Saturday, November 11, 2017

Anthology Collaboration - Michael Joll Interview

Getting to know you  ♫♪♫♪  Getting to know all about you  ♫♪♫♪

I’m anxious to learn about my collaborators in the soon-to-be-released anthology. 

My interviews with Frank T. Sikora and Nancy Kay Clark were great fun and inspirational for all writers (and readers). This is my opportunity to get an intimate glimpse into the life and mind of collaborator and fellow Canadian Michael Joll. After only a couple of emails back and forth I felt a warmth of personality. He was someone I’d love to meet over coffee at a local Timmie’s to swap stories of our mutual love of writing.
My Google research has resulted in many interesting facts about Michael. Born in England, Michael spent part of his childhood in India and Pakistan. And then he …. Well, I’m just saying that he had a lot of great background for interesting and exotic stories. Let’s find out more about what makes him tick.

P: Michael, I learned that you started your writing career as a playwright. Can you tell us a bit about that and your successful transition to short stories, of which you have umpteen in publication.
M: I disliked the theatre right since childhood. It wasn't until I was in my fifties that I started going to The Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake on a regular basis. I think it was a Noel Coward play which eventually lit the light bulb. "I can do that," I told myself. My first effort, a neoclassical Greek tragedy in five acts (nothing like starting off big), was a disaster. I rewrote the play as a mini series for radio (the first of four radio dramas I have written) and it was eventually recorded and aired, as were the next two. However, there is not a large market for bad plays, so I took inspiration (!) from one of my favourite authors, W. Somerset Maugham, a prolific writer of short stories in the 1920s and 1930s, and began to write short fiction soon after I retired. My first published story, 'Officially Old', which carried a US$100 prize in a competition, came out in 2011 and remains one of my favourites. Several other short stories followed into publication. I really enjoy writing in the genre. It forces me focus and chastises me for wasting words and wandering down rabbit-hole subplots. 

P: I loved all of your story submissions to the anthology. My favourite was chosen as one of the four for publication. Can you reveal your inspiration for ‘With Regret’?
M: I didn't submit my favourite short story, 'The Summer I turned Eleven' for this anthology. It has appeared on CommuterLit and in hard copy, but I wasn't confident it would have as broad an appeal as others. 'With Regret', while almost a complete fabrication, has a true story at its heart. I read a newspaper article several years ago about a 101 year old Englishman who had received a Rolls Royce for his twenty-first birthday. He still had it 80 years later. The story flowed in about two hours of writing time and won First Prize in the Elora Writers' Festival in 2012. It was fun to write and allowed me to be thoroughly and unapologetically English. One reviewer sniffed that the story used the Rolls Royce 'as both pimp and pillow'. I couldn't agree more and I'm proud that she disapproved of it! 

P: Can you tell us something about yourself that your readers would be most surprised to hear?
M: I won't divulge my darkest secrets as they would no longer be secret, and everyone needs one or two to keep him, or her, honest, don't you think?  But if I hadn't done the things I ended up doing over the past 70+ years, I would have chosen to be an opera singer. My bathtub tenor, while soaring to great heights, if only in my imagination, would have undoubtedly brought me crashing down to earth when confronted with reality. In a profession as talent-rich as opera, to rely on a one inch strip of larynx for one's livelihood is to court disaster. I salute those who have made it. Fortunately for the ticket-buying public, my singular lack of vocal talent was spotted at an early age.

P: Think back to your earliest childhood memory. How old were you and what do you remember?
M: I think it was in 1948, and I was three. We lived in Karachi, Pakistan, where my father was working in those days. On occasion my father would drive my mother, my baby sister and me down to the docks. Why escapes me. It probably was for something to do on a Sunday afternoon and for no higher purpose. A railway spur ran from the main docks out to a point on the Arabian Gulf. A shunting engine chugged its way slowly along the track and came to a stop a short distance from us. I remember my father waving to the engine driver, who responded with a long toot of the engine's whistle. It scared the living you-know-what out of me, and I remained afraid of trains for years afterwards.

P: Do you have tattoos? If so, what is their significance? It's all I can do to stop myself from asking where they are.
M: You would think that after a stint as an officer in the Royal Marines Reserve force in my early twenties, and thirteen years as a police officer in Canada, I'd have some ink art. But, no. I don't have a tattoo. After I lost my Springer Spaniel and my Golden Retriever barely six months apart this year, I seriously considered having tattoos of both done, one on each shoulder. For once, my better judgement prevailed, and I bought a six pack of beer instead. It's hard to be disappointed with a beer, and I could always give them away if I had a change of heart.

