Story spotlight: “An Idol for Emiko” by Travis Heermann


 
In 17th-century Japan, Emiko has always been an outcast in her fishing village. When strange coins wash up on the shore near Emiko’s fishing village, she is the only one who resists the wave of greed overtaking everyone she has ever known. How long can she resist the pressure from her neighbors and from her own poverty? How can she protect her son from the half-seen forms that now lurk in the nearby sea?
 
 
 
 
“An Idol for Emiko” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.
 


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Freelance writer, novelist, award-winning screenwriter, editor, poker player, poet, biker, roustabout, Travis Heermann is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and the author of The Ronin Trilogy, Rogues of the Black Fury, and co-author of Death Wind, plus short fiction pieces in anthologies and magazines such as Apex Magazine, Alembical, the Fiction River anthology series, Historical Lovecraft, and Cemetery Dance’s Shivers VII. As a freelance writer, he has produced a metric ton of role-playing game work both in print and online, including the Firefly Roleplaying Game, Battletech, Legend of Five Rings, d20 System, and the MMORPG, EVE Online.

He has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, a Master of Arts in English, and teaches science fiction literature at the University of Nebraska Omaha. He has presented workshops on writing and publishing at the Odyssey Writing Workshop, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Pike’s Peak Writers Conference, and Colorado Gold Writers Conference, and regularly appears at conventions across the U.S.

He enjoys cycling, martial arts, torturing young minds with otherworldly ideas, and monsters of every flavor, especially those with a soft, creamy center. He has three long-cherished dreams: a produced screenplay, a NYT best-seller, and a seat in the World Series of Poker.

In 2016, he returned to the U.S. after living in New Zealand for a year with his family, toting more Middle Earth souvenirs and photos than is reasonable.


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Story spotlight: “The Black Marker at the End of Time” by Ron Collins


 
 
A lone figure walks a desolate beach. Heart cold and worn. Gun empty.

Behind him the war of all wars destroys humankind. Before him lies the ocean.

Cold. Harsh. Vast. Ageless.
 
 
 
 
 
“The Black Marker at the End of Time” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.
 


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Ron Collins is an Amazon best-selling Dark Fantasy author who writes across the spectrum of speculative fiction.

His latest science fiction series, Stealing the Sun is available from Skyfox publishing.

His fantasy series Saga of the God-Touched Mage reached #1 on Amazon’s bestselling dark fantasy list in the UK and #2 in the US. His short fiction has received a Writers of the Future prize and a CompuServe HOMer Award. His short story “The White Game” was nominated for the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2016 Derringer Award.

He has contributed a hundred or so short stories to professional publications such as Analog, Asimov’s, and several other magazines and anthologies (including several editions of the Fiction River Anthology Series).

He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and has worked to develop avionics systems, electronics, and information technology before chucking it all to write full-time–which he now does from his home in the shadows of the Santa Catalina Mountains.


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Story spotlight: “Flower Faeries” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch


 
Funeral directors deal with everything at a funeral, but only a few must handle an influx of flower fairies. Or worse: the arrival of a flower fairy child, alone and unsupervised.

Flower fairies are unpredictable…except when they get angry. And then they become terrifying.

So, what will they do if they think one of their children faces danger?
 
 
“Flower Faeries” is in The Faerie Summer collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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New York Times bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes in almost every genre. Generally, she uses her real name (Rusch) for most of her writing. Under that name, she publishes bestselling science fiction and fantasy, award-winning mysteries, acclaimed mainstream fiction, controversial nonfiction, and the occasional romance. Her novels have made bestseller lists around the world and her short fiction has appeared in eighteen best of the year collections. She has won more than twenty-five awards for her fiction, including the Hugo, Le Prix Imaginales, the Asimov’s Readers Choice award, and the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Choice Award.


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Story spotlight: “The Queen of May” by Linda Jordan


Sivli, a dryad, senses a deep imbalance in Faerie. Earth energy wanes and the world of Faerie drifts dangerously off-kilter.

With a plan in mind, Silvi decides she must be May Queen. To beat the sylphs in finding the first hawthorn blossoms of summer.

She feels driven to save the day.

This world bursts with an earthy, yet fantastical vision of Faerie.

