New Theme

Filed under:General — posted by Angie on January 30, 2015 @ 7:07 pm

Yes, I changed my blog theme. I’m not completely happy with it, but the main column is wide enough that the YouTube videos don’t overlap the sidebar like they did with the old theme, so that’s something. One of these days I’ll learn how to customize themes and come up with something that’s functional and looks good, but for right now functional will do. For now, carrying on.

Angie

Amazing Historical Archery

Filed under:Cool Stuff — posted by Angie on January 23, 2015 @ 11:36 am

Like most people, I grew up thinking that the ultimate display of archery skill was the stationary shooter aiming at a target. When I was in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism — a sort of learn-by-doing history club) I learned about war archers, who massed behind the infantry and shot arrows in volleys, aiming high shoot their arrows in parabolic arcs over the heads of their own fighters to come down onto the enemy. War archers in the SCA counted on the massing of arrows for effectiveness, to make them difficult or impossible to dodge.

Lars Andersen studied historical documents and illustrations and has learned to shoot the way combat archers shot in pre-gunpowder days. This guy is amazingly fast, accurate, versatile and mobile. Watching this video makes me want to dive into historical fantasy just so I can write about a serious archer. :) Check it out:

Thanks to BoingBoing for sharing this.

Angie

How We Got Here

Filed under:Business — posted by Angie on January 19, 2015 @ 9:00 am

Camille Laguire just did a great post on the recent history of publishing that’s worth a read for any writer, and curious readers. Those of us who are old enough remember when you could often find a dozen different books by a favorite midlister on the shelves of a bookstore, and when there were book racks everywhere — every department store and variety store and convenience store and hardware store and grocery store and half the gas stations sold new books, even if it was just a spinner rack, and each store had a different selection. That’s all gone now, and Camille talks about why, and what the ramifications have been. She’s focusing on the mystery genre, but the events she discusses affected the entire fiction market.

Definitely worth a read — recommended.

Angie

Yay Noise :/

Filed under:Annoyances — posted by Angie on January 18, 2015 @ 3:52 pm

Sometimes I wish I lived in a town with suckier sports teams.

There are explosions going off in my neighborhood, and a few minutes after it started, Jim called up the stairs to let me know it’s because the Seahawks are winning (won?) an important football game. Okay, that’s great for the fans. But do they have to make that much noise?

Aside from the general distraction, when I hear that kind of noise, my first thought is, gunshots. Because that happens around here sometimes too. And sometimes when there are celebratory fireworks going off, there are gunshots in the mix too (like there were last weekend) because there are gun owners around who think that a yay-celebration is a great time to fire their gun into the air. Which is damn stupid, because as anyone who’s had high school physics knows, a bullet fired into the air will come down somewhere with the same speed, and doing that even one time should disqualify you from ever owning a gun again in your life. Unfortunately I’m not making the laws, and so there are idiots who own guns around. [Obligatory statement that I have no problem with intelligent people owning guns.]

So whenever this happens, I’m sitting here wondering whether a stray bullet is going to come through the window, or maybe through the roof. I have a story due tonight, and that sort of wondering is damn distracting.

I can only hope the Seahawks start sucking one of these years. Or that a few particular gun owners in my neighborhood grow some brains. I wonder which will happen first?

Angie

Anthology Markets

Filed under:Anthology Market Listings — posted by Angie on January 15, 2015 @ 6:39 pm

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.

***

30 January 2015 — Monsters — Grey Matter Press

For our next anthology of horror, MONSTERS (this is the working title and is likely to change), we’re looking for your best original horror fiction that investigates the evil that lives among us—the monster that is man.

MONSTERS will include a selection of dark fiction focusing on ‘man as monster.’ We are looking for your most horrifying, most dreadful, most frightening tales that highlight the creatures that haunt your nightmares, or even those who may live down the block. For this anthology we want your dark, chilling, character-driven tales portraying the deadliest monsters of all—mankind.

