Sunday, March 31, 2013

Review of Moranthology

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed UK writer Caitlin Moran's "How To Be a Woman," I've recommended it to friends, comparing it to Tina Fey's best-selling "Bossypants," another mostly humorous but deeply felt book about the experiences of being a woman. I started following Moran on Twitter and have certainly gotten more than my money's worth.

Someone must have been listening to my raves, because I received Moran's latest book, "Moranthology," as a Christmas gift. It is a collection of her old and not-so-old columns for The Times, each introduced with a retrospective comment about why she picked that topic or how the essay was received.

Moran specializes in writing little jewels of hilarity, perfect for bedtime reading. Laugh, laugh, laugh, zzzz....

My favorite essay was an interview with Keith Richards and review of his recent autobiography, "Life." A former rock and roll critic and radio show host, she got an advance copy of the book, which she devoured and boiled down to its essence in the interview with the flamboyant Richards. It's like watching a Jon Stewart interview: so good you don't need to read the hefty book he's waving around for the camera--he already did it for you.

I also shared Moran's infatuation (along with the whole of Great Britain) for Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, in the Steven Moffat ("Dr. Who") BBC reboot of "Sherlock Holmes."

Whether it's the Stones or some other inexplicably weird thing the Brits are into, you're in for a good time with Caitlin.

Sweet dreams.

Coming Shortly: My First Novella

"Erenarch Academy: Under the Dragon Banner," from World Castle Publishing, is scheduled for wide release April 15. It's an all-ages space opera, the first in a series of books set in the fictional world of Dragon Stead, the solar system surrounding Sigma Draconis. It'll be in both print (available now) and ebook.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Free Stuff and Feminism (Alliteration)

I've put a bit more free stuff out there in web form, including the lead stories of three of Third Flatiron's anthologies:

Quarantine, by Edward H. Parks - Universe Horribilis anthology

Of Men and Gods, by T.A. Branom - Origins: Colliding Causalities anthology

The Man Who Couldn't Die, by David L. Felts - A High Shrill Thump: War
Stories anthology

People can get these stories free anyway, if they are sampling the anthologies on Smashwords or Amazon, so I hope this makes it easier for folks who stop by my blog to get samples this way.

I've also put one of my own flash fiction stories, "Jam Night," on my author website at

The new anthology, "Universe Horribilis" is selling a little better than the previous one, but it is a tough slog to get reviews or readers. I've raised the author pay rate in hopes of attracting more good writers and working our way up to pro rates. But I have to say the ones I've found so far are quite good! Please buy them! We've got some great female authors, like Sarina Dorie and Robina Williams!

Speaking of Reviews

I would encourage everyone to get on over to the Lady Business website to see Renay's (I guess she just goes by Renay?) analysis of a randomly selected set of SF book bloggers and whether there is sex bias in what gets reviewed. Of course there is. She counted the number of reviews of authors that were female as compared to the reviews of authors that are male. The results:

    Group blogs: 25% women
    Female bloggers: 58% women
    Male bloggers: 19% women

Even I, a purported feminist, suffer from a tendency to skew toward reading (and reviewing) stuff with a male name on it. Probably that's why I read Julian May, James Tiptree Jr., Andre Norton, and . . . Oh, wait.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Universe Horribilis is Out!

We're pleased to report that "Universe Horribilis" from Third Flatiron Anthologies is out. This is one of our "darker" issues, with some adult themes, but there's plenty of quirky humor in there too. We point you to the cover story, "Concerning That Whole God Thing," by Curtis James McConnell, and "If You Were the Last Man on Earth..." by prolific reviewer and rising star Sheryl Normandeau, as cases in point.

We've rolled "Universe Horribilis" out on Smashwords and Amazon and are hoping somebody will be wise enough to buy it. "Universe Horribilis" is also available on Kobo, and Barnes and Noble, and should be on iTunes soon.

We're still working to find out how to get our books in front of more readers. We took out an ad last month in Locus Online, sent our books to Locus Online , Big Al's Books and Pals, and SF Signal in hopes of generating some reviews. I'm trying to spend a little time every day at what I call "Daily Marketing" activities, hanging out at forums, checking out book bloggers, etc.

As a reward to myself, I allow myself to write stories and shop them around to semipro and pro markets. No luck so far in the pro markets, but I did get a couple of recent acceptances from Song Stories Press (for my story, "Love Is In Your Future") and  Bards and Sages Quarterly (for my story, "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid," queued up for the July issue). I keep a writing log on my author website,