F is for Fairy, the sixth installment in the Alphabet Anthologies series, has got a cover! Yay!
As always with this series, the cover was designed by Jonathan C. Parrish.
“Anyone who believes that faeries are wee, golden-haired creatures with dragon-fly wings and sweet intentions has never met a real faerie.” –Suzanne Willis, “A Silver Thread Between Worlds”
Retellings of familiar favourites from new perspectives, and brand new stories share the pages of this fairy-themed collection. Within these offerings you’ll find fairy music and food, contracts (making and breaking them), changelings, circles and curses–these stories deliver all the things you already love about fairies and a few new tricks as well.
A dusting of dragons, shapeshifters and ogres accompany these tales which include feminist fairies overcoming trauma, Norse fairies breaking the rules to interfere in human affairs, intergalactic fairies hitching a ride to a new home, political satire featuring an idiot king and talking animals, a new Robin Archer story, fairy run nightclubs and so, so much more.
Altogether this anthology includes twenty-six brand new tales–one for each letter of the alphabet–from contributors Pete Aldin, Steve Bornstein, Andrew Bourelle, Stephanie A. Cain, Beth Cato, Sara Cleto, Cory Cone, Danielle Davis, Megan Engelhardt, Michael Fosburg, Joseph Halden, Lynn Hardaker, L.S. Johnson, Michael M. Jones, Jeanne Kramer-Smyth, Samantha Kymmell-Harvey, C.S. MacCath, Jonathan C. Parrish, Alexandra Seidel, Michael B. Tager, Rachel M. Thompson, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Brittany Warman, Lilah Wild, Suzanne J. Willis and BD Wilson.
Though it’s not going to be available until May 7th, F is for Fairy is currently available for pre-order:
E is for Evil contains twenty-six individual stories which each shine a different light on the multi-faceted idea that is evil. Running the gamut from lyrical fantasy to gritty horror in these stories possessed toys, hellish bureaucrats, scientists with questionable morals, abusive partners and even lingerie sellers all take their turn in the spotlight.
Featuring fresh new stories from Michael Fosburg, Lynn Hardaker, Stephanie A. Cain, 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 Alexander Agner, Cory Cone, Jeanne Kramer-Smyth, Beth Cato, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Megan Engelhardt, Danielle Davis, Brittany Warman, BD Wilson, L.S. Johnson, Pete Aldin and Michael M. Jones.
I wanted this cover to represent ‘evil’ without relying on any one specific religion or mythology (satan & pentagrams, for example), which was tricky. To further complicate things I also wanted it to be black and white and grey. That made it difficult not only to find the right image (we went with a play on ‘See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’) but also to get the contrast right. It took a lot of finessing but in the end I think Jo nailed it. I can’t wait to see this one on physical books 🙂
If you’re going to pick up a copy of this please consider pre-ordering your copy here:
I’m excited to announce the theme for the next volume in my Alphabet Anthologies series will be:
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 🙂
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 pages stories set in alternate 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!
Features stories by Alexandra Seidel, Pete Aldin, Beth Cato, Michael Kellar, Cory Cone, Simon Kewin, Samantha Kymmell-Harvey, C.S. MacCath, KV Taylor, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Michael B. Tager, Gary B. Phillips, Michael M. Jones, L.S. Johnson, Brittany Warman, Hal J. Friesen, Megan Engelhardt, BD Wilson, Michael Fosburg, Jonathan C. Parrish, Suzanne J. Willis, Lynn Hardaker, Amanda C. Davis, Andrew Bourelle, Sara Cleto and Jeanne Kramer-Smyth.
This cover was designed by Jonathan C. Parrish using original artwork by Janice Blaine.
D is for Dinosaur will be available in February 2017. In the meantime, don’t forget to add it to your ‘Want to read’ shelf on Goodreads and LibraryThing!
Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that I conducted with the contributors to Corvidae andScarecrow. This week we’ll talk with Megan Engelhardt. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Megan before, but she and her sister also have the rather dubious honour of being the first people I ever took a selfie with ;0)
Interview with Megan Engelhardt
Please share a short excerpt from your story:
A feather is mounted on the wall in Zinnia’s study. It is just over two feet long. The feather is iridescent blue with hints of green, yellow and even a little red revealed in just the right light. It is very soft to touch. I remember how soft.
It is on her wall, Zinnia says, to remind us of our great failure, of the time we were neither quick enough nor clever enough. It is the reason we will never again work for hire. It is the reason why even now, years later, we pay our respects to every magpie that crosses our paths.
We owe it to them. We owe them our lives.
What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? They’re so smart — almost creepily so.
Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? That intelligence, and their adaptability, as well. Corvids are birds that get the job done, whatever the job happens to be.
If you were a corvid, what would you build your nest out of? Judging from my kitchen junk drawer, my nest would be built of bits of ribbon, slips of paper inscribed with things that I’m supposed to remember, Sharpie pens and small toys I’ve taken away from my children.
Despite being terrorized by chickens as a child, Megan Engelhardt still enjoys and respects birds — from a distance. She lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband and two sons and can be found online at megengelhardt.wordpress.com or on Twitter @MadMerryMeg.
It’s time to announce the theme for the next Alphabet Anthology. I am really stoked about this one. Like, really, really stoked. I’ve been looking forward to the D anthology since I first decided to do this anthology series–in fact, more than once Jo has had to talk me out of releasing books out of alphabetical order because I was impatient to get to D.
So what is the theme?
Well, Demons seemed like a good fit–a collection of dark and diverse stories would be a lot of fun but not quite as fun as–
Dragons. Dragons seem the obvious choice, right? I mean, I love dragons. I used to collect them, I even have a dragon tattoo. And there’s no doubt that dragon stories could be diverse in theme, voice and tone… but dragons were actually kind of too obvious. Plus I have a vaguely dragony anthology in the works and I don’t want to duplicate efforts. Much. Still gargantuan reptilian creatures are pretty amazing and so I am excited to announce that–
–because c’mon! How cool is that?
The dinosaur theme will be interpreted in a wide variety of ways for this anthology but my authors assure me that there will, indeed, be at least a handful of prehistoric critters within its pages. I’m super stoked!
Speaking of those authors, contributors to this anthology include some veterans to the series and some new faces too. In no particular order, story contributors to D is for Dinosaur are:
~ Alexandra Seidel ~ Pete Aldin ~ Beth Cato ~ Michael Kellar ~ Cory Cone ~ Simon Kewin ~ Samantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ C.S. MacCath ~ KV Taylor ~ Laura VanArendonk Baugh ~ Michael B. Tager ~ Gary B. Phillips ~ Michael M. Jones ~ L.S. Johnson ~ Brittany Warman ~ Hal J. Friesen ~ Megan Engelhardt ~ BD Wilson ~ Michael Fosburg ~ Jonathan C. Parrish ~ Suzanne J. Willis ~ Lynn Hardaker ~ Amanda C. Davis ~ Andrew Bourell ~ Sara Cleto ~ Jeanne Kramer-Smyth ~
I mean, I could have started this post with some text, maybe an explanation about what you were going to see but seriously? Were you going to notice? No. Because as soon as you looked at this page this cover would have captured your attention and once you’ve seen it, what additional explanation is needed? Still, there is protocol to follow… 😉
This is the cover for my latest anthology, coming out July 7th!
Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.
In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.
Featuring works by Jane Yolen, Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, M.L.D. Curelas, Tim Deal, Megan Engelhardt, Megan Fennell, Adria Laycraft, Kat Otis, Michael S. Pack, Sara Puls, Michael M. Rader, Mark Rapacz, Angela Slatter, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Leslie Van Zwol.
“A creepy, crazy kaleidoscope of corvids,Corvidae is what happens when you bring together ingenious writers and sagacious subjects. It’s nothing short of a thrill ride when this anthology takes flight.”
— Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D., Utah State University; behaviorworks.org.
It is with an extreme amount of pride and pleasure that I’m announcing the theme and contributors to the third in the alphabet anthology series. I hope you’ll be as excited as I am about… dun dun DUN:
C is for Chimera
In case you’re thinking, “Uh, a whole anthology of lion/goat/serpent creatures?” that is not the only definition of the word 🙂 I’ve got my fingers crossed for at least one lion/goat/serpent creature in the anthology, but check out this definition and then tell me you can’t see the potential for a hugely diverse collection of stories:
1: a capitalized: a fire-breathing she-monster in Greek mythology having a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail
b: an imaginary monster compounded of incongruous parts
2: an illusion or fabrication of the mind; especially : an unrealizable dream <a fancy, a chimera in my brain, troubles me in my prayer — John Donne>
3: an individual, organ, or part consisting of tissues of diverse genetic constitution
Our contributing authors are also diverse and write in a wide variety of styles and genres within the broader categories of science fiction, fantasy and horror. You’ll notice some familiar names from the first two books in this series (A is for Apocalypse and B is for Broken) as well as a few new additions. Anthology contributors (in no particular order) are:
~ BD Wilson ~ Jonathan C. Parrish ~ Alexandra Seidel ~ Pete Aldin ~ Beth Cato ~ L.S. Johnson ~ Marge Simon ~ Simon Kewin ~ Samantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Suzanne van Rooyen ~ KV Taylor ~ Sara Cleto ~ Michael M. Jones ~ Michael Fosburg ~ Milo James Fowler ~ Gary B. Phillips ~ Megan Arkenberg ~ Michael B. Tager ~ Gabrielle Harbowy ~ Steve Bornstein ~ Lilah Wild ~ Amanda C. Davis ~ Megan Engelhardt ~ Michael Kellar ~ Brittany Warman ~
A Murder of Crows by Jane Yolen Whistles and Trills by Kat Otis The Valravn by Megan Fennell A Mischief of Seven by Leslie Van Zwol Visiting Hours by Michael S. Pack The Rookery of Sainte-Mere Eglise by Tim Deal The Cruelest Team Will Win by Mike Allen What Is Owed by C.S.E. Cooney Raven No More by Adria Laycraft The Tell-Tale Heart of Existence by Michael M. Rader Sanctuary by Laura VanArendonk Baugh Knife Collection, Blood Museum, Birds (Scarecrow Remix) by Sara Puls Flying the Coop by M. L. D. Curelas Postcards from the Abyss by Jane Yolen Bazyli Conjures a Blackbird by Mark Rapacz Seven for a Secret by Megan Engelhardt Flight by Angela Slatter
You are going to love this book.
(Titles and such are subject to change right up until the day of publication of course)
When 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.
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!
When you say it like a Lolcat it sounds almost cute, but they aren’t. They are a huge pain in the ass, for me and everyone else around me. I’ve been working on them for years and years, and one thing that has helped more than anything else is Niteblade**.
When I published the first issue of Niteblade, way back in September 2007, Jo (also known as Jonathan) did the layout for the .pdf and Marge Simon and Shawn Zinyk provided the art (Marge has done all the art since the first issue). I did everything else. Everything. I created and maintained the website, solicited submissions, made editorial decisions, worked on promotion, etc. etc. It was a lot of work, but it was all under my control and that was just the way I liked it.
More or less.
As Niteblade grew so did the workload. You might be surprised how much time can be sucked away answering emails about submission guidelines, for example. Or interview/book review requests. It all adds up, quickly.
Soon I realised I wasn’t going to be able to handle all the book review requests, so if I wanted to accept them I’d need help. That’s where Amber Stults came in. She was our first book reviewer. At one point we had a whole team of book reviewers but managing them and all the finicky little details associated with doing book reviews began to take up too much time so we canceled that aspect of Niteblade. Amber is still here though. Not reviewing books but doing author interviews for our News blog. She’s awesome, works independently and provides regular content for our blog readers without any effort or supervision on my part.