 
“The Queen of May” is in The Faerie Summer collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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Linda Jordan writes fascinating characters, visionary worlds and imaginative fiction. She believes in the powers of healing and transformation.

She’s fascinated by nature’s peculiarities, mythology and spirituality, what makes humans (and aliens) tick, political systems and the creation of music and art. She loves including all this and more in her stories.

In another lifetime, Linda coordinated the Clarion West Writers Workshop as well as the Reading Series for two years. She also spent four years as Chair of the Board of Directors during Clarion West’s formative period. She’s worked many other jobs, more than she cares to count. Eventually, she fled the city to live out among the tall cedars.

She lives in the rainy wilds of Washington state with her husband, daughter, four cats, a cluster of koi and an infinite number of slugs and snails.


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Story spotlight: “The Jaws of the Manō” by Chuck Heintzelman


Kaikala longed to leave her island and visit far-away lands. She wanted to see the exotic places described by warriors around the nightly campfires.

But only warriors left the island. Girls could not be warriors.

When a strange man washes up on the beach, she finally gets her wish for adventure.

And she learns BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.
 
 
 
“The Jaws of the Manō” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.
 


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Chuck writes quirky short stories, usually with some sort of fantastical element. He’s as surprised by this as anyone. Even after dozens of stories he stills stays up too late at night, feverishly working on the next tale.

He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his beautiful wife and their three daughters.


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Celebrate Tell a Fairy Tale Day!


 
 
You can celebrate fairy tales every day, but if you’re in the U.S., you might not know that February 26th is Tell a Fairy Tale Day!

Yes, this is a totally made-up holiday. But it gives you another excuse to celebrate fairy tales! 🙂 Here’s a look at a few collections of fairy tales retold, reinvented, and reimagined.

Enter the magical, unpredictable, wonderful world of fairy tales!
 
 
The anthology series Ever After Fairy Tales contains two volumes: Beauty and Wickedness, and the just-released Innocence and Deceit.

What if Cinderella was the wicked one, and manipulated her kind, loving stepmother and stepsisters? Is being a handsome, charming prince really as effortless and trouble-free as it seems? Would you be alarmed if you realized that the beautiful red shoes you’re admiring change their appearance to appeal to whoever is looking at them? And speaking of shoes, how did Cinderella manage to dance in glass slippers without them breaking and slicing her feet to shreds?

In these two collections, you’ll find beauty and treachery, magic and courage, innocence and wickedness…and at least some happy endings.
 
 

From the bestselling authors of the award-winning Once Upon Anthologies, the next fabulous volume is here! Revisit your favorite faerie tales, masterfully retold in science fiction settings with delightful (and sometimes chilling) twists, in Once Upon a Star.

What if the Twelve Dancing Princesses were undead clones? What if the witch in Hansel and Gretel was an AI-sentient house? Are you ready for the Three Little Pigs… in space? These fourteen tales will entertain and inspire you, and you’ll never see your favorite faerie tales quite the same way again.

And there’s more! The first three volumes in this fabulous series are Once Upon a Curse, Once Upon a Kiss, and Once Upon a Quest.
 
 
The Uncollected Anthology is a group of authors who release three ebook bundles each year. Fairy tales often pop up in their stories, and the 16th collection has a fairy tale theme—in fact, the name of this issue is Fairy Tales! Investigate twelve missing sisters, deal with an inheritance, choose your destiny, review a strange invitation, celebrate Midsummer, and make the sale of a lifetime in these masterful fairy tales!
 
 
Tell a Fairy Tale Day wouldn’t be complete without a few fairy tales being read aloud. 🙂 If you’re in the Denver, Colorado area, stop by BookBar on Tuesday evening, February 26th, and listen to a group of eight authors reading from their own fairy tales. And if you aren’t in the neighborhood, read about their thoughts on fairy tales in this interview.
 
 
 

Innocence and Deceit: 14 Fairy Tales Retold, Reimagined, and Reinvented

Enter the magical, unpredictable, wonderful world of fairy tales!

What if Cinderella was the wicked one, and manipulated her kind, loving stepmother and stepsisters?

Is being a handsome, charming prince really as effortless and trouble-free as it seems?

Would you be alarmed if you realized that the beautiful red shoes you’re admiring change their appearance to appeal to whoever is looking at them?

