Monday, August 31, 2009

Atheists Form Pet Rescue Group

All right, this is just awesome. :D

Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, USA is a group formed of atheists who'll still be around when all the saved Christians are taken up in the Rapture. Christians who think they might be among the elect can contract with this group to come and rescue their pets left behind after the event.

Our service is plain and simple; our fee structure is reasonable.
For $110.00 we will guarantee that should the Rapture occur within ten (10) years of receipt of payment, one pet per residence will be saved. Each additional pet at your residence will be saved for an additional $15.00 fee. A small price to pay for your peace of mind and the health and safety of your four legged friends.

This just breeds story ideas, at least for me, so I thought I'd throw it out there for everyone. Besides, it's just cool -- the obvious intersection between diametrically opposed belief systems meshes wonderfully.

And heck, Jim and I are both atheists; if we had a car and could make a binding promise to go pick up animals post-rapture, we'd definitely join the group. No reason puppies should suffer just because their owners went to Heaven, right?

Angie, still grinning

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Contests and Sales

I remember some discussion a year or so ago about whether entering contests was worthwhile from a sales point of view. I can't say anything about the general experience, but I now have a data point.

My novelette, "A Spirit of Vengeance" made the finals in the 2009 EPPIEs competition. This isn't a huge contest; hardly anyone outside of e-publishing has ever heard about it, and even within that area of the business, it gets variable amounts of respect. Note also that my story didn't win -- it only finalled, making it past the first round of judging.

Finalists were announced in early December of 2008, with lists of finalists posted in quite a few places around the net, and published in some newspapers. The winners were announced in early March of 2009.

Looking at my royalty statements, if we take my third quarter sales for 2008 as the baseline, fourth quarter (which includes less than a month of sales post-announcement) was 125% of that, a modest increase. First quarter 2009 sales were 450% of the baseline, and second quarter 2009 sales were just a bit over 200% of the baseline.

It would've been interesting to see whether second quarter would've been significantly higher if I'd won (aside from the fact that it just would've been nice to win :) ) but it's pretty clear that first quarter of '09, at least, showed a very significant increase in sales. The story had been up for sale on my publisher's web site for over a year by that point, and it'd been up on third-party distributor sites for almost as long; the initial flurry of sales for each of those venues is clear in my records, and both had died down before third quarter of '08.

In my case at least, being an EPPIE finalist did seem to impact my sales, and very nicely too. I have no idea what anyone else experiences, but there seems to be a clear cause-and-effect in my case between making the EPPIE finals and a spike in my sales.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Making Amends

Icarusancalion over on LJ has posted an explanation/apology/amends for something she did, attacking and slandering a Buddhist temple and its Lama over a period of years because she couldn't face her own responsibility for her failures as a nun and a Buddhist.

Her hateful and lying words from the past have been used by others to hurt this temple and her old teacher, and she hopes that her confession and explanation will rise high enough in Google rankings that when people go looking for information on the subject, they'll find her post to mitigate the lies she helped spread, which are also still out there, propped up by others with similar issues.

Aside from this being a pretty awesome melding of ancient tradition and 21st century technology, I think this is a worthy cause and then some, so I'm linking in all my personal fora. I encourage everyone to read this (it's not that long) and if you agree that it's a worthy cause, to link as well. Thank you.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Anthology Markets

I've been getting a lot of hits on these posts, so 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 guildelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.

Non-erotica/romance writers: Panverse Two, down at the bottom with the UNTIL FILLED markets, will accept plot-oriented sex but isn't looking for it.


31 August 2009 -- Queer Gothic Anthology -- Queered Fiction

Open call for submissions for a Queer Gothic Anthology to be published by QueeredFiction where genre is queered. Deadline is 31st August 2009. We're looking for gothic tales of horror and romance. Your submission should be a short story between 3,000 and 10,000 words. We are seeking fiction with positive images of queer characters. We’re not looking for clich├ęs. We do not want reprints. We are seeking first world rights for this anthology which will be published as an eBook and in Print format.


15 September 2009 -- Twisted Presents Toybox -- Torquere

Looking for kinky gift-giving for this one. Publication date December 2009.


15 September 2009 -- The Tangled Bank -- Tangled Bank Press

This year marks 200 years since the birth of Charles Darwin, and 150 years since the publication of The Origin of Species. To mark the anniversaries, Tangled Bank Press invites submissions for The Tangled Bank, an e-anthology of speculative fiction, artwork, comics, and poetry exploring the legacy of Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution. Illuminate — or obscure — the line between the real and the fantastic. The fiction may be of any speculative genre or cross-genre; demand to be included by the quality of your submission. Artwork and poetry need not be strictly speculative in nature, but must engage with Charles Darwin or evolution. For more about what we’re looking for, see this post.


Length: 1000-7500 words

Payment: AU$0.03/word advance on royalties + contributor’s copy

How to submit: Please use standard manuscript format and email the submission as an rtf attachment to “thetangledbank+story” (at) Put the title and author in the subject line and word count in the email body.

Stories can incorporate images. The images must be integral to the piece, and not merely for illustrative purposes; if the story can be understood without images, do not include them. No additional payment will be made for these images. Attach jpg or gif copies (<1000k total) separately with the submission — do not embed them.

Also accepting poetry, artwork and nonfiction pieces; click through to the full guidelines for info.

Response time will be 90 days. No simultaneous or multiple submissions. By submitting work you claim to be the sole copyright owner. Payment will be on publication for first world electronic rights and an 18-month print option. Royalties of 40 per cent on sales of the electronic edition will be shared between contributors.


16 September 2009 -- All Wrapped Up Taste Test -- Torquere

Bondage for the holidays? Heck yes. Who wouldn't want a little BDSM under the mistletoe? Publication date December 2009.


1 October 2009 -- Blood Sacraments -- Bold Strokes Books

Length: 2500-10,000 words
Payment: $50, on publication
Deadline: October 1, 2009

LOOKING FOR: Gay erotic tales of the vampire, by new or established writers. Think sensuality and eroticism, rather than hard-core porn. Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box and create a new mythos for your story. Strong writing, plot, and character development is more important than the erotic content; we are looking for stories to engage the mind as well as the nether bits. Reprints are okay, but original stories will be given priority.

GUIDELINES: Stories must all be double-spaced in either Times, Times New Roman, or Courier 12 point fonts. Each page must be consecutively numbered in the lower right hand corner. Header line must appear on each page with the name of the story, the author’s name, and an email address. First page of story must also have all contact information for author: name, address, email address, and phone number. Submissions must be mailed to: Todd Gregory, c/o Greg Herren, 5500 Prytania Street #215, New Orleans, LA 70115. Questions can be emailed to Electronic submissions will not be accepted. All submissions will be recycled unless return envelope with adequate postage is provided.


UNTIL FILLED -- MM and Menage Steampunk Antho -- Phaze

Call: M/M and Menage Steampunk Anthology, Title TBA
Edited by: Leigh Ellwood
Projected release date: late 2010
Format: eBook (with possible print release)
Publisher: Phaze Books
Payment: $50 for one-time electronic and print rights, plus copies

Hey, all you steampunk enthusiasts, grab your goggles and get to writing! Phaze Books is planning an M/M (and bi-M menage) steampunk collection for eBook publication in 2010. If you have a yen for 19th century history with a touch of good humor and technological innovation (and a whole lot of manlove!), we hope you’ll send us your hottest steampunk erotic romance of 10K - 20K words. If you’re not sure about the genre, check out this Wikipedia entry for steampunk ( to get an idea of the style of stories we’re looking for. Think H.G. Wells or Wild Wild West, then turn up the steam factor with an incredible M/M or MMF/MMM match-up!

This call is open indefinitely until the spots are filled. Contributors will offer one-time electronic and print rights to their works and receive a one-time payment of $50 and contributors copies (eBook and/or print, if the book goes to print).

To submit to this anthology, please follow the Phaze Books structural guidelines at and attach your RTF submission to Leigh Ellwood, c/o Phaze Books at submissions @ phaze (dot) com. Please use STEAMPUNK ANTHOLOGY is your subject header.


