Laura VanArendonk Baugh Reading

We’re going to be launching D is for Dinosaur here in Edmonton this March:

D is for Dinosaur

(Details here)

But because the D is for Dinosaur contributors are spread so far out across the globe (and there are twenty-six of them!) we couldn’t possibly include everyone. So I asked the other contributors if they’d like to record themselves doing a reading from their story and I’d share it on my blog.

Laura VanArendonk Baugh responded with a video reading… and she got a little bit more help with it than she’d anticipated. Check it out:


Laura VanArendonk Baugh overcame the dubious challenge of having been born without teeth or developed motor skills to become an award-winning writer of speculative fiction, mystery, and non-fiction. Her works have earned numerous accolades, including 3-star (the highest possible) ratings on Tangent’s “Recommended Reading” list. Laura speaks professionally on a variety of topics throughout the year, including writing, fan costuming, and her day job as a professional animal trainer and behavior consultant. Find her at www.LauraVAB.com.

Pre-order D IS FOR DINOSAUR for only $0.99!

(prices go up when it’s released tomorrow!)


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Taken by Suzanne at the Brisbane Museum

Who Doesn’t Love Dinosaurs?

Who Doesn’t Love Dinosaurs?

by Suzanne Willis


Who doesn’t love dinosaurs?  I was so excited to find out that “D is for Dinosaur” – for me, those creatures of distant history have the power to endlessly fire the imagination and to bring back childhood memories.  Like a primary school excursion to the museum and seeing the enormous, time-browned bones of a T-Rex and triceratops, their wickedly sharp horns and teeth and claws reminiscent of dragons.  Those shapes were proof that strange, almost-mythical creatures had existed and it felt as though they gave permission for the creatures of the stories that I loved so much – dragons and mermaids, wood nymphs and chimera – to exist, too.  Then there was the long-ago day outing with family friends, one of whom – a boy around my age, which was seven or eight at the time – was blind.  He brought along his large collection of toy dinosaurs and fascinated me by being able to identify each one just by feeling their shapes.  It was the first time I realised that there were ways of experiencing the world that were so different to my own – the first time my view of life was punctured by someone else’s reality.

And so here was the chance to revisit dinosaurs, which had been a source of fascination and wonder so long ago.  Sparks of possible tales popped up, and I began with notes such as “ghost landscapes”, “opalised bones” and “giants made of rock and rainforest pitted against one another?”.  Then there was brainstorming and research to shape the initial ideas: I spent a glorious afternoon going through “Dinosaurs: a visual encyclopedia” by DK Publishing, making notes about stromatolites, archaeopteryx (the link between avian dinosaurs and modern birds), pterosaurs, placoderms, ammonite fossils, griffinflies, amber.  Other resources that taught me about Mary Anning, who made a huge contribution to palaeontology, and science generally, through her work in Jurassic marine fossils on the coast of Dorset, England, in the 1800s.  Being a woman, she did not receive full credit for her work during her lifetime, but was lauded after her death, into the 20th century and beyond.  Seriously, if you’re not familiar with Mary Anning’s story, take some time to read up on her!

In reacquainting myself with my love of dinosaurs and natural history, I began to think about the connection between past and present, and about all those things that time has eroded away, so will forever remain undiscovered, and how future finds will alter those matters we currently accept as truth about that long-distant past.

And so Pax and his kin, and the gliders who were their enemies, the dinosaurs of the in-between, were born…

Pre-order your copy of D IS FOR DINOSAUR now and get it for only $0.99!


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Not-So-Imaginary Friends

Not-So-Imaginary Friends: A D is for Dinosaur Guest Blog

by Beth Cato

Confession: I am 37 years old, and I still want to believe in magic. I want there to be glorious beings and places that we can’t quite see, and that all of us potentially hold power that is manipulated by the mind, not muscles.

Along those lines, I love the idea of imaginary friends that aren’t imaginary. I want children to see–really see–what is around them. Magical beings. Aliens. Portals to other realms. It’s the stuff of my own childhood wish fulfillment, no doubt, and my writing career gives me the chance to make it all real. In a way.