While we are not specifically looking for stories whose characters, setting or plot include classic horror monsters—werewolves or vampires and their ilk—we will not disqualify such tales as, on the most basic of levels, these classic monsters are still (or once were) human. Although, stories that include such famous fiends should, at minimum, put a new spin on the theme or have a brand new take on the chosen horror monster.

What we most definitely do want to read are stories that encapsulate the dark and demented behavior of the monster that lives next door (or maybe even the one who lives in your own house…) Serial killers. Demented clowns. Vengeful mothers-in-law. The possibilities are, literally, endless.

As with our current catalog of bestselling anthologies, we do not want to limit your creativity with a narrow theme. We expect MONSTERS will include a wide range of stories of monsters from every category, with the common denominator being that they must have some connection with their humanity.

Anywhere your mind takes, so long as it takes you on a journey to investigate the darkness with mankind, will be considered for this anthology that is planned for publication in 2015.

Please review our Complete Submissions Guidelines below. Feel free to contact us here on the site with any questions with a message to submissions@greymatterpress.com.

We thank you for your interest in considering Grey Matter Press as a potential home for your work.

GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSIONS

WORD COUNT: 3,000 – 7,500 words

REPRINTS: We are not accepting reprints for MONSTERS

DEADLINE: Friday, January 30, 2015

PAYMENT: $0.05US/per word (5 cents per word) up to 5,000 words, for each edited manuscript accepted into the anthology

FORMATS: *.docx, *.doc, *.txt, *.rtf

CONTACT ADDRESS: submissions@greymatterpress.com

Acceptable File Formats: Grey Matter Press wants to make your submission process easy and painless. We accept manuscripts that are *.docx, *.doc, .txt or .rtf file formats. If you have any questions about the formatting of your manuscript, feel free to contact us directly at submissions@greymatterpress.com

Digital Submissions: Unfortunately, we cannot accept reprints. (Reprints also include any work that has appeared online in magazines, journals, personal websites or any other online location.) Only previously unpublished work will be accepted. We will accept your submission via email at submissions@greymatterpress.com. Subject lines should contain name of Anthology and the title of the story being submitted. (ex: MONSTERS – ‘Title of Story.’)

Font Usage and General Formatting: We request that all files be submitted double-spaced, using either Arial or Times New Roman 12 point font. Page margins should be no less than .5 inch on all borders. Please do not MANUALLY INSERT HEADERS and/or FOOTERs. If using headers/footers, please employ standard Word header/footer tools rather than manually inserting such into the body of your Word document.

Proofreading: As with any professional communication, all manuscripts should be edited and proofread prior to submission.

Distribution: Upon acceptance, Grey Matter Press will hold all exclusive worldwide publishing rights for the period defined within the author contract (generally 18 months from original publication date). Copyright remains that of the author. At the end of that term, publishing rights revert to the original author, with Grey Matter Press retaining distribution rights for the format(s) originally contracted.

Contributor Copies: All contributors whose work is accepted and published in the anthology will, in the case of digital publishing, receive a digital copy of the complete anthology, and in the case of paperback publishing, will receive one copy of the anthology. (Additional copies may be purchased by contributing authors at greatly reduced cost and will be outlined in contributor contract.)

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at submissions@greymatterpress.com.

***

31 January 2015 — Dreams from the Witch House — ed. Lynne Jamneck; Dark Regions Press

I will be editing an anthology of Lovecraftian fiction written by women, to be published by Dark Regions Press in 2015.

We have already solicited a selection of established authors to contribute work to the collection. As of 1 October 2014, I am officially accepting unsolicited submissions for an open call period that ends 31 January 2015.

The only set requirement for the anthology is that all submissions must be written by women. Submissions from international, multi-cultural and LGBT/GSD perspectives are encouraged, as this collection will aim to present the diversity of voices within the field of Lovecraftian fiction. All stories must be submitted in English.

There is no restriction on setting, so don’t feel like you have to remain within the 1920’s/1930’s – far future stories, contemporary, steampunk, psychological, horror, fantasy/sf and, of course, historical settings are all welcome.

I am open to a wide interpretation of ‘Lovecraftian’, but I’m not looking for pastiche work. Nuanced weirdness welcome, as is the overtly strange.

