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<<August 2020>>
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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: anthology, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 107
1. Kickstarter Spotlight: Dare2Draw’s New Anthology Needs Your Help to Bring Stories from The Next Generation of Artists to Life

NexusFeaturing NEXUS!

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2. A TYRANNY OF PETTICOATS (edited by) Jessica Spotswood \\ The 1st Anthology To Fully Grasp My Attention...

By Becca... A TYRANNY OF PETTICOATS: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls Edited by: Jessica Spotswood Hardcover: 368 pages Published by: Candlewick Press (March 8, 2016) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon From an impressive sisterhood of YA writers comes an edge-of-your-seat anthology of historical fiction and fantasy featuring a diverse array of daring heroines.

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3. A beauty – Rich and Rare

There really is something for everyone in Ford Street Publishing’s latest collection of Australian stories, poetry and artwork for teens – Rich and Rare. With pieces from almost 50 fab authors and illustrators, including Shaun Tan, Judith Rossell, Susanne Gervay, Gary Crew, Justin D’Ath and Michael Gerard Bauer (to mention a few), the anthology delivers […]

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4. A Letter To Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson..

Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchison (and others) Hardcover: 352 pages Publisher: Simon Pulse (September 1, 2015) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon  It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto school grounds, enter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others.But this isn't a story about the shooting itself. This isn't about

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5. Drawn Chorus Collective

I'm working on a spread for the Drawn Chorus Collective's latest anthology; it's an alphabet book.

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6. The Best of Luna Station Quarterly

The post The Best of Luna Station Quarterly appeared first on The Giant Pie.

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7. Anti-Bullying Comics Anthology RISE to Release Third Volume

by Melanie Burke

Images courtesy of Northwest Press

“It’s like an after school special but it’s a good one,” says Adam Pruett of the anti-bullying comics anthology RISE. “I’m not just saying that because it’s my book and I want to promote it—I actually believe in the material.”

Born from a frustration with caustic attitudes and gatekeeper mentalities within the comics community, RISE is the collaborative effort of editors Joey Esposito, Adam Pruett, Erica Schultz and Kristopher White. With hundreds of different contributors from all over the globe, the book currently has two issues out with Northwest Press and a third is slated for digital release this summer.


“Out of that [frustration] came this idea, ‘Let’s do an anthology of celebrating being yourself’ and if there’s any place where that should be acceptable it’s the comics community,” says Esposito of the book’s initial inception.

The editorial team began working together in 2010 and approached Northwest Press several years later, launching a Kickstarter to fund printing costs in October of 2014. The Kickstarter platform, in addition to the for-sale issues on the Northwest Press website, made it possible to fund a book that is largely given away for free.

In addition to being available for free download at risecomics.org, RISE is distributed at all-ages events and school tours by Stand for the Silent and Prism Comics.

“It feels like we’re contributing to society,” says Esposito. “In a small but important way.”


Part of the goal for the editorial team was to approach the issue of bullying from all sides—hence the power of an anthology that delivers such a diverse voice and wide range of art styles. The individual narratives range from tales of redemption and forgiveness between reformed bullies and their former targets to frustrated scientists with singing plants to aliens admonishing their peers for participating in late-night cow tipping.

“It’s not us and them, it’s not good guys and bad guys,” says publisher Charles “Zan” Christensen.“I think that the stories do a good job of showing that it’s not just there are bad people who do bad things, but that people sometimes do bad things.People can change, people can learn and do the right thing in the future.”

Tackling such a sensitive subject in a grand-scale way produced its own unique challenges—like coordinating such a large group of contributors.


“We’re working on four different time zones, two or three continents, god knows how many countries,” says Schultz.“You’ll send an email off [and it] will be the end of the night, and then the next person who gets it is replying the equivalent of 2am for me.”

“It’s like herding cats,” says Esposito, laughing.

Additionally, the team had to make decisions regarding language and content for a young audience, without sacrificing the sometimes brutal realities depicted within the anthologies.

“That process was really illuminating,” says Christenson.“It was good to have those discussions and figure out how to strike that balance.”

Schultz says that the trade off to the chaos is “being introduced to creators who I wasn’t familiar with. And not just comic creators but people who work in different mediums as well coming on to write comics. That’s always great, getting to meet new people, getting exposed to different styles.”


For Esposito, the excitement from contributors helped fuel the process. “[Seeing] the enthusiasm from everybody but seeing these really established creators come on board—donating their time and artistic talent to do something like this—was really exciting for me.”

The third and last issue of RISE will release sometime late June or early July of this year. After that, the team hopes to see the project continue in any variety of ways—potentially a once-a-year anthology.

“I hope it takes on a life of its own,” says Schultz.

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8. MATT CHATS: Editor Glenn Moane on the “Outré” Theory

Outré is a little-known but very well-polished anthology series that releases new issues twice a year, free on their website and for $0.99 on ComiXology. Even though they receive relatively few submissions, the stories have a consistent and impressive level of quality. Intrigued by it, I spoke to one of the editors, Glenn Moane, about the process of putting Outré together.

What led to the creation of Outré?

When we tabled together at Oslo Comics Expo back in 2012, Magnus and I started talking about anthologies and how it’d be nice if there were more theme-oriented ones around, as opposed to just random collections of comic short stories. Not that we had anything against the latter, but it wasn’t what were looking for, so we came to the conclusion that we had to create one ourselves. We also wanted the anthology to feature work by up-and-coming creators, so in order to get as many eyes on their work as possible, it made sense to offer each issue for free. After settling on the theme for the first installment we put out the call for submissions from both writers and artists. After choosing the strongest story submission and getting their scripts into the right shape, we teamed the writers up with the artists we felt would be a good fit and got the ball rolling from there. After a period of time Outré #1: Responsibility was a reality, and we’ve been repeating the process twice a year ever since.

You receive pitches for stories instead of completed ones. How does that work better than asking for finished comics?

Since we want to put out a quality product, it makes sense for us to get involved right from the start and try to make a writer’s scripts the best it can be. Sometimes a story is ready to go after the first draft and sometimes it takes three. Both Magnus and I have been writing comics for a few years now, and if it’s one thing we learned it’s that it is always healthy to get some feedback on our scripts before we send it off to be illustrated. Also, some of the writers who pitch to Outré are just starting out, and they may not yet have established a network of creators to work with. So if a new writer comes up with a great idea for a story after seeing what theme we’ve chosen for an upcoming issue, presenting it to us is the way to go. Now, for our latest issue we asked for pitches with a creative team intact, and those we picked got produced in the time leading up until the release.

The inherent risk is some stories won’t turn out as good as they appear on paper. Have you ever had to accept a pitch but reject the finished product?

Not yet. We’ve had artists bail on us, but fortunately we’ve always been able to bring in a suitable replacement before the deadline was up.

I assume the name of the comic is, in addition to a word of its own (meaning “unusual and startling”), a play on the word auteur. How do you keep the quality level high while still letting creators feel like they are true auteurs with full ownership over the material?

In addition to pushing the writer to make his script as solid as possible, we do the same with the remaining members of a story’s creative team. The creators who contact us are hungry as hell to get their work out there and in front of readers, and motivated by the fact that the finished product will be available on our site forever. And we don’t own any of the stories. They belong to the creators, who can do whatever they like with them after an issue is released.

Creatively and practically, what are the appeals of including one-page, one-image stories?

When the idea for Outré was conceived we wanted to create a full and satisfying package that could resemble a magazine. We used to feature two interviews in each issue, one with an industry professional and the other with a creator whose work was featured within. To add stand alone illustrations that revolved around the issue’s theme made sense, and it was also a nice way to get more creators involved. And some of these illustrations look really good as well. Practically, overseeing the production of a single illustration is a less time-consuming than getting a whole short story done. Contacting a creator and throwing the theme his or her way was usually enough, and after a while we had a nice illustration in our inbox.

