Simultaneous Kickstarters

Being a writer means long periods of inactivity between frantic flurries of movement. Thanks to having months to write in between teaching gigs, I’m now in a flurry period (yay). Which means two of my short stories are in two anthologies that are both on Kickstarter simultaneously. Let me tell you about them!

Book Cover

The first is The Bard’s Tale, a collection of stories and recipes edited by Daniel “Doc” Myers of Medieval Cookery fame. That’s right, this anthology is half short story collection and half cookbook! So if you like reading and cooking (or reading and eating!) then this is the anthology for you. My story “Voice of the Revolution” is a post-apocalyptic science fiction tale about an android bard, a description I hope you find enticing. The cover of the book is also gorgeous and the stories will each feature an illustration artist David Szilagyi, so I’m super excited to see it in print (I’m really loving the trend toward illustrating anthologies that crowdfunding has made possible). This Kickstarter campaign wraps up in only 8 days, so back it now while you still can!

The second anthology is Not Our Kind: Tales of (Not) Belonging edited by Nayad Monroe. You may remember Nayad as a contributor to both my anthologies, Sidekicks! and Steampunk WorldI was also a contributor to Nayad’s last anthology, What Fates Impose, a really well-received collection of stories about divination. I point this out so you’ll understand that we have a history of stellar collaboration. My story for Not Our Kind is called “FawnGirl14” and it’s about a girl who doesn’t belong because she has (NSFW) antlers. Why does she have antlers? Dark, urban fantasy reasons that are revealed in the story! The anthology is a Kickstarter Staff Pick and includes stories by big names like Ekaterina Sedia, Lucy A. Snyder, Remy Nakamura, and Damien Angelica Walters. As of this posting the campaign has 27 days left to go, and both my critiques are still available as rewards if you’d like to have up to 5,000 words critiqued by me, personally!

I really believe in both these projects, and both offer me actual money for my writing, so if you can back one or both I’d appreciate it. And if you’ve still got some money burning a hole in your pocket that you’d like to throw at another Kickstarter, please consider the campaign for Frame Shop, a novella written by Sidekicks! contributor Donald J. Bingle. Happy backing!

Super Exciting News Explosion!!!!1!

NOW WITH SUPER EXCITING BULLET POINTS!

  • Steampunk World is now available for pre-order if you missed the Kickstarter! Also, prints of the new cover!
  • My short story “FawnGirl14” has been selected for an anthology I’m not allowed to name yet that will be appearing on Kickstarter soon! It’s about a girl with antlers, and I’ve been a little obsessed with the imagery of girls with antlers for years, so this was kind of a cathartic story for me. Also a lot of fun to read at DetCon1 last weekend.
  • My short story “Voice of the Revolution” will be appearing in an anthology of stories about bards put together by Doc Myers of Dwarven Cookbook fame. Each story will include a recipe tailor-made by Doc, which is really neat and unique. The Kickstarter for this anthology should drop in September, so keep an eye out for more info on that.
  • My short story “Se Fe Lontan/Long Time No See” will be appearing in Lincoln Crisler‘s latest anthology, That Voodoo, Hoodoo, That You Do. The story is about a Vodou priestess who has to fight the demons of her past to fight the demons of the present.  I’m excited about this one because the protagonist is a middle-aged woman of color, a demographic that is super underrepresented in genre fiction. I hope I did her justice.
  • I moved to a big new house in a nice new neighborhood, and finished that on Saturday, so I can finally get back to writing and managing submissions!
  • I passed my last licensure exam, so now I can finally apply for my teaching license! Yaaaaaaaay! This has been a long road, so long there was a time where I thought I’d never get to this point. But I did! Go me!

Bless Your Mechanical Heart is here!

I’m excited to announce the release of my latest story, “Rest in Peace,” which appears in the anthology Bless Your Mechanical HeartThis is actually my third project with editor Jennifer Brozek, but it’s the first to appear in publication. I’m especially excited about this anthology because my story is appearing alongside stories by some really big names and people I admire like Seanan McGuire, Jody Lynn Nye, Jason Sanford, and Lucy A. Snyder. This might sound silly, but somehow this anthology has given me the feeling that I’m a legitimate science fiction writer for the first time. I love horror, and got my start there, but for me writing science fiction was much more daunting, much more intimidating, a hurdle I wasn’t sure I would ever get over. This represents, for me, a big accomplishment. Squee!

And check out this incredible cover by the amazing Larry Dixon.

