Z: Zee End

Well this is it. The end of the challenge. Thank gawd. I really took on too much this month and I will be very happy to see it come to an end. It was fun but… yeah… sanity will be nice too 🙂

The Niteblade fundraiser has been a success. As of the time of my writing this we’ve passed our goal of $500 and are pretty close to achieving the stretch goals I set for the $600 mark. I learned a lot about running a fundraiser (which builds on what I learned last year) and I’m looking forward to putting it into effect in 2014 (#1 lesson being two months is too long LOL).

I started a giveaway back on letter D and the winners are David and Teresa. I will contact you shortly to get the address to send your copy of our poetry issue to. I hope you’ll enjoy it 🙂

Thank you everyone for coming on this alphabetic journey with me and for your support of Niteblade. You’re awesome.

Y: Yergen, Amy: Handspun

HandspunI love fairy tales, and Handspun by Amy Yergen definitely has that fairy tale flavour. In addition to being a fantastic short story it made me want to learn how to spin my own wool for crocheting LOL

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A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

X: Issue #10

Lost InnocenceOver the years Niteblade has published three print issues. I’d love to do more but they are expensive. Sadly, it’s not even really the printing part that’s expensive, it’s the shipping part. Sending a copy of a print anthology to each contributor can cost $20. Multiply that by 15 or 20 contributors and we begin to reach numbers that I just can’t afford. It adds up quickly.

That’s not to say we won’t do more in the past. I love print issues so anything is possible, especially if our fundraiser continues to be awesome but, well, they are tricky.

Our first print issue was the one you see to the left there, Lost Innocence. That was issue #5. Issue #10, as you can tell by the subject of this blog post, was also a print issue. We called that one Nothing to Dread and it had a Christmas flavour to it. Lastly, our special poetry issue. That was my first attempt at using a printer who wasn’t POD and it was less expensive for me, but did result in a box of books in my closet.

I’m giving away copies of the poetry issue, you can see all about it here. As for the other two, well, I recently decreased their base price over at Lulu and added a 20% discount on top of that. That means you can pick up a copy of either for $7.99. If you combine that with one of Lulu’s frequent discounts you may manage to save even more.

And now, just so this blog doesn’t feel like one giant advertisement and because they are awesome, a duck!

Duck - photograph by Rhonda Parrish

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

W: Where Dreams are Grown

Where Dreams are GrownThat dude there? That’s Old Man Somni. He’s the main character of Suzanne van Rooyen’s story, Where Dreams are Grown. It was my pleasure to publish Where Dreams are Grown in the September 2012 issue of Niteblade. I fell in love with this story on first read. The descriptions were beautiful, poetic and evocative, and the story moving. Suzanne’s imagination and skill with words are both very evident in this piece.

Suzanne is offering to critique a short story or first chapter as part of the Niteblade fundraiser. Because I’m pre-scheduling this post I don’t know if that perk is still available, but it might be, so if you’re looking for a talented writer to cast an eye on your work and offer feedback, you ought to check it out, but read her story first. Trust me on this 🙂

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

V: Vardon, Nicki – Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden FruitIt feels a little wrong to be writing a blog entry about a reprint at Niteblade. Truthfully, I much prefer the works that we get to be the first to publish (and who wouldn’t?) but, well, I really liked this piece.

Forbidden Fruit by Nicki Vardon is told from the point of view of a cat (like my story Feeders which is forthcoming at Bete Noire) but it’s not silly or childish. It’s a little bit like a fairy tale, a slightly erotic fairy tale. It’s a flash story so it won’t take you long to read, but it has a depth to it that belies its brevity. (Do you like that? belies its brevity? Ahhh alliteration!). Check it out, you won’t be sorry.

On an unrelated note, Nicki is donating some knitted wristbands to our fundraiser. I’m pre-scheduling this post so I can’t say for sure, but they might still be available for you to claim. Check out the fundraiser to find out for sure 😉

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

U: Unsettling

Shine OnHe sank into the cold lawn at the foot of the window and began tearing at the blackness, making no more dent on the outside than he did on the inside of his own. Instead of shredding the black lid he was shredding his own fingernails. With every scrape he tore off more nail from each finger, until it was down to skin and he was leaving smears of blood all over the dark canvas. Draynor felt nothing but a need to find someone. To help. To stop this from being his burden alone.

This is an excerpt from J.A. Tyler’s story Shine On which we published in the very first issue of Niteblade. That was quite a long time ago and I’ve read thousands of short stories since then, but this one still sticks in my brain. I find it… unsettling.

