I met all of them doing the convention circuit. And I stay in pretty much constant contact with all of them through e-mails.
"I was no stranger to charity events, having done charity auctions for years. So I figured, how much different could this be? Where I was used to asking my friends and others for auction items, this time I was asking them for stories...."
How did the authors become involved with your anthology?
For the most part I personally know over half the authors involved in the anthology, those being Eugie Foster, Anthony Karnowski, Stephen Euin Cobb, Jolie Simmons, Toni Stauffer, Debbora Wiles, Glenda Finkelstein, Tony Ruggiero, Cathy Chandler, Earl Newton, and Joshua Smith.
It really was thanks to Stephen and Debbora that I got Brian W. Aldiss, Gardner Dozois, Joe Haldeman, Nancy Kress, and Larry Niven involved with the anthology. Stephen had sent me a bunch of contact info for some big names in the field and I figured why not give it a shot the worse thing they could do was say no or not respond. Debbora sent out her own e-mail contacting a few authors as well.
Daniel Waller got involved in the project because of Earl. They have worked together.
As for Glenda Boozer I have no idea how she had heard about the project because she contacted me out of the blue about it and I was like: "Sure, send something!" And I have yet to ask her how she heard about the project.
Eugie was one of the first people I contacted because she really is one of the sweetest people I know, while being an amazing short story writer. I have done numerous conventions with her and I always look forward to seeing her. I think it was less then an hour after I sent her the e-mail that I heard from her with a story attached to the e-mail. It was amazing because I felt like she had total faith in me to pull this thing off without a second thought. At that point I felt like I could pull this off and it might not be such a crazy idea.
|Table of Contents
A Little Soul Music - Eugie Foster
The Peacemaker - Gardner Dozois
Heliot's Crisis - Anthony Karnowski
Boids - Jolie Simmons
The Man and a Man With His Mule - Brian W. Aldiss
The Errand Boy - Stephen Euin Cobb
Rhinemaidens - Larry Niven
The Kiss of Venom - Debbora Wiles
Dancing in the Dark - Nancy Kress
The Summer Day - Glenda Boozer
When All Is Done - Toni Stauffer
I Hate To See That Evenin' Sun Go Down - Joe Haldeman
Mister Adventure VS The Master of Time - Davey Beauchamp
The Futility of Hate - Glenda Finkelstein
A Meeting With Destiny, Buried Treasures of Life,
Celebration Guard Them Well, Hello, Is Anyone There,
Pursuit, The Last Visit, Up Another Step,
Wind of Life, Yet It Did - Tony Ruggiero
nines & ten - Daniel Waller
The Spirit of New Orleans - Joshua Smith
"A Prayer to Three Parties" - Earl Newton
Trio - Cathy Chandler
|Tony, Glenda, and Stephen Cobb were pretty much the same way. They sent me stuff within the same day.
The one interesting story I have is with Gardner Dozois, and the cover of the book. I had just finished the final layouts on the interior and was waiting on the cover. The cover on the book isn't the original concept. I was waiting on the cover because once I had that I would be going to press. Because I had originally intended to have the anthology done and available for an October release. But it was thanks to the lateness of the cover that Gardner Dozois became a part of the anthology.
I got an e-mail from Gardner and at first I was clueless as to who he was. I was at work and worrying about the cover and I didn't put two and two together at first. It wasn't until Rebecca (the head librarian) told me who he was - then the light bulb in my head went off. And I felt like the lateness of the original cover was now justified. The great thing was Dozois sent me his story within a day, which allowed me to finish up the anthology.
As for the current cover, done by photo illustrator Richy Ferrell, it took him two days, if that, to get me the cover and was a real life saver in helping get the anthology finished. The cover was absolutely incredible, better than the original concept.
Most of the authors sent me their stories within a week or two of contacting them. The thing I have to say I was really surprised by the support of the writing community on Writers for Relief.
Did you ask your writers for stories of a particular type, or did you just request 'a story.'
When I first queried everyone I did just say, "story, poem, or essay," because I really wanted this anthology to be open and accessible to everyone who read it. I wanted people from all walks of life to find something they would like in this anthology while being exposed to new and different genera they may not normally read.
Some of them did ask about what kind of story, tone, or theme and I told them that I didn't want to limit the anthology about being about this or that, because I did want it all.