And speaking of shoes, how did Cinderella manage to dance in glass slippers without them breaking and slicing her feet to shreds?

Innocence and Deceit, the second volume in the Ever After Fairy Tales anthology series, contains fourteen fairy tales retold, reimagined, and reinvented.

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The Stories

After the fairy king grants him the feline body he’s always longed for, Tobi upholds his end of the bargain by serving as messenger between the fairy court and the powerful wizard Baba Yaga in “Claws at Hand,” by Brigid Collins. But there’s one thing that could make Tobi lose his hard-earned cathood…

In “The Fennigsan’s Challenge,” by Stefon Mears, Lloxup is robbed and left for dead, and then comes across the Fennigsan, the legendary Dark Lady of the Woods. If he passes her challenge, her power could change his life. But failure means death.

Valentina overhears a strange conversation between another couple in Jamie Ferguson’s “Inside a Fairy Tale.” Filled with foreboding, Valentina follows them, and finds herself inside a modern-day fairy tale.

The Lizard Horses,” by Leah Cutter, is set in modern-day Hungary. Jelek loves reading old myths and legends, like the stories of Hungarian wizards, how they only drink milk and always carry around weighty spell books. But what if some myths are true?

In “The Red Stilettos,” by Sharon Kae Reamer,Caitlin is backstage at a music competition when one of the performers collapses. The unfortunate woman wears a beautiful pair of red stilettos Caitlin realizes she herself desires so strongly there must be something supernaturally bad about them.

Some people blame poor Prince Charming for throwing Cinderella into the dungeon, having little Snow White beheaded, and ordering Sleeping Beauty to be burned at the stake. But “True Love (or the Many Brides of Prince Charming) ,” by Todd Fahnestock and Giles Carwyn, tells us the other side of the story…

Philip doesn’t find a bride fast enough to suit his father in Deb Logan’s “Beauty or Butterface?” so the king writes Philip’s marriage into a treaty with the neighboring kingdom. Philip just has to choose between the other king’s twin daughters. What could be easier?

A visit to one of her favorite childhood places gives Cecily one last chance to find the magic she lost growing up in Annie Reed’s “Chance of Bunnies and Occasional Toad.” Not only for herself, but for her aunt, a free spirit who taught Cecily the value of imagination.

In “If the Shoe Fits” by Dayle A. Dermatis, is Prince Charming really interested in Cinderella…or was it her shoes that captured his attention?

Korshan falls and cuts her knee on a hidden rock in Diana Benedict’s “City of Nowhere in the World.” Korshan seeks the shaman to ask for salve for her knee, not realizing what magical adventures await her.

Connor and his brother are on their way to get ice cream in DeAnna Knippling’s “Doctor Rudolfo Meets his Match.” They come across a strange antique shop…so strange they find themselves inside of it after turning to walk away.

In Karen L. Abrahamson’s “Like Wind Over Water,” Romy left her mermaid form to search for her beloved. Five years later, on a ship heading up the Canadian coast, she finally finds him—and learns his secret.

Cinderella’s stepmother gets the chance to tell her side of the story and explain what really happened in Pam McCutcheon’s “After the Ball.”

Mellie blames fairy tales for ruining her life in Kristine Grayson’s “The Charming Way.” She wants to keep this from happening to other people by forcing booksellers to stop selling fairy tales. Then she runs into a handsome, book-loving man…who also happens to be Prince Charming.

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Ever After Fairy Tales

Learn more about the anthology series, and follow Ever After Fairy Tales on Facebook!

Story spotlight: “Unicorn Magic” by Roz Marshall


IN FEYLAND, NOT EVERYTHING IS AS IT SEEMS…

Feyland: a new computer game that allows Scottish teenager Corinne MacArthur to escape the sadness haunting her everyday life. It’s a game where legends come to life, the lines between reality and fantasy become blurred, and the impossible becomes—probable?

A stand-alone story with a full plot arc, Unicorn Magic is the first story in the Celtic Fey series set in Anthea Sharp’s Feyland universe (with her kind permission). The story continues in Kelpie Curse.
 
“Unicorn Magic” is in The Faerie Summer collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 
 
 


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A finalist in the global Hugh Howey Booktrack writers’ competition, Roz lives in Scotland with her husband and the obligatory dog and cat. Her writing experience includes screenwriting, songwriting, web pages and even sentiments for greeting cards!