My D is for Dinosaur story delves into the dark side of not-so-imaginary friends from more of a science fiction angle: the relationship between a brilliant young girl and her mentor, who is invisible to everyone else, but in her eyes is a rainbow-toned velociraptor. The girl knows her dinosaur friend is real. She also knows that, because of her own brain maturation, she will no longer be able to see or hear him soon. And she’s tragically aware that because of that, she’ll begin to doubt that he ever existed at all.

It goes to the very concept of faith. What is “real?” What is imaginary? Can we trust our own memories?

For me, this is a very personal dilemma.

Being a weird, precocious child, I was aware by about age nine that there was a point where other kids stopped playing with toys or looking for fairies hidden among the hedges. To me, it seemed like an ultimate betrayal of self, like these children forgot who they really were. That their imaginations were tossed in shoeboxes along with battered childhood toys, destined for a thrift store shelf at some much-later date.

I made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t toss aside my imagination. I’d stay true to myself.

Reality is cruel. We’re told to “grow up.” Stop playing around. That imaginary friends don’t exist, that they never existed. That we need real jobs. That if we make art, it’s not worth anything.

I lost my way for a number of years, caving to pressure that reading and writing fantasy wasn’t “real” writing. But I came back to it because I realized I was incomplete. I still wanted to see hidden magic in the world, and I needed to write it in existence.

My story heroine contends with all of these emotions, too. She’s a kid who has always had an invisible-to-everyone else velociraptor as her dearest friend. She’s going to lose him. She’s going to grow up.

It’s my hope, though, that she grows up in some ways but not others.


Beth Cato is the author of the Clockwork Dagger series from Harper Voyager, which includes her Nebula-nominated novella WINGS OF SORROW AND BONE. Her newest novel is BREATH OF EARTH. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.


Pre-order your copy of D IS FOR DINOSAUR now and get it for only $0.99!


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Tesseracts Twenty-one Opens to Submissions

EdgeEDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – (Embargo to February 15, 2017) 

Tesseracts Twenty-one opens to submissions!

The submission period for Tesseracts Twenty-one officially opens, February 15, 2017. Submissions will be accepted until Midnight April 30, 2017.

Edited by Rhonda Parrish and Greg Bechtel, the anthology focuses on optimistic speculative fiction and will be released by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing in the spring of 2018.

The theme of the anthology is ‘optimism’ – which doesn’t necessarily exclude dark or scary settings – but requires some sort of optimistic twist or element. Whether that takes the form of a solar-punk tale set in a sustainable world with a post-scarcity economy, a POV character existing as an advocate of optimism or something else entirely, the editors want to see it.

“We’re not looking for saccharine sweetness, but rather stories which offer a little brightness and hope in one way or another,” says Rhonda Parrish, co-editor.

“While we’re certainly interested in submissions where a Canadian setting (a specific city, region, or province) plays a role, we’re also open to stories set anywhere in the world, the universe, or the multiverse,” says Greg Bechtel, co-editor.

Stories must be previously unpublished, in English, between 500-6000 words.

Submissions are only open to Canadian writers (citizens, residents, expats, etc.). The editors will accept stories previously published in a language other than English, but they must first be translated into English before submission.

Submissions should be e-mailed to: tesseracts21@edgewebsite.com. The e-mail must contain the word “submission” in the subject line. Submissions must be sent as an attachment: in .DOCX, DOC. or .RTF format.

For more information please read the submission guidelines:



About the Tesseracts Series

The Tesseracts anthology series is Canada’s longest running anthology. It was first edited by the late Judith Merril in 1985, and has published more than 563 original Canadian speculative fiction (Science fiction, fantasy and horror) stories and poems by 335 Canadian authors, editors, translators and special guests.

Some of Canada’s best known writers have been published within the pages of these volumes – including Margaret Atwood, William Gibson, and Spider Robinson.

Tesseracts Twenty-one will be released in Spring, 2018 in paperback and eBook editions.


