We had a lovely weekend at Conflux a couple of weeks ago, and celebrated the launch of Phantazein with a fantastic roll up of con attendees. Cake and champagne were consumed, and wonderful congoers purchased books. I made a short and hopefully coherent launch speech that thanked the contributors, the cover artist Kathleen Jennings, and our designer Amanda Rainey, and also the authors of the forthcoming Insert Title Here anthology, which got slightly bumped because of Phantazein leapfrogging it (it will now launch in April 2015). The convention itself was quite intimate, but had some big-hitting panellists and a really lovely friendly feel to it. Was great to catch up with so many interstate friends, and I must give a huge shout out to intern extraordinaire Katharine and (sub intern?!) Elanor, who spent a great deal of time in the dealer room taking care of the table – it made such a big difference to my con experience, and is so much appreciated!
I’m delighted to see the first reviews of Phantazein starting to come in now – people seem to be enjoying it! Over at Butterfly Elephant, Bethwyn says “There is something dark to this collection, something that weaves everything together and leaves you coming back for more each time.” Katharine gave it five stars on Goodreads and said “From the very first piece in this anthology (one of my favourites!) I was swept away. This is a collection of wonderous fantasy, the kind that don’t always have a happy ending…” and Matt Morrison says of the stories “…all have a fresh voice and a unique spin…”.
My co-editor Tansy Rayner Roberts and I had a chat about the line up for Cranky Ladies of History today, and we’re very VERY close to being able to announce the table of contents. It’s SO exciting and we’re so delighted with the stories our amazing authors have shared with us – just you wait and see!
Focus 2013: highlights of Australian short fiction hits the virtual shelves on October 1, 2014. The second of an annual series, Focus 2013 collects an elite selection of work which has received acclaim via national and international Awards shortlisting.
Focus 2013: highlights of Australian short fiction features work by…
D.K. Mok – “Morning Star”
Juliet Marillier – “By Bone-Light”
Joanne Anderton – “Mah Song”
Thoraiya Dyer – “Seven Days in Paris”
Tansy Rayner Roberts – “Cold White Daughter”
C.S. McMullen – “The Nest”
Cat Sparks – “Scarp”
Kaaron Warren – “Air, Water and the Grove”
Kirstyn McDermott – “The Home for Broken Dolls”
Kathleen Jennings – Illustrations and cover art
The book is officially on sale on October 1, and is currently available for pre-order at Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords for US$4.99.
Please join us to launch Phantazein, 5pm on Saturday 4 October, 2014 at Conflux, Rydges Capital Hill, Canberra. As usual, there will be prizes and giveaways and all going well, drinks!
Feel free to add yourself and invite friends at the Facebook Event page!
To celebrate the WSFA Small Press Award shortlisting of D.K. Mok’s wonderful story “Morning Star”, we’ve got a special offer on the anthology it first appeared in, One Small Step!
Save on the print anthology (included postage world-wide):
Save on the ebook anthology:
Purchase on Smashwords and use the coupon EL65E to save a whopping 50% on the RRP!
Offers end October 13, 2014.
Launch at Conflux: Phantazein will launch in grand style at 5pm on Saturday 4 October at Conflux in Canberra. Please join us to celebrate its release!
Pre-orders for both print and ebook will be available very soon, but in the meantime, try your luck to win one of two copies of Phantazein at Goodreads!
We woke up this morning (in Australia) to the very exciting news that DK Mok’s wonderful story “Morning Star” from One Small Step has been shortlisted for the Washington Science Fiction Association’s Small Press Award! This is one of my absolute favourite awards, and I’m delighted to see DK’s story recognised, and amid fantastic company! FableCroft author David McDonald is also shortlisted, alongside another Aussie Sean McMullen — yay Aussies!
In other excitement, Tansy Rayner Roberts’ essay collection Pratchett’s Women is having a good week – first it appeared on the MetaFilter site amid some fantastic discussion, and then it got a mention at BoingBoing! This makes us very happy
Congratulations to Joanne Anderton whose collection The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories is shortlisted for the Silver Falchion Best Single-Author Collection category. Also appearing on the shortlists is our friend “Livia Day” with her book A Trifle Dead from Twelfth Planet Press. Other Aussies on the list are Max Barry with Lexicon and Amie Kaufman (and Megan Spooner) for These Broken Stars. Well done all!
Speaking of Jo Anderton, she answers Three Questions over here at Maggie’s Blog.
I noticed this lovely review of “Flower and Weed” by Margo Lanagan on Goodreads – thanks Figgy!
