Edge

Tesseracts 21 Wishlist

EdgeI have the pleasure (and honour) of being one of the editors of this year’s Tesseracts anthology. Tesseracts Twenty-one has the theme of ‘Optimistic SF’ which I think is just perfect, because can’t we all use a little more optimism in our lives?

In the submission guidelines the theme is described as:

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.

And submissions are open now, which means Greg and I have had the chance to read a few dozen stories already and I’ve got to say, I’m impressed. I love the different ways people are interpreting the theme of optimism! There hasn’t been a saccharine sweet story in the bunch, which I feel is somewhat of a miracle, truth be told. So even though things are looking really good in the submission pile, it’s sort of a tradition for me to put out a wishlist of sorts when I edit an anthology, so here’s my wishlist for Tesseracts Twenty-one 🙂

When I’m reading submissions the #1 most important thing to me are the characters — they need to be three-dimensional, of course, but beyond that I also need at least one character I can cheer for. They don’t need to be perfect (please God, don’t let them be perfect) but it’s vital that I want them to prevail. Apply this to all the things on my wishlist below, because I do 🙂

  • Solarpunk is  optimistic and envisions an eco-friendly future “focused on envisioning a positive future beyond scarcity and hierarchy, where humanity is reintegrated with nature and technology is used for human-centric and ecocentric purposes.” (Source: Wikipedia.). I’d love to see solarpunk stories that use interesting characters to explore the kinds of conflicts that would exist in a utopian world through an optimistic lens. That might include conflict types that exist now (interpersonal, criminal, political) as well as ones that might come about because of the new state of things. What kinds of conflicts would those be? I don’t know. Surprise me!* Related: I love the solarpunk aesthetic of Olivia’s art here.
  • Stories where different factions learn to work together (or at least co-exist) can be cheesy and overdone or they can be amazing and inspiring. If you have one of the latter, send it! 🙂
  • Good humour is difficult to write, but if you can make me laugh when I read your story you are halfway to the longlist already.
  • A new twist on a build-your-own-spaceship story? Yes, please!
  • I’m always a big fan of a good time travel story, and if that isn’t a sub-genre that is ripe for exploring through an optimistic lens I don’t know what is.
  • There are some who believe humans will set foot on Mars within our lifetime. I mean… I’m just saying… (Hint: I’m not just saying)

I could go on. Normally I probably would go on but these vague little hints I’m offering are just meant to help spark something for anyone who wanted to submit but are currently stuck for ideas, they aren’t meant to be prescriptive. And what I’m seeing in the submissions already is creative, thoughtful and insightful so it seems many of you have already got strong, interesting ideas for optimistic SF. I don’t want to muddy those waters.

Submissions will remain open until the end of April. I hope to see your name in the submissions pile and discover what your interpretation of ‘Optimistic SF’ is!

Submission details available here — http://edgewebsite.com/books/tess21/t21-catalog.html

 

*Plagiarized from the MSWL I posted a couple months ago

 

 

Dream Eater Banner 1

T-Shirt Giveaway

Dream Eater is coming out soon. April 4th, as a matter-of-fact. In case you haven’t heard me rave about Dream Eater before, it’s a book by K. Bird Lincoln that I had the pleasure of editing. I love it.

Dream Eater Front

Koi Pierce dreams other peoples’ dreams.

Her whole life she’s avoided other people. Any skin-to-skin contact–a hug from her sister, the hand of a barista at Stumptown coffee–transfers flashes of that person’s most intense dreams. It’s enough to make anyone a hermit.

But Koi’s getting her act together. No matter what, this time she’s going to finish her degree at Portland Community College and get a real life. Of course it’s not going to be that easy. Her father, increasingly disturbed from Altzheimer’s disease, a dream fragment of a dead girl from the casual brush of a creepy PCC professor’s hand, and a mysterious stranger who speaks the same rare Northern Japanese dialect as Koi’s father will force Koi to learn to trust in the help of others, as well as face the truth about herself.

Reviews have been coming in, and mostly people like it. People like Beth Cato, and Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Publisher’s Weekly!

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To celebrate, and to continue to raise awareness of Dream Eater‘s impending release, I wanted to have a giveaway but I wanted for the prize to be something a little different than normal. I couldn’t make it a handicraft — I’m still working on the blanket that was a prize for my Giftmas fundraiser — but I could make it something fun. A t-shirt from TeeTurtle.com! I’m not affiliated with Tee Turtle in any way, I just happen to love their shirts (and own several of them), so why not give one away?

The winner of this draw will receive one t-shirt of their choice — and trust me, they have some awesome designs to choose from 🙂

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Writers Learn Everything

Writers Learn Everything

by Laura VanArendonk Baugh

I write fantasy, so I have to do more research than those who write real life.