BYMH

Where Are They Now? A SIDEKICKS! Retrospective

This month marks the first anniversary of the release of Sidekicks!, my first anthology as an editor. For fun, let’s see what the authors of the anthology’s twenty stories and introduction have been up to since then! Note: these updates appear in the same order as the book’s table of contents, so if you’re looking for an update about the author of your favorite story, hopefully that will make it easy to find.

Since Sidekicks, Alasdair Stuart, author of the introduction, has moved house, moved server and started a monthly cult film column at Geek Syndicate. He’s also written a Victoriana adventure featuring a transformer that becomes a steam organ, robotic gargoyles and the weaponization of an ancient death god. He continues to host and co-host the podcasts Pseudopod and Escape Pod respectively. Most importantly, he’s got engaged to his girlfriend, Cast of Wonders editor Marguerite Kenner.

“Coffee and Collaborators” author Patrick Tomlinson continues to write and be awesome. His first novel, The Wererat’s Tale III: The Collar of Perdition, came out last year.

Alex Bledsoe, author of “Hunter and Bagger,” released his second Tufa novel (Wisp of a Thing), his fifth Eddie LaCrosse novel (He Drank, and Saw the Spider), and his first collaboration (Sword Sisters, written with Tara Cardinal). He also adopted a new daughter, making the family boy/girl ratio now 3:2.

“Alex and the OCD Oracle” author D. Robert Hamm has had a truly difficult year. If you’d like to read more and offer support to this wonderful author and disabled veteran, click here.

Nayad Monroe,  author of “Quintuple-A,” finally saw Stonehenge in the fall of 2013 as part of her trip to the World Fantasy Convention in England. More importantly, she edited her first anthology, What Fates Impose. This year she is working on her next fiction anthology projects with Alliteration Ink, as well as some mixed-media artwork. She continues to tweet on an almost-daily basis (for proof, follow @Nayad).

“Hero” author Kathy Watness continues to write and lead a very quiet online life.

In October, Stephen Lickman, author of “Fangirl”, had a story appear in Metastasis: A Charity Anthology Benefiting Cancer Research. The anthology was published by Wolfsinger Publications and is available through Amazon.com and other online retailers. He continues to blog on his website, beerandmonsters.com, about writing, home brewing, and his dog’s fight with cancer.

Graham Storrs has released three novels since Sidekicks! came out. Two of these, Timesplash and True Path, are set in the same world as “After the Party” and were published by Pan Macmillan/Momentum. The third is a near-future thriller about the perils of augmented reality called Heaven is a Place on Earth.

Michael Haynes, author of “Learning the Game,” has sold podcast reprint rights for the story to Cast of Wonders and has had new stories released or upcoming by publications including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

“Doomed” author K.W. Taylor will see her first novel, an urban fantasy titled The Red Eye, in print with Alliteration Ink this year!

Bill Bodden, author of “In The Shadow Of His Glory”, has been writing for tabletop role-playing games lately, including material for the Achtung! Cthulhu Keeper’s Guide.

Since last we met, “Second Banana Republic” author Donald J. Bingle has continued to pen short stories, as well as ghost-written two novellas (see www.donaldjbingle.com for details), but is most excited about the production of an audiobook version of his spy thriller, Net Impact, available hereSarah’s note: My dad loves spy thrillers and I gave him this book for Father’s Day last year. He loved it. 

Over the course of 2013, Alexis A. Hunter, author of “The Balance Between Us”, was delighted to have her first short story series — “By the Gun”, a four-part weird western — published in Spark: A Creative AnthologyVolumes I-IV.  In November, one of Alexis’ favorites stories, a “creepily touching” story entitled “Dark Refrain”, was published in Read Short Fiction.

“The Decent Thing To Do” author Daniel R. Robichaud has seen a number of his short stories published under the collected title Dark Enchantments.

“The Minion’s Son” author Daniel O’Riordan still has a home for wayward ferrets.

“The Old West” author Matt Betts saw the publication of his critically-acclaimed first novel, Odd Men Out, from Dog Star Books.

Mary Garber, author of “Worthy,” attended the Viable Paradise Writers’ Workshop, moved from Ohio to New Jersey, and traveled to Thailand and Japan. She’s now hard at work on her novel.

“Relic of the Red Planet” author Neal F. Litherland writes for a gaming blog called Improved Initiative.