Unsettling is a theme we cover over and over at Niteblade, I’m proud to say. What We Give by BD Wilson, for example, has a scene with a hand… well, let’s just say it makes me a little bit ill every time I think about it.

BD’s story was from our March 2008 issue but make no mistake unsettling works pepper the pages of Niteblade all throughout our history, not just in the older issues. More recently, in the December 2012 issue we published a story entitled The House That Did Not Breathe by Gwendolyn Edward and Andrew Austin. I found many things about this story unsettling, from the atmosphere of the piece to the narrator’s prejudices.

Yes. Unsettling indeed, and well worth a read. (Hey, that rhymes!)

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

 

 

T: For the Dead Travel Fast

For the Dead Travel FastI know. T is not for ‘For the Dead Travel Fast’ but it is for translation, and that’s what this is.

Our most recent issue of Niteblade saw the very first translated story that we’ve published. For the Dead Travel Fast was written in Spanish by Ramón Paso and translated to English by Cora Sáenz. The fact that it’s a translated work is kind of a little bonus (I think it’s cool) but I would have accepted this piece even without that little perk.

I adore this story. It’s an interesting take on a vampire story. The style of the author really shows through and the narrator came to life as I read. He may not be the kind of guy I’d want to invite over for dinner, but he has dimension and depth and by the time the story was done I really felt like I knew him. At least a little bit.

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

 

S: Staff

NitebladeWhen I first started Niteblade I did everything but the .pdf layout which Jo did. It was a lot of work. A lot. Like far more than I’d expected going in. Still, I had have control issues so I sucked it up and did what needed to be done.

Then I decided to add some book reviewers. It started with Amber Stults but eventually grew. At one point we had five book reviewers on staff. That was okay with my control-freak self though, because they were essentially independent contractors doing work-for-hire. Which is not to say I didn’t appreciate what they did, I did, still do, but they didn’t have any power, so things were okay. (We no longer do book reviews, but Amber has stuck around and conducts interviews with contributors and others for our blog).

But still, running Niteblade was a lot of work. Slowly it was beginning to wear me down and I began to think about closing the doors. I didn’t want to, you understand, I was just getting worn down. That’s when BD Wilson came on board. BD was (and remains) one of my best friends and so when she offered to take over the web-based part of the magazine, it was only a small struggle with myself to hand over the keys. I couldn’t have made a better decision. Today BD takes care of everything to do with the website, from making it look awesome to ensuring things work smoothly on the back end. I don’t know anything about how the website works anymore, that’s all her. It’s always fantastic. Niteblade would not exist if not for BD. She saved it when I was thinking of closing it and she keeps it going like, if you’ll pardon the cliche, a well-oiled machine.

Even so, Niteblade takes up a lot of my time, and it used to take up more. That’s where Submittable and slush readers come in. Oh my gawd. Slush readers. How I love them. When I switched from email submissions to using Submittable it angered some submitters, but I stuck to my decision because of two big reasons. First, it would mean I’d stop getting spammed. Seriously. You wouldn’t believe the amount of spam my submission email accounts were getting. Secondly, it meant I could bring on some slush readers and make things a bit easier on myself. And did it ever. Man I love slush readers.

We’ve had many different readers over the years so I don’t want to try listing you all in case I miss someone. Still. Slush readers rock. Truly. They have a mostly glamourless job but they are so important. The first line of defense, as it were. They help filter out the submissions that are patently inappropriate for Niteblade and since we started having slush readers the amount of time I have to spend in the slush has decreased immensely. Because I’m sharing the work. It’s fantastic. Our current slush readers are Alexis Hunter, Samantha Kymmell-Harvey and Megan Engelhardt and in my mind they are all rockstars.

And then there is Alexandra Seidel. Alexandra started at Niteblade as a slush reader, but when she expressed a desire to read poetry slush I thought, why not? After a very short while with her reading poetry slush I offered her the position of poetry editor at Niteblade. She and I co-edited a special poetry only print issue of Niteblade together to mark the transition of editoryness (which yes, is totally a word) and then I handed over control of the poetry section to her. This was tough for my little control-freak self, but it was the right decision. Alexa has proven to be a strong, capable poetry editor and has done a lot to increase the visibility of our poetic offerings.