Why don’t you charge for Outré?

To attract as many people to the anthology as possible, also readers who may not read comics on a regular basis like you and me. By offering each

issue for free, there should be really no incentive not to download it and check it out at some point, unless the reader is allergic to the theme in question and/or only interested in a specific genre. Anthologies are a tough sell in the Direct Market, but since we love the format and want more readers to get excited about it, the free and digital option was the way to go. A seasoned comics fan may be reluctant to pick up a book featuring work by creators he’s never heard of before, but if all it costs is a couple of taps to read the issue on his or her tablet, why shouldn’t s/he?

Do you ever worry that offering it for free might diminish its value in some people’s eyes?

I’m sure it’s happened. We try to market Outré as a professional-looking anthology filled with quality stories, and 95% of the reviews we’ve received have been more than positive. But I’m sure there are plenty of readers who don’t bother reading those reviews in the first place, and unfortunately I’ve yet to see an anthology making a huge comics news splash across the board. That’s just the way it is.

But recently Outré made its debut on Comixology, where it’s not possible to offer products for free unless it’s part of special campaign. So we priced each issue at $0.99, and told our regular readers that one could pick them up if they wanted to experience the stories in the cool function that is Guided View. I’m certain a good handful of the customers who bought the issues weren’t aware of our anthology in the first place, so we’ve probably reached a few more readers, which is great.

Not only that, a couple of days ago I found out that Outré #1 & 2 had been uploaded on a torrent site, along with several other new comics. Since those issues are the only ones available on Comixology as of now (#3 & 4 are on their way), the uploader more than likely got them through that digital platform. Now, if piracy leads to Outré getting in the hands of more readers – readers who may be unfamiliar with the creators and their work, then I’m all for it in this particular case.

As a not-for-profit business, is it difficult to keep a regular publishing schedule?

Releasing an issue twice a year has proven to be the best for us. With no budget to speak of, we can only rely on the passion of the creators we work with, and that they have the time and opportunity to work on the stories in their free time. This is why we give our creators long deadlines, and a story greenlit in December won’t be released until June. The creative team then has about six months to get their 8 or 10-pager done in this time period, which should be enough. I say “should”, because life and other opportunities can pop up, and if an artist has to take a break from working on a Outré story because of a paid job offer, we’re the first to understand. But the work gets done, even if some stories take longer than others.

So yeah, two issues each year is enough. When we began toying with the idea we did actually talk of a quarterly schedule, but we see now that we then had to produce two issues more or less at the same time, and handle twice as many creative teams. And right now the anthology business doesn’t pay well enough for us to even consider it.

What motivates you to publish Outré, since profit’s not a real factor?

It’s a pleasure to feel a script coming together and to see it come to life at the hands of a talented and passionate artist. That never gets old. And whenever an issue is finished it gives us a sense of satisfaction, and we take pride in the fact that we managed to pull it off once again, fueled only by us and the creators’ passion for comics.

Outré has also proven to be a great way for us to connect with other creators. I got to know colorist K. Michael Russell and artist/letterer Sean Rinehart through this anthology, who both helped me out on two of my own projects. Not to mention Brett Uren, whose story “Torsobear” in Outré #2: Hopelessness led to a whole anthology of its own, which I co-edited with Brett and wrote a story for. The first volume was uccessfully funded through Kickstarter last year and the campaign for the second one is currently ongoing.

Editing an issue of Outré takes time, but it’s also really fun. We’ve just began to talk about the next issue, and there’s a chance the theme this time around will be something horror-related. So we’re pretty excited about the stories this will lead to.

MATT CHATS is a weekly interview series with a person of prominence and/or value in the comic book industry. Find its author, Matt O’Keefe, on Twitter and Tumblr. Email him with questions, comments, complaints or maybe even praise at [email protected].

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9. What I've Been Reading: City Noir

Istanbul Noir edited by Mustafa Ziyalan and Amy Spangler

Ok, do you all know about Akashic Books City Noir series? So far there are sixty-nine titles (I think I counted that correctly)-- each is an anthology of noir short stories, taking place in a specific location, with the stories written by authors who are from there or live there, or write about the city a lot. Many of the volumes are international--if I counted correctly, 24 of the currently-out titles are international, with locations ranging from Paris to Manila, Kingston to St. Petersburg, Tehran to Copenhagen. (There are also 3 titles coming out this summer-- Providence, Beirut, and Marseille-- and another 21 that have been announced. Of the 24 that aren't out yet, 16 are international.)

I love this series so hard. It's the best of armchair travel, because you're going into neighborhoods and situations you don't usually get (because, well, noir). As the authors are mostly local, or write like a local, the city is the setting, and it's a character that links the stories, but there's no expositional tour guide voice that can run through books that take place in a location the readership might not know very well. There's just the city and culture in the background and part of the story, which in a way is more enlightening. Between all the stories, you usually get a wide range of neighborhoods, people, and economic status--and not a lot of the touristy stuff we usually see. While the concept itself is diverse, there's also tremendous diversity within each volume. Also, with the international ones, you get to read a lot of authors that haven't published in English before, or that you might not otherwise have come across.

So, as much as I read and love this series, I haven't reviewed it yet because, well, Istanbul Noir is the only one I've actually finished. Not because the others aren't good, but they're short stories! So I tend to dip in and out of the collections, and then they're due back at the library, and so I'll return it and pick up a new city. I've found short stories are the best bus reading, because that's usually how long I have. I haven't really gotten into short stories before, but I think my friend and co-worker Megan put a finger on it when she explained why she doesn't like them--they're too short for her to really connect to and like a character. That's the best part about noir--you're not really supposed to like most of these people.

So! If you're looking for some great short stories by authors you may not know, or want a new look at a city you love, or a very different introduction to one you've never been to, this series is for you.

Also, what cities do you wish they covered? Personally, I'm crossing my fingers for Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong (and maybe a separate Kowloon volume, like they split up the boroughs of New York City?), Cape Town, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Karachi.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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10. Happy Commonwealth Day

Recently I received two gorgeous books from the Commonwealth Education Trust for a project I am working on.  I want to share them with you because of their multi-cultural nature and also the vibrancy of the artwork. And today - 9th March 2015 - is Commonwealth Day - enjoy!

A river of stories: Tales and poems from across the Commonwealth compiled by Alice Curry
illustrated by Jan Pienkowski

I really like that the book has been organised from an indigenous context. You won't find themes like Water, People, or Animals - you'll find 'Down by the Water Hole' and 'Why a Rainbow Follows Rain' and 'Ghosts, Giants and Mermaids of the Deep' and 'Water Gods and Ice Kings'. It sets the tone of the book.

You will find poems, retold myths, and stories from many of the Commonwealth countries including New Zealand, Australia and United Kingdom, as well as Trinidad and Tobago, Kiribati, St Kitts and Nevis, Cyprus, Grenada, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Bangladesh.  Many children won't even heard of some of these countries. Teachers can show where the country is on a map or globe before reading the story aloud.

The poems and stories capture the essence of the countries the authors have come from. For example, in 'Prescription' by Emma Krus Va'ai

"Gather some sunshine
and warm rain
one cicada
and a pocket of air from your kitchen
a pot pourri of frangipani, sandalwood, mosooi
and gardenia
into a parcel
with a long letter
to me
from you
home in Samoa"

You can imagine the poet missing home and all the scents that represent their country.

In 'Nkalimeva' a Swaziland story retold by Tom Nevin:

"The elephant was a good-natured and kindly animal. He was very big, and because of his size he was very clumsy. Not that the other animals were very much bothered by this, although they became annoyed when he kept knocking things over. They understood this was because of his size and made allowances for him.
But the elephant had another problem which was to be his downfall: he was very, very inquisitive."