“Wait,” some protest, “there’s a lot of research required for historical, or military thrillers, or other real stories. But in fantasy, you can just make everything up!”

Well, I could, but you wouldn’t enjoy it as much. My job in speculative fiction is to make you believe something could be real, even when it clearly isn’t. That you know of. Yet.

If so much is real, and what is new fits so closely with what we know is real, then maybe, just maybe….? And thus, speculative fiction.

This is why my story about mermaids required research into fox genetics and amazing corpuscles in elephant trunks. And for my D is for Dinosaur entry, I plunged into the following diverse topics:

  • the extremely rare Devils Hole Pupfish, found in a single geothermal pool
  • the history of Chinese bronze casting
  • the natural history of Kazahkstan
  • cassowary attacks
  • the horrifically destructive “Cultural Revolution” in China

Many of these were reduced in final editing so that the submitted story contains now only a reference or a quirky fact, but they are still the foundation for a more cohesive, structurally sound piece of totally-made-up fiction.

When the apocalypse comes and libraries are burning and you have to choose your team for survival, make sure to include a writer. Their brains are full of hidden and potentially useful information!

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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 ratings (the highest possible) on Tangent‘s “Recommended Reading” list. Her latest novel The Songweaver’s Vow releases February 21 and taught her about ninth century clothing dyes and building construction in Northern Europe. Find her at www.LauraVanArendonkBaugh.com .


D IS FOR DINOSAUR is available now!

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The Other Side of the Partition

The Other Side of the Partition

by Lynn Hardaker

When I was growing up in Toronto in the 1970s and ‘80s, one of my favourite haunts was the Royal Ontario Museum. My favourite exhibit was the dinosaurs. I’d walk through a doorway into a darkened passage which would lead past moody dioramas featuring a fossil T-rex, reconstructed Stegosaurus and Triceratops, all nestled within large-leafed plastic plants while at least one Pterodactyl hovered overhead. My little brother and I would amble and gape; imagine sneaking past the barriers – that thin partition between our world and that of the dinosaurs. Unfortunately, parental supervision always prevented that kind of fun. The exhibit was small, old fashioned, and I absolutely loved it. (It stirred my imagination far more than I can imagine the museum’s current dinos-in-a-crystal exhibit could.)

When I was offered the opportunity of writing a dinosaur story for Rhonda’s D is for Dinosaur anthology, I was thrilled. It was a chance to return to a childhood escape, to dive in there, to cross the partition. But when I started, I had no idea how to do it. For a while I brainstormed, but everything I wrote seemed either trite or like rehashed b-horror. So I stepped back from it for a while, and that’s when another memory of Toronto from years back surfaced.

There was a local eccentric who had turned his Victorian mansion into a museum – an oversized cabinet of curiosities – filling it with masks and totems, shrunken heads, the bones and skulls of exotic animals, a live python and Galapagos Island tortoise. I was invited to it once by someone who knew him. It was a magical place. Here was someone who had turned his home into a living exhibit; someone living on the other side of the partition. That experience, however brief, stayed with me. It was only much later that I would read that he’d been charged with, and convicted of, abusing some of the young men he’d offered shelter to over the years.

And that all got me thinking; weaving things together: fact and fiction; inspiration and imagination; an image here, a thought there. I scribbled and eventually the story happened. A dinosaur story.

And, in one of those serendipitous events which so often happen to writers, after having written the story – actually in the course of writing this blog post – I found that one of the displays I hadn’t seen in the home-museum of way-back-when was fossilized elephant-bird eggs. The relevance of which will come to light to any who read the story.

 

Lynn Hardaker is a Canadian writer and artist currently living in Regensburg, Germany.  Her poems and short stories have appeared in Mythic Delirium, Not One of Us, Scheherezade’s Bequest, The Ghastling, and other journals. She’s currently doing the final round of edits on her YA historical fantasy novel set in a slightly alternative eighteenth century London.


D IS FOR DINOSAUR is available now!

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Photo by Gage Skidmore

We’ve Got Loki All Wrong

We’re going to take a short break from dinosaurs today to help celebrate a different book. The Songweaver’s Vow is by Laura VanArendonk Baugh. You should recognise her name by now (and not just because it stands out LoL) because I’m a pretty big fan of hers and have been lucky enough to work with her on several occasions. On this occasion she wants to talk about Loki. I’ve been reading a lot about Loki (in particular because I just finished putting together Equus and Loki has that whole ‘turned into a horse’ thing goin’ on), but also because c’mon! It’s Loki!

 

We’ve Got Loki All Wrong

by Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Loki is kind of a big deal.

From Diana Wynne Jones’ Eight Days of Luke to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods to Marvel’s Avengers films and comic Agent of Asgard, Loki has captured the modern imagination like no other Norse figure. And yes, Thor, sorry, but I’m including you in that. You may be Marvel’s nominal hero, but do you have your own imagine-pr0n Tumblrs? (Okay, you know what, you probably do, because Tumblr. Let’s just move on.)