P: Do you currently have a writing project (of course you do) and could you give us the elevator pitch?
M: After receiving a professional 2nd draft critique of a novel, I am working on the 3rd draft. The neoclassical Greek tragedy in five acts I mentioned earlier? I rewrote it as a novel using the play as my outline. About a decade of revisions later, all that remains of the original play is the title, 'For Valour', and the names of a couple of the characters. 'For Valour' is a Romance which turns into a love story between an aristocratic and wealthy English army officer, Harry, and his wealthy American fiancee, Athena, woven into the fabric of the First World War. With their plans to marry thwarted by the outbreak of the war, Harry finds himself entangled in a love affair with a young French war widow with whom he fathers a child. His affections for Athena cool with time and distance, but two years after their engagement he goes through with the wedding, hoping his love for Athena will return. Harry is badly wounded during the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917 and returns to England to recover. While there he makes an astonishing discovery about his father. His love for Athena intensifies and the story ends happily, though not in the manner one might expect. 

P: We all have experienced heart racing moments. Does one come to mind that you could share with us?
M: But the scariest moment came in 1988. I was a police officer on the late afternoon shift, working the factory areas. Around 2:30 a.m. on a windy and rainy night, the officer who patrolled the neighbouring area and I were pulled up in our cruisers side by side, looking for nothing to do before we went off shift at 3:00. I received a radio call - a burglar alarm gone off not far from where we were idling and gossiping. No way to avoid the call, so we responded. We arrived within a couple of minutes and split up to check the perimeter of the building. I quickly found an unlocked door and I waited for my partner to arrive before entering. One officer into a building in such circumstance was an invitation to a stomach full of bird shot. Two, and the second would probably live to tell the tale. After much discussion as to who should enter the building first, he pulled seniority on me and let me have the honour. The building, a small warehouse, seemed empty. We checked the office area with our flashlights and were about to leave and make the building secure when a door crashed closed. Billy the Kid and Matt Dillon of 'Gunsmoke' never cleared leather faster or got into the crouch position with less grace and dignity than we did. Nothing. Nobody. The wind had taken a second insecure outside door, which neither of us had reached on our perimeter check, and slammed it closed. Sheepishly, we holstered our service revolvers and agreed we had never drawn them, unless we wanted to be filling out paperwork in the style of, 'herewith the reason for drawing my service firearm' for the Provincial Special Investigations Unit, until the middle of the next day. It still makes my heart race when I think about it.

Michael Joll only came to serious writing in retirement. After forty years too many in the work force, from selling Continental Delicatessen in Selfridges on London’s Oxford Street, to part time temporary deck hand and purser on a car ferry plying the north reach of the Bay of Quinte, he brings a lifetime of variety and experience to his stories. In retirement, the most fulfilling job he ever held, (“The hours are great. The pay less so.”), he has spent the past dozen or so years writing, everything from stage and radio plays (disasters) to short fiction (more successful) and novels (still trying). For most of the past 45 years he has lived in Brampton, Ontario, with a wife (his own), a laptop, and memories of all the dogs whose lives he has been privileged to share.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Anthology Collaboration – Nancy Kay Clark Interview

 Getting to know you  ♫♪♫♪  Getting to know all about you  ♫♪♫♪

I’m anxious to learn about my collaborators in the soon-to-be-released anthology. 

My interview with anthology mastermind Frank T. Sikora gave me (and you) many insights into the man and writer. This is my attempt to know Nancy Kay Clark better.

When I think of Nancy, I imagine a person driven by a relentless passion for literature. Nancy runs CommuterLit, an e-zine featuring short stories and poems. But that’s not where the genius ends. Nancy is a writer and editor. She also critiques fiction manuscripts. I personally recommend her services. She’s good! Plus, she’s the driving force behind two anthologies, Commuterlit Selections Fall 2013, and Arrivals and Departures. Buy Here
I knew Nancy through my story submissions to her publication. I liked her without ever having met her. She’s an encouraging and supportive voice in a publishing business that exists mostly on form rejections and unanswered queries. Nancy remains personable in the impersonal world of publishing.
I deleted some of my intended questions for Nancy when I came across this blog Six Questions for Nancy Kay Clark . Check it out.
 
Now, let’s delve a little deeper into Nancy’s psyche.