You can imagine where this story is leading - its inquisitiveness resulting in a very long trunk.

Each of the stories have Jan Pienkowski's silhouette art juxtaposed with vibrant illustrations. They're perfect for the stories and poems. On the front cover two Islanders are silhouetted in black gloss laminate in their waka-like boat, behind them is a large yellow moon, and in front a swirly blue sea.

At the front of the book is a positive message from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and Jan Pienkowski talks about how he drew inspiration from his many trips abroad for the pictures, Alice Curry says the stories and poems are like rivers "they flow from country to country. Tales flowing from ear to ear might change style or length or form, but they will always retain the flavour of their origins". At the back of the book you will find a very handy glossary giving the meaning to unfamiliar words from each country. There's also information about the Commonwealth Education Trust.

Teachers could use the book to introduce students to the Commonwealth countries in Social Studies, or for a unit on myths, or poems. The average classroom has children from all over the world. They could make their own anthology of multi-cultural stories and poems inspired by this book.

Though compiled overseas New Zealand's Learning Media created the education package to go with this wonderful book. You can visit www.ariverofstories.com to buy their teaching resource and the Anthology.

South Pacific Press is running a special deal on 'A River of Stories'. You will receive a 20% discount if you mention 'Commonwealth Day Blog Post' with your order. Read their post for ideas on how to celebrate Commonwealth Day too.

Give the Ball to the poet: A new anthology of Caribbean Poetry edited by Georgie Horrell, Aisha Spencer and Morag Styles, illustrated by Jane Ray

I personally can't get enough of poems written for children. I love their honesty, use of language, and representation of culture. In 'Give the ball to the Poet' you will find a wonderful mix of poems in this anthology from the Caribbean. From a chant for a cricket hero, to poems about the delightful fruits of the Caribbean, to the beating of the drums - they are poems that reflect the culture of these people.

The first poem is very appropriately about a Rastafarian:

Goodmornin Brother Rasta

Good-days wash you mi brother
a-make peace possess you
and love enlighten you
e-make you givin be good
and you everymore be everybody
a-make Allness affect you always
and you meetn of eye to eye be vision
and all you word them be word of wonderment

by James Berry, Jamaica

These poems are meant to be read aloud. Children will enjoy rolling the words off their tongue. They could include music to help with the rhythm.  You'll also find some cricket poems - how very handy for our World Cricket series!

Keeping Wicket

When they were young,
She kept wicket for her brothers,
They batted,
Padded up
And ratcheted up the score.
She crouched behind the stumps
keeping wicket.

by Valerie Bloom, Jamaica

Every poem has an illustration by Jane Ray. They're colourful with added gold to make them even more vibrant - like the Caribbean countries.  A must-have Anthology for your classroom reading library, and to use in a poetry unit.

Buy from online bookstores such as Book Depository, or ask your local bookseller to get it for you.

128 pages, ISBN: 978-1909931008  $17.48 (discounted at present from Book Depository)

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11. Review: Nobrow’s 17×23 Showcase: moon men and hopeful dystopias

Tweet17×23 Showcase Contributors: Isaac Lenkiewicz, Kyle Platts, Henry McCausland, Nick Sheehy, Joe Kessler Nobrow Press Following on from the success of the excellent Nobrow anthology- a bi-annual publication of two halves: one comics and one illustration, and their Showcase series, a smaller format paperback comic which launched Luke Pearson’s much-lauded Hilda adventures, Nobrow produced this last July : [...]

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12. Young Writers Anthology

Walking a Tightrope in Bare Feet, selected by Tessa Duder and  James Norcliffe, edited by Glyn Strange, Clerestory Press for the School for Young Writers (www.schoolforyoungwriters.org/)

This is the 12thbook (published 2013)  in the Re-Draft anthologies, which aim to publish the best of New Zealand young writing. The anthologies have been published since 2001, presenting the winning stories and poems from an annual competition for young writers aged 13 to 19.

Also supplied were The World’s Steepest Street(no.10, dated 2011) and The Temptation of Sunlight (no.11, dated 2012). Each volume has an eye-catching photographic cover, and includes up to 47 contributions, with some writers having multiple entries. Inevitably there is a huge variety of themes and styles, focusing on both teenage and adult preoccupations – but all of them are very readable, and many will surprise with their skill. But considering the judges have to choose from around 600 submissions, I guess this isn’t so surprising.

These books should be in all public, secondary school and tertiary institution libraries. Teachers, librarians, authors, bookshop owners and reviewers are often asked by families how young people can get their work published, and these Re-Draft anthologies should be the first resource provided.

One interesting postscript – I was intrigued to see in the latest volume that the judges are asking for more stories to make them smile. Hint to young writers – try writing humorous stories!

Available from all good booksellers, and from The School for Young Writers, PO Box 21-120, Christchurch 8143. Can be ordered direct from the School for Young Writers website www.schoolforyoungwriters.org where the RRP includes postage and packaging.
ISBN 978 0 9582888 9 7 $34.50 Pb
Read a story about one of the young authors here.

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

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13. Big Announcement Post...

I won't hold you all in suspense for any longer. Last year, I put together "Sing We Now of Christmas" and was very pleased at the end result of raising over $1000 for charity. This year, I wanted to do something to up the ante.

So, this year, not only am I going to release volume II, but I am going to hold a charity concert with Utah's very own...

They will be headlining the concert I'm putting together for the first Saturday in December, with all proceeds going to charity. If you'd like a taste of what to expect, please go visit them on April 20th for their Spring Concert. I went last year, and it was a blast, with a huge variety of music and excellent guest artists. 

More details to come. Stop by next Friday when I reveal the cover for Volume II...

Any guesses about what it will look like? 

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14. Flashy Fiction Bundle Now Available! Save 25%

Flashy Fiction and Other Insane Tales volumes 1 and 2 are now available in a bundle! Not only do you get both books together, you save 25% too!


Flashy Fiction and Other Insane Tales (Bundle Vol 1 & 2) 

by Jen Wylie and Sean Hayden

Anthology Bundle

Published March 17 2013

Price: 2.99 (save 25%)

Available at [Amazon]

Okay, technically it’s just BOTH BOOKS in ONE seriously funny and scary easy to read, purchase only once, compendium of the deranged! And you save almost a WHOLE DOLLAR! Do we rock or do we rock?

An anthology of the strange, bizarre, and just plain weird.

Zombies, vampires, ghosts, and …crickets? Try a taste of writing from two very different fantasy authors. Flash stories are super short and perfect for when you ‘just have a minute’. This anthology contains 15 stories from authors Sean Hayden and Jen Wylie. Run the rampart of emotions in this exciting mix of tales. From humor to twisted, there is something for everyone.

Unicorns, zombies, devils, dark whispers, teddy bears, and …fireflies? Try a taste of writing from two very different fantasy authors. Flash fiction stories are super short and perfect for when you ‘just have a minute’. This anthology contains 15 stories (both flash and longer short stories) from authors Sean Hayden and Jen Wylie. Run the rampart of emotions in this exciting mix of tales. From humor to horror, sweet to twisted, there is something for everyone.

Note: Some stories contain adult language.

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15. Christmas Lites III Cover Reveal!

Releases Dec. 3! All proceeds donated to

Releases Dec. 3! All proceeds donated to NCADV

The Christmas season is upon us yet again. Yes, my friends, it is a time of giving, loving, and sharing. Within these pages is a way you can help many people desperately in need of love, support, and goodness: the victims of domestic crime. By purchasing this anthology, you are sending every last dime made off this book to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The NCADV is an amazing charity that saves these people and lets them know there is still hope, still goodness, and still a reason to carry on.
Twenty-one authors have joined in this year, giving their time and their stories to these people – and to you. We all hope you enjoy our holiday tales captured in bite-size pieces. Whether you read this on the bus, before bed, or snuggled by the fire, please, do read – and share.

