pbray: (Default)
Putting together an anthology is like building one of those fiendishly complicated jigsaw puzzles where they throw in extra pieces that don't quite fit. For CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs ALIENS, we received far more stories than we could possibly use, and thus this past weekend Joshua drove up from Binghamton so we could work on making our (almost) final selections.

We were in agreement on which stories were our favorites, and which ones had missed the mark. The arguments were all over the stories that fell into the middle, and we agonized over the selections.

After narrowing down the list of candidates, we started thinking about the structure of the anthology. We cut out strips of paper with the titles of each story, then arranged and rearranged them until we were satisfied. We need to start and end on our strongest stories, which are generally from our anchors. In the middle we try to separate stories by theme, tone, setting, etc. A humorous story will be followed by one with a darker tone, a story set in Europe may be followed by one set in North America, a longer piece will be offset by two shorter stories. As we starting building the table of contents, stories that had been on our list of potentials started to fall off, because they didn't fit with our other selections.

Here's a picture from when we were pondering. .

So are we ready to tell the submitting authors if they've made it in? Not quite yet. We're still waiting on one of the anchor stories. Once we have it, we'll make one more pass through the proposed lineup to make sure that everything works together, and then we'll start sending out the notifications. Then it's revisions, formatting, and finally the best part--releasing the book into the wild.

I can't wait.
pbray: (Default)
You'd think this would be obvious, but recent evidence suggests not.

First, never assume that your cover letter is going to stay attached to your manuscript. This is especially true for electronic submissions, where your attached file may be downloaded and stored separately from the email. Always include your contact info on page 1 of the submission.

Second, always include page headers with the page number and either your name or the story title, preferably both. I received multiple submissions without page headers of any kind, and it was a freaking pain in the butt when the printer spit pages on the floor and two of those stories got mixed up. Not to mention that later I'll wind up adding page numbers to make it easier to discuss the story with my co-editor, e.g. "The scene that starts on page 4 is..." What makes it even more inexplicable is that these stories were submitted in Microsoft Word where adding page headers is a basic function.

Even stranger was the story where the author had forgotten to put their name anywhere in the manuscript. Just a bare title, no name, no contact info, presumably they assumed that I'd be happy to hunt back thru the emails to figure out who had sent it in.

Finally spell check is your friend. Proofreading is your friend. Take that extra hour for one last pass before you send your story in. And if you know you're terrible at catching your own mistakes, have someone else take a look at your work.

Remember, first impressions count. A poorly formatted story sends the signal that you can't be bothered with the details, and will be difficult to work with. Don't give the editor a reason to be cranky before she reads a single line of your story. Because if it comes down to a choice between two stories that are equally good, the editor is going to pick the one that didn't make her sigh with annoyance. Trust me on this one.
pbray: (Default)
What is the collective noun for a group of stories? Forest came to mind, because of all the trees represented here. Cacophony also seems appropriate, or perhaps riot, since they are currently in competition with one another for space in the CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs ALIENS anthology.

Whatever we decide to call it, jpsorrow and I are keeping ourselves busy reading the stories that have come in so far, including a tall stack from my Odyssey students. The hard part will be making our final selections in January. That will require copious amounts of chocolate. And alcohol. And paintball guns at high noon in case of disagreements.
pbray: (znb)
Team humans or Team Aliens? Team Patricia or Team Joshua? You have until Friday morning at 11:56 EDT to join our army of supporters by backing Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs Aliens edited by Patricia Bray and Joshua Palmatier. The anthology will include stories by Bradley Beaulieu, Caitlin Kittredge, Gini Koch, Scott Lynch, Gail Z. Martin, Seanan McGuire, Ian Tregillis, and others.

We've already reached the minimum funding level so the project is a go. Now we're on the bonus jeopardy rounds, with cool extra awards being unlocked. Make your pledge and reserve your copy now, and we'll add your name to the list of those who will be under our protection when the zombie hordes begin their rampage.
pbray: (writer)
Isn't it shiny? The proposed cover for CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs. ALIENS featuring the gorgeous artwork by Alex Broeckel.

