, folks, but please give it a day or two. If they decide to leave it like this, I'll figure out what to do then. [sigh]

Sunday, September 4, 2011

WorldCon Part 4

Okay, I'm going to wrap up this time, promise. :) No more panels I want to talk about, so this'll be more random stuff I remember that seemed cool or interesting.

For Game of Thrones fans, they had the actual TV series iron throne, which is made out of swords and looks very uncomfortable, in the display area. It was right out in the open and anyone who wanted to sit in it could do so. Every day I saw lots of people taking pictures of the throne, of their friends in the throne, of their friends standing next to George R. R. Martin in the throne, and having other people take their picture in the throne or their picture next to George R. R. Martin in the throne. Once he's done with the series I'll read the books -- a lot of people seem to think they're pretty awesome. :)

The dealer's room (which was actually a cordoned off section of the trade-show-sized hall it shared with the art show and the display area and the small stage and a bunch of other stuff) was kind of smallish for a WorldCon, or maybe I've just been spoiled. Lots of book dealers, although I was able to restrain myself. :) I found a few books I'd had on my wish list on one table for half off, which was pretty awesome. One was Arab Folktales by Inea Bushnaq (you find all sorts of cool stuff at SF cons) which I recommend highly. It's not only a great collection of stories, if you're into folk/fairy tales, but also there's an introduction to the book as a whole and to each section talking about characters and culture and custom and such, so I learned at least as much about traditional Arab culture from reading this as I have from any of the Early Arab History type books I've read. And it was a lot more fun; I read the whole thing over three or four days and thoroughly enjoyed it.

You know, I think the rise in online shopping, and particularly places like Amazon, has made it easier to restrain myself in a convention dealer's room. Even small press books are easily available online; it used to be it was hard to even know what was around, much less actually buy it, unless you were at a convention with a lot of dealers and publishers gathered in one place.

I also caught up on the bound editions of Schlock Mercenary (which was up for a Hugo for Best Graphic Story but didn't win :( ). If you buy the books at a convention, Howard Taylor, the writer/artist, will use a blank page in the back (included for this purpose) to draw you the character of your choice. He was very nice, especially considering I'm awful with names and asked for "Dr. Bunny" (actually her name -- she's one of the regulars so I remember what she's called), "the ex-special forces spy chick in her baggy stolen combat suit" and "the AI girl doing her Bambi-eyes thing 'cause she rocks at that." [hides under keyboard] Howard was completely cool about my verbal mangling of his characters, and I am grateful. :)

I also got a pair of T-shirts (one for me and one for spousal unit) that say "Harrington Treecats" with graphics to make it look like a baseball team fan shirt. This is awesome if you're a fan of David Weber's Honor Harrington series. If you're not, you're probably going "Huh?" which was the reaction of two of my friends to whom I displayed a shirt shortly after buying them. [heavy, theatrical sigh] I have to start giving my friends books for Christmas.

Other than that, I didn't spend any money in the dealer's room. I exercised quite a bit of restraint, although actually, it's easier than it used to be. There are fewer cool-thingy dealers at cons these days; you used to be able to find multiple dealers selling 8x10 photos, replica weapons (both replicas of TV/movie stuff and replicas of historical blades, plus some very cool battery powered light/laser guns from no particular source), buttons with great sayings on them (I used to spend like $20 on buttons at every con -- I had a couple of shoeboxes full by the time I stopped), fanzines, replica patches and insignia and trim and other stuff you needed to make your own Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica or whichever uniform, etc. Cons nowadays have little or none of this stuff, and it's depressing. I'm thinking the economy probably drove most of the more marginal dealers out of business, but whatever the reason, it sucks. [sigh]

I went through the art show with a couple of friends in about an hour or so. It was very small for a WorldCon, or it seemed like it. There were some Ken Macklin originals, which were cool to see; I haven't seen anything by him in an art show in at least a decade or so. A friend of mine, Stuart Shepherd, sold some pieces, which is very cool. Stu does fantasy art and also aviation/military art. It's funny, he and I went to high school together, and I saw him at a BayCon like ten or fifteen years later. He wasn't really an SF con sort of person, but he'd dropped by to look around. He told me he was an artist now and I said, "Hey, we've got a couple of spaces left in the art show! If you have any SFish stuff you could go get, maybe you'll sell something." It was only like $5 a panel back then, so it made a great impulse buy, especially if you happened to be an artist. :) Turned out Stu had some framed paintings in his trunk, so he signed up, went out to get them and hung them up there and then. I don't remember whether anything sold that year, but he's been a regular at the BayCon art show since, and has done more fantasy art. At the time he'd mostly been doing box art for aviation model kits -- gorgeous stuff, and I'm not even into planes. He's also combined the genres; one new piece has a dragon fighting a tank and a military helicopter, and another has some SFish looking fighter planes (from Atlantis, according to the title) buzzing around a modern aircraft carrier.

