Far Worlds – Out Now!

Far WorldsAt long last, Far Worlds is finally available!

You can check out the US e-version, or the UK e-version.

The print edition will be coming this April.

Update: Apologies but the links were not working before. They are now.

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Far Worlds – Promotions Day

Far WorldsFar Worlds is about a month from release. But today is all about the opening of the new Facebook page.

I can say without a doubt, that Far Worlds is our most ambitious anthology yet. Packed with 13 original short stories, additional flash fiction and illustrations, the anthology is one impressive feat of literature in the wide realm of speculative science fiction and epic fantasy, and yet all tying together.

Here’s a listing of what is featured:

“Rainer” by Heidi Ruby Miller.
“Anomaly” by Jonathan Ward.
“Alone” by Alex Helm.
“Shard of Heaven” by Damir Salkovic.
“Endaris” by Michael J. Hollows.
“The Lost and Found” by Kerri Fitzgerald.
“Helzenthrax” by A.R. Aston.
“Bequeathal” by K. Ceres Wright.
“City Blue” by Edward Smith.
“The War Room” by Michael Seese.
“A Pelnodan Bounty” by James Fadeley.
“Golden Planet” by Evan Purcell.
“Salvation Comes” by Simon Farrow.

And there’s more to come. We have a few other goodies and surprises in store. But for now, why not hop on over to Facebook and like the page to stay informed?

Editor’s Gripes

“We are pushing our ourselves to do more.”

I sent an update email to the other editors. It included a spreadsheet with the status of all the stories, and a break down of everything we still had to do.

A lot of our tasks are dependent on previous things. For example, we can draft the table of contacts but we cannot finalize it until the authors have signed the contracts. Authors can easily change their mind in the last minute and its certainly their right to. Once we have their approval, we can finalize the table, which is the blueprint for organizing and formatting the book.

Thus it’s difficult to get a head start on a lot of the end-game aspects of publishing. Our challenge is magnified by the fact that we’re doing illustrations for the anthology too. The con is we can’t rush the art. It’s done when it’s done. But on the pro side, that time can also be spent getting advanced copies to reviewers. And there were a few other issues to deal with. Some marketing opportunities, contract writing. Andrew has to write the introductory letter.

There’s so much we’re doing that’s ground breaking for us personally. I am grateful that, at the very least, we are pushing our ourselves to do more. To try new things and grow, and not be stuck in the complacency of the same thing as the last two anthologies.

But there comes a time one needs a break from it.

I am managing the finances for three separate anthologies. And although one of which comes to an end this year, I want to avoid the potential of grave errors. Once the slate is cleared, I might do a new anthology. It won’t be involved with the Bolthole however.

Anyone who fancies themselves a writer, try it. Try editing. Put together an amateur anthology, learn from it. Discover your mistakes, figure out what sells. You’ll learn so much. Even if you find out it’s not your thing, you’ll walk away from it with improved writing skills and understanding of the business.

You have to get out there. You have to make business if there isn’t any. You can try forever and face a wall of preformatted rejections, or you can find out yourself what sells and what doesn’t.

Culling Lessons

A review of our recent anthology can be found here. Right now, we’re hacking away at our third anthology, and my last with the Bolthole. Although I do intend to very a more in depth analysis of the last two anthologies, I want to wait until we finish Far Worlds before I do so.

But here are my notes on it so far:

The Black Wind’s Whispers

Pros: Unifying plot device linked stories. Niche, easily identified horror theme. Relatively modern setting eased world building.
Cons: Bad submission methodology. Very late print edition release. Early formatting errors.
Notes: Our first attempt. We tried something different with accepting submissions, where as we got a certain number and ‘locked it in’. This was almost the anthology’s undoing when authors dropped out due to time constraints. Will not repeat this method again. Other issues included formatting problems when going to publishing. These were found and fixed and the lessons learned paved the way to a better second anthology.

Marching Time

Pros: Vastly improved submissions method. More stories of surprising diversity. Faster formatting and swifter print edition.
Cons: No unifying plot device. Time travel theme made for transitional difficulties between story worlds. Time management.
Notes: We definitely learned from our previous anthology with regards to formatting, printing and submission methods.  Our synopsis approach saved time both for writer and editor, as we could weed out stories with bad ideas early. It also helped us create a more diverse anthology. On the downside, we let time get away from us and the anthology ended up being late. There’s also no connecting aspect to the stories. None of them are set in the worlds of any other.

Far Worlds

It’s too early to give Far Worlds a full appraisal as we are not done. Our synopsis submission method really paid off though, as we weeded out and suggested improvements to many potential stories, sparing us dozens of similar tales. We’re entertaining the thoughts of it being two books, but we need to see how many drafts we get first before making those decisions. We’re also trying new ideas to help with transitions between stories.

Once Far Worlds is finished, I maybe tempted towards one ‘final’ anthology, independently published and not of the Bolthole, to round out everything I’ve learned. Work for it will not begin until after Far Worlds is published, as then I can examine the new ideas we implemented and decide what works and what doesn’t. I’ll bring that up in the new year.