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Story spotlight: “Radioactive Magic” by Bonnie Elizabeth


 
Sickness lies in the ocean. Sean Iverson feels it.

A shapeshifter, Sean feels as if he’s no longer connected to his two different selves. Fortunately, allies come when they are called to his rescue.

The question becomes whether that help will come in time for Sean or for the ocean.
 
 
 
 
“Radioactive Magic” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.
 


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Bonnie Elizabeth started writing fiction when she was eight years old. Fortunately that manuscript has long since been lost.

In between a variety of odd jobs, including working as an acupuncturist, Bonnie wrote articles about acupuncture and the business of being an acupuncturist for a variety of acupuncture journals. She also blogged as her cat while transitioning to her real love of fiction writing.

She writes the Whisper series, which begins with Whisper Bound, and has a number of other fantasy, urban fantasy and mystery projects in the works.


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Interview: Monalisa Foster and the Intellectual Property Tracker Kickstarter

What is Intellectual Property Tracker?

Intellectual Property Tracker is web-based software that allows writers to track all the important information associated with their product, i.e. their intellectual property (IP). Taglines, blurbs, sales copy, keywords, vendor and platform links, details about various formats (audio, POD, print, ebooks), publication history, submission history, IP rights management, details about advances, contracts, and promotion history, etc. Instead of keeping this important information in a tangle of spreadsheets, various documents, pieces of paper, etc., Intellectual Property Tracker allows you to have all the information in one place.

The Kickstarter ends on Wednesday, February 13th 2019, so check it out if you’d like to help fund the project AND get some of the awesome options available to supporters!

Meet Monalisa!

Monalisa is an author whose primary genre is science fiction with a bit (or a lot) of romance thrown in. She created Intellectual Property Tracker as a way to allow authors and publishers to track all the important information associated with their products.

The Interview

How can Intellectual Property Tracker help authors?

This application will free up time and energy for writing and creating. The idea for this product came out of the WMG’s Master Business Seminar in Las Vegas last fall. There I was sharing space with some incredible writers, a lot of them best sellers, most of them indies, and the ONE thing they all wanted (besides more time) was a way to manage all the information associated with their stories (i.e. their intellectual property).

Once you get to the stage where you have several stories out, you’re probably managing all sorts of information via binders, notebooks, spreadsheets, random pieces of paper, etc. The problem is that even when you do your best to keep everything up to date (whether in a spreadsheet or a notebook), taking that data and creating reports about what rights you’ve licensed, what rights are coming back to you, or which stories are performing better, or which series has the most read-through, can take up huge chunks of your time. Time that you’d be better off writing.

Let’s face it, as writers, we wear a lot of hats. And it’s easy to let details slip through the cracks, or not even be aware of which details to track. Even something simple like finding the blurb for ONE short story you wrote five years ago is going to eat into your time unless you have that information at your fingertips.

By giving you a structured system where you can organize everything in one place, Intellectual Property Tracker will free you up to do more of your creative work and spend less time looking for and managing the information associated with it.

The Kickstarter has met its funding goal, so what’s the advantage of someone supporting the Kickstarter at this point?

There are three advantages:

  1. saving money; the pledge levels offer you the plans at a savings.
  2. Dean Wesley Smith’s Magic Bakery Workshop on copyright and intellectual property is a $150 value on its own; you’re going to learn so many amazing things about copyright and how important it is to manage your rights in this class. Honestly, if you don’t know why stories are intellectual property and the value that intellectual property (IP) has to your success as a writer, you absolutely NEED this class, even if you’ve never published anything or if you’ve just had your first story accepted.
  3. for those that already have a few (or a dozen or a hundred) titles out and know about copyright and IP, the $500 Lifetime Plan is a Kickstarter special.

Why did you decide to create Intellectual Property Tracker?

The discussion at the WMG Publishing Master Business class was the seed for this project. Most people at the class were already attempting to do this with spreadsheets. And while spreadsheets are great for some things, what people were really trying to do required a database capable of not just tracking the information, but pulling data to generate reports and present them in a meaningful way. Some people try to use spreadsheets like a database, but often run into the problem of data integrity, and duplicate or conflicting data.

What is “The Magic Bakery,” and why is it relevant to Intellectual Property Tracker?