I was sort of shocked when Tony sent me a bunch of poetry, because I had no clue that he was a poet.
|I would say about 75-80% of the authors I contacted sent me stories. So I did really know who I was asking for stories from. There were a few I contacted that did contact me back giving their support for the project, but since they either didn't write short fiction or were just really busy couldn't send me anything. It was just nice to hear back from them because they could have just ignored my contact all together.
As for the length of the book I had no clue how long it was going to be or short, but I do remember at one point I was like, "Oh no, I am going to have too much stuff." Then it became "I am not going to have enough." In the end it all came together.
Why did you include poetry and essays?
File VersionsWarning: Restoring an older version will overwrite the current file without backing it up. New ArchiveArchive Name I included in my contact info poetry and essay because I was contacting all manners of writers I know from essay writers to poets. Because at first I really wanted this to be all writers and not just sci-fi/fantasy authors ?who were the authors and writers who showed the most support for the project.
There's something in this anthology of science fiction, fantasy and horror stories for everybody.
Brian W. Aldiss contributes "The Man And A Man With His Mule", about a man travelling through Mexico towards "the West and civilization." While he travels he reads a fiction book about the area, while its life goes on around him unheeded...
Larry Niven's "Rhinemaidens" is a fantasy about mermaids, Joe Haldeman's "I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down" is a sad tale of New Orleans in the future. Gardner Dozois presents a little tragedy called "The Peacemaker." It is a tale reminiscent of The Wicker Man, but its moral...or rather the morals it calls into question - resonate today more than ever.
"A Little Soul Music" is a story with an interesting religious theme, as God and Lucifer have a little discussion. "Mister Adventure Adventure VS The Master of Time" is definitely a tail in the pulp tradition, and a lot of fun.
If you like chilling horror stories, you'll like "When All Is Done," which explains how little boys become monsters.
Of the 13 stories, five have appeared elsewhwere. (A Little Soul Music, Rhinemaidens, Dancing in the Dark, The Man and The Man and His Mule, and The Peacemakers.
I wrote my story specifically for the anthology. As for the other stories I believe most them had already been written, but hadn't been published as of yet. So it was nice to have some original content. I know I was very "Ahhh!!!" about writing an original story on top of putting all of this together in what felt like record time because all of this sort of just came together out of the blue. The idea was born in September and was a finished product in November.
Do you have any oversight in place so that people who buy the book can see how much it is earning for the Red Cross?
I am going to be honest here. The biggest oversight is my reputation being on the line, which is something I don't want to tarnish. It's not a thing I take lightly. Because this is a small tight knit community and word does spread fast. And with all the appearances I do at conventions, I would be ostracized if I pulled anything fishy.
Mom was an accountant, so I know the importance of keeping strict financial records of everything from the number of books sold to it balancing out with the money donated to the Red Cross. Essential I am going to create a very organized paper trail. So if anything is called into question I have the records to cover my butt. Fraud is a very serious thing and it is not something to take lightly. And I do believe we should prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, those that do take advantage of these situations to line their pockets with money. There'll be a section on the website which will have all this information displayed for public record, once I have received it myself.
Have you been involved in other charitable activities?
This isn't the first charity project I have been involved with, and not my first when it comes to hurricanes either. I did a lot of charity events when I worked at a comic shop. (Who would have thought?) But it gave me a lot of experience running different types of events from organizing them to running auctions and gathering donations to everything in between.
MobiCon actually lets me get involved with their charity auction every year with being the auctioneer for it. And I always end up getting some cool donations from people I know for that auction specifically. The biggest charity event I had been involved with, until this anthology, was with Peter Jurasik (Londo from Babylon 5) where we helped raise money for a new air conditioning unit for a nonprofit preschool. And I do have to say that is one reason why I am glad so many well establish authors were willing to trust me and give Writers for Relief more credibility with their stories being included in it. Because when all is said and done I have my whole reputation on the line here and that is a very scary thing to have out there. Especially being a fledgling in the industry.
Please discuss your own work. How has your Agency 32 been received?
Well the first book in the Agency 32 series is sort of a funny story, since it is no longer in print and I hate to say it, it is a good thing. The publisher in the end messed me over. To make a long story short he sent it through a computer to copy edit and it butchered my beautiful manuscript. And for course I had no idea this had happened until after the release of the book. So I was furious, but there was little I could do. Beyond the butchering of the book, Agency 32 the Chelten Affair was the best selling book out of those that publisher published before it closed up shop. Even with the grammatical butchering, people?I don't know how?were able to get into the story and enjoy it. They were able to see where I was taking them. Right now the most asked question I get from people who did read it is when is the sequel coming out? I keep telling them I have no clue, but I am talking to some new publishers as we speak about that series, as well as my Mister Adventure series.
