Fiction River: A subscription drive for a new era

It’s a Brave New World out there. In the old days, publishers would pepper us with requests to subscribe to their magazines, including email reminders, return address cards, etc.

WMG Publishing, the folks who publish the Fiction River Anthology Series among other wonderful books, have decided on another route for their subscription drive. Since they went with a Kickstarter campaign to fund the debut of the series, they’re going back to Kickstarter for their subscription drive. The incentives they’re offering are enticing–everything from a free e-copy of one of the first ten volumes to the right to choose the theme of an upcoming anthology and the opportunity to co-edit it with Dean Wesley Smith who, with Kristine Kathryn Rusch, is the series editor. In between those extremes is a wonderful array of workshops, subscriptions and books by almost all of the contributors to Fiction River anthologies.

As for the connection to moi, two of my print novels are being offered as incentives: Kirwan’s Son and Backli’s Ford, as well as one of my e-books.

Check it out here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/403649867/fiction-river-subscription-drive?ref=discovery

FR Moonscapes ebook cover webKirwan's Son front coverBackli cover-POD-Dube name-REV

Let them dig a wider hole

child at streamOn the wall above my writing desk, I have three foot-square cork tiles. On these tiles are pinned postcards, greeting cards, covers, cards that accompanied flowers, images, framed artwork—anything and everything that provides inspiration anytime I lift my gaze from the writing computer.

Prominent among this collage are a bunch of sayings. One of my favourites is “DARE TO BE BAD,” which is something Dean Wesley Smith and Nina Kiriki Hoffman would say to encourage each other to write and finish a story a week. Dean explains it better here.

That’s not why I put it up on my inspiration board, however. I read “DARE TO BE BAD” as permission to take risks rather than the safe route in my writing. So what if I risk writing something bad? It could also turn out to be wonderful and I wouldn’t know if I didn’t take the chance.

Another writer I admire, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, encourages writers to “WRITE LIKE A TWO-YEAR-OLD,” by which she means we should write as if we don’t care what polite society says. A two-year-old doesn’t care that society says you must go around clothed. She’ll take her clothes off if she feels like it. Or wear a tutu if she wants to. She doesn’t care about “appropriate.” A two-year-old doesn’t give two hoots about what adults want. She hasn’t figured out that she has to play nice in order to be liked. There’s no filter. All of that comes as she grows up. Writers have to be like that two-year-old and not even take into consideration what society wants. We have to write what’s in us to write and to hell with the rest. We have to be fearless.

One saying has been up on my wall for a while now, and I kept staring at it, wondering why I had put it up. It reads:

LET THEM DIG A WIDER HOLE

I know it meant something when I put it up there. I had a vague recollection that it had to do with graves and being overweight, but really, that wasn’t much of a clue. Finally, the other day, I googled it and found the article I’d read that inspired me to put it up in a prominent position.

In 2002, Jennifer Crusie wrote a column for Romance Writers Report entitled “A Writer without a Publisher is Like a Fish without a Bicycle: Writer’s Liberation and You.”

In the article (you should read it; it’s very good) she refers to a novel by… oh, what the heck, I’ll just quote directly from her article:

“This was beautifully illustrated in a Gail Parent novel from the seventies called Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York. As Parent chronicles her heroine’s increasingly manic attempts to attract a husband, whiny Sheila becomes more and more unattractive to both men and the reader. Then something wonderful happens: Sheila decides to kill herself. In exactly one year, she vows, she’s going to commit suicide. In the meantime, she’s going to live life her way. She’s going to stop dressing uncomfortably and laughing inanely and just be herself. In fact, since she’s going to die anyway, she’s even going to stop dieting: the hell with it, Sheila says, “Let them dig a wider hole.” And ironically and inevitably, men flock to her. I can’t promise that publishers will flock to us if we stop trying to get published, but I can testify that making “Let them dig a wider hole” my mantra has paid off well for me.”

The point Crusie is making in her article is that writers should abandon writing for publication as a goal, and just write for themselves.

I love the line “let them dig a wider hole.” Don’t you? I can’t stop thinking about it. It encapsulates everything I wish for myself as a writer. I want to be bigger than the sum of my upbringing and my hang ups. I want to transcend my fears (oh, I can’t write that—what if my mother/boss/neighbours read it?) and dare to be bad. I want to let my inner two-year-old writer out.

So here’s to being fearless and getting out of our own way. May we become better writers for it.

Originally published on Not Your Usual Suspects, July 21, 2014.

 

The Verdant Gene

FR Moonscapes ebook cover webI may have died and gone to Heaven. The Fiction River anthology: Moonscapes has just been released and my short story, “The Verdant Gene,” is in it. Not only am I chuffed to have made it into a Fiction River anthology, but I am humbled at the company my story will be keeping there: Annie Reed, Steven Mohan, Jr., Scott William Carter, Kristine Kathryn Rusch… and that’s just to name a few.