Preliminary cover for Clockwork Universe anthology

This is preliminary because we're still tweaking the backcover copy. And, of course, the list of authors won't be final until we've selected the remaining seven authors whose stories will round out the anthology.

And in case you've somehow missed hearing this, there are only 9 days left before the Kickstarter closes. Visit the kickstarter webpage to learn how you can preorder your copy.
pbray: (Default)
Isn't it shiny? The proposed cover for CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs. ALIENS featuring the gorgeous artwork by Alex Broeckel.

Preliminary cover for Clockwork Universe anthology


This is preliminary because we're still tweaking the backcover copy. And, of course, the list of authors won't be final until we've selected the remaining seven authors whose stories will round out the anthology.

And in case you've somehow missed hearing this, there are only 9 days left before the Kickstarter closes. Visit the kickstarter webpage to learn how you can preorder your copy.
pbray: (znb)
Yesterday afternoon the kickstarter crossed the 10K mark, which means Zombies Need Brains LLC's first anthology project CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs ALIENS is a go!

We have two weeks left in the kickstarter, which means you still have a chance to preorder your copy. Any funds raised over the 10K threshold will be used to increase the payouts to the authors*, and improve the quality of the printed books (such as adding embossing, etc.). If we reach 20K we'll be offering a limited run hardcover edition.

We're totally psyched about this project. Steampunk and aliens, together at last! A collection of outstanding authors have already committed to the project: Bradley Beaulieu, Caitlin Kittredge, Gini Koch, Scott Lynch, Gail Z. Martin, Seanan McGuire, and Ian Tregillis, and we've invited a select group of extremely talented authors to submit stories to fill the remaining slots.

Visit our Kickstarter page here to learn more, and to preorder your copy. And be sure to check out the gorgeous cover art by Alex Broeckel.

* We're paying the authors 5 cents a word, which is a standard professional rate. For every 2.5K raised over the 10K, we'll be bumping it up.
pbray: (znb)
Today's question to ponder-- if the Daleks invaded an Earth defended by Captain Nemo, would humanity survive? Nemo has the advantages of an undersea base, while the hive mind tells me that Daleks haven't been seen swimming since the Classic Who episode The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964). But the Daleks have shown the ability to assemble overwhelming armies....

[Poll #1925504]

Nemo is the original Steampunk antihero, so I'd like to think that humanity had a fighting chance. And Daleks even look Steampunk in appearance, so they'd fit right in the set of the old films. I'd like to see James Mason* facing off against them.

Alas, I can't bring you Nemo versus the Daleks. But I can offer up a collection of Steampunk vs Aliens stories for your reading enjoyment. Want to know if your favorite authors are on Team Humans or Team Aliens? Visit the Clockwork Universe kickstarter page to find out how you can help make this project a reality.

*James Mason played Captain Nemo in the 1954 film 20000 Leagues Under the Sea.
pbray: (znb)
Today's question to ponder-- if the Daleks invaded an Earth defended by Captain Nemo, would humanity survive? Nemo has the advantages of an undersea base, while the hive mind tells me that Daleks haven't been seen swimming since the Classic Who episode The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964). But the Daleks have shown the ability to assemble overwhelming armies....

Poll #13931 Clockwork Faceoff #1
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 0


Who would win?

View Answers

Captain Nemo
0 (0.0%)

Daleks
0 (0.0%)

Other, I'll explain in comments
0 (0.0%)


Nemo is the original Steampunk antihero, so I'd like to think that humanity had a fighting chance. And Daleks even look Steampunk in appearance, so they'd fit right in the set of the old films. I'd like to see James Mason* facing off against them.

Alas, I can't bring you Nemo versus the Daleks. But I can offer up a collection of Steampunk vs Aliens stories for your reading enjoyment. Want to know if your favorite authors are on Team Humans or Team Aliens? Visit the Clockwork Universe kickstarter page to find out how you can help make this project a reality.