Word count for submissions is set between 2000 and 10 000 words. If you would like to submit something shorter or longer, please query.

No simultaneous submissions or reprints.

Payment for accepted stories will be 5c per word up to 5k, then 3c per word over 5k.

Email submissions in Word .doc or .rtf file, formatted to standard manuscript specifications to:

witchesdreams AT gmail DOT com

***

28 February 2015 — Silver & Gold — ed. Amanda Jean; Less Than Three Press

All love faces challenges, but one of the most difficult can be time. The distance of generations can be a hard one to cross, and judgment is frequent and heavy when a lover is too old or too young for society’s tastes. But love is also precious, and timeless, and worth all obstacles. Less Than Three Press invites authors to submit stories of people not afraid to bridge the span of time.

Editor’s Note: No stories about vampires, etc., where the age difference is hundreds of years.

THE DETAILS:

== Deadline is February 28, 2015 (give or take, we won’t kill you for sending it off the following morning).
== Stories should be at least 10,000 words and should not exceed approx 20,000 words in length.
== Stories must feature a MAY/DECEMBER relationship, budding or established. This means an age difference of at least ten years.
== Stories may be any pairing except cisgender heterosexual M/F (trans* M/F, M/M, F/F, poly, and all permutations thereof are acceptable).
== Stories must have a happily ever after (HEA) or happy for now (HFN) end.
== Any sub-genre is gladly accepted: sci-fi, mystery, contemporary, steampunk, etc.
== All usual LT3 submission guidelines apply.

Silver and Gold is a general release anthology, which means authors will receive a flat payment of $200.00 once LT3 has a signed contract. Authors will receive one copy each of the ebook formats LT3 produces and two copies of the paperback compilation.

Stories should be complete before submitting, and as edited as possible—do not submit a first draft. They can be submitted in any format (doc, docx, rtf, odt, etc) preferably single spaced in an easy to read font (Times, Calibri, Arial) with no special formatting (no elaborate section separation, special fonts, etc). Additional formatting guidelines can be found on the above-linked submissions page.

IMPORTANT: This anthology is being coordinated and edited by one of LT3’s senior editors, Amanda Jean. To submit, please send your manuscript to ajeansubmissions@gmail.com. Include the following in your email:

== Put SUBMISSIONS in the subject line! Emails without this subject line run the risk of not being seen or read, so please, do not forget this!
== Your real name, pen name (if you use one), and preferred email address.
== The approximate total length of the completed story.
== A brief summary of the story, not to exceed approximately 200 words in length.
== Attach the complete manuscript in .doc, .docx, or .odt format.

Any questions/concerns should be directed to the Editor, Amanda Jean, at ajeansubmissions@gmail.com.

***

28 February 2015 — Triangulation: Lost Voices — ed. Jamie Lackey; Parsec Ink

Theme: Lost Voices

Word Count: We will consider fiction up to 6,000 words. There is no minimum word count.

Genre: We are a speculative fiction market. We accept science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories. Please do not send stories without any speculative element.

Compensation: We pay 2 cents per word. Authors will also receive an e-book and print version of the anthology and wholesale pricing for additional printed copies (typically 50% of cover price).

Rights: We purchase North American Serial Rights, and Electronic Rights for downloadable version(s). All subsidiary rights released upon publication.

Submissions: We do not accept reprints, multiple submissions, or simultaneous submissions. If we reject a story before the end of the reading period, feel free to send another.

We love creative interpretations of our themes, but we do require that stories fit the current theme.

We will run mature content if we like the story and if the mature content is integral to the story.

We will not accept fanfic, even if it’s of a fictional universe that has passed into public domain.

How To Submit: Electronic submissions make our lives easier. Please upload your story via Submittable. If this is your first time submitting to a publication that utilizes Submittable, you will need to create an account with them. It’s free.

Manuscript Format: Please use industry standard manuscript format. We’re not testing you to see if you can follow each and every niggling detail, we just want a manuscript that is easy for us to read.