Authors in this anthology:

Addison Moore
A.F. Stewart
Amy Eye
Angela Yuriko Smith
Ben Warden
Cassie McCown
Elizabeth Evans
J.A. Clement
JG Faherty
Jonathan Tidball
M.L. Sherwood
Monica La Porta
Ottilie Weber
Patrick Freivald
Phil Cantrill
Robert Gray
Ron C. Neito
S. Patrick Pothier
Tricia Kristufek
Vered Ehsani
*Brandon Eye bonus story

Editor/compiler: Amy Eye of The Eyes for Editing
Cover Design Kyra Smith

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With writing being a solitary business, it’s always a pleasure to be in the company of other writers for lunches, retreats and more. Yet one remarkable “meeting place” is almost invisible because it happens between the pages of an anthology.

Most of the anthology collections I’ve been involved with have been for youngish children, so the stories are sweet, despite the necessary brief but “moderate peril”. I enjoy writing a tale that an adult will share with a child or two on a lazy day, or making a comforting story for a child to read alone. 

Sometimes I imagine the anthology as a small wrapped gift, a quiet thing hidden among the louder, larger presents, ready to be enjoyed by the readers when the moment is right.

Other writers contribute to anthologies of horror, or wacky humour or even gross-out-boy stories. Not me, not so far, although if asked, I’d always try. My author briefs evolve into furry or feathery creatures and maybe a child or two, with happiness at the end. I am an invisible writer. Aimed at the seasonal market, all the readers remember about the look of the book is the heart-warming picture on the cover. Just as heart-warming is the knowledge that – somewhere – another half-dozen or so unseen writers are working away their own versions. I won’t know who they are. 

(However, I do know that, like me, they accept the fact that anthology fees are rather small, and they enjoy writing something more than nothing. And, also, that any editor, no matter how kindly analytic is likely to move on once the anthology iss done, leaving one feeling slightly adrift. Will anyone remember me for next time? Will the next brief get stuck somewhere, as it has done? And so on.)

Only when I get my own copy of those anthologies do I learn who the other story writers are, and see familiar names in the company. I do recommend this gentle word- partying within the pages.

However – and this is a loud “however”, with the sound of trumpets – there’s an anthology coming out in March and this time I do know the people involved. As the collection is for older readers too, I was able to step outside of my “sweet story” corner and reveal a few more story muscles as well. 

What is this trumpeted anthology? DAUGHTERS OF TIME.

Some History Girls bloggers have been working on this collection for the last year. We’ve had big and small meetings. We’ve maundered over works-in-progress and muttered secretly ogether about deadlines – “Have you finished yet? Well, almost, but. . .”  along with darker worries and collisions. In the end all went well.

 We all know our Editor in person this time too: Mary Hoffman herself  guided the project valiantly along. As well as being an astounding author, Mary was the originator of our blog home - the History Girls - and is a Book Maven in deed as well as name.

Now, with March beginning tomorrow, I’m waiting for the large package. (Soon, please?) Because all of us History Girls will be meeting on those pages. True, there have even been DAUGHTERS OF TIME events. This week some “Daughters” met at Aphra Benn’s tomb in Westminster Abbey to place a bouquet. Other “Daughters” will be at the Oxford Literature Festival at the end of March.  It’s a very good anthology to celebrate.

However, there’s still that itch of mystery. I do know all the authors already. I even know the subject of most of the stories. 

As a taster, there’s BOUDICA by Katherine Roberts, AETHELFED by Sue Purkiss, ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE by Adele Geras, JULIAN OF NORWICH BY Kath Langrish, LADY JANE GREY by Mary Hoffman, ELIZABETH STUART by Diane Hofmeyr, APHRA BEHN by Marie-Louise Jensen, MARY ANNING by Joan Lennon. MARY SEACOLE by Catherine Johnson. EMILY DAVISON by Celia Rees. AMY KOHNSON by Anne Rooney, and the GREENHAM WOMEN by Leslie Wilson. (Me, I'm MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT.)

So what I haven’t done yet is the best, the important, the most interesting bit.  I haven’t yet read the collection. I don’t how the stories are told, or how these fictional moments have been imagined, or how these writers have written finally their stories. That's all to come.

So the author party I am looking forward to right now is reading everyone’s stories! That’s the best meeting, the best celebration for all anthologies, especially for welcoming the DAUGHTERS OF TIME.

Penny Dolan

DAUGHTERS OF TIME is published by Templar. March 2014

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17. Southern Sin: Review and Giveaway

Anthologies are always a treat, introducing us to dozens of authors thoughts on one theme. And what theme could be more multi-faceted than sin, specifically southern sin? Dorothy Allison gives you a peek at what Southern Sin has to offer in her introduction. "Sin dances words across the page, telling all those lies that sound like truths, and disguising terrible truths in a language we want desperately to believe."

Southern Sin: True Stories of the Sultry South and Women Behaving Badly

Editors: Lee Gutkind and Beth Ann Fennelly

Paperback: 350 pages

Publisher: In Fact Books (March 18, 2014)

ISBN-10: 1937163105

ISBN-13: 978-1937163105


In the steamy South, temptation is as wild and plentiful as kudzu.

Whether the sin in question is skinny-dipping or becoming an unlikely porn star, running rum or renting out a room to a pair of exhibitionistic adulterers, in these true stories women defy tradition and forge their own paths through life—often learning unexpected lessons from the experience.

As Dorothy Allison writes in her introduction, “The most dangerous stories are the true ones, the ones we hesitate to tell, the adventures laden with fear or shame or the relentless pull of regret. Some of those are about things that we are secretly deeply proud to have done.”

A diverse array of contributors—mothers, daughters, sisters, best friends, fiancées, divorcees, professors, poets, lifeguards-in-training, lapsed Baptists, tipsy debutantes, middle-aged lesbians—lend their voices to this collection. Introspective and abashed, joyous and triumphant (but almost never apologetic), they remind us that sin, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.


Let me be upfront and tell you that I am a tried and true Yankee. My experience with southern sin is limited to several readings of Gone with the Wind and a college boyfriend who hailed from the great state of Georgia. So let me just say, "Goodness gracious." The heat and humidity must do something to these people!

True, there are several hot and heavy essays on sin of the sexual nature but don't assume this is an anthology of erotica. The surprising part of this anthology is that explores so many other facets of sin. Gluttony, envy, coveting your neighbor's husband. Sin in past centuries, just considering the possibility of sin, the joy of sin, catching a glimpse of another's sin.

Southern Sin contains twenty-three essays that run the gamut of less than virtuous behavior. You'll find yourself rushing through the pages, wondering what's next. But aside from giving you a bit of vicarious thrill at witnessing all this misbehaving, Southern Sin will make you think. What is sin? Is there a universal definition? Is sin different for each person? Considering sin and doing sin...where is the line? Is it a sin to make people feel guilty for the joy they find in life? It's a fascinating subject to consider.

Where to Find More Southern Sin:



One luck reader will win a copy of the anthology Southern Sin. Just enter the Rafflecopter form below to be entered in the drawing.

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Jodi Webb is still toiling away at her writing in between a full-time job, a full-time family and work as a blog tour manager for WOW-Women on Writing. Right now she's looking for blogs to promote Sue William Silverman's memoir The Pat Boone Fan Club and Barbara Barth's debut novel The Danger with Words. You can contact her at [email protected]. For Jodi's take on reading and writing (no 'rithmetic please!) stop by her blog Words by Webb.

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18. April Poetry: Take the Challenge and Get Your Poem Published

April is Poetry Month! Robert Lee Brewer, the Writer’s Digest editor who write the Poetics Aside blog has upped the ante this year with a challenge and the possibility of having your poem included in an anthology.