P: Nancy, how do you clear your head of the editing, publishing, and critiquing - not to mention hearth and home plus your civic volunteer work - to write mind-blowing imaginative story lines? Do you binge write? Write thoughts and words on coffee-ringed napkins?  Take retreats?
N:I have no set way of writing. I tend to churn a character or a theme or a premise over in my head for a while — days, months, years — before writing it down. And I usually don’t have the entire story set. I write down the beginning, and sometimes the middle, in one go, when I have a spare few hours and then I wait for the ending to come to me. I find endings give me the most trouble. Sometimes I try to force an ending on a story, and it just doesn’t work. Sometimes I’ll wait for years for an ending — I’ve struggled with one story for at least a decade and I just can’t get the ending right. Maybe there is no ending. Maybe it will remain unfinished. I tend to stockpile a whole bunch of beginnings, and every once in awhile, I’ll reread the beginnings and if one calls to me, still excites me, I will continue writing it — inching it towards an ending that feels right. This is not a very efficient way of writing. Fellow writers have often suggested I create a detailed outline before writing a story. But I never take that advice — I think I enjoy groping in the dark, until I see the light. If I knew how everything turned out before I wrote the first line, I don’t think I would enjoy the process as much as I do.

P: There are no do-overs in life. But if there were, are there any steps in your writing career that you could have skipped, or is there something you wished you’d known from the beginning? How would you do it differently the second time around?
N: I think I would have embarked on my literary life earlier. I started writing as a kid, maybe ten or so, but when puberty hit, my self-confidence plummeted and I stopped writing. I just didn’t think I had lived enough — had enough life experience to write about anything important — least ways anything anyone would be interested in. It took me decades to regain that self-confidence. If I had a do over, I would try harder to hang on to that exuberant kid who had all the self-confidence in the world, who didn’t even question or care whether what she was writing was important or literary or interesting. She just wrote because she loved writing.

P: Which three adjectives best describe you, and if you could change something about yourself, what would it be?
N: Tenacious, do-it-yourselfer, daydreamer. I would change how impatient I am — I try to all the time, I try, I desperately try to be more patient, I fail most of the time.

P: Describe your utmost favourite meal. With whom would you like to share it? This person could be anyone past or present.
N: Oh, something chocolatey and decadent — at a little cafe in Paris, with my husband and best friend Doug Bennet. I know, I know, not very exotic choice of partner, but even after more than 20 years of being together, I still love hanging out with him. 

P: If you had a three-day pass to go anywhere in the world, or out of this world, where would you go?
N: Well, it’s not three days, it’s six weeks — there’s this Odyssey Sci Fi Writing Workshop in New Hampshire every summer, which I’d love to go on. I just can't afford to take off for six weeks.  

P: You’re an incredibly imaginative storyteller. I’m itching to ask how your ideas originate. Not an original question, but I’d love to know. Of the four stories in this anthology, is there one that you could focus on and share its source? Did it begin with a character, a place, or an experience?
N: Well, I’ll tell you about how Penetanguishene came about. Years ago, when our kids were young, Doug and I took them on a road trip round Midland and Penetanguishene. We ended up touring this re-creation of an early 19th century British Naval Base on Penetanguishene Bay on Lake Huron, called Discovery Harbour. http://www.discoveryharbour.on.ca/dh/en/Home/index.htm And, just like in my story, our tour guide was this young woman dressed in period costume. She told us about the Base commander (circa 1820s) Captain Roberts, and his family, his wife Rosamund, and her sister Letitia. As the tour guide was telling me about this family, particularly how circumspect the women’s lives were at the base (two well-bred, educated English women stuck in the middle of the wilderness, not being able to go anywhere, or do much), I began to think how bored these women must have been. 
That was enough for my imagination to take flight, and I began to envision these people and their lives. I confess, I didn’t do much research on them as historical figures. I didn’t want the facts to interfere with what I imagined them to be like. So most of the characters in that story are historical figures, they just aren’t portrayed accurately according to the historical record.

P: What is your goal as a writer? And is writing the most important aspect of your work. If not, what is?
N: To finish all my stockpiled story beginnings, and to share my stories through being published, or self-publishing, online or in print, or in person through public readings (which I love doing).