We accept manuscripts in the following formats:

== .doc or .docx (MS Word)
== .rtf (Rich Text Format — generic document format that most word processors can create)

Editorial Process: We will aim to read submissions as they are received. If a story doesn’t work for us, we’ll reject it. If we think the story has great potential but isn’t quite there yet, we might do a rewrite request. If we love it, we’ll accept it. If we can’t make up our minds, we will request to hold onto it for a while for further consideration. If we send you a hold request and you have something else that would fit the theme, feel free to submit it. After a story is accepted, the only changes that we will make will be minor line edits and formatting fixes.

Response: We aim to make final decisions by March 31st.

Eligibility: All writers, including those who are known or even related to the editorial staff, are permitted to submit to the Triangulation anthology. That doesn’t mean we’ll automatically publish them; just that we’re willing to look at their work.

***

31 March 2015 — Only Disconnect — Third Flatiron

Presentism as a theme: the pitfalls of distraction, overstimulation, attention thieves. Too much to do, too little time, fear of the singularity. Advantages of being bored or being “in the present.” Are we becoming ADD? Should we disconnect–or connect even further?

Stories should be submitted in either Microsoft Word (using double spacing), RTF, or plain text. They should be between 1,500 and 3,000 words. Flash humor pieces (Grins and Gurgles) should be short, around 600 words.

Please don’t send simultaneous or multiple submissions. If a story has been rejected, you can then send another.

Submit by email to flatsubmit@thirdflatiron.com either as an attachment (Word) or in the body of the mail (text).

In the Subject: line of the email, please put flatsubmit:Title_of_Your_Work to avoid being deemed a canned meat product based on ham.

If the work is for the humor section, please note that in the body of your email. A brief bio and a one- or two-sentence synopsis in the body of your email would also be helpful to us.

Your story must be original work, with the digital rights unencumbered. Accepted stories will be paid at the flat rate of 3 cents per word (U.S.), in return for the digital rights to the story for six months after publication. All other rights will remain with the author. We no longer offer royalties. If your story is selected as the lead story, beginning July 1, 2014, we will pay a flat rate of 6 cents per word (SFWA professional rate), in return for the permission to podcast or give the story away as a free sample portion of the anthology.

Third Flatiron will price and market your story to various e-publishing venues. We will format the story for the most popular electronic readers and platforms. You agree that we may distribute a sample (portion of the story) to potential customers.

For non-U.S. submissions, we prefer to pay via PayPal, if you have such an account.

Authors selected for publication will also be entitled to one free online copy of the anthology.

***

UNTIL FILLED — The Lost Worlds — Eldritch Press ** First Posted August 2014

Please refer to the Submission Guidelines page for information on how and where to submit.

Include in the subject line of your submission Sub_The Lost Worlds_authors name

Updated Payment: Eight cents a word.

Story Length: Up to 20,000 novella length stories.

Rights Requested: One year exclusive rights upon publication.

This will be released in paperback, Limited Hardcover and E-book format.

Cover art will be revealed soon.

Steampunk is a difficult and demanding genre to write in. Therefore we are only accepting the best stories you can bring to the plate. To be published early next year.

“The Lost Worlds” will be a anthology in the Steampunk Horror Genre devoted to the post-apocalyptic theme. Send us worlds rebuilt by steam powered engines and mechanical marvels. Send us characters we can root for as they fight the good fight.

Send us worlds our readers can romanticize about, characters that jump off the page. We want to set the Steampunk world ablaze with “The Lost Worlds.” So we only want your best.

Starting Over

Filed under:chat,Organization,Writing — posted by Angie on January 1, 2015 @ 9:47 pm

So, it’s January first again — a new beginning. To a lot of writers, it’s a time to heave a sigh of relief and reset your counters to zero. That’s exactly what I’m doing, and it feels pretty good.

One or two of you might’ve noticed I stopped updating my wordcount counter several months ago. My writing crashed, and I never got it back, despite trying a few times. My real 2014 wordcount is a few thousand greater than my counter was showing yesterday, but not enough to sweat over. I made a little over 200K words last year, when my goal was 300K. That’s a pretty huge failure.