Each day during April, Brewer will post a poetry prompt on his blog. Your job is to take the challenge and produce a Poem-a-Day–thirty poems during April. If you wish to be considered for the Poem Your Heart Out anthology published by Words Dance Publishing.anthology, you should post the poem in the blog’s comments.

Brewer is recruiting 30 poets as judges for the anthology.

Here’s one of my poems to kick off the month

Sleeping with Foxes


by Darcy Pattison c. 2003 All Rights Reserved

My favorite source of idle talk is from the soccer moms,

weekends, every Saturday.

This is how I go about gathering tidbits:

I set up my collapsible chair near the sideline and sit.

Then, I look through my collection of ears,

choose a robust pair, put them on and lean in close,

as if every word is pure gold and my existence consisted of only

rumor, innuendo, weird stories.

Then I take out my tongue and hold it in my lap.

I do this so that what I hear will be pure,

completely chaste,

uncontaminated by the chatterings of my voice.

One mother tells about her miniature Doberman,

how he jumped onto her bed

in a frenzy, like a mad yellow-jacket.

He didn’t stop until she got up.

She followed him to the living room,

unaware that bizarre things were taking place.

She flipped on the light and looked around

at the fireplace, the couch, the rug.

She had to rub her eyes: the neighbor’s cat

had come through the doggie door and sat on her favorite chair.

In between the cheers for the forward’s great header

and the keeper’s save, another soccer mom says,

That’s nothing, listen to this.

My ears glow red with joy.

I should mention, she says, that I like to watch

TV’s Strangest Home Videos.

I find it hard to ignore the temptation,

the true America.

The program shows extraordinary stories,

like the one about a boy who tells his parents

he sleeps with foxes. They don’t believe it.

The boy is sincerity itself: He insists that he sleeps

with a red fox every night.

After a spell, the parents decide to set up video cameras.

Then, they watch the boring tape until,

just at midnight, at the stroke of midnight,

they see a sly red fox come in the doggie door,

eat the dog food, trot down the hallway,

and jump onto the boy’s bed.

It curls itself around the boy’s head.

The horror-struck parents watch the pair sleep.

When the boy stirs lightly a few hours later, the fox leaves

the way it had come.

Afterward, when the keeper has saved his last goal,

the teams line up to slap hands.

I replace my tongue.

I take off my sullied ears and stow my collection

with my collapsible chair. Then I gather up

my soccer son, his soccer ball, his soccer gear,

and speed through the city,

barely making it through every yellow light.

My radio blares––

country or jazz or rock-and-roll, I don’t know––

And I listen to none of it because

all I hear is my voice rehearsing

the tale of a boy who sleeps with a sly red fox.

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19. Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales Book Review

Title: Rag & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales Edited by: Melissa Marr & Tim Pratt Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication Date: October 22, 2013 ISBN-13: 978-0316212946 368 pp. ARC provided by publisher This anthology of science fiction and fantasy tales is edited by Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt. They challenged 10 other authors to create a short story based upon a

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20. Recuerdo de Leipzig. Review: Dismantle from VONA. On-line Floricanto. Military May.

War Souvenir
Michael Sedano
The 69th Infantry Division fights its way across Germany toward Leipzig, killing soldiers, children, and old men sacrificed to slow Patton's advance while Hitler’s surviving troops fall back to defend Leipzig, the empire’s final bastion. For the rest of his life, killing those people haunts the machine gunner on the Sherman tank named C’est La Guerre.

Two hours before dawn the troops saddle up. Infantry soldiers check their ammo, armored cavalry take their seats in their Sherman tanks. The 777th Tank Battalion will lead the battle. The radio crackles inside C’est La Guerre. “Prepare to move out.” The driver starts the engine, holds the brakes and gooses the pedal. The tank rocks and shakes. “Move out!”

Initial resistance hits them a within a mile from their bivouac. These aren’t kids. C’est La Guerre booms cannon rounds into fortified positions while the machine gunner fires toward the smoke, raising thick clouds of dust and blood. Infantrymen move in to mop up, but by then C’est La Guerre is downrange, advancing on new targets.

Fifteen hours later, C’est La Guerre roars up to the front steps of Leipzig City Hall. The war in Germany is won.

Generals and politicians plan a meet-up between the Russians and the U.S., later deciding to give back with signatures what C’est La Guerre has taken with blood. The tankers of C’est La Guerre don’t know that yet. They’ve been ordered to the rear and park next to a surprisingly undamaged estate.

It seemed years that C’est La Guerre had rumbled past the mansion, but it has been only a few hours. The machine gunner remembers targeting his .30 calibre on the house but not firing a round at the empty home. He is relieved he hasn’t killed children, women, and old men who might have thought themselves concealed and safe behind the easily perforated walls. The machine gunner knows how easily.

The machine gunner walks inside. Rear echelon troops have stripped the home bare. The place stinks from its use as a latrine by soldiers seeking a private place to shit. Some jerk has savaged the household china that now lies shattered across the floor. Shards crackle under his boots, kicking pieces of crystal that tinkle across the rubble glinting like jewels. He shakes his head at the destruction and turns to leave when his eye catches a dim golden glow on a dark shelf. He squats to find two small gold filigree vases, untouched by the pendejo’s mindless destruction. The machine gunner cradles the delicate pieces and carries them to C’est La Guerre.

In 1962, one of the vases hit the floor in Redlands, California. My dad—the machine gunner on C’est La Guerre—shattered, too. I know the outlines of the story, but that day he tells me the story of the vases again, this time in chilling detail, of killing, the final battle, and the dead. He picks up a piece of bronze glass, and looking through it toward the sky, his voice shakes from memory of moonlight shining through bodies machine-gunned on a ridgeline. Niños héroes.

Thoughts of that conversation echo as I packed up my parents’ house. I wrap the surviving vase in soft cloth and place it in a box with mom’s china and crystal. I lose track of that box and dream frequently of the vase, pained by its absence. Yesterday, my daughter finds the bundle of cloth nestled among shattered crystal. She unwraps it and brings the Dresden glass vase into the light again. She sends me a foto, which is all I need; her grandfather wants her to have the vase.

I stare into the bronzeness of its color and hear my dad’s words, “When you get drafted, I hope you don’t go to war.”

Review: Dismantle. An Anthology of Writing from the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop. 
Ed. Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela. Philadelphia, Thread Makes Blanket Press, 2014.
ISBN 978-0-9897474-1-7

Michael Sedano

Unless you are a voracious reader with infinite subscriptions to chapbooks, literary journals and independent publisher lists, there’s likelihood many of the authors anthologized in Dismantle: An Anthology of Writing from the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop, will be unknown. It’s not a pity, because now, owing to this book, readers enjoy in a single cover, access to dozens of new writers who have been waiting up to fourteen years for you to find them.

In other words, Dismantle is a cornucopia of lost or hidden talent brought to light in this outstanding collection of compilations from VONA’s fourteen years of workshopping dedicated to developing writers-of-color. But The New makes the reviewer’s task all the more challenging. The book’s plethora of sparkling new voices and undiscovered poems and stories draw blood in a struggle to highlight one or two over all the others.

Then again, it’s the nature of anthologies that everything in one has already been chosen, in the process of winnowing submissions to the published few. For Dismantle, those choices fall to Poetry Editor Andrea Walls, Nonfiction Editor Adriana Ramirez, and Fiction Editors Camille Acker and Marco Fernando Navarro.

There is one name, and chapter, that, it seems, everyone knows. Junot Díaz’ introductory essay, on the whiteness of MFA programs, raised a social media ruckus when it went viral. One pendejo went to Díaz-the-MIT-Professor’s assigned readings and trumpeted the lack of writers of color Díaz assigns, implying hypocrisy because the list overwhelmingly includes anglo writers. Other gente picked up the unbearable whiteness theme sympathetically, chiming in from all corners of the MFA globe, “mine is/was too white!” and "that's why I quit the program."