Here’s the blurb:

We all look up at the moon and wonder. And maybe dream. For centuries, the moon  filled our imaginations. Eleven professional writers took those dreams and set  original stories on moons scattered all over the galaxy. Yet, as the dreams of centuries, every story holds a human touch. From a mythical man fulfilling a
childhood wish to a fantastic addition to Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s bestselling Retrieval Artist series, this volume of Fiction River allows you to travel to eleven different moons without leaving the comfort of home.

Fiction River is an original fiction anthology series. Modeled on successful anthology
series of the past, from Orbit to Universe to Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, the goal of Fiction River is to provide a forum for “original ground-breaking fiction of all genres.”

For more information on the Fiction River anthologies, visit: FictionRiver.com

Moonscapes is available as an ebook and as a trade paperback from regular retailers including: amazon.com, amazon.ca, barnesandnoble.com, kobo, chapters

Praise for Marcelle Dubé mystery short stories

Oh, be still my foolish heart. Kristine Kathryn Rusch named two of my mystery shorts in her November recommended reading list:

Lincoln City BluesLincoln City Blues (amazon | kobo | smashwords)

“Marcelle is one of the most charming mystery writers I know. She writes deceptively quiet stories that have a real bite to them. I first read this story in a workshop, and still remember it years later. It’s a classic mystery, which starts with a woman walking into an office, and one you’ll remember for a long time as well.”

McKell's Christmas coverMcKell’s Christmas (amazon | kobo | smashwords)

“McKell, a cop in Manitoba, finally gets a Christmas Eve off. He has dinner with his girlfriend’s friends. One friend brings a new boyfriend, and tensions rise—just not in the way you’d expect. The Canadian setting is real, the mystery is fascinating, and the characters excellent. Pick this one up.”

These recommendations are especially thrilling for me as I am such a fan of Kristine Rusch’s stories. If you haven’t read her in her various incarnations (Kris DeLake, Kristine Dexter, Kristine Grayson, Kris Nelscott), you are in for a treat. She writes everything from the Retrieval Artist series (science fiction) to the Smokey Dalton series (historical mystery).

WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION

From the Not Your Usual Suspects blog post August 7, 2013:

Most people take vacations to rest. They go to the cottage, a resort or the beach to unwind and relax.

On my vacations, I go to writers’ workshops in Lincoln City on the beautiful Oregon coast. And there’s nothing restful or relaxing about ‘em.

I’ve just returned from the latest one. It was an eight-day “Advanced Master Writing and Business Seminar” and it was—bar none—the most mind-blowing business experience I’ve had as a professional writer. Some of the topics we covered included:

  • Selling to traditional publishers in the new world
  • Copyright law and contract law for fiction writers
  • Cash streams and cash flow for writers
  • Accounting for writers
  • Advanced audio training for audio books
  • How to sell short fiction to traditional publishers
  • Advanced cover design

The main instructors were Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Scott William Carter. They were aided by Christina F. York, accountant by day and mystery novelist by night (writing as Christy Fifield and Christy Evans); Jane Kennedy, writer and audiobook producer for WMG Publishing; Allyson Longuiera, publisher of WMG Publishing and professional graphic designer; Lee Allred, writer and all-around cool guy; Matt Buchman, who writes fabulous military romances and was a Project Manager in a previous life; and a surprise guest speaker, Mark Lefebvre, who writes fiction under the name Mark Leslie and whose day job is Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations, Kobo Inc. I mean, how cool is that?

Weeping Woman We had the wonderful Sheldon Mcarthur, owner of North by Northwest Books in Lincoln City, who not only submitted to an interview with Dean Smith about how a bookstore owner does business with an independent publisher (including writers who publish their own books), but who also hosted a group book signing at his store, which included me and my two books, The Tuxedoed Man and The Weeping Woman.

Not only did we learn a lot from the formal presenters, we learned a lot from each other, too. We were over 30 participants from all over the U.S. and Canada, not to mention the United Kingdom and Germany. I was seated between two fabulous writers, Karen Abrahamson and Annie Reed, both of whom are well published, experienced and very generous with their knowledge.

Can you see why this was exhausting? I filled two notebooks and by the end of the week, I felt like information had to be shoehorned into my brain because it was already so full.

And to top it all off, the participants were invited to submit two short stories for consideration for two Fiction River anthologies edited by Dean Wesley Smith, and he bought my story for the Moonscapes one!

I left Oregon buzzing with ideas, information and plans. And in spite of the fact that it was very tiring and that no lying about on the beach took place, the writer in me is refreshed and recharged, ready to roar!

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