After many years as a magazine writer and editor, Nancy Kay Clark began to write fiction, but couldn’t settle on what kind—literary, children’s, sci fi or speculative (so she writes all four). Her short fiction has been featured in Neo Opsis magazine. She launched her own online literary magazine, CommuterLit.com, in 2010 (it’s still going strong); creates chapbooks to sell, and in 2018 will-publish a middle-grade novel, tentatively titled Gus the Fuss. You can find her stories on CommuterLit, and on Wattpad.https://www.wattpad.com/user/NancyKayClark

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Anthology Collaboration - Frank T. Sikora Interview


Getting to know you  ♫♪♫♪  Getting to know all about you  ♫♪♫♪
I’m anxious to learn about my collaborators in the soon-to-be-released anthology. Let’s start with the Mastermind.
Frank Sikora was intimidating and focused. That was my impression. And even more daunting, his genre differed greatly from anything I’d written. After numerous emails, humour emerged from that intensity. I’d like to know more about him. Here goes:
P: According to Google, there are a zillion Frank Sikoras and a million of them are authors. That might be an exaggeration, but for the sake of idle curiosity, are you related to any of the authors?
F: I don’t think so. Here’s a mostly true story: I do have a hand-me-down name. My father’s name is Frank, and so is my grandfather’s and my great-grandfather’s. Because our middle initials are different, I can’t officially go by Frank the Fourth.  When I was young, I tried to convince my parents to call me by my middle name, Thomas, but they refused. I hate my name, but my wife loves it. She loves old-world, just-off-the-boat, welcome-to-Ellis Island names. She wants to be known as Maude even though her name is Holly. The kids I coach don’t call me Coach Frank or Coach Sikora. They just call me Frank. Sigh.
P: Do you keep a personal journal? If so, do you think this is an important exercise or habit for writers?
F: I keep multiple task journals, mostly because of my poor memory and my obsession with being organized and timely. I have three jobs. For each job (substitute teacher, graphic artist and track coach), I keep a daily notebook of what I need to accomplish that day.  Otherwise, I would forget everything. In another notebook, I keep ideas for stories or personal comments. Unfortunately all my note-taking efforts go for naught. My handwriting is so bad that I can barely read my scribbles. My typing is not much better. I love irony.
When it comes to writing, I consider myself a lifelong student and not qualified to give advice. If a student insists on one piece of writing advice, I offer what those much more talented than I suggest: 1. Read everything, including classics, genre, pulp, nonfiction, satire and Russian (especially Tolstoy’s short stories). This is why our anthology is interesting—it’s composed of multiple genres and styles. 2. For every 1,000 words you write, read 20,000 or more.  
P: You have four stories in the anthology. Intriguing stories, I might add. Why don’t you tell us about one of your works, like maybe Bozeman Before the Fire – just for instance – and, without giving away the story (I’d rather they buy the book), tell us what sparked the muse.
F: Side note: I think I write great titles. I have a personal rule: All my titles have to come from the story, lifted right out of the text. I use my notebook for the first few drafts (even though I can’t read most of it, which is fine). The early drafts are usually incoherent rants, half-baked scenes, and bits of dialog. I’m searching for an idea or a reason to hang out at McDonald’s for a few more minutes in the morning before work.
Back to the question regarding Bozeman:  One of my favorite books is Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, which, among other themes and ideas, deals with the bombing of the German city Dresden during World War II and the morality of doing so when the city had no strategic military value. From this story and other readings, I have come to believe that morality is an evolving entity, a necessary adaptive component for survival, from an individual level to a societal level. The two main characters in this story, a young witch (yes, it’s a story with witches) and a warlock (an old man) deal with the consequences of individual decisions that govern the lives of many others. The young witch wants to destroy all that is old and corrupted in the world(s) she occupies. Naturally, the old man and his ilk have other plans. It’s a conflict of ideas, sexes and generations. I think it is also a love story (parental love); both characters are incredibly lonely, and both must give themselves completely and reluctantly to the causes each represent.
P: Would you describe writing as your passion and do you favour one genre over another?
F:  I’m not a big fan of the word “passion.” To me, it implies an endeavor without reason—one that is purely emotional. If I must use that term, I would say I’m more passionate about reading. I want to write good stories, but I prefer reading them, which is why I am excited about this anthology. BUY THIS ANTHOLOGY!
I love speculative fiction, yet my second favorite story is Moby Dick. My favorite is Hyperion by Dan Simmons.
P: We’ve never met. How would you describe yourself so I’d recognize you in a restaurant.
F: If it’s a fast-food restaurant, I’m the guy who is complaining about the people in front of me who
are not stepping up to provide an order and keep the line moving. If it’s a sit-down place, I’m the guy who is setting the alarm on my phone to time the lackadaisical wait staff. I am all about efficiency, even if I can’t read my own notes.
Physically, I am as tall as Steve Nelson (look him up on Google), but he is thinner and handsomer (I mean he is really thin, fit and handsome). I am reasonably fit but with a lot more hair (gray). When young, we delivered pizzas together and ran together. I’m indirectly responsible for his children, but that is another almost true story.
P: If you could re-visit a year in your life, how old would you be and what is the purpose of this visit back in time? Actually, Frank, judging by your work, you might prefer a trip to the future, well beyond your years in this world. Well?
F: I would go back to the beginning of the eighth grade and prevent my brother’s death. I am haunted by my inability to prevent his accident and by the last words I said to him on the morning of his demise. He was truly gifted. He could sing beautifully and play multiple instruments. My brother was a deeply caring person, emotionally strong and filled with empathy. My wife has said that every story I have ever written has touched on his passing in one form or another, which I don’t necessarily want to agree with, but it is an idea that does feel truthful. If you read Bozeman Before the Fire, you may get that notion.
P: Work with me here, Frank. Picture yourself walking in the woods. You find a treasure. Describe that treasure for us.
F: It’s a time machine. See my last response.
P: Last question. What have you been bursting to say, but I just haven’t asked?
F: You mentioned before that I appear extremely serious, but I’m generally good-natured with the annoying habit of trying to be the funniest guy in the room. When I am in the classroom or coaching, I try to infuse the room with humor and joy.
P: I want you to know, Frank, that I deleted a few of my questions, as you have addressed them in a preface you wrote for the book. A preface that moved me and I know will tweak the hearts of all readers in bookland. So we’ll save that until we have a BUY ME link. J

