Story News and Fund Drives

My latest story, ‘Rift’, is now out in the current issue of Plasma Frequency!

Cover art: © Laura Givens

‘Rift’ was the first piece of flash I ever attempted, so I was delighted when it found a home. Guess it proved I can be concise when I need to be… although you’d sometimes be forgiven for thinking otherwise. I’m also really impressed with Plasma Frequency. They’ve only just entered their second year of publication (I get to be in their anniversary issue!), but are already operating at a higher level than many of their longer-standing peers. Too many new magazines start with great intentions only to be swamped under within their first year (and you can’t blame them… it’s a tough, time-consuming, expensive undertaking), but PF have truly established themselves.

They publish great stories in a wide variety of formats, so there’s something for readers of all preferences. Downloadable copies are free. And they treat their writers extremely well. This submission/publication process is one of the best I’ve experienced… and I’m not just saying that because they accepted my story. They’ve got the one crucial element down perfectly: communication. It’s amazing to me how many publishers completely overlook the importance of simply letting writers know what’s happening. You send your story out and too often it gets sucked into a black hole for months. Sometimes it gets spat out again. Sometimes it doesn’t. But PF are great, using an online tracking system that keeps you informed at every stage. They also stick to their expected response times and keep in touch after acceptance. This is the fastest acceptance/publication turnaround I’ve yet experienced, with just over a month between acceptance and print. That’s four times shorter than my previous quickest turnaround.

One of the reasons I’m singing their praises is because they’re looking for funding in order to expand and pay their contributors more. They really deserve to do well and I’d love to see them reach their goal, so if you like what you see and feel like helping out, you can find out more and contribute here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/plasma-frequency-magazine-year-2-funding

And, hey… enjoy the stories!

Sexism or Statistics?

I just read this interesting article on sexism in genre publishing.

Quoted from the article: ‘As a female editor it would be great to support female authors and get more of them on the list. BUT they will be judged exactly the same way as every script that comes into our in-boxes. Not by gender, but how well they write, how engaging the story is, how well-rounded the characters are, how much we love it.’

Precisely. I don’t want to be judged (favourably or unfavourably) by my gender. In fact, when I submit a piece of writing, I don’t want to be judged at all – I want the story to be judged, purely on its own merits and whether it ticks the boxes of the publisher in question.

According to the article’s statistics, the proportion of women writing and submitting science fiction is significantly lower than that of men. In fact, the proportion of women writing and submitting any type of genre fiction is significantly less than men. Publishers can’t publish what’s not being submitted. Nor should they positively discriminate in favour of women simply because they want to boost their percentage of female authors. My all-time favourite author happens to be female. That doesn’t alter the fact that the vast majority of books on my shelves are written by men, but in my little corner of the universe it does suggest that female authors are right up there in the top percentile of quality writers.

And isn’t that what’s important? Quality rather than quantity? If it’s a simple fact that more men than women are submitting genre fiction to publishers, and a renowned publisher like Tor chooses manuscripts solely on their own merit, then the women who are being published must be writing some great stuff. (And if that logic’s a little twisty I blame the fact that it’s late Friday afternoon…)

Personally, I’ve never picked up or dismissed a book based on the apparent gender of the author. I don’t care about an author’s gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or favourite brand of tea – I want to know what story they’re going to tell me, and if they’re going to do it well. And yes, it’d be great to see more women writing genre fiction. There’s no question of the imbalance there. But unless we write it, they’re not going to publish it.

The House on the Creek

I’ve just finished reading this book by the highly talented Sarah Remy. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, as I’m not really one for traditional romance novels. I can count the number I’ve read on one hand, which is actually kind of odd as I’m a total sucker for a good love story. I guess I just prefer my fiction a little more speculative than the romance genre usually supplies. That said, I’ll run a mile from the ‘paranormal romance’ label… clearly I’m full of contradictions today. I’m also getting totally off topic. (Perhaps I’ll devote a post to this properly at some point.)

Back to the book in question. Abby and Everett are childhood sweethearts who find themselves back in each other’s lives again. Past hurts and present complications stand between them while they try to figure out if they still share something worth having.

I thoroughly enjoyed the read. I didn’t expect the book to drag me in like it did. The descriptions of Virginia, the house, the creek, and – well, pretty much everything – completely pulled me in and wrapped me in the setting. I felt like I was there. The characters are all compelling and believable, and although the plot itself is uncomplicated, I couldn’t wait to get back to it each time I put the book down.

There’s something special about authors who can create that sense of place to the point where you just want to stay there and keep experiencing it. And although to begin with I wasn’t sure what the two main characters saw in each other, by the end I was totally rooting for them. Sarah Remy set out to make me believe something, and by the end, she had. It’s pretty steamy in places, but even the steaminess is just right. There’s nothing like a clumsy, over-the-top sex scene to shatter the illusion and pull you right out of the story, but there was no hint of that. These were perfectly balanced and very well written.

This is a great summer read – not too taxing and perfect for reading outdoors on a hot day with a glass of something cool and fruity on hand.

Pick it up here: The House on the Creek