Anthology Publishing Theory

An idea came to my during the day. My friend sent me some flash fiction to edit. The flash was intended to go between the stories of a new anthology we’re working on.

The flash was great, but diverse. Some were happier endings, some comical. Some were darker. They hit a wide range of emotions in anywhere from a paragraph to a page in length.

As I finished, a thought occurred to me. In my opinion, the grand problem with anthologies is that their nature doesn’t permit them to be page-turners quite like novels can. A story comes to an end, and you say goodbye to the characters, the setting, the events and plot. You have to start something new.

Every tale has an emotional impact associated with it. So when it ends, I suspect that most people shut the book and set it aside to digest the ending. We’ve made some effort in the past to be careful with the order of our tales, trying to keep similar stories apart.

But as I thought about it, what’s the job of a DJ? To come up with a playlist of songs to keep people dancing, to maintain a kind of energy high so people don’t want to leave the dance floor. If the music doesn’t keep up the pace, people start to hit the bar. (And if the music is bad, people leave.)

A flash vignette is tempting however. If the reader sees that there’s a short passage just after a short story has ended, I suspect that they’d want to read it just because it’s so simple and brief. So could there be a way to balance it? If the short story ends on an evil note, could a hopeful and uplifting flash fiction piece help the audience carry onto the next story more readily?

More initial instincts say that the emotions should contrast to find balance. If something is sad, make it happy. If something is depressing, give them hope. If a tale ends with the bad guys winning, have the next piece contain an outlet for the reader’s anger.

Will have to try it…

The Black Wind’s Whispers, Out Now!

The Black Wind's Whispers, by the Bolthole.

The Black Wind’s Whispers, by the Bolthole.

After months of work, it’s finally here… The Black Wind’s Whispers. Available now on Amazon. (Also in England.)

Included within are nine tales of  horror, featuring new twists on classic monsters, managed by yours truly, James “He2etic” Fadeley. Edited by CS Barlow and Andrew Aston, it features tales by Andrew Aston, Alec McQuay, Simon Howers, Jeremy Daw, Johnathan Ward, Robbie McNiven and Keanu Ross-Cabrera. Cover art by the amazing Manuel Mesones!

But best of all, it includes a tale from special guest author and veteran horror writer, CL Werner!

Get your copy today from Amazon! Smashwords version coming soon!

Goodbye July

What is this I don't even...

What is this I don’t even…

I’ve already covered issues about my car yesterday. But the truth is far more sinister. The whole month of July… sucks. 

Besides the vehicle, my cable and internet provider has been unable to assign a decent time to come over and repair my internet. I can get it done on Saturday, but they won’t do it after 5 on the week days, when I’ll be at work. Although they’ve refunded us for the month, Diablo III and Team Fortress 2 are out until it is fixed. 

Thus, with reluctance, I cracked open Mass Effect 3, one of the view recent games in my collection with optional online elements. 

It’s not that I wasn’t looking forward to it. But I wanted to savor the time I had to myself, not playing the game.

Once Mass Effect starts, you can’t really divert time away from it. After playing through the original game twice, once as a “Good” Soldier Shepard and again as an “Evil” Engineer Shepard, I decided to try a femshep (female Shepard). But I stopped, recognizing a very addictive new experience.

Y’see, I barely started and it was already a different experience, as Kaidan Alenko was hitting on me.  “Man,” I tell myself. “I’ve barely started and this is only ME1. Everyone’ll be humping down my door once I hit ME2.” 

It’s true. Play ME as a man and the women will be coy and make you chase them. Play it as a woman and they’ll be after you. In gaming, the choice to play as a woman is often more like choosing your favorite Barbie doll to play an MMORPG or Diablo. But being a woman in an intricate storytelling experience like this? That’s something else. 

But if I’m going to play a woman, I’m going to do it from the ground up. Which means going back to Mass Effect and slugging my way back up. 

My impressions after 20 hours of ME3 are pretty basic. I like how they dropped the obnoxious resource-searching for a game of Reaper tag. The combat is tight as ever. The “explory-telling” is nice, but I keep wishing I could take the story off of the rails: Options to use charm or threaten are rare, the tale doesn’t let you go about things in any order you choose (the first game was great at this) and I get the feeling that, at this point, everything that happens is barely my decision and more the consequences of my actions from the previous 2 games. 

Choice is an illusion once you’re facing the consequences.

My hunt for a new roommate continues, but I’m closing in on a few likely prospects. I also meant to bug the writers of my anthology yesterday night about their progress, but decided to wait until tonight when I had access to Gmail and a regular computer (not my phone).

I’m half through Brunner. I was hoping that the stories would become more simple for movie making purposes, but that is not the case. His arsenal also expanded, with a new Skaven repeating crossbow, a hatchet and Drakesmalice, some kind of magic longsword. Therefore, I’ve picked two prospective stories which would be ideal for a short movie: “What Price Vengence” and “The Money-Lender’s Price”.

Two new horror stories coming out for a different anthology soon. Hope to be done this weekend.