Richard Fay used to do the same thing on our blog, only he was showcasing artists and their work. We canceled that feature, not because of anything on Richard’s end, but because finding artists who wanted to be in our spotlight was becoming more work than it was worth. Go figure.
Anyway, even with Amber and Richard taking slender slices from my Cake of Control I was still responsible for the bulk of the work at Niteblade (and did I mention that it’s a lot of work? It is.). At one point I was feeling very overwhelmed. Niteblade was taking over my life. I wanted to be a writer/editor, not an editor/writer but the magazine was sucking away so much of my time and energy that I didn’t feel like I was getting anything else done, and also we’d been “hacked”. Argh!
“Argh,” I vented to my best friend BD Wilson, “I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I think I may need to close the doors on Niteblade.”
That was when BD saved Niteblade. She joined our staff and took over control of the website. She’s totally automated everything, made it look super purdy and she does all the web-based layouts. She’s fantastic and if it weren’t for her stepping in and taking over that huge responsibility Niteblade wouldn’t be here today. Everything runs smoother now because of BD.
And Niteblade kept growing.
That meant my workload didn’t really decrease despite the fact I had so many people sharing it. Argh! I said. I wasn’t quite as overwhelmed as I had been before when I considered shutting the doors, but I was frustrated. I couldn’t keep up on submissions and my submission email addresses were starting to get more and more spam. But along came Submittable, which made it super easy for me to get help dealing with submissions. We got our first set of slush readers and TA-DA! It was like a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The slush readers* helped weed out the stories that are absolutely inappropriate for our magazine (or the ones from people who don’t follow our guidelines) and so suddenly I only had to read about a quarter of the submissions I used to. Sweet!
Then, one of our slush readers, Alexandra Seidel, wrote a blog about her adventures in the slush pile and mentioned that she was sad to not be reading poetry slush. I began sharing the poetry slush with her and, eventually, she took over completely as poetry editor. Giving her that responsibility, that control, was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. Ever. But it was a good decision. Alexandra is a fantastic poetry editor. She makes some editorial choices that are quite different from the ones I would were I poetry editor, but the calibre of the poetry we’re publishing has increased dramatically since she took over from me, so I think she’s doin’ it right. I *loved* every poem she picked for the September issue. So much so that choosing which one to put on our cover was a freaking nightmare. She’s an awesome poetry editor and Niteblade is stronger for her presence.
My point is this. Over the past five years Niteblade has taught me how to delegate, how to give away bits of power, slices of control to worthy people. Not only has it made the magazine better, it’s made me better. It’s a huge thing, and maybe it’s something I would have learned just over the course of aging over the last five years, but I dunno… Even if that’s the case, Niteblade, and all the people involved in making it the awesome publication that it is, sped up the process immensely.
I used to like saying that Niteblade was mostly a one-woman show, but now, as we near our five year anniversary, I’m proud to say that it’s takes a whole team of people to put it together, and I think we do an awesome job.
*Our slush readers change from issue to issue, but right now Megan Engelhardt, Sheri White and Andrew Patterson are the ones toiling in the trenches to make sure our submitters get responses in a timely manner.
**Becoming a mother and “inheriting” a litter of kittens who were only three weeks old also helped LOL A lot.
This blog post is just one stop on the blog train we’re holding to celebrate Niteblade’s fifth anniversary. Please check out Chris Lewis Carter’s blog if you haven’t already. Chris wrote the awesome story, The Cord, in the March 2012 issue and this train stopped at his blog yesterday. Tomorrow it’s chugging along to Alexis A. Hunter’s blog. Alexis wrote the fabulous short story, Dragons of Fire that we published in our June 2012 issue.
As for me, in trying to decide what to write about for this blog I realised I have a lot to say about Niteblade, so I expect to blog about it more often (for the next little while anyway).