Every year I struggle to pick which six works to nominate for the Pushcart Prize. This year my job was made marginally easier after I spoke to Bill Henderson and learned I could nominate six works from both Niteblade and Poise and Pen. Yay! Still, it was a difficult decision-making process even so but I am excited to nominate the following works for the 2016 Pushcart Prize.
For the next several weeks I’ve decided to call Fridays ‘Fractured Friday’ and use them to share news, contributor interviews and excerpts from B is for Broken.
B is for Broken is the second title in the Alphabet Anthologies series. It follows A is for Apocalypse and will in turn be followed by C is for Chimera. Each story in the series is associated with a letter of the alphabet and is titled in the letter is for word format. What’s more, just to keep things nice and complicated, the story’s title isn’t shared at the beginning but at the end so that you can guess at what it might be while you read.
On that note, even though the story titles could be considered spoilers because of how the book is formatted, for the sake of simplicity if the author has chosen to post their title publicly somewhere else (their blog, Facebook, wherever) I am going to include it in my posts. If they haven’t revealed that information, though, I’ll list the story titles as Letter is for…
I called this Fractured Friday entry ‘Fragments’ because instead of one long excerpt and interview I’m going to share two of the shorter B is for Broken contributor interviews and also a bit of good news.
“This doesn’t happen very often when I read anthologies, but I enjoyed every single selection in this book.”
“I’d recommend B Is For Broken to anyone who loves contemporary science fiction as much as I do. There is a lot of great material to explore in this collection!”
The reviewer also specifically called out Sara Cleto and Gary B. Phillips’ stories for praise. You can read the full review here.
And now, a pair of short contributor interviews. The first is from Damien Angelica Walters, followed by Gabrielle Harbowy’s. Enjoy!
Interview with Damien Angelica Walters
What letter were you assigned? S
Please share a short excerpt from your story:
Here is the bridge where we first met. Do you remember? The clouds were heavy in the sky and we were both in a hurry to beat the rain and our shoulders bumped and we went spinning in opposite directions. The book in your hand dropped nearest to me so I picked it up and spun myself back to you.
Did you struggle with the letter you were assigned, or did the ideas come freely? I sat with my notebook and pen one night and started jotting down a list of words that began with S. I wrote about a dozen before I added the word that became part of the title. From there, it was a quick mental trip to the story concept as a whole, which, incidentally, revolved around another word beginning with S.
What was your favourite idea you didn’t use? One of the words on my list was salamander, but before I could come up with an idea, my brain had already taken the other and run with it.
What, aside from the anthology’s theme and your letter inspired your story? Without giving anything away, I’d wanted to write a story in a certain format for a while, but the right idea hadn’t presented itself. That format fit perfectly with this story.
Damien Angelica Walters’ short fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume One, The Best of Electric Velocipede, Strange Horizons, Nightmare, Lightspeed, Shimmer, and Apex. “The Floating Girls: A Documentary,” originally published in Jamais Vu, is on the 2014 Bram Stoker Award ballot for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction.
Sing Me Your Scars, a collection of her short fiction, is out now from Apex Publications, and Paper Tigers, a novel, is forthcoming from Dark House Press. You can find her on Twitter @DamienAWalters or online at http://damienangelicawalters.com.
Interview with Gabrielle Harbowy
What letter were you assigned? X
Did you struggle with the letter you were assigned, or did the ideas come freely? There were TOO many ideas! I knew I didn’t want to do something obvious, so I went to the Scrabble dictionary and browsed through, writing down any X-words that looked interesting. When I had a list of ten or so, I sat down with them and tried to come up with story hooks for each.
What was your favourite idea you didn’t use? Xerosis, a dermatological disease that causes cracking of the skin. I went for breaking multiple trees instead of one person, so that the story could have a larger scope.
What, aside from the anthology’s theme and your letter inspired your story? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintsugi Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken objects with gold. No matter which letter I got, I knew I wanted to incorporate it into my story.
Gabrielle Harbowy has edited for publishers such as Pyr, Lambda Literary, and Circlet Press. She is the managing editor at Dragon Moon Press and a submissions editor at the Hugo-nominated Apex Magazine. With Ed Greenwood, she co-edited the award-nominated When the Hero Comes Home anthology series. Her short fiction can be found in anthologies, including Carbide Tipped Pens from Tor, and her first novel is forthcoming from Paizo. Check out Gabrielle’s personal site: www.gabrielle-edits.com.
