I met AJ Scudiere at Context in 2012. You know how occasionally you meet someone and you feel instant kismet? That’s how it was for me with AJ. She’s a fabulous lady: energetic, friendly, and with the kind of open enthusiasm that makes you smile despite yourself.
To make a long story short, AJ is a novelist. She has this blog called Smart Chicken, and she’s doing a blog hop called The Next Big Thing. She tagged me, so now I answer some questions about my latest project and then tag five more authors to tell you about their latest projects. Fun, right?
FYI: I have adjusted the original questions somewhat since my big project right now is an anthology instead of a novel.
1: What is the working title of your book?
Sidekicks! I’m not one for subtlety.
2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’m actually writing a novel about a sidekick. While I work on it, I thought it would be fun to see what other authors would come up with when asked to write about sidekicks. And my publisher had an opening for an anthology…so there you go!
3: What genre does Sidekicks! fall under?
Speculative fiction. Some of the stories are creepy, some are have a comic-book feel, some have happy endings, some have sad. I’ve got superhero stories, sword and sorcery tales, a vampire story, and a couple of futuristic science fiction yarns. Variety is the spice of any anthology.
4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I can’t really answer this one, because I didn’t write the stories, and there’s so much variety. I’d love to see Patrick Tomlinson’s “Coffee and Collaborators” as a short film though. When you read the story, you’ll see what I mean.
5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The best stories aren’t about the people in the limelight, but rather those standing just behind them in the shadows.
6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The fantastic Steve Saus at Alliteration Ink is publishing it.
7: How long has the editing taken you?
Selecting the stories took about a month. I’m in the midst of editing now, and hope to be finished by the end of January. This is a tight schedule, and I’m only capable of fulfilling it because the anthology was invitation-only. I received 30 submissions, so it’s much more manageable than an open-call anthology that would have netted hundreds of submissions.
8: What other anthologies would you compare Sidekicks! to within your genre?
That question is too hard! NEXT!
9: Who or What inspired you to edit this anthology?
I really appreciate underdogs, so I set out to write a novel about one, and that inspired the anthology. I guess the novel comes from a place of always feeling second-best myself. I’m often friends with people who are flashy, charismatic, ridiculously good-looking, and maybe even a little egotistical. Most of the time I’m fine with playing second fiddle, because the world needs a second fiddle as much as (if not more than) the first fiddle, but sometimes I wonder why I (and the other second bananas of the world) willingly take the Beta role rather than the Alpha. So this project is born of those musings.
10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Most anthologies (the ones worth buying, anyway) either pay a flat rate to authors or pay a piddling amount of royalties, like, the authors share a split of 25% of the profits. If you’ve got 20 stories in anthology, that leaves a tiny percentage for each individual author. Alliteration Ink is run by an author, and I am an author myself, so we’d like to see authors paid more than that. 60% of the profits will be divided among our authors (this was as high as we could make it and still allow the publisher to recoup his costs). So, if you buy this anthology from Alliteration Ink, you will be putting cash directly into the pockets of the authors. Readers seem to really like that!
Thanks for reading! Now check out the blogs of some of the authors behind the stories in Sidekicks!
Steve Saus – I’ve known Steve for some years now, and he was my mentor for much of that. He’s incredibly generous with his time and advice. He’s cut the strings on our Jedi-Padawan relationship, but luckily I still get to call him a friend–and publisher! Steve is the sole proprietor of Alliteration Ink. His stories are also fantastic, and I wish he would submit one for Sidekicks!, but he refuses to double-dip on projects he’s publishing. INTEGRITY. His blog, Idea Trash, also has great tips for independent authors and small-press publishers alike.
Michael Haynes – I met Michael through a local critique group and was instantly impressed with his writing. He has endured rejections numbering in the hundreds, but his persistence has paid off; his story for Sidekicks! was his 26th sale of 2012. The man is talented but also has something so many authors lack–determination. He’s a great example for anyone looking to sell stories, and has a helpful blog with tips for authors and submission notices.
Chanté McCoy is the one author on this list I’ve never met in person. I know her through mutual publication in The Crimson Pact series. One of her strengths is in developing truly unique ideas–her story for Sidekicks! was one of the most original concepts I received.
M.E. Garber is another author I met through my local critique group. She has, sadly, moved out of Ohio, but not before she could impress me with prose I can only describe as delicate, clear, and sweet, like drinking from a cold Scottish loch (if you’ve ever done this, you’ll know exactly what I mean).
Patrick Tomlinson is last on this list, but certainly not least. Patrick is the epitome of clever, witty, and acerbic, and it shows in his stories. His tale for Sidekicks!, “Coffee and Collaborators,” is one of my favorites. I often joke that I plan to ride Patrick’s coattails to fame, but I secretly mean it. He’s one to watch in the coming years. Patrick has also done some slush reading, and he has a great series on his blog right now about how to get your story noticed in a pro-market slush pile.