One of the days, I forget whether it was Thursday or Friday, there was an art demo in the big room near the displays. A young woman in a bikini-ish sort of outfit posed for a number of artists, including the Artist Guest of Honor, Boris Vallejo. Boris was one of the first artists whose work I learned to recognize by style when I was a teenager. I got Boris calendars as part of my Christmas loot every year for like fifteen or twenty years, plus I have a book of prints floating around somewhere. I was on my way somewhere else and didn't get a chance to watch him (or the others) work, but it must've been pretty cool for the baby artists in the crowd to get to watch such a well known pro.

The masquerade is always one of my favorite events; I've seen the masquerade at all but a couple of conventions I've attended, and usually if I've missed it, it was because I was working the con and was stuck behind a desk or something during that time. Phil and Kaja Foglio MCed (properly dressed for the occasion) and did a wonderful job. They're both obviously comfortable in front of a huge crowd (either that or they fake it really well) and managed just the right mix of jokes and getting on with business. There were only twenty-eight entries this year (another effect of the economy, I'm pretty sure; costuming is an expensive hobby if you're going all out) but there were some great ones.

My friend Karen McWilliams (who went to high school with me and Stu) went as the Undine, based on Anderson's mermaid, who died after being betrayed by her prince. Karen is a master costumer, and she won Best Use of Dyes (a workmanship award), for obvious reasons, but she also got a presentation award. She's been studying movement for over thirty years, and can move and dance in a costume on stage in a way many other costumers can't. I linked to a series of photos, but you really had to be there to get the full effect. That's true of a lot of costumes, especially the funny ones; they look kind of okay-whatever if you can't see the presentation.

Princess Pacman was one of those -- it's kind of okay-whatever if you just look at the costume itself, but the presentation was hilarious, all about how Princess Peach (from the Super Mario games) discovered that her love, Mario, was leaving her for some other floozy, and how she set out to find her true love, someone who'd love her and appreciate her. She ended up with Pacman. Trust me, it worked. :D She won a presentation award, Most Humorous.

Lance Ikegawa came as a Blue Meanie from the Yellow Submarine movie, and it's awesome. :D He got a workmanship award too, if I recall correctly; the blue fur is some ridiculous number of blue clown wigs, cut up and sewn into the body part of the costume. Definitely click through and take a look, especially if you remember the movie. :)

Another nostalgic kind of costume was the One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying Purple People Eater, by Susan Scheufele. This one was in exhibition only; usually that means the costume has won an award at a convention the same size or larger than the current one. At WorldCon, that probably means either another WorldCon or a CostumeCon.

One of my favorite costumes was a large group who came out as Semi-Precious, each one representing a semi-precious stone. Costumers have been doing this sort of thing for years -- putting together group costumes based on the seasons or the zodiac or the continents or the elements or whatever they think they can do cool wearable representations of. So okay, someone thought the semi-precious stones would work, and the costumes weren't bad, in all the different colors. Each one carried a banner with the name of the stone they were portraying, so you could tell which was what. Okay, that was cool -- they're all spread across the stage with their serious processional-type music playing, when suddenly the music stopped, and started up again, and everyone flipped their banners. The person with the first banner dashed over to stand just before the second, then the third, then the fourth, etc., keeping the lyrics going. It was great -- everyone was laughing and clapping and groaning. :D They won a presentation award, "Worst Internet Meme."

Another one of my favorites was Night at the Sci-Fi Museum. They did sort of a parody of the Night at the Museum movies; when the lights came up, the bug-alien and the space-lady were up on boxes, frozen like exhibits. The night watchman guy came wandering on stage and they played with him for a bit, only moving when he wasn't watching, with him between them. The space-lady got his keys and she and the bug were able to escape. It was done all tongue-in-cheek and it was very funny, and the costumes themselves were great too. They won Best In Show for Original Presentation.

There were a bunch more, including some more really good ones, but you can see for yourself -- here's the "masquerade worldcon reno" Flickr collection, and the "worldcon 2011 masquerade" Flickr collection. Currently it's three people's worth of photos between the two of them; hopefully more will be added over time.

The Hugos was your basic award show. Jim and I always go when we're at WorldCon, and it's fun to watch the results and see how many I voted for actually won. (Usually not many. [duck]) My second favorite part of the evening was when Chris Garcia and James Bacon won the Best Fanzine award for their zine Drink Tank. Chris pretty much melted down on stage. :) It was great -- he ended up sitting on the stage cuddling his statue while James was taking his turn to thank everybody at the microphone, hee!

My favorite part was when Robert Silverberg got up to award the Best Novella Hugo. He and Connie Willis have been taking humorous shots back and forth at each other at the Hugos for however many years, often with a theme of stretching out their speech or presentation intro or whatever while the other is sitting somewhere waiting to find out whether he/she has won something. Because no one is in a hurry at moments like that, right? Silverberg is a brilliant presenter, a wonderful speaker, and has a talent for being dryly hilarious. He managed to stretch his introduction out for several minutes, and whenever it seemed like he was going to get on with it and read the nominees, he'd start up again and keep going with the rambling. It was awesome, and a privilege to watch a master at work. :D

Unfortunately my least favorite part of the Hugos contrasted strongly with Silverberg's presentation. The two guys MCing the ceremony spent a lot of time stretching things out in various places (I'm not sure why), and tried very hard to be funny, but usually failed. I don't know, I'm sure there were other people who thought they were wonderful from beginning to end, but before very long I was whispering "Why don't they get ON with it!" to myself and/or my husband every few minutes. They tried hard, and neither one is a professional performer or anything, so I'm sure they did their best. I wish we could just have Robert Silverberg MC the Hugos, all of them, forever. That'd be very cool.

Oh, my other favorite part -- Phil and Kaja Foglio won the Best Graphic Story Hugo for their excellent steampunk web comic Girl Genius. Best Graphic Story is a new category, and the award has only been given three times, including this year. Girl Genius has won all three times. After accepting the award, Phil announced that he was removing Girl Genius from consideration for the award in the future. I thought this was incredibly cool, a very gracious move by someone who already has a nice collection of Hugos. You see, before Phil was a professional artist, he was a fan artist, and back in the late '70s he won the Hugo for that twice in a row before removing himself from consideration. I remember hearing people snark and sneer at him for that, trying to frame it as a demonstration of huge ego. I think someone with a huge ego would be more likely to want to win as many awards as possible, and I admire him for doing it, both times. Especially this time; since the Graphic Story category is still so new, it's not really cemented into the roster. Fans could still decide that it's not needed, or that it's silly, or that it's just a vehicle for giving one guy (or rather, one group of people -- Kaja Foglio and their colorist Cheyenne Wright are part of the comic team and also got statues) a Hugo every year, and vote to eliminate the category. Pulling Girl Genius out gives the category a chance to grow and show its viability by demonstrating that there are enough really good graphic stories every year for a Hugo category to be worthwhile. Props to Phil for doing it, and to Kaja and Cheyenne for agreeing.

Let's see, what else? I put a twenty into a slot machine (a Wizard of Oz machine -- three are ganged together and the special minigame affects all three, whoever triggered it; it's lots of fun) and got almost ninety dollars out, so that was An Excellent Thing.

My mom and brother (who live in Reno) came to the hotel to eat with us a couple of times, and it was great seeing them. My brother's in retail management, and he just moved to a new store; he looks much less stressed, and I'm very happy for him. {{}}

One of the restaurants at the Atlantis (I forget the name -- it's the gelato place next to the buffet) has awesome pizza. I had to watch Jim eating it for days while I had pasta or something similarly soft; I had my temporary crowns in and I couldn't bite anything hard or chewy or thick for fear they'd break while I was a thousand miles away from my dentist. :( I finally said "Frack it!" and got a pizza anyway, which I ate with a knife and fork. I don't care if I looked like a doofus, it was wonderful -- bacon and spinach with white sauce -- and all the moreso because I'd been eating pasta and omelets (and mashed potatoes and apple sauce at home) for days and days. Pizza, yum!

Oh, another friend of mine drove out from Sacramento just for Thursday with her son. He's a major George R. R. Martin fan and he wanted to get his Kindle signed. :D I only see Laurie once or twice a year, so this was great; we spent the day together being fannish, which is appropriate because we met at an SF con when we were both teenagers.

I think that about wraps it. Definitely click through on the masquerade photo collections -- they're very cool, especially if you've never seen an SF convention masquerade before. [wave]

Angie

Friday, September 2, 2011

August Stuff and Some Links

Writing: 9204 -- 3 pts.
Editing: 4380 -- 1 pt.
Submissions: 5 -- 5 pts.
TOTAL: 9 pts.

Koala Challenge 9

Still not where I want to be on writing, but it's more than July, and July was more than June, so hopefully I can keep up the trend.

Some Links:

Fantasy Art -- Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor -- This Tumblr thread collects artwork of female fighters wearing armor that might actually protect more than 5% of their bodies in a fight. There's some great art here, so check it out. I particularly like this one, a cartoon that comments on the issue. :)

Iowa Student Dies After Brutal Beating in which Attackers Shouted Gay Slurs -- The media's attention has drifted away from the issue of anti-gay bullying and bashing, but kids are still dying. Marcellus Andrews, 19, was a college student and member of his church's drill team when some guys in a truck stopped and attacked him on the porch of a friend's house. They called him a faggot while beating on him, and one of these jerkwads kicked him in the face when he was down. He had severe head trauma and died in the hospital. This crap might not be making big headlines the way it was earlier in the year, but it's still happening and it still needs to stop. :(

CHRONICLES OF MANSPLAINING: Professor Feminism and the Deleted Comments of Doom -- I just ran into this one today. It's framed by a discussion of a particular incident, but in general this is absolutely the best explanation of what "mansplaining" is and why it's offensive that I've ever run into.

Then the blogger, Sady Doyle, explains how this springs from and feeds into the larger issues:

Here’s where we appeal to that “lived experience” thing. Because: Have you ever had a guy come up to you — on the street, in a bar, whatever — and just straight-up say, “hey, I wanna talk to you?” Happens all the time, right? Happens to women, all the time. But have you ever just straight-up said, “no?” Not “no, I have a boyfriend,” or “no, I’m busy,” or “no, I have to race to save the city from the Joker’s diabolical machinations, for I am the Batman,” or any other excuse: Just the word “no,” by itself?

Yeah. So you know what happens next, after you say “no.” The guy always keeps talking. He tries wheedling, or begging, sometimes. But if you say “no” firmly enough, or often enough that he gets the point, the dude just starts yelling. He tells you that you’re not that hot. He tells you what a bitch you are. (“You bitch, I have a Rolls Royce,” was my favorite of these.) Sometimes he follows you down the street, yelling at you; sometimes, he follows you in his car. These dudes are always so fucking certain that they’re entitled to your time and attention that they will harass you until you give it, or at least until you’re scared and sorry for not giving it. You do not have the right not to interact, as far as these guys are concerned.

...

That’s the real problem behind Mansplaining, and all the rest of it: We live in a culture where men are taught that, if they want women’s time and attention, they are entitled to it. They simply cannot grasp that a woman has the right to say “no.” You bitch, I have a Rolls Royce or you coward, I have more blog traffic than you: Whatever it is, it’s a guy insisting that he’s entitled to a form of attention a woman doesn’t want to give him, and lashing out at the woman for not giving it. From hence springs Mansplaining, sexual harassment, rape culture, and everything else we don’t like about how men treat women, from the tiniest violation to the most violent. All of it, ALL of it, springs from the idea that women should be ignored or punished when we say "no." Which is the idea Professor Feminism is reinforcing with his actions, as we speak.


The guys who comment here are cool, and actually see women as human beings. There are some guys in the comments at Tiger Beatdown who likewise Get It and aren't part of the problem. So many men are, though, that a majority of women in our culture treat all men they don't know well carefully, fearfully, because they have no idea which guy is cool and which guy might start with the "Who do you think you are to say 'no' to me, bitch?!" drill. Back to Sady: "That’s what it’s actually like, being a woman: Playing nice with every random asshole, because this random asshole might be the one who hurts you. And then, if he hurts you anyway, they’ll tell you that you led him on."

This relates back to my post last year on how women are socialized to be victims, and men are socialized to believe that anger is the proper response whenever a woman denies them something they want.

And to wrap up on a couple of positives:

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich -- Warren Buffett This is an NYT op-ed piece by one of the richest people in the country who thinks it's time America's super-rich paid a bit more tax. Nice to know not all the super-wealthy are scrambling for every shelter and loophole they can find. Props to Mr. Buffett -- I wish the Republican bigwigs would listen to him.

School Superintendent Gives up $800,000 in Pay -- Massive kudos and applause to Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell. His area has been hit with some of the highest unemployment in the country and his schools were suffering along with everyone else. Powell effectively retired, then let them hire him back for $31,000 per year, which is $10K less than a starting teacher makes.

"A part of me has chaffed at what they did in Bell," Powell said, recalling the corrupt Southern California city officials who secretly boosted their salaries by hundreds of thousands of dollars. "It's hard to believe that someone in the public trust would do that to the public. My wife and I asked ourselves 'What can we do that might restore confidence in government?'"

He also said, "How much do we need to keep accumulating? There's no reason for me to keep stockpiling money."

Another rich (or at least very well off) guy who deserves major props.

Angie