The cool thing with Mister Adventure, are the audio POD casts that are already being produced by Outcast Multimedia. These are short 8-to-10 minute audio dramas paying homage to the old time pulp action adventure radio shows in the same vein of Doc Savage and the Shadow. The show is available at pulpadventures.net and through a few other websites dedicated to audio POD casting.
As for the convention circuit, I love it and it is one of the reasons why I did the anthology. The first convention I ever did was in Biloxi Mississippi, with Coast Con and it was a blast. It was a good way to start off my life on the other side of the table. The first time I experienced the art of gambling was there. Thanks in part to actor Steve Austin from Babylon 5. So when I saw the streets flooding over, on the news as the hurricane was hitting, it really threw me for a loop because I have been there I have seen these places with my own two eyes. This is also the same feeling I get when I see damage occur from hurricanes where I live.
Since then I have done numerous cons all over the southeast from the big ones like Dragon Con to the smaller ones like MobiCon, which is one of my favorites. I try to do at least one convention a month if possible and I am slowly growing out from the southeast trying to do more cons all over the place little by little. Needless to say I know many people that were directly affected by this storm and I had to do something to help. And I feel very lucky that everyone I know, even though some lost everything, everyone I know survived the hurricane with their lives.
When I contact a convention or they contact me for an appearance, my first question is what can I do for you? I am a totally at their disposal type of guest. I am game for anything they want me to do. So I have done some really wired panels and judge some interesting contest because of this. And I absolutely love it. I figure if a convention is going to have me as a guest, I expect them to put me to work to entertain and engage the fans and attendees of that con. The one thing I have not done as of yet are any writing workshops, though I would really love to.
This is how I see things when it comes to conventions. I have lots of fans thank me for being there or signing their books, but I am like no thank you. Because without the fans: I wouldn't be attending the convention in the first place, I wouldn't be able to do the job (writing) that I love so much. What I do is largely a fan driven world and I realize that. With the conventions I try to say thank you to them as much as possible with my appearance there and making sure they are having as much fun as I am attending the convention as a guest. Because not too long ago I was where they were, a fan and I still am.
One off the coolest things to happen to me so far was at my first DragonCon as a guest. I was able to meet Peter Davison (the 5th Doctor from Doctor Who) who was very much like a father figure to me growing up, since I didn't have one. I honestly screamed at the top of my lungs at 3 in the morning when I saw he was going to be a guest. Then of course I was totally tongue tied when I met him, but I did get my photo taken with. Even though the first book turned out as bad as it did, it really did open a whole new world to me and opportunities I didn't have until then.
The cool thing is that actor/voice actor Shaun O'Rourke is now my cohort in crime when attending conventions. People know they are going to have a good time when they see us attending a con as guests.
What's life like at your library? Do you observe trends in reading, literacy of the general populace, etc.?
I am lucky. At my branch I get to do a little bit of everything; from research, to helping people find the books they are looking for, to helping little kids find the books they want to read or help them with a report for school, to helping people with our computers. So I do a variety of different things there. It helps keep things interesting. It is also very much a family oriented library.
The big trends I see are people reading whatever appears on the New York Times Best Sellers List and Oprah, which I am not saying is a bad thing. The cool thing is I do see a growing trend in Sci-Fi and Fantasy readers. There are more and more of them coming into the library. People I would never imagine reading sci-fi/fantasy are, like little old ladies who mostly read romance novels. It is an amazing thing to see people exposed to this new genus that has always existed. And I think a lot of people are tired of reading the same old thing the main stream gives them to read. One of the big authors I see them reading a lot is Mercedes Lackey and the biggest publishing house being read is the stuff coming from Baen Books.
Another cool thing is I get to meet a lot of people trying to become writers or trying to get published. So I help them and tell them what mistakes I made and what worked for me in getting published and noticed. I am a writer always willing to help someone else out, because I know how hard it can be to get a break in the industry. And by no means am I a known name and don't know if I ever will be. I have used the small break I had to the best of my ability and making the most out of it.