For the bulk of 2013, Chanté McCoy, author of “The Gold Mask’s Menagerie,” managed a mayoral campaign (alas, the incumbent won). In addition to her day job, she continues to write regularly for a pet magazine and  to serve on her local Arts Council. Her first book — Seven White Wolves —  was published in January.

Alana Lorens, author of “A Recipe for Success,” has spent a year traveling and writing, wrestling with giant blue crabs in the Florida Keys and surviving a transcontinental Amtrak ride from Pennsylvania to Nevada, despite the “Snakes on a Train.”  Her romantic suspense novelVOODOO DREAMS was published by the Wild Rose Press in October 2013, and ENCOUNTER, a suspense novel from Three Fates Press, came out in February 2014. Keep up with her latest exploits at her website and Facebook page!

“At Your Service” author Kelly Swails published a prequel to her Sidekicks! story, “The One Where the Father Dies,” in the anthology Heroes!, the 2013 Origins Game Fair souvenir anthology, which she also edited.

Campaigns Worth Supporting

Now that Steampunk World has funded, it’s time to find other worthwhile projects to back! I’d like to suggest the following (which I’ve separated into convenient categories for you, because I couldn’t resist):

Charity Projects:

The SteamAble Wheelchair Project: providing a steampunk wheelchair for a teenager with Muscular Dystrophy. This project’s success means enough to me that I convinced the publisher of Steampunk World to donate some copies of the book as backer rewards. They’ve been snatched up, but the project is still worth backing.

Fundraiser to help Jay Lake afford travel to NIH for medical trials that may save his life. Jay is an all-around fabulous guy and the first person to agree to submit a story for Steampunk World. This campaign has already funded, but that doesn’t mean your pledge won’t help!

Blasphemous Coloring Projects:

Never Pray Again: an irreverent coloring book produced by my favorite pastor and two of his friends. That’s right, I’m a Buddhist, and I have a favorite pastor. Check out the project and you’ll understand why.

Books and Magazines:

Icarus: A graphic novel by Gregory Wilson and Matt Slay. Greg is a really lovely person and talented author whom I always look forward to seeing at GenCon and Origins Game Fair. Matt produced the incredible illustrations for Time Traveled Tales.

Streets of Shadows: An anthology of paranormal noir stories edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon. The lineup of authors for this is, so far, pretty fabulous, and if it funds there will be an open call for stories.

Dark Trails: An anthology of weird western stories, edited by Michael Knost and featuring a story by Lucy A. Snyder. Michael Knost is one of the kindest, friendliest, most supportive authors I’ve ever met. Lucy, who is an incredible writer and even better friend, has a story in Steampunk World.

Women Destroy Science Fiction: A special issue of Lightspeed dedicated just to women writers. And now also special editions of Nightmare Magazine and Fantasy Magazine!

Hopefully you’ll find something worth backing on this list. Back on, my friends!

A Big Thank You

When you’re a depressive, even one in remission, extreme highs in emotion–the kind that can result from a month that included both the holidays and a successful Kickstarter campaign–can result in extreme lows, too. So I apologize for the delay in posting this. My only excuse is that my disorder had me by the throat. Fortunately, copious amounts of chocolate, tea, pet snuggles, period dramas, and time with good friends are bringing me back up for air.

The Steampunk World Kickstarter was successful beyond my wildest dreams. We didn’t quite get to Volume 2, but we exploded the two stretch goals that were most important to me, netting ourselves a fancy custom cover by James Ng and interior illustrations for every story in the book. This is so much more than I could ever have hoped for. (Before you ask: don’t worry about Volume 2, that will probably happen anyway. But that’s a blog post for another day.)

Yes, I’m the editor of Steampunk World. Yes, I conceived the idea for the anthology, invited authors, chose stories, found a cover artist, and created the backer levels. I am still editing the stories but I’m nearly done. Yes, I did or am doing all of those things, and, as my friends point out, I should pat myself on the back for doing all that. I deserve a little credit, they remind me. I shouldn’t give it all away. Consider my back patted. Go me.

But no woman is an island. I could not have seen this project succeed without help from a lot of people. And I certainly would not have seen it leap from the tracks and go flying into the stratosphere without so many people feeding coal into the burners of this train metaphor that I’m starting to regret. At the risk of this blog post sounding like an award acceptance speech, I need to thank some people, and this seems like the best way to do it.