About the editors

Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She was the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine, is an Assistant Editor at World Weaver Press and is the editor of several anthologies including, most recently, Sirens and C is for Chimera.

In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been published in Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012 & 2015) and Mythic Delirium.


Greg Bechtel’s occasionally prize-winning writing has appeared in several magazines and anthologies, including Avenue Edmonton, The Fiddlehead, Prairie Fire, the Tesseracts anthologies, and Imaginarium 4: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. His first story collection, Boundary Problems, won the Alberta Book of the Year Award for trade fiction and was a finalist for the William L. Crawford Fantasy Award, the ReLit Award, and the City of Edmonton Robert Kroetsch Book Prize. Currently, Greg is serving as 2016-2017 Writer in Residence for the Canadian Authors’ Association (Alberta branch), and he also teaches writing and literature at the University of Alberta, where he completed his PhD on Canadian syncretic fantasy.


For further information please contact:
EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing


This is Jo


This is my husband Jo and he is amazing.

Every year for Valentine’s Day I plan to do something awesome, to make a big public declaration of love — to write a poem, or a story, or a something — to show just how much he means to me. And every year I don’t quite pull it off. Sometimes I get paralyzed by the enormity of my feelings for him and my limited ability to put those feelings to words and sometimes, like this year, it’s because Valentine’s Day just kind of sneaks up on me.

I met Jo on some forums… my avatar was me lookin’ purdy, his was a sock puppet. And really, that’s probably all you need to know about us right there LoL. We started talking, and I convinced him to get ICQ (please tell me at least some of you remember ICQ?) so that we could chat in real time. Our relationship very nearly ended right there because Jo’s personality didn’t really come across awesomely on instant messenger, but thankfully we paved over those initial bumps and met up in three dimensions in the autumn of 2001. After our first meet-up (during which I had a gall bladder attack, because that’s exactly how romantic I am, apparently) we weren’t very awesome at being apart and I moved in with him a few months later. A few months after that I proposed and he said yes.

Jo is my partner, my rock, my advocate and, when I need it, he’ll kick my ass for me. He makes it possible for me to do what I do and be who I am.

I love you Jo, more and more each day–your kind of crazy is a perfect match for my kind of crazy.

I don’t know who I’d be without you, and I hope to never find out.

Happy Valentines Day!

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D is for Dinosaur

Jeanne Kramer-Smyth Reading ‘J’

We’re going to be launching D is for Dinosaur here in Edmonton this March:

D is for Dinosaur

(Details here)

But because the D is for Dinosaur contributors are spread so far out across the globe (and there are twenty-six of them!) we couldn’t possibly include everyone. So I asked the other contributors if they’d like to record themselves doing a reading from their story and I’d share it on my blog. In response, Jeanne Kramer-Smyth sent along this recording of part of her story, “J”. Give it a listen — it has one of the best opening lines in the entire anthology 🙂

“J” by Jeanne Kramer-Smyth


Pre-order your copy of D IS FOR DINOSAUR now and get it for only $0.99!


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A Dinosaur Dream Come True

A Dinosaur Dream Come True

 by Andrew Bourelle 

Writing for Rhonda Parrish’s D is for Dinosaur anthology was a dream come true.

I know: what a cliché, right?

Yes, but please hear me out.

It was indeed a dream to be included in the anthology. I’ve been a fan of the alphabet anthologies ever since first cracking A is for Apocalypse. And I’d been hoping to work with Rhonda Parrish for a while too. However, that’s not the what I’m referring to.

I’m referring to the story—it came to me in a dream.

At least the idea did.

I’d been kicking around a few ideas for months. I was excited about two ideas in particular, and I was having trouble deciding which one to choose. Both were sort of urban fantasy/horror stories. (Sorry, I don’t want to tell you any more details because I might still write them someday!) I had been reading and writing a lot of mysteries at the time, and I thought writing a surreal, strange, and horrific dinosaur story would be a nice break for me. But I was working on a larger project, and I just couldn’t devote the time to start either idea. As the D is for Dinosaur deadline loomed nearer, I kept thinking, “I’ve got to get started writing. Just choose an idea and see where it takes you.”