Because Loki has been so popularly reimagined, however, it can be hard to get an authentic take on him. Even when he is the villain, he usually ends up something of an anti-hero, or at least a sympathetic and attractive villain. (See the Marvel cinematic universe for Exhibit A.)

A playwright friend who adapted Treasure Island for the stage commented to me on how difficult it was to “translate,” because the original audience viewed the pirates as villains while today’s audience (influenced by Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.) views the pirates as the heroes. That’s much the same thing here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Tom Hiddleston too! but this is not that Loki.

In the source material, Loki is not an anti-hero. He is a – what’s this blog rated? – he’s a turdblossom.

A Force of Destruction

1280px-Loki_taunts_BragiThough Loki is often canonically found in Asgard, he’s not a god. The word Jötunn is often translated “giant,” but that’s not terribly accurate; Loki and his kind are actually “devourers.” They are destroyers. They are the chaos to counter the order of Asgard.

And so all the crazy antics for which we know Loki best are not merely amusing tales – turning into a female horse and getting pregnant by a stallion, tethering a goat to his testicles, insulting all the gods and their guests in order – but a deliberate overturning of everything the original audience would have held as honorable and just and comprehensible. And Loki isn’t doing it to make a point, not seeking social justice or questioning social norms, he’s doing it because it’s his nature to tear down and it is fun – even when it has dire personal consequences.

I never planned for this book to give Loki a major role, because so many Norse-based stories are Loki-centric. But in the end, he had more to do with it all than I’d intended, because the one thing you can count on from Loki is that he will do whatever is least intended and most inconvenient.

When Euthalia’s father trades her to Viking raiders, her best hope is to be made a wife instead of a slave. She gets her wish – sort of – when she is sacrificed as a bride to a god.

Her inhuman husband seems kind, but he visits only in the dark of night and will not allow her to look upon him. By day Euthalia becomes known as a storyteller, spinning ancient Greek tales to entertain Asgard’s gods and monsters.

When one of her stories precipitates a god’s murder and horrific retribution, Euthalia discovers there is a monster in her bed as well. Alone in a hostile Asgard, Euthalia must ally with a spiteful goddess to sway Odin himself before bloody tragedy opens Ragnarok, the prophesied end of the world.

The Songweaver’s Vow released Tuesday, February 21, and is available at Amazon and wherever books are sold.

 

Elemental-5252-webLaura 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 ratings (the highest possible) 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.LauraVanArendonkBaugh.com .

 

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C.S. MacCath 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.

C.S. MacCath responded with this reading from her story, “One Who Dies as a God Dies”. The language is beautiful. The reading is like poetry. Listen, and enjoy!

 

 

C.S. MacCath is a PhD student of Folklore and a writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry whose work has been shortlisted for the Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award, nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and nominated for the Rhysling Award. Her first collection, The Ruin of Beltany Ring, has been called ‘wonderful, thoroughly engaging, always amazing’ and a book of ‘tiny marvels’. Advance reviewers have called her second collection, The Longest Road in the Universe, ‘a vivid, epic and touching journey’, ‘elegant and elegiac’, and ‘packed full of lush worlds, lyrical prose, three-dimensional characters and honest emotions’. She lives in Atlantic Canada, which might just be far enough north for her tastes, unless something opens up in Iceland.


D IS FOR DINOSAUR is available now!

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Dinosaur-Laura

D IS FOR DINOSAUR!

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For the fourth installment of Rhonda Parrish’s Alphabet Anthologies, contributors were challenged to write about dinosaurs. The resulting twenty-six stories contain widely different interpretations of the dinosaur theme and span the spectrum from literal to metaphoric.

Within these stories — set in alternative histories, far-flung futures and times just around the corner — dinosaurs whimper and waste away or roar and rage. People can be dinosaurs, as can ideas, fictions and flesh. Knitted dinosaurs share space with ghostly, genetically engineered and even narcotic ones.

Teenagers must embrace their inner dinosaurs in order to find peace and belonging, a dying woman duels a God in a far future city that echoes aspects of our past, an abused wife accompanies her husband on a hunt for an ancient power and finds more than she could ever have imagined and a girl with wonderful magical powers stumbles across the bones of a giant long-dead lizard. And so much more!

AVAILABLE NOW!

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Paperback 

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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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Edge

Tesseracts Twenty-one Opens to Submissions

EdgeEDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
www.edgewebsite.com

 

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 500-5000 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:

http://edgewebsite.com/books/tess21/t21-catalog.html

 

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.

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For further information please contact:
EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
www.edgewebsite.com
events@hadespublications.com
403.254.0160