Broken people, broken promises, broken dreams and broken objects are just some of the ways these 26 fantastic stories interpret the theme of ‘Broken’. From science fiction to fantasy, horror to superheroes the stories within these pages cover a vast swath of the genres under the speculative fiction umbrella.
Featuring original fiction by:
~ Brittany Warman ~ Milo James Fowler ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Sara Cleto ~ Samantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ Megan Arkenberg ~ Gary B. Phillips ~ Alexandra Seidel ~ Jonathan C. Parrish ~ Simon Kewin ~ Beth Cato ~ Cory Cone ~ Cindy James ~ Alexis A. Hunter ~ Michael M. Jones ~ Steve Bornstein ~ BD Wilson ~ Michael Kellar ~ Damien Angelica Walters ~ Marge Simon ~ Michael Fosburg ~ Suzanne van Rooyen ~ L.S. Johnson ~ Pete Aldin ~ Gabrielle Harbowy ~ Lilah Wild ~ KV Taylor ~
After months of hard work I’m incredibly excited to announce that B is for Broken is live and available for purchase! This anthology is the second in the Alphabet Anthologies series and because the theme was broader than the first (A is for Apocalypse) the stories are even more diverse in regard to genre, style, voice and theme than before. We’ve got retold fairy tales, robots and spaceships, superheros, minotaurs, second world fantasy and so, so, SO much more. The story length ranges from flash fiction to an incredible fantasy novelette from C.S. MacCath (trust me, you don’t want to miss this one).
Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing contributor interviews, excerpts and even (once it’s complete) a ‘Broken Story‘ to try and tempt you into picking up a copy but if you enjoy speculative fiction I don’t think you can go wrong with this anthology. I’m biased but it really is packed full of awesome.
“This collection is a massive and magnificent assortment of truly enjoyable stories. There is simply no way to read this book and not find a story you can connect with or love. This is the book to have in your travel bag. In it you are sure to find a tale to fit any mood. Each time you open it, a new adventure begins.”
Every year I talk about how difficult it is to choose which works to nominate for the Pushcart Prize and that’s because each year it gets harder. This year I was saved from truly heartbreaking decisions by two things:
It’s zombie month here on my blog (to celebrate the launch of Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories). One thing about zombies is that they are often paired with the apocalypse in fiction and movies and it just so happens I’ve edited a book full of apocalypses recently. You may have heard about it. It’s called A is for Apocalypse. There aren’t a whole lot of zombies in A is for Apocalypse, but there are some, so while this link is a bit tenuous, it is exist 🙂
During the process of our cover reveal for A is for Apocalypse some of the contributors participated in what I called “One question interviews”. We didn’t get a chance to share all of the answers to those interviews during the reveal, so instead today and Monday I’m going to share them here on my blog. Along with a short excerpt from the book.
The excerpts I’ve chosen are one from U is for… by Damien Angelica Walters and X is for by Jonathan Parrish. I picked those two in particular because they are nearly completely opposite one another when it comes to theme, voice and writing-style. I figured that was a good way to show the immense degree of diversity in the stories in this book. Unfortunately for the spirit of the month, neither of them have zombies. Sorry. >_<
Excerpt from U is for… by Damien Angelica Walters:
My father and I used to stargaze when I was only a few years older than Millie. He taught me the constellations, patiently pointing at each one until I could recognize the shapes without his help.
They were a link to something bigger, something more, but no longer. Now Orion’s Belt mocks me with its precision; Cassiopeia with her beauty, a beauty that will remain even when no one’s left to see.
Once a comfort, all of them, now my enemy.
One Question Interview #1:
In choosing a theme for this, the first of a series of anthologies, I considered and rejected a great many “A” words. Tell us about your favourite word that begins with the letter A.
Alexis A. Hunter– As an author — ‘acceptance’ has a beautiful ring to it. As a sci-fi writer — ‘apex’ is particularly engaging. In general — ‘angel’ is one of my favorite words, because they’re one of my favorite ‘creature types’ to play with in stories. Plus I have a thing for wings and feathers.
Michael Kellar – My “A” word would be arachnid. I’m a spider person. (You could consider this when you get to “S is for…”)
Damien Angelica Walters – My favourite word that begins with the letter A is anathema. It rolls off the tongue like a whisper, hiding its dark meaning in pretty syllables.