Most agree with Díaz thesis, that VONA offers welcome change and opportunity.

Other than Díaz, many of the 47 published writers may be names you see in print for the first time. Eighteen of the writers are reprinted, including three from big publishers, Norton (Maaza Mengiste), and Houghton Mifflin (Minal Hajratwala and Justin Torres).  And, upon reading the contributor bios, it’s a safe assumption Dismantle won’t be accused of being “too white.” Like the Spanish-surnamed, most writers carry what appear to be WOC names (writers of color), viz., Vanessa Mártir, teri elam, Vibiana Aparicio-Chamberlin, Kimberly Alidio, Jennifer De Leon, Ky-Phong Tran, David Mura, David Maduli, Kenji Liu.

There’s a familiar principle in panels of public speakers and anthologies, Primacy and Recency. Primacy, the first person to speak or the first piece in a collection, sets the standard for those who follow. An editor would want as the lead piece something that draws readers to turn the page. The last piece will be a capstone, the final impression one takes away from the event or the book. Those are the best two spots for performers, and could be effective as a strategy for anthologies.

The principles aren’t effectively employed. Editor Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela runs her Preface after Díaz’ Introduction. Fortunately, Johnson-Valenzuela limits herself to a pair of pages, but coming hard upon Junot Díaz’ nine page diatribe, the anthology gets off to a clunky start. I’d forego the Preface in favor of an Afterword, thus allowing the selections to speak for themselves, then closing the collection with the editor’s validation of her work.

Dismantle kicks off with poetry, a stinging piece of subdued anger from Torrie Valentine, “To the white woman on the plane who doesn’t understand my discomfort when she asks if she can touch my hair”. It's a fabulous kick-off.

Valentine explores the titular white woman’s motive, seeing her not as a curious bigot but as a person of possibilities, not phenotypes.

What will you do now
your hands in the dark thick of my hair
tracing the spine of a curl.
Your sleeve brushing my face.
If I were your lover I would begin
to undress you, unbutton your blouse
the warmth of you suddenly there.
And you surprised at how easily we give in,
search my eyes for something
more than your face
something more than you
fingering a coil near my ear.

The final literary piece—there are bios, credits, an afterword, too--is likewise a poem, “To My Future Son” by Kenji Liu. A father’s wish for a son’s manhood describes the desperate struggle a first-generation immigrant sees, a scion trapped between two worlds, lured by the glitz and ubiquity of the new world that devalues the father’s in favor of a reductio ad anglo.

inside concrete, men spin and flex
like WWF wrestlers, hollow and fearsome
and always performing. son, you do not have
to empty yourself like them, fists squeezed
so tightly your tenderness becomes
a sickness, constricted and hard
in your liver. this is the price
of manhood, to be a stone quivering
inside an egg. you will be told
to choose from a stir fried lineup
of kung fu gangsters, dumb-asses and
anti-sexy uncle tongs. these are men
made from the politics of other men
who only worship themselves.
if you choose manhood, many
will reward you, but really, who wants
to be a plastic action figure, muscular
yet with only one move: a head slam?

The poem fittingly closes the anthology with reminders its subject matter is not your standard Unitedstatesian literary array, but products of thoughtful writers who have assessed the consequences of multiculturalism and see them clearly, in writing. Liu might as well be addressing his fellow writers in advocating a person remain constant in their self-reliance, therein finding personal resources to become a man of his gente, or a writer for diversity. It's the core principle of VONA workshops.

Writers and readers can learn more about VONA workshops and the organization’s goals at www.voicesatvona.org. “VONA/Voices, the only multi-genre workshop for writers of color in the nation, brings writers of color from the margins to a community where their work is centralized and honored. Join us at the University of California, Berkeley for a week of writing workshops.”

On-line Floricanto

In the four years La Bloga has run the popular On-line Floricanto series, this is my favorite poem.

Appreciate Your Military Month

May is "National Military Appreciation Month," capped off with Memorial Day to remember the killing and the dead.

Remember? My Dad could never forget them. And his wish came true, I was drafted and did not go to Vietnam.

Who the heck wants to see their children go to war?

From this Veteran's perspective, if politicians genuinely want to appreciate the military, Bring the troops home now, every one from everywhere. Provide good jobs for Veterans, and reform the Veterans Administration to care for our wounded children and parents.

The machine gunner's wish: his son did not go to war when he was drafted.

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21. Out Soon On Kindle!

Final editing underway then ‘Unlucky For Some’ will be released on Kindle. Here you will find 13 short, macabre, Twist in the Tale stories better read with the light on, and not alone. You have been warned. This book is definitely NOT for children. Watch this space…

Unlucky For Some_Final

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22. Women In Nature Books: Call For Submissions

Women in Nature: An Anthology, is the first book in the WIN-Women in Nature Series.  The WIN series are collections of stories from women all across the North American continent… and beyond!  These are true stories about the varied ways in which these women relate to ‘nature’ and our natural environment.  Each book also contains complete chapters by prominent and passionate women, experienced in related aspects of ‘nature’.  Subsequent WIN books will include: WIN on Dwelling; WIN on Indigenous Ways; WIN on Food, WIN on Adventure; WIN on Water;  WIN on Healing; WIN on Children; and more!


We have received some amazing stories for our first WIN – Women in Nature book.   

We are looking for good fun engaging stories!  Inspiring, uplifting, adventurous, funny, stories … of your relationship with ‘nature’!


CALL FOR  Your True Nature Stories!!!



From wilderness living to urban gardening, we want your personal stories that reflect a transforming or transcending connection to ‘nature’.  We are looking for stories that can open our perspectives conceptually, or ‘show us how’ to do something experientially.  We’re talking about living with the earth, not on her.  How do women connect with nature, and the reciprocal and essential relationship with the earth and all that is in it?


  1. Your story must be true.
  2. Your story should be told in first person
  3. Good quality writing is as essential to your story, as is your story.
  4. Your story should relate to a personal experience that then translates into insight, advice, creative ideas, or transcending awareness!
  5. Your (funny, somber, endearing, emotional or otherwise) story should be between 750 – 2000 words
  6. If your story is chosen, you will be given author exposure, as well as varied options for compensation including copies of the book, discounts, (and other monetary and non-monetary rewards to be further specified.)
  7. We are currently accepting stories from women (as this is a women’s anthology) from ages 18 and on…. however, we are open to stories from men… about women.

Submissions should include: Your story and a brief (50 word) author bio..


The objective of the WIN – Women in Nature on Food book, is to generate an awareness of the food we eat, where it comes from, and how what we eat affects all life on this planet.
We are looking for your true stories about food, particularly stories that celebrate sustainable and organic food and food sources as they relate to our natural environment.  We also welcome stories that reflect the emotional relationship humans have with food, as well as stories that encourage an awareness of connection.


SUBMIT YOUR STORIES ON FOOD TO    [email protected]     DEADLINE foe submissions 1 September 2014


The objective of the WIN – Women in Nature on Adventure book is to encourage awareness, respect and intimacy as we seek out adventure.  We are looking for your true stories about your adventures in, and more significantly ‘with’, nature.  Adventures – hiking, climbing, deep sea diving, dog sledding, kayaking, spelunking, wilderness research, horseback riding, swimming, mountaineering, skiing, surfing – can unfortunately sometimes become an activity of disregard and disrespect.  We are looking for experiences that celebrate and appreciate the beauty and awe of the natural environment – and instill an intimacy and awareness of reciprocity – while experiencing all of the challenges, adventures, and inspiration nature has to offer!