Then one night I woke from a strange dream. I often have what I call “movie dreams.” I dream as if I’m watching a movie. I’m often not a character in the story, just a floating consciousness observing what happens to others. In a way, it’s like floating around inside a short story—it comes from my imagination but I’m not a part of it. I’ve dreamed new storylines for James Bond or sequels to the Wolverine films. And I’ve also dreamed narratives that come out of nowhere. Often, I’ll think to myself in a half-awake state at three o’clock in the morning that I need to remember this dream so I can write it down. Then I wake up and have either forgotten what happened in the dream or I take a closer look at it with my fully awake mind and realize that what seemed like a great story was in fact incomprehensible nonsense.

In the case of this dream, I woke up and knew: Here’s my story!

The only problem was that I couldn’t quite remember everything: just the concept, the main character, the neo-noir tone. As I find with most dreams, I was left more with a feeling than a story.

But I had what I needed: the seed of an idea, my MacGuffin.

A new drug.

The drug is referred to in the story simply by its street name “Y.” I describe it as “an opiate mixed with cocaine alkaloid and crushed dinosaur bones.”

What if such a drug existed? What would people do to get their hands on it?

After waking up from the dream, before thinking too much about it, I sat down and wrote the first draft in one day. I hadn’t taken the break from mystery writing after all. I’d just found a way to put dinosaur into a mystery story.

I have found that when I think a lot about a story before writing it, I often have trouble coming up with the words. But if I have just a seed of an idea, a blurry fog of a story that I haven’t thought about too much, the words pour out more easily. I find it harder to think before I write. I’m better when I’m thinking as I’m writing. Or, more accurately, when writing is thinking.

That was the case with my D is for Dinosaur entry. The idea came from a dream state, the story spilled out of my fingertips into the keyboard, and poof! there was my story.

A dream come true.

Or, more accurately, a sleep dream turned into fictional dream.

I hope readers have as much fun with the story as I had dreaming it up.

Press play on this here file to hear Andrew read a short (less than a minute long) excerpt from his story 🙂

Pre-order your copy of D IS FOR DINOSAUR now and get it for only $0.99!


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Dinosaurs: Do I Include Them

A Reasoned, Five Step Plan to Answer the Difficult Query of

“Dinosaurs: Do I Include Them”;

A Bulleted Plan to Cover All Writing Decisions

By Michael B. Tager


Step 1) Ask yourself: Does this piece require dinosaurs?

  • That’s a damned good question, thanks for asking. I think it depends on what you’re writing.
    • Are you writing a book about dinosaurs?
      • If so, yes. You probably need dinosaurs.
      • Are you writing any other kind of story? If so, see Step 2

Step 2) You’ve determined that the pieces may not require dinosaurs. Should you include them in your poem/story/play about love/aliens/Vatican conspiracies?

  • Should is a tricky question. A better question is: do you want to include them?
    • If you want to include dinosaurs, continue.
    • If you don’t, don’t. Not rocket science.

Step 3) Including dinosaurs is something you want to do in your Victorian Romance (insert any other work in the underline). How in the world do you rewrite to make it work? Maybe you should give up!

  • Well, plots are not very important.
  • Neither is rhyme/meter or play structure.
    • The venue (form) is irrelevant.
    • You can change shit based on needs. Not much of a barrier.
      • Plot changes make ripples, but it’s part of the writing process.
      • Form changes also make ripples. Also part of the process.
    • If rewriting doesn’t scare you, proceed.

Step 4) Ok, you’ve determined that you can make changes. Now what?

  • Have you added dinosaurs? No?
    • Add some fucking dinosaurs.