Marge Simon – Alliteration because it’s a beautiful word. Sorry if it doesn’t connote anything bad, like assassin. 😉
Simon Kewin – My favourite A word is (possibly) Archaeopteryx. I love the shape of the word. It’s exotic and fantastical and ungainly all at the same time – a little like the creature itself. It derives from the Greek archaeo (ancient) and pterux (wing). So, “Ancient Wing”. Archaeopteryx is a lovely illustration of the forces of evolution in progress; it’s a snapshot of a species in the process of changing from dinosaur ancestor to modern avian descendent. Here was a creature with a bony tail and teeth and feathers. And claws on its wings. I’d love to have seen one…
Sara Cleto – My favorite A word is amethyst, a purple-violet quartz often used in jewelry (particularly at Renaissance Faires!) As a little girl, I was obsessed with the color purple, and my mom’s amethyst jewelry was the subject of much fascination- I was sure the stones had some sort of magical property, and I seem to recall trying to do spells with them… And now, in my old age, I’m deeply amused by their purported ability to prevent excessive intoxication.
Beth Cato – Tricky question since my absolute favorite word begins with B. For A words, I have to say I like “anaphylactic.” It’s morbid, I know, since the meaning is a severe allergic reaction, but I like the word because it has a cool poetic rhythm.
Suzanne van Rooyen – This is really tough to answer! There are so many great words starting with A like analogy, allegory and awesome! But I think my favourite is actually a name. Atreyu. Atreyu – the character from The Never Ending Story – was my first major crush as a kid and that film was such a huge part of my childhood. If I ever have a son one day, his name is going to be Atreyu.
Brittany Warman – The first of my favorite words that begin with A that I thought of was “aurora” – not only is it frequently the name of the princess (or her daughter) from “Sleeping Beauty,” a favorite fairy tale of mine, but it was also my very first online screen name! I just love the concept and the way the word flows off the tongue too. It seems to convey mystery, beauty, and strength to me.
C.S. MacCath – My favourite ‘A’ word is ‘atonement’, because unlike ‘forgiveness’, it places the onus for righting a wrong where it belongs; upon the head of the person who committed it. If we were socialized to atone as much as we are already socialized to forgive, we might learn to be more careful with one another.
It is my pleasure to announce the next title in the series of anthologies which begins with A is for Apocalypse.
B is for Broken
Featuring original fiction by:
~ Beth Cato ~ Cory Cone ~ Alexandra Seidel ~ Suzanne van Rooyen ~ Marge Simon and Michael Fosburg ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Michael Kellar ~ Alexis A. Hunter ~ Sara Cleto ~ Pete Aldin ~ Milo James Fowler ~ Gary Phillips ~ Lilah Wild ~ Jonathan Parrish ~ BD Wilson ~ KV Taylor ~ Simon Kewin ~ Gabrielle Harbowy ~ Steve Bornstein ~ Brittany Warman ~ Cindy James ~ Brenda Stokes Barron ~ Samantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ Damien Angelica Walters ~ L.S. Johnson ~ Megan Arkenberg ~
While I got to pick the theme I have no control over how the contributors handle it, so as you can imagine I’m as excited as you to see the results! Nothing is set in stone just yet, but I’m aiming for a Spring 2015 release 🙂
What do you get when you take 26 amazing writers, assign them a letter of the alphabet and give them complete artistic freedom within a theme? In 2014 we’ll find out with the release of the first of a series of anthologies:
A is for Apocalypse
A is for Apocalypse is going to be filled with 26 apocalyptic stories (one for each letter of the alphabet) by incredibly talented writers whose diverse styles and preferred themes leave no doubt that this collection will have something for everyone. The writers who are contributing to this collection are:
~ Brenda Stokes Barron ~ Marge Simon / Michael Fosburg ~ Milo James Fowler ~ Beth Cato ~ Simon Kewin ~ Suzanne van Rooyen ~ Alexandra Seidel ~ Sara Cleto ~ Kenneth Schneyer ~ KV Taylor ~ Gary B. Phillips ~ BD Wilson ~ Ennis Drake ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Michael Kellar ~ Cindy James ~ Brittany Warman ~ K.L. Young ~ Pete Aldin ~ Cory Cone ~ Damien Angelica Walters ~ Samantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ Lilah Wild ~ Jonathan Parrish ~ Alexis A. Hunter ~ Steve Bornstein ~