SUBMIT YOUR STORIES ON ADVENTURE TO    [email protected]      DEADLINE foe submissions 1 September 2014
The objective of the WIN – Women in Nature on Children book is to encourage the engagement of children with the natural environment, and to nurture an understanding of their existential and intimate relationship with all living things. We are looking for your true stories about children and their relationship with nature. We welcome stories about your childhood experiences in nature, as well as stories about getting children into nature, and your experiences observing children in nature. All stories should move beyond children merely playing an activity outdoors and should focus on the interaction with nature.
[email protected]       DEADLINE for submissions 1 September 2014
The objective of the WIN – Women in Nature on Healing book is to encourage an understanding of our reciprocal relationship with the nature, and how the health of the earth and our own health are intimately intertwined.  We are looking for your true stories about healing, both the healing of nature and how nature heals us.  This includes both physical and emotional healing through anything from plants and animals, to the healing power of simply being in nature’s bliss.

SUBMIT YOUR STORIES ON HEALING TO    [email protected]        DEADLINE foe submissions 1 October 2014

GENERAL – For stories that do not fit into any of the above categories, please submit through our standard contact form below.
And, watch for more WIN titles and varying submission deadlines.

IDEAS… to get you started
We are looking for any  personal story that connects you to ‘nature’.organic or urban gardening  FOOD
foraging for wild edibles  FOOD
camping under the stars  ADVENTURE
live trapping bugs and setting them free outside
kayaking and white water rafting  ADVENTURE
rock climbing and mountaineering  ADVENTURE
nurturing a wounded critter  HEALING
painting your house with natural pigments  DWELLING
natural everday living stuff  CHILDREN
hiking and backpacking  ADVENTURE
mushrooming  FOOD
natural horseback riding  ADVENTURE
collecting rainwater  FOOD
passive solar heating  DWELLING/ENERGY
getting fire from friction  DWELLING/ENERGY
building a natural shelter  DWELLING
cooking on an open fire  FOOD
hunting and fishing  FOOD/CHILDREN
creating an outdoor labyrinth  HEALING
braintanning hides  DWELLING
working with animals  ANIMALS/HEALING
water – rivers, snow, streams, oceans  WATER/HEALING
shearing and spinning wool  ANIMALS/DWELLING
teaching children about nature  CHILDREN
research field work  ADVENTURE/HEALING
building a sweatliodge  HEALING
sleeping outside on your back deck  CHILDREN

etc…. etc
A story about anything that
connects you
to the earth!

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Author, Book, need to know, opportunity, Places to sumit Tagged: Anthology, Book Series, Call for Submissions, Get published opportunity, Women in Nature

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23. SPX: Hana Doki Kira – A Beautiful Homage to Shōjo


by Zachary Clemente

photo main SPX: Hana Doki Kira   A Beautiful Homage to Shōjo

While at SPX this year, I was able to grab a quick word with seven amazing cartoonists about their work in Hana Doki Kira, a Shōjo comic and illustration anthology released earlier this year after a rather successful Kickstarter campaign. Not only filled with gorgeous work inspired by Shōjo – a sub-genre of manga covering a wide variety of subjects, often with a strong focus on human and romantic relationships. As the anthology itself describes:

Shōjo is known for its distinctive use of flowery imagery, magical plot devices, and romantic themes. Out book takes its title from three key elements of the Shōjo world: Hana meaning flower, Doki echoing the sound of a pounding heart, and Kira – the impression of sparkling beauty.

Contributors to Hana Doki Kira in attendance at SPX were: Alice Meichi Li, Carey Pietsch, Kris Mukai, Megan Brennan, Rebecca Mock, Tim Ferrara, and Annie Stoll – who served as “art director” on the project. I asked each their introduction to Shōjo, how it has influenced their work, and what working on an anthology was like.

captiverosesalice SPX: Hana Doki Kira   A Beautiful Homage to Shōjo

Captive of the Roses by Alice Meichi Li

One of the most popular and influential Shōjo series, Sailor Moon was named as a gateway for many not only into the genre, but into comics in general.

When I was very young, one of my babysitters introduced me to Sailor Moon and at the time I had a serious need for stories about ladies and stories about girls who are fully-realized characters who got to be silly and dumb and got to express their wants and needs; but also be powerful and have agency in their own world. That started a life-long love affair. [...] I love stories about girls, about things girls love by women – it’s a wonderful thing. – Carey Pietsch

Megan Brennan: I wasn’t really into comics until some of my friends started reading Sailor Moon and other Shōjo comics and I realized that comics could be something completely different and I connected with it [Shōjo] really strongly. It was the only comics I read for a really long time because it was telling these stories I couldn’t get elsewhere; girls were the main characters, girl-things were important, and the things they cared would we life-changing and monumental; it was great. – Megan Brennan

Someone handed me Sailor Moon volume 10 in middle school at a school dance; I sat down, read the whole thing, my life was changed forever and I never looked back. – Rebecca Mock

It’s an understatement that there’s a drought in comics for stories starring or aimed at girls and it seems that many readers left wanted found what they needed in Shōjo such as Sailor Moon. Though he didn’t interact directly with Shōjo until later, Tim Ferrara remarked on how it informs his current work:

I didn’t actually grow up reading Shōjo; it was always a genre I thought should exist but I never knew that it did. [...] I’m glad it exists; it’s a needed genre – especially here in the States where we don’t have a lot of things that are representative for that demographic. – Tim Ferrara

janet sung 1000x839 SPX: Hana Doki Kira   A Beautiful Homage to Shōjo

Art by Janet Sung

Each artist is influenced or at least informed by Shōjo, many in the depiction of specific themes or use of ornate illustration.

There’s a lot of tropes that I use – a lot of decorative elements, lots of flowers, lots of sparkly things. [...] I also focus a lot on the clothing design and the hair. In Shōjo manga, there’s always beautiful, gorgeous, flowing hair. I love putting that in my art. – Alice Meichi Li

An untranslated copy of Candy Candy volume 10 was one of the earliest comics that I read and absorbed – and since I couldn’t read it, all I could do was look at their facial expressions and try to understand what was going on through the artwork alone. [...] One of the earliest things I learned from that was how to do was how to convey an emotion in a comic. – Kris Mukai

I think the themes and the beautiful linework have always been a big influence on me. My style is very sketchy and bold – you might think I would be more drawn to Shōnen, but there’s something beautiful about personal relationships as well as flowing lines that have always captured my heart. You may not think I’m a very Shōjo-inspired person, but I’m always thinking about beautiful lines and interesting stories. – Annie Stoll

It’s easy to latch onto the evocative beauty of how the work, but the influence Shōjo has had goes beyond that – granting an underserved readership access a necessary more.

It’s made me more conscious of writing all characters with agency; that’s something Shōjo manga does well – expanding beyond a traditional, mainstream narrative. I think some of the aesthetic seeps into my work too, I’m a fan of expressive faces and the ability to show emotion very clearly. – Carey Pietsch

It was a way for me to connect with comics. There’s a void in comics. [...] There’s comics for young kids and comics for young adults; but theres a gap there for pre-teens and young teens; there aren’t comics that speak to them and specifically not a lot of American comics that speak to girls. Shōjo fills that void, even if it’s cultural appropriation. These comics are coming from Japan – it’s an entirely different culture, we don’t really understand it, but even then there’s something there that we connect to viscerally and you can see how much they’ve caught on in a culture that they weren’t made for; there was such a hunger for that kind of comic. – Rebecca Mock

joyce lee SPX: Hana Doki Kira   A Beautiful Homage to Shōjo

Art by Joyce Lee

Lastly, I was happy to hear that all were pleased with the process of working towards an anthology and though many only had the responsibility of working on their own pieces, they came together and pulled off the project with aplomb, befitting an homage a spectrum of manga.