Back in 2012, my year-end total was a little over 80K words. I considered that to be a huge failure too. And coming into the last month and the last week of the year, I felt about the same in 2012 as I felt in 2014 — depressed at failing, and eager for a new start. The difference this year is that my horrible, huge failure in 2014 produced about 2.5 times as many words as my horrible, huge failure in 2012. That’s a pretty great failure, if you think about it.

Aim high, miss high.

I have a goal of 300K new words of fiction again for 2015. Hopefully I’ll make it this time. With luck, I’ll pass it. But even if I fail, so long as the failure is up in the six digits, I’ll have done a decent chunk of writing. I’m good with that.

I finished eleven stories in 2014, and no novels. I’m going to shoot for a goal of an even dozen shorts and at least one novel in 2015.

I have stories coming out in four anthologies this year. I’ll finally have a significant (relatively [cough]) number of publications on the SF/F side, and that’ll be cool. I’d like to have at least as many next year, but that’s just a wish; I can’t force someone to publish one of my stories, so all I can do is keep writing and submitting. Putting myself into a position where editors and publishers can decide to accept my work is all I can do on the tradpub side.

I also want to indie pub at least six short stories this year. It’s not a lot, but I’ve been wanting to get into the indie side for a while now. It’s time to take some action, so those six indie shorts are a goal. If I can do more, great.

I’ll be starting up the Anthology Market posts again this month. I apologize for going on hiatus for December; I should’ve announced that. I’ve noticed that a lot of publishers take a vacation in December too, though, and a lot of writers back off to do holiday things. Hopefully we didn’t miss much, and everyone’s ready to dive back into the pool this month.

I started a new blog for Angela Penrose, my SF/F writer persona, at http://angelapenrosewriter.blogspot.com/. It’s meant to be a resource point for readers, rather than a place for writers to chat. The Anthology Market posts are not cross-posted over there, and I’m keeping that blog very low traffic. That’s where I’m talking about new SF/F releases, and similar things readers might be interested in. I’ll probably mention major milestones here as well, but I wanted an uncluttered place where a reader could find my work without having to take a machete to a lot of writer talk and general blathering.

[Yes, I have a Gmail account for that name. I don’t check it very often. If you need to get ahold of me, angiepen at gmail dot com is still the best general address, or angiebenedetti at gmail dot com if it’s for something romance-specific.]

I had a decent holiday, with some ups and downs. I got a lot of books for Christmas, which is always a good thing. :) I hope everyone else had a great holiday too, and is ready to get back to work.

Angie

The Best Turkey Soup

Filed under:Food,General — posted by Angie on December 9, 2014 @ 10:22 am

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is making turkey soup a few days later out of the turkey carcass. Usually I just make regular soup, like making chicken soup — carcass in a stock pot with a lot of water, plus an onion, couple carrots, couple stalks of celery, about half a bulb of garlic, salt and pepper, simmer all day, strain. (I have a stock pot with a strainer insert that makes this easy.) If you wait to fridge it all overnight before eating it, you can skim the fat off the top so it’s not as greasy. (Tall and narrow containers are better than short and fat ones; the thicker the layer of cooled fat is, the easier it is to remove.) Then sometimes I’ll add back the carrots, whatever turkey meat is left over at that point, and maybe some potato, and stick-blend it all to make the soup a little thicker.

This time, I was talking to my friend Mimi Tulane a few days ago, and mentioned that I hadn’t made turkey soup yet, and that I still had the sweet potatoes to do as well. (I have some health issues that make it not-smart (on a Running To The ER For IV Meds not-smart) to eat a lot at one sitting, so doing the turkey and stuffing and half a dozen sides all in one meal is kind of pointless.) So I was blathering away in e-mail and I guess I didn’t make things clear, because Mimi wrote back and said she’d never heard of turkey-sweet-potato soup before, but it sounded like it could be good.

Of course I’m reading this and I start laughing and go to type an explanation, but then I stop and think. Huh, that does sound like it could be good. [bemused smile]

I tried it. It’s awesome.