UNTIL FILLED -- Panverse Two -- Panverse Publishing

Editor - Dario Ciriello

PANVERSE TWO is the second of a series of all-original novella print collections, with publication scheduled for Late Spring 2010.

Interested? Please read the following guidelines carefully. We look forward to reading your work.

The anthology will be open to submissions until we have enough good stories.

Looking for pro-level novellas of between 15,000 and 40,000 words. Stories should be Science Fiction (except Military) or Fantasy (except Heroic/High/Superhero/S&S). We'll also look at Magic Realism, Alternate History, and Slipstream (whatever that is). The story should be original and unpublished in any medium (this includes web publication).

Depth of characterization will count for a lot – however clever the idea, if we don't care for the protagonist, we'll bounce it. We like stories that instill wonder. Subject matter is pretty wide open. If we care, can't put the story down, and find no big holes in the plot or worldbuilding, you've got a good shot.

What we don't want:

Military SF, High Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Horror, RPG, superhero, or 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.

NOTE: there are some unusual bits in their formatting and cover letter requirements. Nothing ridiculous, but definitely click the link and read the full guidelines before submitting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Column -- Letting Go of Books


I have a new column up at Romancing the Blog today. I'm going to be moving some time in the next few months and I have to face the thought of sorting through my books and getting rid of some significant fraction; I'm trying to psych myself up to it. I'm sure a lot of folks here have suffered similar trauma. [wry smile]


Saturday, August 8, 2009

But of Course, There's No Sexism in the Genre

It seems horror writer Bev Vincent writes like a girl.

Vincent was invited to submit a story to an anthology. The editor asked for some edits and they worked back and forth for a while, and finally both were satisfied with the story, which had a male protagonist. The whole book was polished up and sent to the publisher.

The publisher decided, for whatever reason, to send the antho to an unnamed but supposedly well respected editor within the genre for review and comment. This editor bled all over Vincent's story, with comments such as the following:

"It’s quite a challenge for a writer of one sex to explore writing from the perspective of the opposite sex. Bev Vincent has not done a convincing job."


"The story seems far too personal, introspective and emotional for a man . . . It is hard to imagine a fellow from a place like [the setting] uttering the following line." The editor then provides three sentences from my story as examples. He or she continues, "And I can’t think of many guys from [setting] who call home every Sunday afternoon to talk to their family" [Emphasis his or hers]. Another brilliant insight: "Most men don’t think deeply about the dewy greenness of nature." The ultimate conclusion: "She [sic] needs to write more convincing [sic] from a man’s perspective."

This would be outrageous and sexist in any event. What makes it also hilarious, in a bitter way, is that Bev Vincent is a man. He says:

I’ve heard female writers talk about gender bias in the industry before, but it’s always been an abstract concept to me. Not something I’ve ever experienced. Oh, sure, people often think I’m female based on my name—it’s a common enough mistake, which I’ve had to deal with all my life. I like to tell the story about how I was almost assigned to the women’s dorm at university. However, I’ve never before had an editor criticize my writing based on a false assumption concerning my gender. Or make blatantly biased statements about the male perspective.

And that last bit is why this is an issue of concern to men as well as women, even men who don't have first names which sound feminine. Here's an editor who's trying to control how male characters are portrayed, trying to put limits on what a male character can do or say and what he can or can't be interested in or concerned about. Here's an editor who thinks a male character can't be introspective.

The WTF is powerful with this one, Obi-Wan. [eyeroll]

Then just to ice the cake, the original antho editor -- who'd been perfectly happy with the story when the book was submitted to the publisher -- completely caved and told Vincent to make the changes called for by the anonymous consulting editor. Vincent refused to gut his story or completely reconceive his character to please some anonymous idiot (my words, not his) and pulled his story from the book.

See what Vincent has to say about it, and some commentary by Nick Mamatas with an interesting (and even more outrageous -- wow, I used to like Poul Anderson) context.

Thanks to Avalon's Willow for the links, and yet more commentary and context.