Dean Wesley Smith, a best-selling author and a wonderful teacher, uses the analogy of a “Magic Bakery” when discussing IP (your stories). And I think it’s an appropriate analogy for several reasons.

Imagine that your story is a pie. But unlike an apple pie in a real bakery, you only have to bake it once. You can slice it up (and not just into a dozen slices, but hundreds) and each one of those slices can be “sold” again and again.

If you’re doing it right, some of those slices come back to you to be “sold” again because unlike an apple pie, these slices don’t spoil. The slices in this case are analogous to the many different types of rights/licenses associated with your work.

This is a simplified version of things, but think of it this way:

You’ve got first publication, reprint right, audio rights, movie rights. Each one of those is a slice. Now take reprint rights. You can take that slice and make more slices if your story gets reprinted in one anthology this year and another down the road, or if your novel is part of a bundle or a box set.

Now imagine trying to track when your rights come back to you? What are your reversion dates? Did you have a snapback or clawback clause on that contract or that one? What were the reversion conditions?

Don’t know what I’m talking about? You should. And the Magic Bakery will teach you these things. That’s why it complements Intellectual Property Tracker so well and why we are so glad that Dean and WMG were generous enough to offer it for the Kickstarter.

What features do you plan to add to future versions?

We know that different writers have different workflows and that different things are important to them. Our current demo is very basic but will give you a “sketch” of the final product. It’s based on the discussion at the Master Business class. We also added a short second video based on a requested feature (the tracking and management of images).

So, as we get requests and input of what our writers want, we will continue to meet their needs. Someone wanted a way to track reviews, and that’s an example of a feature we’d add. Writers that don’t track reviews would just not use that feature.

Two things NOT in the demos are sorting features and reports. But both of those will be in the final product. So, for example, one report would allow you to look at all your titles and how they are performing, whether you want to look at that information arranged by date, venue, or market.

Another report I think is crucial is the one about reversion dates. So let’s say you want to know which titles are coming back to you in 60 (or 30 or 90 days) so that you can plan for a new cover or look for a new bundle. You’ll be able to generate a report showing you that information.

Do you want a graph showing you how well book 1 of a series is performing vs book 2 and book 3? There is going to be an easy way to do that. We know we haven’t thought of everything, but our goal is to keep our writers happy, so as long as they’re telling us what they want, we’ll continue improving Intellectual Property Tracker to meet their needs.

What story (or stories) are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

I’ve just finished up a novel, a space opera (think Dune and Barrayar but with genetically-engineered samurai). I’m currently working on the sequel and another side story in the same universe (one of these, “Dominion,” is going to be included in WMG’s Fiction River series, the Face the Strange anthology edited by Ron and Bridget Collins (scheduled for 2020 release).

My stories are a mix of the far-future (as in nanotech and genetic engineering) and the past, fusing the best and worst of both to create a world in which very human characters fight for what they love. There’s adventure and romance, swords and spaceships, honor and sacrifice. I had a lot of fun writing this story. It’s definitely the type of story that I myself enjoy, and I think readers will too.

I’m also collaborating on a romantic time-travel adventure (think Roman Britain) and working on a sequel to my hard sci-fi novella, Promethea Invicta.

Find Monalisa!

Monalisa won life’s lottery when she escaped communism and became an unhyphenated American citizen. Her works tend to explore themes of freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility. Despite her degree in physics, she’s worked in several fields including engineering and medicine, but she enjoys being a trophy wife and kept woman the most. She and her husband (who is a writer-once-removed via their marriage) are living their happily ever after in Texas, along with their children, both human and canine.

She learned English by reading and translating books from the juvenile section at the public library. She’d walk to the library with her dictionary and a notebook and start copying sentences and then translating them by hand. At home in the evenings, she’d take unfamiliar words and write them out ten times, or more, to get the spelling down. After a few days of this, a kindly librarian took pity on her and offered her a library card and then broke some rules in issuing one to a ten-year-old. This was back in the bad old days when kids were still free range and parents didn’t get jailed for letting them go places unsupervised. But, the library was air conditioned, an important thing when the temperature reaches triple digits, so she spent the summer there anyway, and along the way discovered Robert Heinlein and science fiction. It didn’t take long to devour the juvenile section and move on to the grown-up books.

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