I do participate in a lot of anthologies; I take it as a way of making new friends. I love getting to know new artists and just getting to be part of that group is an honor. – Alice Meichi Li

It was so cool seeing the final book come together because everybody else’s stories fit together but they were all so different. You could see completely different perspectives of the same basic ideas. – Megan Brennan

It was at times exhilarating; we felt very powerful with all the possibilities available to us. At other times, it was very stressful because we were taking on a huge responsibility for no reason other than we sat down one day and decided we wanted to do this. We had to commit to this idea that you just come up with without any set due date, nobody backing you; it was really empowering to know that we were able to create something from nothing. – Rebecca Mock

It was so much fun; we really lucked out with Rebecca [Mock] and Annie [Stoll], and the Year 85 Group is so wonderful. It was so excited to get to see other artists talk about their themes and show sneak-peaks of their process along the way, and they did a wonderful job putting it all together. – Carey Pietsch

It was good having that initial group of six people who were really interested in helping out; everyone had a very unique job or position – it was a little bit like a Shōjo manga honestly. [...] It was a really good balance of personalities that all worked together – it never felt like a competition. – Annie Stoll

On the actual process of putting together the Hana Doki Kira anthology, Stoll described how it was born out of love for Shōjo.

There was a core six of us who hung out and drew and once we realized that we all loved Shōjo manga and started talking about making some kind of anthology. We ended up structuring it kind of like a pyramid scheme where each of us would invite two or three more people into it, so before you knew it, we had 26 amazing artists that were all making new friends and talking about Shōjo. – Annie Stoll

Stoll is a seasoned veteran in the world of comic anthologies, contributing in the astronomically successful Valor campaign, actively working on the second volume of Hana Doki Kira, and launching an extraordinarily ambitious project, 1001 Knights - a people-positive, feminist bent collection, aimed at making a tome of illustrations, comics, and unconventional art representing no less than 1001 characters.

hdkgif SPX: Hana Doki Kira   A Beautiful Homage to Shōjo

Here is the full list of the Hana Doki Kira contributing artists: Aimee Fleck, Alex Bahena, Alice U. Cheong, Alice Meichi Li, Anna Rose, Annie Stoll, Becca Hillburn, Carey PIetsch, Catarina Sarmento, Catherine, Chelsie Sutherland, Elisa Lau, Endy, Janet Sung, Kaitlin Reid, Kelly / Hkezza, Kris Mukai, Lindsay Cannizzaro, Megan Brennan, Rebecca Mock, Sarah O’Donell, Shelly Rodriquez, Sloane Leong, Stefanie Morin, and Tim Ferrara. For more, check out their Facebook and Tumblr pages!

1 Comments on SPX: Hana Doki Kira – A Beautiful Homage to Shōjo, last added: 10/1/2014
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24. Three excellent anthologies for children

The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales, edited by Peter Friend, Eileen Mueller, and A.J. Ponder, illus. Geoff Popham, Phantom Feather Press ([email protected])

Short story anthologies for children are rare beasts in New Zealand these days, so congratulations to the team who put this one together. With a bright, attractive cover, this book offers 31 stories with a Christmas theme written by authors ranging from some very well-known names (such as David Hill and Joy Cowley) to writers who are still working on getting that first novel published. As always with an anthology it’s a real pot-pourri of stories with something for everyone – humour, fantasy, animals, and family-themed stories being the favourites. There’s a moving retelling of the nativity story; several funny tales about Santa and his helpers; a handful of spooky stories with ghosts and other nasties; and a whole bunch of plots revolving round Christmas trees, fairies, and presents. My favourite is Darian Smith’s Albert and the Christmas Fairy. Greedy Albert puts his name on the labels of all the presents under the tree – but someone magical is watching him and he learns his lesson the hard way…

Some of the stories have a more advanced style and/or theme, so I’d recommend this book for children of about 8 to 12, both girls and boys. It’s a good holiday read that deserves a place under the Christmas tree… Sales will support the Muscular Dystrophy Association of NZ. It’s available from good New Zealand bookshops and from Amazon, and is also published as an e-book.

ISBN 978 0 9941155 0 8 $22 Pb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

You Tube Book Trailer here

Other Anthologies that have been published this year include:

New Zealand Bedtime Treasury

Find much-loved stories and poems by New Zealand's well-known authors and illustrators. Delve between the covers to find classic stories by Lynley Dodd, Bob Darroch, Margaret Mahy, Gwenda Turner, Patricia Grace, Pamela Allen and Peter Gossage; charming illustrations by Robyn Belton, Carl Bland, Jenny Williams, Robyn Kahukiwa and Gabriella Klepatski; plus gentle bedtime poems from James K. Baxter, Peter Bland, Ruth Dallas, Joy Cowley, Katherine Mansfield and Rosalyn Wyatt.

ISBN: 9780143308379 $45 Hb

Stories for 6 Year Olds

Especially chosen for 6 year olds, this is a light and fun collection of excellent children's stories. They are written by some of New Zealand's leading writers for children such as Margaret Mahy, David Hill and Barbara Else, as well as other seasoned and up-and-coming writers. These stories are perfect to read aloud, plus they are also great for those children who reading on their own. With a variety of topics and an emphasis on humour, this will become a much-loved collection for New Zealand children as well as those from further afield.

ISBN:  9781775536123  $19.99 Pb

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25. Back This: ‘Moonshot’ – The Indigenous Comics Collection from Alternative History

by Zachary Clemente

moonshot1 Back This: Moonshot   The Indigenous Comics Collection from Alternative History

Original painting by Stephen Gladue.

Kickstarter has been the way for me to find new comic projects and boy am I glad to have come across this project. Moonshot from Alternative History Comics and edited by Hope Nicholson, is a 200 page collection of short stories from Indigenous creators across North America showcasing the rich heritage and identity of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis storytelling. Comics fan have been advocating for unique voices and creators in comics; now is a great time to show your support and back this project!

Here are some of the fantastic creators in Moonshot:

Claude St-Aubin (R.E.B.E.L.S., Green Lantern, Captain Canuck), Jeffery Veregge (G.I. Joe, Judge Dredd), Stephen Gladue (MOONSHOT cover artist), Haiwei Hou (Two Brothers),Nicholas Burns (Arctic Comics, Curse of Chucky, Super Shamou), Scott B. Henderson (Man to Man, Tales from Big Spirit), Jon Proudstar (Tribal Force), George Freeman (Captain Canuck, Aquaman, Batman), Mark Shainblum (Northguard, Corum: The Bull and The Spear),Elizabeth LaPensee (Survivance, The Nature of Snakes, Fala), Buffy Sainte-Marie (Fire & Fleet & Candlelight, Coincidence & Likely Stories), Richard Van Camp (Path of the Warrior, Kiss Me Deadly), Ryan Huna Smith (Tribal Force), David Robertson (The Evolution of Alice, Stone), Steve Sanderson (Darkness Calls, Journey of the Healer), Michael Yahgulanaas (RED), Michael Sheyahshe (Native Americans in Comic Books, Dark Owl), David Cutler (The Northern Guard), and more!

From the Kickstarter page:

Moonshot will be printed as a 200 page, full colour, high quality volume showcasing a wide variety of stories and artistic styles, highlighting the complex identity of indigenous culture from across North America. Most of the original stories created exclusively for this volume are between 5-10 pages, including pinup art and prose passages.

The traditional stories presented in Moonshot are with the permission from the elders in their respective communities, making this a truly genuine, never-before-seen publication!

moonshot2 Back This: Moonshot   The Indigenous Comics Collection from Alternative History

“Water Spirit” by Haiwei Hou.

Complete with exciting rewards, including beautiful stamps (mail from Canada only) from artist Jeffrey Veregge, prints, and a special hardcover edition, Moonshot is definitely a project to back, even if only to add to the growing part of your bookshelf for Kickstarted comics.

Take a look at MOONSHOT and find out more about Alternative History Comics.

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