*James Mason played Captain Nemo in the 1954 film 20000 Leagues Under the Sea.
pbray: (znb)
I took Friday off and headed over to the lakes, where sightseeing included mandatory stops at independent bookstores. Then yesterday I hit a couple of local bookstores for the sake of variety. In two days I've purchased more books than I've managed to read so far in 2013. Optimism, it's the new black.

Though in my defense, several of the books were debut novels by first time authors, and I'll generally buy any first book that looks at all interesting, as a gesture of support.

I love books. I love discovering new authors. I love reading science fiction and fantasy and mysteries and cold war spy thrillers and nautical fiction and books that are pretentiously shelved under Litfic. I'll wander over into horror and romance and westerns and read YA as much for my own enjoyment as I do to pickup recs for my nieces. The only thing better than discovering a great story is getting to share that story with others. ("You must read X! It's fabulous!")

Putting together an anthology combines so many of my favorite things. It's getting the chance to read great stories and to share them with others. It's the opportunity to work with a fantastic partner-in-crime jpsorrow and an outstanding group of authors. It's the battle of Team!Patricia versus Team!Joshua as we each strive to bring the very best stories to the table.

Now, with your help, we're getting to do it again. The CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: Steampunk vs Aliens anthology will have fourteen original stories by Bradley Beaulieu, Caitlin Kittredge, Gini Koch, Scott Lynch, Gail Z. Martin, Seanan McGuire, Ian Tregillis and others, brought to you by the newly launched small press Zombies Need Brains LLC. Team human versus team alien, dirigibles against spaceships, steam power versus lasers. Can't wait to read it? Then follow the kickstarter link above and help make this project a reality.
pbray: (znb)
CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE STEAMPUNK vs ALIENS is the first anthology being launched by Zombies Need Brains LLC, a small press founded by friend and frequent partner in crime Joshua Palmatier.

We've been talking about this project for months, so I'm thrilled to finally be able to share this with you. This is going to be an awesome anthology featuring an incredibly talented lineup of authors.

Visit the kickstarter webpage to find out more about the project, and how you can become a backer. As a special bonus for supporters we have a limited number of Tuckerizations available, and we expect these to sell out fast.

CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs. ALIENS. When aliens reach Earth, they encounter the clockwork mechanisms and Victorian sensibilities of a full-blown steampunk civilization. Inspired by the classic science fiction adventure tales of the nineteenth century, leading fantasy and science fiction authors will bring us tales of first contact with a twist, as steam power meets laser cannons . . . and dirigibles face off against flying saucers. Edited by Patricia Bray and Joshua Palmatier, it will contain approximately 14 stories with an average length of 6000 words each. The anthology will include short stories by: Bradley Beaulieu, Caitlin Kittredge, Gini Koch, Scott Lynch, Gail Z. Martin, Seanan McGuire, and Ian Tregillis, and others.
pbray: (znb)
CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE STEAMPUNK vs ALIENS is the first anthology being launched by Zombies Need Brains LLC, a small press founded by friend and frequent partner in crime Joshua Palmatier.

We've been talking about this project for months, so I'm thrilled to finally be able to share this with you. This is going to be an awesome anthology featuring an incredibly talented lineup of authors.

Visit the kickstarter webpage to find out more about the project, and how you can become a backer. As a special bonus for supporters we have a limited number of Tuckerizations available, and we expect these to sell out fast.

CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs. ALIENS. When aliens reach Earth, they encounter the clockwork mechanisms and Victorian sensibilities of a full-blown steampunk civilization. Inspired by the classic science fiction adventure tales of the nineteenth century, leading fantasy and science fiction authors will bring us tales of first contact with a twist, as steam power meets laser cannons . . . and dirigibles face off against flying saucers. Edited by Patricia Bray and Joshua Palmatier, it will contain approximately 14 stories with an average length of 6000 words each. The anthology will include short stories by: Bradley Beaulieu, Caitlin Kittredge, Gini Koch, Scott Lynch, Gail Z. Martin, Seanan McGuire, and Ian Tregillis, and others.

August 2017

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