Frank Sikora is a graphic artist, writer, substitute teacher, and track coach. He lives in Waterford, Wisconsin, with his wife, Holly, an English teacher. His work has been published online and in print in Canada and the United States, and every once in a while one of his flash fiction pieces will win an award, which his wife will acknowledge with a smile and a comment, such as, “It still needs a middle, Sweetheart.”



Monday, September 18, 2017

Anthology Collaboration – Authors


If you’ve been following my posts, you will already know that there is an anthology due out this year. A special anthology. Not just because I have four stories in the book (although that helps) but because it is the brainchild of author, Frank Sikora.
It is also special in that it brings together five authors who would otherwise not personally know each other. Five authors from two different countries. That’s another unique feature.
I’m proud to be sharing ink with (imagine a drum roll, if you will) Nancy Kay Clark, Michael Joll, Steve Nelson, and, of course, mastermind Frank Sikora.
Through this collaboration, I’ve come to know personal bits and pieces about these writers. I’m a curious sort and hope to know a lot more about them soon. I’ll pass along their bios along with a fun Q&A over the next few blog posts.

In my next post, we will begin with the man who is making his literary dream a reality – Frank Sikora. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Anthology Collaboration – The Mastermind


I’ve begun to hum the Rodgers and Hammerstein show tune ‘Getting to know you, getting to know all about you, Getting to like you…♪♫♪♫’ And now you’re humming it too. Funny how that works. Sorry.
My last two blog posts informed you of a project I’ve taken on – or more like entered into. Sort of mysterious at first as I mused in Anthology Collaboration - Introduction. Why me? Why them? Why now?
The answers are slowly coming forward. For instance, I now know ‘who’. By that, I mean who of the other four was the brainchild behind this anthology. His name is Frank Sikora. You don’t have to google him because my next post should be filled with info about the mystery man.
He responded after he read my post, Anthology Collaboration - Editing and has allowed me to quote him:
“I enjoyed your editing article. I was hoping for more, a blow-by-blow detail of how you worked with Steve. I, myself, am not so involved. I accepted all of Steve’s and Nancy’s suggestions. Steve caught a couple of logistic oversights, and he tightened up a few of my paragraphs. He only took out one or two lines I felt should stay in. I usually give carte blanche to editors unless they really miss the point of the story.” 

Well, Frank, I worried about divulging too much of the behind-the-scenes stuff. After all, what goes on in the editing room stays in the editing room. But if you insist…

Steve (you’ll meet him later) suggested a few – not really changes, more like tweaks – to my stories. Oh, but he did remove a character from one of my stories. He just had a bit part and Steve was right to get rid of him. Otherwise, it was changing a word or two for clarification or moving a sentence around. His changes made the work stronger. That’s the whole idea behind editing. Unfortunately, not all editors know that…don’t get me started.