Of course, Niteblade wouldn’t be the same without Marge Simon, but I’ve already dedicated a whole entry to her, so let’s just say she rocks and leave it at that LOL

I wish I could dedicate a whole entry to everyone who works behind the scenes at Niteblade to make it awesome, but I can’t. Not without getting all gush-y and driving readers away. But to all of you, thank you. Thank you so very much. You are the reason Niteblade is as amazing as it is. I couldn’t do it without you.

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

 

R: Running Empty in a Land of Decay

Running Empty in a Land of DecayI love zombie stories. Love, love, love them. And one of my favourite short zombie stories is this one by Damien Walters Grintalis – Running Empty in a Land of Decay. When Amber Stults interviewed Damien about this story (and a lot of other stuff) for the Niteblade News blog, Damien said the story was inspired by a picture of a pair of shoes tied together and hanging from a power line. I liked this story so much I chose it to be one of the three recorded by Shadowcast Audio Anthology a couple years ago, so if you prefer you can check it out in audio form.

After you read this short story on Niteblade, if you like what you’ve seen, you should check Damien’s recently-released novel, INK.

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

 

Q: Philosopher Quinn

Philosopher QuinnI’ve blogged about Philosopher Quinn before. This story by Jens Rushing was included in our March 2008 issue and I really enjoy it still, four years later. Is it the most well-written thing we’ve ever published? Um, no, but I think it might very well be the most fun. The phrase ‘…to chase camels. Good times!’ has become a part of our family’s lexicon because of this story.

Here, just a little sneak peek:

“I’m sorry,” said Maris, wiping her eyes. “That’s very nice and all, but — what are you, sixteen?”

“Eighteen and three-quarters. What of it?”

“A teenager. Where’d you get Gretch and Chaggs?”

“Cheggs. They were family servants, but I offered them the chance to serve in my paradise, and they leapt at the opportunity.”

“Beats shovelin’ stables,” Gretch said.

“Verily, captain, our thanks is right bottomless. Does it please the captain for me to sop his boots with my tongue? The mud is honey in my mouth,” Cheggs said.

“Disgusting peasant!” Quinn kicked Cheggs, who howled and begged for another. “You see I am quite occupied keeping these curs in line. But that’s what they are — curs compared to philosophers like you and me. Mostly me. We are of a different breed than these villains. And that is why I have decided to allow you the honor and privilege of becoming my slave.” He smiled magnanimously.

Maris arched an eyebrow very slowly, as if the eyebrow weighed half a ton. “I honestly don’t know what to say.”

Quinn nodded graciously. “You display a certain animal cunning that I find endearing. In time, I may condescend to take you as a concubine.”

“Now I can think of a few things to say.”

If that made you smile, check out the rest of the story. If not, well there are lots of other stories you might find more to your taste over at Niteblade.

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

 

P: Poetry Editor, Alexandra Seidel

Alexandra SeidelI have control issues, so it wasn’t easy when I handed over the role of poetry editor to Alexandra Seidel. But, like many things which aren’t easy, it was very much worth doing.

Alexandra has been the sole poetry editor for just over a year now and I’m extremely happy to have her in that position. She’s super efficient, reliable and because she’s allergic to bullshit I can always count on her for blunt answers, feedback or advice when I ask for it. Our poetry slush has never looked more impressive than since she took over as editor and though our tastes don’t always match I do want to take a moment to spotlight a few of my favourite poems that we’ve published since she’s been poetry editor 🙂

My favourite five, in no particular order:

Carnivoyeur by Rebecca Hodgkins – This poem is from the special vampire poetry issue. We actually wanted it to be a straight-up vampire issue, but we never got enough fiction submissions to pull that off. *shrugs* It doesn’t matter. I only mention because this is a vampire poem with a twist. You’re going to love it. Really.

Step
right
UP!

Red Eye by Lisa M. Bradley – Another poem from the vampire issue. This one is so beautifully evocative that I had a very tough time deciding between it and Carnivoyeur for the cover. I fell in love with lines like:

and picked too many locks
her tongue to each keyhole
to learn the mechanism

Give this one a read, you won’t be disappointed.

Crimson-Hooded by Sandi Leibowitz – As you might suspect from this title this is a re-telling of a familiar fairy tale. That’s something I have a great love for, and I thought Sandi’s poem did it very well.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics by Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman – I loved this one. If all the ice and snow imagery doesn’t make you shiver, the story will 🙂

The Maiden-Harp by Sara Cleto – I just now noticed that two of my favourite poems from the past year have the same name in the byline. This, like The Second Law of Thermodynamics, is full of a-freaking-mazing imagery and feels onion-like in its layers. I love it. Love.

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!