Step 5) Well, you think, aren’t dinosaurs kind of stupid and juvenile? Maybe you should stick with what you have and not worry about dinosaurs

  • I don’t know. They existed, didn’t they? I’m not sure how anything that has existed can be stupid or juvenile.
    • It’s mildly lame that the surviving dinosaurs evolved into birds, but
      • Birds are kind of awesome:
        • Shrikes
        • Cuckoos
        • Eagles
        • Fucking condors
          • Yes, turkeys are kind of dumb
        • In other words, no, dinosaurs are awesome.


Conclusion: If you want to add dinosaurs, add some dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are great. And so are you. QED.


Michael B. Tager is a writer of many short stories, essays and poems. He is the Managing editor of Writers and Words, a monthly Baltimore reading series, the Book Reviews Editor of Atticus Review, and the founder of the literary journal, The Avenue. He writes a monthly video game biography “Retrogamer” for Cartridge Lit.

He likes Buffy and the Baltimore Orioles. He lives with his wife and cats.


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Mrs. Claus

CFS: Mrs. Claus

Before my blog is completely taken over my dinosaur stuff I’d like to take a quick moment to announce this anthology I’ll be editing for World Weaver Press this year. Submissions will open in April which gives you a couple months to plot your tales before then.

Mrs. Claus

Mrs. Claus

For a long, long time Santa Claus has hogged the spotlight relegating his wife to the shadows, but no longer. Now it’s Mrs. Claus’ turn to shine!

We’re looking for stories that let Mrs. Claus (or is it Ms. Claus?) take centre stage. Whether she more closely resembles Michelle Obama, Betty White, Shohreh Aghdashlooor or Maggie Smith, Mrs. Claus must be a developed, independent character and not simply an extension of her husband. She can help and support him—of course she can—but there needs to be more to her than only that.

What’s her role on Christmas Eve? What about the other days of the year? Is she into sleek red snowmobiles or is she more of an old-fashioned magic sleigh kinda gal? Does she prefer baking cookies or kickboxing? Betting on the Reindeer Games or Avon parties with the elves?

And what is her first name, anyway?

Stories are encouraged to re-imagine the North Pole in new and interesting ways (steampunk? alien? magically relocated to the equator?) and to explore a variety of other settings both real and imagined. Stories set in Christmas in 1940 Poland, Mars in 2050 or a rediscovered Atlantis in 2017 would all be welcome in this anthology.

Note: This anthology is intended for an adult audience, please don’t submit children’s stories.

Rights and compensation: Payment: $10 and a paperback copy of the anthology from World Weaver Press. We are looking for previously unpublished works in English. Seeking first world rights in English and nonexclusive right to continue to publish for the life of the anthology.

Open submission period: April 1, 2017 – May 30, 2017

Length: Under 10,000 words

Submission method: Upload story as .doc or .rtf to niteblade.submittable.com/submit 

Simultaneous submissions = okay. Multiple submissions = no.

Expected Publication Date: Winter 2017


E is for Evil

E is for Evil

I’m excited to announce the theme for the next volume in my Alphabet Anthologies series will be:

E is for Evil

Oh man, I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about this one. The contributors to this anthology series never cease to amaze me with their clever and diverse interpretations of a theme and this one… well, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a doozie!

Speaking of those contributors. For this volume the contributing authors, in random order, are Michael Fosburg, Lynn Hardaker, KV Taylor, Andrew Bourelle, Suzanne J. Willis, Samantha Kymmell-Harvey, Hal J. Friesen, C.S. MacCath, Michael B. Tager, Jonathan C. Parrish, Amanda C. Davis, Lilah Wild, Sara Cleto, Alexandra Seidel, Mary Alexandra Agner, Cory Cone, Jeanne Kramer-Smyth, Beth Cato, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Megan Engelhardt, Gary B. Phillips, Brittany Warman, BD Wilson, L.S. Johnson, Pete Aldin and Michael M. Jones.

E is for Evil will be hitting shelves spring of next year, so we’ll all need to be patient while we wait for it, but people had been asking what the next letter was going to be and I was getting tired of saying it was a secret 🙂

Previous volumes in this series include A is for Apocalypse, B is for Broken, C is for Chimera and — coming out in less than three weeks! — D is for DInosaur.