Thank you, Steven Saus, the man behind Alliteration Ink, who took a chance on a relatively unknown writer and completely untested editor. You may not realize this, but I pitched Steampunk World to Steve before Sidekicks!, so he agreed to it before he knew that I could follow through. That’s the kind of faith and trust that makes me all verklempt if I think about it too hard. I hope I’ve paid back that faith and trust and will continue to do so. Steve also ran the Kickstarter, for which I am eternally grateful, because I have no desire to be saddled with that responsibility.

Thank you, Jay Lake and SJ Chambers, for being the first two big-name authors to agree to submit stories for the anthology. I met these two fabulous writers at WorldCon in 2012.  That convention changed my life, in no small part thanks to their kindness and willingness to take me seriously even though I was dressed like a weirdo and they’d never heard of me before. They gave me the courage to ask other big-name people to participate in the anthology. They lent credence to my belief that I had something special that might actually succeed. And, perhaps more importantly, they taught me that people will say yes, if you just ask. Always ask!

Thank you, James Ng and Diana Pho, for agreeing to supply the cover art and introduction, for mobilizing your scads of followers into backing the Kickstarter, and for being flexible and completely delightful in every way to work with. These two were my first choices for the art and the introduction, and emailing them both was incredibly intimidating. In the end, Diana and her fiancee proved instrumental in creating the Kickstarter video, and James agreed to do not just a custom cover, but all the interior illustrations as well. Basically, everyone has blown me away with their enthusiasm and generosity. Especially these two.

Thank you, to all the authors who submitted stories for the anthology, even those whose stories I rejected. Please keep writing. When I started writing again four years ago, I couldn’t have imagined the incredible places this path would take me. And I’m only at the beginning of my journey, really. Don’t be defeated by rejections. Keep going.

Thank you, to all the authors whose stories I did buy for the anthology. You are all so talented. Sometimes your stories leave me breathless with wonder, and it is such an honor to put them in a collection and present them to the world. I can’t wait until people get to read the anthology.

Thank you, to all my friends and writing colleagues who backed the project, tweeted, retweeted, posted, and talked about the anthology. It is because of you that we were fully funded within a couple of days and achieved two of our stretch goals. You were–and are–a part of this, as much a part as the editor and the publisher and the writers and the cover artist. What’s the point of putting together a collection like this without an audience? Thank you for being that audience. No–thank you for being more than an audience. Thank you for actively making this project succeed.

Finally, thank you, all of you, for being part of a project that celebrates humanity in all its variations. Thank you for giving me hope that maybe someday the world will follow suit. Thank you for showing me that there are people out there who want to read the kind of stories I want to write and curate. Thank you for teaching me that I should always ask. Today the world seems like a bigger, better, brighter place than it did just a few months ago.

Thank you.

Steampunk World Table of Contents

The Kickstarter for Steampunk World is inches away from fulfilling our second stretch goal: interior artwork for each story by cover artist James Ng! We already funded the anthology and a brand new Kickstarter-exclusive cover. Well done!

So without further ado, the much-awaited table of contents for Steampunk World*:

“Shedding Skin; Or, How the World Came to Be” by Jay Lake

“Hidden Strength” by Jaymee Goh

“Promised” by Nisi Shawl

“The Firebird” by Emily Cataneo

“The Little Begum” by Indrapramit Das

“One Thousand and One Pieces” by Lucien Soulban

“Hatavat Chalom” by Lillian Cohen-Moore

“The Leviathan of Trincomalee” by Lucy A. Snyder

“The Hand of Sa-Seti” by Balogun Ojetade

“The Omai Gods” by Alex Bledsoe

“The Governess and We” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

“Tangi A Te Ruru/The Cry of the Morepork” by Pip Ballantine

“The Construct Also Dreams of Flight” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

“Budo, or the Flying Orchid” by Tade Thompson

“The Şehrazatın Diyoraması Tour” by SJ Chambers

“The Emperor Everlasting” by Nayad A. Monroe

“Mary Sundown and the Clockmaker’s Children” by Malon Edwards

“Good Hunting” by Ken Liu

I can’t wait to see the incredible illustrations James is going to do for the stories in the book, but that means first we have to fund interior illustrations! If you haven’t backed the project yet, please do so now, so you can snag exclusive rewards like downloadable wallpapers and the exclusive cover. If you have backed the anthology, THANK YOU, now please tell your friends! Everybody wins if we hit our stretch goals.

And don’t forget, if we make it to our third stretch goal YOU can submit a story for Volume 2, because that volume will be open to submissions from anyone.