And this comprehensive and wonderful review of To Spin a Darker Stair by Intellectus Speculativus, in which he says: To Spin A Darker Stair is an excellent example of how fairy stories can be told in a revisionist manner, and come out of the process truly fascinatingly.
As Tansy and I are working away on Cranky Ladies behind the scenes, Alex Pierce proves it’s never too late to talk about favourite Cranky Ladies, blogging about Alexandra Kollontai this week! Don’t forget you can catch up on all the posts in the Cranky Ladies blog tour here.
This is me, teasing you with snippets of the gorgeous covers we have coming up for Insert Title Here and Phantazein. Full cover reveals soon!
Design by Amanda Rainey
Design by Amanda Rainey
Art by Kathleen Jennings
Art by Kathleen Jennings
I’ve tried to record some statistics for my anthologies when I can, because I find it interesting myself, and I know that some people like to know this stuff! In the past six months or so, I’ve been reading for Insert Title Here, an unthemed speculative fiction anthology. While it takes a bit of extra time, I recorded (to the best of my ability) the vital statistics of the submissions, and here’s a bit of a breakdown about the slush. The usual disclaimer: I’m an editor/publisher, not a statistician!
252 submissions from at least 16 countries, for a total of over 1,200,000 words.
Gender breakdown 1 unknown, 92 F, 2 M/F duo, 157 M.
Story submissions by country: 76 Australia, 2 Belgium, 9 Canada, 2 Greece, 2 Ireland, 1 Israel, 1 Italy, 1 N. Ireland, 7 New Zealand, 1 Norway, 1 Philippines, 2 Singapore, 1 Sweden, 1 Czech Republic, 33 UK, 106 US, 6 unknown.
19 stories were accepted for Insert Title Here (plus 11 for an alternative anthology that emerged from the slushpile. I also solicited two further works for ITH).
Of the 19 accepted stories for Insert Title Here, 9 female authors, 1 F/M combo, 9 male authors (2 additional stories both by female writers). All 11 for alternative anthology by female writers.
Of 19 acceptances for Insert Title Here, 13 Australian, 1 NZ, 2 UK, 3 US (2 additional both Australian). Of 11 for alternative anthology, 10 Australian, 1 Philippines (plus one solicited US and one solicited AU).
- I asked for two rewrites on submission and received one, but ended up being unable to make it fit.
- Despite clear submission guidelines about multiple and simultaneous submissions, word count and the fact it is a speculative fiction anthology, I received several stories contravening the guidelines, including a number that were withdrawn on acceptance elsewhere. Stories outside of guidelines were rejected unread.
- Several stories reached the very final round of reading, with quite a number being very hard to let go of – the reading for this book was the most challenging I have done, and the quality of the top 25% of stories the highest I’ve seen.
The slush was for an unthemed anthology, but as I was reading, it became clear that several stories themed themselves into the new book (to be titled Phantazein). I had sort of expected I might get a few stories on similar themes, but to have so many evoke a strong sense of connectedness really surprised me. To include them all in Insert Title Here would have unbalanced that book, so I exercised my right as a boutique publisher and decided to build an entirely new book for them! I call this the “Faith Mudge effect”, as it’s the same reason To Spin a Darker Stair evolved, and one of Faith’s stories was the catalyst for both books.
I’m hoping to launch both books at Conflux in Canberra in October! Lots of work to do between now and then…
What is Phantazein, I hear you ask? Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the slush… While reading for the unthemed Insert Title Here, several stories emerged as working very well together, with a strong sense of unity between them. To include all these wonderful pieces in Insert Title Here would have unbalanced that book, but given I’m a boutique publisher and can do things as and when they take my fancy, I decided to create an entirely new project, just for them! I call this the “Faith Mudge effect”, because Faith’s stories have now been the catalyst of two entirely new projects sprung from slushpiles
The title, Phantazein, is both the root word of the word “fantasy” and has its own meaning of “to appear”, which I think is most apt!. The astonishing Kathleen Jennings has agreed to create a cover for the book, and I’m very excited about this project – I hope you will be too!
|Tansy Rayner Roberts
||The love letters of swans
||The village of no women
|Suzanne J. Willis
||Rag and bone heart
||A Cold Day
||How the Jungle Got Its Spirit Guardian
||The Ghost of Hephaestus
||The Seventh Relic
I’m still negotiating on another story for the book, so hopefully we will have more to add to that fantastic lineup, but I’m really looking forward to bringing this anthology to you at Conflux in October!
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