Steve did suggest title changes for a couple of my stories. Now, having someone suggest a different title for your work is like someone wanting to rename your kid. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The wrong title can give away too much of the story or it might mislead the reader. One must be careful. Steve and I ultimately decided to stay with the original titles.

Mastermind Frank provided another quote about the anthology:

“Putting together an anthology by committee is inherently a bad/good idea. Everyone should have a say, but I think individuals should have final say over respective parts of the process. Under a different and more traditional scenario, a writer would not have final say over the editing process other than withdrawing his or her work. That wouldn’t work for this process because we all have equal financial and editorial investments. Yet, at some point concessions must be made. With me, I handed over story selection and editing to Nancy and Steve. To Marketing, I concede all final decisions to you. (Yikes, that’s me.) 

Artistically, Nancy (You’ll meet her, too) and I have worked together quite closely, and I have made changes based on her suggestions because as an art director I have learned to balance trusting my knowledge and experience with the good judgment to listen and consider another person’s opinion (but not everyones!)” (Got it! Not everyone has a valid opinion.) 


I don’t know about you, but I’d like to find out more about Frank Sikora. Hmmm….now for a fun Q & A. Stay tuned.





Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Anthology Collaboration – Editing


My collaborators – strangers – probably read my email about edit approval, shook their collective heads, and muttered, There’s one in every group. Hope she’s not going to be a problem.
And on my end, I was cringing a bit myself. There are only so many emojis you can use in an email to convey a light-hearted nature. Hey guys, I’m not a jerk. I’m just slightly anal about some issues. Editing being one.
I insisted on final approval of all edits. I didn’t insist immediately. I threw it out there, sort of. Then I felt a pat on the top of my head. Not literally, of course. But it was as if they were saying, Don’t worry. This guy knows what he’s doing. Understand that I’m writing this without looking back on months of emails. These are my impressions.
I had the feeling they didn’t take my request as seriously as I meant it. Well, later they did. But, not at first. They probably wondered why I would question Steve’s (you’ll meet him later and you’ll like him) qualifications and capability. But I wasn’t.
No, it was nothing like that. I’d been burned badly on edits. How badly, you ask? Well, two years after receiving my submission, a national magazine contacted me. They were going to run my story. No mention of edits. That should have been my first thought – instead of Holy Crap, they’re publishing my story… When I held the glossy edition and excitedly flipped to my byline, the changes they made left me breathless – not in a good way.
Another magazine decided my article was too long. Instead of contacting me, they arbitrarily cut out several paragraphs. I say arbitrarily because if they had read them first, they’d have realized that without these paragraphs much of what I wrote made no sense. Once it’s in print, there’s no fixing it.
Then there was the time I worked with an editor who refused to accept fragmented sentences. You can imagine how that ended.
And another time a publisher missed the last page of my work. The final paragraphs. They actually said they didn’t understand why I was so upset. So, trust me, there are reasons I insist on seeing the final manuscript draft.
On the other hand, good editing has saved me from some serious grammar gaffes amongst other unintended mistakes. Editing is a tedious but necessary job. In my opinion, the editor for this anthology (stay tuned for the title in a future blog) was conscientious and respectful. He knew his stuff, too.

Yes, indeed, a good editor is worth their weight in gold. What do you mean, that’s a cliché?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Anthology Collaboration - Introduction

The email asked if I was interested in collaborating with four other authors on an anthology of short stories. I recognized the sender as an editor/publisher of an e-zine that had supported my work in the past. I assumed she threw my name into the mix. But I could be wrong.

Intrigued, I agreed to the reasonable monetary investment and I was in. I didn’t know the other authors but there were no formal – or informal – introductions. Like me, the others probably Googled their counterparts. Three of us are from Ontario Canada. Two reside in Wisconsin. Advantageous that our book will be actively promoted on both sides of the border. Was that the idea from the beginning? When I find out, I’ll let you know.

Without much preamble, the process began – send short stories in a variety of genres and we’ll choose from those. I wondered if they were looking for a theme in our offerings. I’m still not sure. Out of the seven stories I submitted, four were chosen for the anthology. They rejected two award-winning stories that I thought would be shoe-ins and chose three stories that had never been published. That pleased me. I’m not sure why.

When I read the other submissions, I was puzzled. With the possible exception of one author, I couldn’t find the common thread. Not for the first time, I wondered how we five were brought together. Our voices, styles, and stories are vastly different. This was becoming a very curious project. Extraordinary, but curious.

An eclectic mix of authors and stories. For me, the appeal is building. So is the excitement.
I’ll keep you posted.