*I reserve the right to rearrange this TOC before the book is printed. Editor’s prerogative! Also, it’s possible that some of the titles may change between now and printing. But the stories will be same, I promise.

Steampunk World is Funded…What Now?

**Sorry about the weird formatting, WordPress is being a beast. Please read this anyway!**
Holy steamcow. In under a week…
First off, I need to say a big thank you to everyone who participated in this effort: Steve Saus, for his brilliant job managing the Kickstarter; the authors, who so kindly offered backer rewards on top of writing stories; and of course our backers, without whose pledges and posts we never would have achieved funding so quickly.  I’m going to point a big brass finger at Diana Pho and Tony Ballard-Smoot, two good friends, who have really gone above and beyond in the promotion department, without whom this would not have been possible.
I’m thrilled to tell you that, while this has been successful beyond my wildest dreams already, Steve and I have been prepared all along for the possibility that we would reach funding and we have a number of really exciting overflow goals and rewards associated with them.
That’s right, THERE’S MORE.
Cover artist James Ng has kindly offered to paint us an original cover for the anthology if we can raise enough money for his usual fee. That’s our first overflow goal. Because we want to reward all our early-adopters, this cover will be a Kickstarter exclusive. You heard me correctly. You and the other backers will be the only ones to have the book with this custom cover. 
Our other overflow goals include interior illustrations and the possibility of a Volume 2. Volume 2 would be an open-call edition, so any author would be invited to submit. We’d still be paying pro rates for that anthology too. Best of all, the new volume would be added to the existing backer reward levels. 
So if we meet all of our stretch goals, your rewards will double. Are you as excited about that as I am?!
If you backed at the $5 level, you will receive TWO Steampunk Samplers featuring five stories from each volume. If you backed at the $10 level, you’ll receive Steampunk World Volume 1 and 2 ebooks. If you backed at the $20 level, you’ll receive Steampunk World Volume 1 and 2 paperbacks. And if you backed at the $50 level, you’ll receive Steampunk World Volume 1 and 2 hardbacks.
TL;DR: If we achieve all our overflow goals, you will receive twice the rewards for the same pledge. 
So now is the time to promote, promote, promote. Tell your Mom, tell your Dad, tell your friends and your dentist and your postal worker and your dog walker. Because the more people sign onto this thing, the bigger and better the rewards will be for you.
Thanks again for your support. I can’t wait to see how far we can go!
Love,
Sarah

Steampunk World: The Kickstarter

I owe you an apology, dear reader. I’ve been neglecting you this last month. But I promise, it was for a very good reason. I needed to take some time away from the blog so that I could bring you…

The Steampunk World Kickstarter!

The anthology features 18 stories of multicultural steampunk by some of the biggest names in science fiction, including Jay Lake, Ken Liu, Nisi Shawl, Lucy A. Snyder, and Lillian Cohen-Moore, as well as some huge names in steampunk like Jaymee Goh, Balogun Ojetade, Pip Ballantine, and SJ Chambers. We also have an introduction by Diana Pho and cover art by the incomparable James Ng. The stories take place all over the world, from Sri Lanka to Russia to the Belgian Congo, and feature characters both human and automaton.

There are two ways you can help the Kickstarter if you want to see this project succeed. The first is, obviously, to become a backer. Give us your money. Though the ebook for Steampunk World requires a pledge of $10, there is a reward for backing as low as the $5 level. That’s less than the cost of lunch, and you’ll get five really excellent stories for that amount. I haven’t selected which stories will be in the Steampunk Sampler for $5, but I promise they’ll be worth every penny. Of course, for twice as much, you get nearly four times as many stories, but I understand that sometimes you just can’t afford the upgrade.

The second way you can help is to tell your friends. I especially need people to talk about the project on Steampunk social media groups, like on Livejournal and Facebook and Google+ and Tumblr. I don’t participate heavily in online Steampunk groups (I just don’t have time) and I don’t believe in joining such groups purely to spam everyone asking for their money. So if you think the project is worthwhile, and you already participate in such a group, please post about it. Just do a quick check to be sure nobody else has already posted about it, and please don’t join any groups just to post about it. We’re not looking to spam and annoy people!

Thank you for any help you can give. This project would never have happened without the continual support of my friends and readers. Now it just needs one final push in the coming weeks, and then our screaming clockwork infant will be born into the world.

Art by James Ng, layout by Steven Saus

Art by James Ng, layout by Steven Saus