I made my turkey soup — the broth version, all the solids removed — then baked a couple of sweet potatoes until they were very soft. I heated up enough of the skimmed broth to fill a stew-size pot about two-thirds, then put the sweet potato flesh in and hit it (carefully) with a stick blender until there were no chunks visible. Then I added milk (about an inch and a half in that pot; probably like two or three cups? sorry, I don’t measure) and blended it again.

It was really wonderful. My husband was raving about it all day, and he’s not really much of a soup person. It’s meaty from the turkey, with some sweetness from the sweet potatoes, and some richness from the milk. I had more later with cut up pieces of leftover turkey in it, and that’s good too. I imagine anything you’d usually put into turkey soup would be good — potatoes, carrots, pasta, rice, whatever you’re into.

This is great. Seriously, next time you make a turkey, try it. And thanks, Mimi — you’re brilliant. :)

Angie

Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide Cover

Filed under:Cool Stuff — posted by Angie on December 3, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

The Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide anthology successfully funded its Kickstarter, so the ball is rolling. We have the final cover, with my name on it, yay. :)

 photo YoungExplorers2015Cover.jpg

I don’t have a publication date yet, but I’ll definitely be posting when it’s released.

I love this cover. The art is great — genre-specific enough to communicate “Hey, this is SF!” without focusing on a particular subgenre that’d let out a lot of stories, or trying too hard to be too many things and thus likely failing at everything. Good stuff.

Angie

Putting Ferguson Into Perspective

Filed under:Issues — posted by Angie on November 26, 2014 @ 4:21 pm

Yes, what’s going on in Ferguson is awful, and is causing hardship for a lot of people, most of them black. Yes, it would be better for everyone if they’d go home and get on with their lives, as Michael Brown’s family has asked. But at least in this case, the people rioting have a significant reason to be angry — a pretty clear miscarriage of justice, with an obvious racial motive. All the white people looking down their noses and crying shame on those violent black rioters for being so violent (salted with racist epithets, because of course all this violence is because that’s what people of their race do) should perhaps remember all the So Much More Worthy [cough] reasons for which white people have violently rioted.

Thanks to Jason for sending me a link to this. Very telling.

Angie

“Mine, All Mine!” Said the Octopus

Filed under:Cool Stuff — posted by Angie on November 24, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

So my husband volunteers at the Seattle Aquarium. They’ve had two octopuses there for a while, in adjacent tanks. The tanks are connected by a tube about eighteen inches or so across, but since octopuses can be territorial, a screen is in place so the animals are aware of each other, but can’t, say, try to kill or eat one another. Which they will sometimes do if they have the opportunity.

One of the octopuses recently started displaying reproductive behavior, pulling eggs out of her mantle and braiding them together. There are no male octopuses in the vicinity, so the eggs aren’t fertile, but policy is that when an octopus looks like she wants to breed, she’s released out into the sound. So Octopus Number One has moved on.

The screen between the two tanks was removed, and Octopus Number Two now has access to both tanks.

According to my husband, Number Two was positively gleeful today. She was much more active than she’s usually been, exploring, spreading her legs out, jetting a time or two, spending some time up at the glass looking at people — while he described it I could picture in my mind a cartoon octopus dancing around the newly-huge space and cackling, “Mine, all mine!” with a huge, cartoony grin.

Aquarium visitors spent a lot of time around the octopus tanks today, for obvious reasons. One pair got a surprise when they turned away for a few moments, then turned back to find that the octopus was Right There In Front Of Their Faces, legs fanned out. The animal’s web (the skin between its legs, like the webbing between your thumb and forefinger) is about six feet across, then add several more feet on either side for the legs themselves. That’s a lot of octopus underside to suddenly find spread out a few inches away from your head, and there were a couple of squeaks and jumps right before the cameras came up and started clicking. I’ll bet those pictures are great. :)

I assume the aquarium will acquire another octopus eventually, but until then Number Two will doubtless revel in her newly expanded territory. Sounds like she’s having fun with it.

Angie


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace