Tag Archive 'Science Fiction'

Aug 25 2016

Interview J. E. Frederick

Published by under Interview

Part of a series of interviews with the writers for the upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Clash of the Titles. the anthology is the brain child of Glen Bavel, who conceived of an endearing conceit: he provides a list of titles and the members of his Facebook workshop, Writing the Short (SF) Story, use it as a starting point for a short speculative fiction story.

J.E. Frederick is an as yet unpublished writer, looking forward to seeing his first published story which is due to appear in the Clash of the Titles anthology. In his story, “Making the Grade,” a vanguard of reptilian aliens enslave Earth, slaughtering its men wholesale. forcing Earth’s women to participate in gladiatorial fights to the death. J. E. Fredrick shared with me his thoughts on his writing, the anthology and the excited anticipation at becoming a published author.

So, when did you know you wanted to become a writer? How long have you been at it?

I guess it depends on your definition of a writer. I write and have, since I was young. I did a 6 month high school co-op, writing a weekly column for a newspaper. I went to college for journalism but dropped out. I even stopped writing nearly fifteen years because I didn’t believe in myself. Currently, my writing is pretty non-existent because of an ongoing illness, but I decided that won’t give it it up again! It took me a long time to figure out, but I know it’s too ingrained in me to stop. “Making the Grade” will be my first published story, but I write, and I guess, I’ve always been a writer.

Why Speculative Fiction?

I just write what comes to me. I have no genre in mind when I write but it tends to fall into the SF categories, as well as action-adventure. I guess the brain creates what the heart loves.

So, who’s your favorite writer?

There are many…far too many, but without a doubt though, my all time favorite is Stephen King.

How did you find out about the anthology, Clash of the Titles?

I was joining a few new Facebook groups and stumbled onto Gil’s group. He sent me a message when he approved me to join and the rest just happened.

What made you want to submit to it? Would you do it again?

Fear I think. I was already sick when this came about and I think some part of me worried that if I didn’t try, there might not be a horse to get back on to when I can finally get better.

How did you come up with your story? What made you choose that title?

They went hand in hand. I wrote down a bunch of the titles Gil had listed and sat and stared at them. As I stared at Making the Grade, the bare bones of the story formed in my mind and I knew that was the one.

How is your story for the anthology the same and/or different from your other works?

This was the first time I have written a story without any male characters (wait…do the aliens count?). I had concerns there wouldn’t be an authentic female voice. Once I stopped trying to capture that voice and instead wrote a person trapped in an unthinkable situation, it felt right and I hope she feels true to everyone!

A lot has been said about the workshop process wherein the editor takes a video meeting with the writers to help offer instant feedback and share the editing process along the way. How did you find this process; what are your feelings about it?

I thought it was awesome! It may have been a bit of a pain for Gil though. My illness often left me unreachable for a time or unable to work on the story, even when he could reach me. To Gil’s credit as a person though, he stuck with me, worked around my limitations and gave me the time I needed to get the revisions back to him. He believed in my story and in me, when I had doubts that I couldn’t deal with the workload. Without his encouragement and help, I wouldn’t be doing this interview today.

What do you think is the most important thing that readers know about Clash of the Titles?

So many different voices and so many unique stories will provide the reader with a book they can’t put down. Besides, check out our headliners. Who wouldn’t want to read a book that includes them!

It’s said that the editor will make an anthology every year. Even if the “I pick the titles, you write the story” concept isn’t used again, would you work with the editor again? Why or why not?

I would work with Gil again and again, if he would have me!

What do you think is the most important thing for booksellers, libraries and other outlets to know about Clash of the Titles that they don’t know?

Two words — David Gerrold! If that’s not enough, I’ll see those two words and raise you a Mike Resnick. Still not enough? Well that’s just silly talk, but I’ll reiterate what I said earlier. So many different voices and an equal number of unique stories, all created through a unique process that brought out the best in all of us. That’s a book I want to read!

Would you recommend the process to other writers; how did you find working with this editor to be compared to others?

I don’t have anything to compare it to really, but I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for my first time. Gil has great ideas and an ability to help you with your story, without altering its path. He also has the ability to step back and let you run with it, when that’s the best thing to do. Absolutely I recommend this process, and working with Gil in general.

What excites you most about the process, and the anthology in general?

Getting to read it for one! From a selfish standpoint, and I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t feel this way but my first ever published story? I’m over the moon!

Did your story grow in ways you didn’t expect due to the workshop nature of the process? How?

I think my growth was in working with an editor for the first time. Until you’ve experienced that first hand, there will always be the tendency to believe you are the only one who knows best about your story. once you’ve worked with an editor, you finally see how invaluable that unbiased set of eyes can be. A good editor helps you trim the fat and figure out which are your best darlings to kill. It was exactly the experience I needed.

Please describe your favorite experience in working with Clash of the Titles.

Being accepted to the anthology! How can that NOT be number one. A close second though was working with Gil. My story is all the better for it. It probably sounds like I’m trying to blow smoke up his butt, but I’m already in the anthology so there’s no need. I believe in this anthology, the work Gil did and the work the writers did. This thing is going to blow the roof off when it publishes!

What other projects are you working on, besides Clash of the Titles.

At the moment? Not a thing. My brain hasn’t stopped though, and every good story idea that rolls through gets written down on a scrap of paper. Once I can get healthy, watch out!

You can check out J.E.’s web site here. or visit him on Facebook.

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Aug 23 2016

Interview with Patrick Hudson

Published by under Interview

Part of a series of interviews with the writers for the upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Clash of the Titles. the anthology is the brain child of Glen Bavel, who conceived of an endearing conceit: he provides a list of titles and the members of his Facebook workshop, Writing the Short (SF) Story, use it as a starting point for a short speculative fiction story.

patrick hudson2

The Gearwheels of Heaven” is Patrick Hudson’s contribution to the upcoming SF anthology, Clash of the Titles. Patrick is a writer, and blogger who lives in London with his family. Recently, Patrick talked with me about his writing over the years, and his recent contribution to the anthology.

First, when did you decide you wanted to be a writer? How long have you been writing?

I probably started to think seriously about being a writer when I was 11 or 12, and wrote screeds of pointless derivative juvenalia. I had my first go at writing a novel when I was 25 and I’ve written a couple since then. About five years ago I decided to do an MA in creative writing, and graduated from Goldsmiths College in London.

I would say the last three-ish decades haven’t exactly been super productive, but I’ve kept plugging away. I’ve published about a dozen stories in various small press venues. I guess my biggest achievement was a getting third place equal in the Genomics Forum Short Fiction competition back in 2009 for my story ‘Original Mike’s Coffee Shop’. Third-equal is the lowest you can get and still win a prize!

Another story I’m proud of is ‘Insured… For Murder’ in Premonitions: Causes for Alarm, published back in 2008.

In 2011 I self-published my novel Panoptica through the amazon self-publishing program. That was my project when I did my MA and I’m really proud of that, too.

Over the last few years I’ve taken a break from prose to try my hand at stand up comedy. It’s good fun, and you get to come up with the cool ideas without having to worry about proof reading. I work with a writing partner and we’ve recently written a sitcom, too, so we’ll see if anything happens with that.

Why Speculative Fiction?

SF is just what comes out. I guess I’m interested in politics and philosophical ideas, and SF is a natural way to investigate those subjects.

So, who’s your favorite writer?

Oh, that’s a tricky one! I’m admirer of what you might call the sarcastic school of writing, Philip K Dick, William S Burroughs, Will Self and J G Ballard. Those are the sorts of books that make me think and laugh, although I think I’ve gotten a bit over familiar with it all now and have been trying to look at different types of thing to expand my parameters. I’ve been reading classics – Dickens and Kipling – in an effort to see things a bit differently.

My great comfort read, though, is Jack Vance. I’m just in awe of what he does. I could never do it myself, and my attempts to emulate it are generally awful, but he is just the funniest, cleverest, most brilliant writer that’s ever lived.

How did you find out about the anthology, Clash of the Titles?

I’ve known Gil for a while and he got in touch to see if I’d be interested in contributing.

What made you want to submit to it? Would you do it again?

Well, I’d been doing comedy for a while and felt like I should write a story again. I had a few ideas knocking around my head and thought picking a title would help me turn one into an actual story.

How did you come up with your story? What made you choose that title?

I’d been reading a bit about the holographic theory of the universe, and how it connected with Hans Moravec’s simulated reality hypothesis. It’s summarized in a really hilarious way by Nick Bostrom (and excuse me if I quote from Wikipedia here) who postulates that one of the following assertions must be true:

1. Human civilization is unlikely to reach a level of technological maturity capable of producing simulated realities, or such simulations are physically impossible to construct.

2. A comparable civilization reaching aforementioned technological status will likely not produce a significant number of simulated realities (one that might push the probable existence of digital entities beyond the probable number of “real” entities in a Universe) for any of a number of reasons, such as, diversion of computational processing power for other tasks, ethical considerations of holding entities captive in simulated realities, etc.

3. Any entities with our general set of experiences are almost certainly living in a simulation.

I just think that’s brilliant. If you start thinking about it it’s hard to resist coming to conclusion number 3! So I wanted to do the whole ‘What if…’ thing with the idea.

I was also reading a lot of early SF, which is frequently about crazed inventors making insane discoveries in their sheds. So I wanted to write a story that harked back to that really old idea of science as the province of these kind of wizardry mad scientists.

How is your story for the anthology the similar to your other works?

It’s sort of funny, which is generally what I do. There are a fewer jokes, though, and the humor’s a little more subtle. But it’s a black comedy, ultimately, which is what I tend to produce.

How is it different?

I think the golden age influence makes it a little less naturalistic than what I tend to write. There’s an element of pastiche in this, whereas I’ll usually try and be more real.

A lot has been said about the workshop process wherein the editor takes a video meeting with the writers to help offer instant feedback and share the editing process along the way. How did you find this process; what are your feelings about it?

Gil and I never got around to having a video conference, diaries being what they are and being on opposite sides of the globe. Gil was really helpful throughout, however, over email and messages.

What do you think is the most important thing that readers know about Clash of the Titles?

That it’s a great anthology of amazing stories. The interesting way the stories have been generated doesn’t matter in the end – it’ll stand or fall on the quality of the work.

It’s said that the editor will make an anthology every year. Even if the “I pick the titles, you write the story” conceit isn’t used again, would you work with the editor again?

Yeah, definitely. Gil’s a good egg.

What do you think is the most important thing for booksellers, libraries and other outlets to know about Clash of the Titles that they don’t know?

New and existing SF talent sitting cheek by jowl. Excellent stories from writers at all levels of their career. As I say, it’s all about it being a great read!

Would you recommend the process to other writers; how did you find working with this editor to be compared to others?

I would definitely recommend it. I think Gil knows when to intervene and when to step back, so he’s happy

What excites you most about the process, and the anthology in general?

Choosing the title and riffing off that was the best thing. It gave a slightly formless idea a bit of purchase and helped me get started on it.

Did your story grow in ways you didn’t expect due to the workshop nature of the process? How?

Hmm, not really! The final story is more or less as it came out, with a bit of fiddling in the details.

Please describe your favorite experience in working with Clash of the Titles.

Just working on fiction again.

What other projects are you working on, besides Clash of the Titles?

Right now I’m working up some ideas for more stand-up. I’m also working on a novella featuring the main character from ‘Insured…. For Murder’ that I’ll probably serialize on the web. We’ll see how it goes!

You can visit Patrick Hudson’s site and blog here.

Or you can follow him on Facebook, or on Twitter.

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Aug 22 2016

Interview with John Claude Smith

Published by under Interview

Part of a series of interviews with the writers for the upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Clash of the Titles. the anthology is the brain child of Glen Bavel, who conceived of an endearing conceit: he provides a list of titles and the members of his Facebook workshop, Writing the Short (SF) Story, use it as a starting point for a short speculative fiction story.

johnclaudesmith

Horror author, John Claude Smith has been writing fiction, seriously for over twenty-five years (albeit with a brief fiction hiatus for music journalism). He has two collections, three limited editions chapbooks and one novel to his credit. His novel, Riding the Centipede, was a Bram Stoker Award finalist for ‘Superior Achievement in a First Novel.’ John Claude Smith’s offered another helping of horror with his story “The Delivery,” one of several spine tingling stories in the upcoming anthology, Clash of the Titles. He splits his time between the East Bay of northern California, across from San Francisco, and Rome, Italy. Recently, John discussed with me his writing career, and his participation in the anthology.

So, what draw you to the Horror genre?

Exploring the dark places has always fascinated me…and I like monsters.

How did you find out about the anthology, Clash of the Titles, and what made you want to submit?

A couple of other writers on Facebook pointed me in the direction of the Clash of the Titles page, and while writing to an already pre-chosen title seemed odd, I thought it a challenge.

How did you come up with your story? What made you choose that title?

I had chosen another title originally, but something about this title–“The Delivery”–started to generate a tale in my head, one that uses clichés as part of the internal drive, something I would normally avoid, but here, it made sense…before twisting into something unexpected.

What other projects are you working on, besides Clash of the Titles?

I’m in the middle of putting together my third collection, doing final tweaks on a completed novel, while digging into a novella that might end up being a short novel, too. Busy is good.

Check out John’s story in the anthology, but beware, because ‘sometimes running out of time might mean running for your life. Or running into something much worse than death…’

You can check out John Claude Smith’s other works at Amazon, or on on Goodreads.

Or, you can follow him on Facebook.

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Aug 22 2016

Interview with Alex Shvartsman

Published by under Interview

Part of a series of interviews with the writers for the upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Clash of the Titles. the anthology is the brain child of Glen Bavel, who conceived of an endearing conceit: he provides a list of titles and the members of his Facebook workshop, Writing the Short (SF) Story, use it as a starting point for a short speculative fiction story.

alexshvartsman2

Alex Shvartsman is a writer and game designer. Since 2010, Alex has sold over 80 short stories to a variety of magazines and anthologies. His fiction has appeared in Nature, Daily Science Fiction, InterGalactic Medicine Show, Galaxy’s Edge, and many others. Alex won the WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction in 2014 and was a finalist for the Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Fiction in 2015.

Alex is also no stranger to anthologies, editing the highly successful anual anthology series of humorous science fiction and fantasy, Unidentified Funny Objects. He’s also the editor of Coffee, Dark Expanse and Funny Science Fiction anthologies. Alex shared with me some of his thoughts about his contribution to the wildly anticipated upcoming new anthology, Clash of the Titles.

First, please, tell us a little bit about your background.

I spent my childhood in the Soviet Union where, from the age of ten or so, I devoured both domestic and translation genre fiction. I read every science fiction book I could find; even so, my genre “education” was far from complete as the Soviet government only allowed certain authors and titles to be translated, and also published mostly golden age SF which they could get away with translating without paying the authors because those works predated an international copyright treaty they became a signatory to in the ’70s.

Why Speculative Fiction?

Speculative fiction offers writers the freedom of creating the most imaginative, unusual, and subversive works they can. It also grants readers the freedom to dream, to grow, and to contemplate pasts that could have been and futures that could be. Most importantly, it allows us all to ask “what if,” and to train our minds to seek all possible answers.

Who are your favorite authors, and who influences/inspires your work?

Pre-1970s SF had the greatest impact on me as a reader. I grew up on a steady diet of fiction by Robert Silverberg, Clifford Simak, Harry Harrison, Edmond Hamilton, Robert Sheckley and others. It wasn’t until my family moved to the United States and learned English that my reading options grew exponentially. Over the following decades I’ve become a big fan of fiction by Mike Resnick (a co-author in the anthology), Joan Vinge, Timothy Zahn, Simon R. Green and Peter F. Hamilton. With any luck, some of their influences can be found in my work.

What do you think is the most important thing that readers , booksellers, etc. know about Clash of the Titles?

Anthologies are particularly good for auditioning new authors. They offer quick bites of different authors’ work and encourage the reader to seek out further writing by their favorites. Clash of the Titles runs the gamut from grandmasters like Mike Resnick and David Gerrold, from solid pros to brand-new authors. It is a great discovery opportunity for anyone looking to find their next favorite author or several. (And what dedicated reader doesn’t seek to increase their already-enormous to-be-read pile?)

What other projects are you working on, besides Clash of the Titles.

Last month I turned in the manuscript for Humanity 2.0, an anthology I edited for Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick. The book is due out in October and I’m especially excited about this one because this is my first hard SF anthology as editor (I’m mostly known for editing humor.) And speaking of humor, I’m currently working on Unidentified Funny Objects 5 — all the stories are in, and they’re undergoing edits now. As a writer, I turned in several solicited stories to anthologies so far this year but most of these I can’t announce yet. Once the bulk of my editorial work is completed, I hope to get back to work on my novel, Eridani’s Crown. As a side project, I’m also working on a non-fiction book about the business side of short fiction, detailing researching markets, cover letters, contract negotiation, and all the other things genre writers need to know once their stories are ready for submission.

You can learn more about Alex, and his extensive bibliography here.  Or, you can follow him on Facebook.

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Aug 22 2016

Interview with Bob Vardeman

Published by under Interview

Part of a series of interviews with the writers for the upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Clash of the Titles. the anthology is the brain child of Glen Bavel, who conceived of an endearing conceit: he provides a list of titles and the members of his Facebook workshop, Writing the Short (SF) Story, use it as a starting point for a short speculative fiction story.

bob vardeman

Bob Vardeman got his start writing for science fiction fanzines. He was nominated for the 1972 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. He is the author of more than fifty fantasy and science fiction novels. He created the Cenotaph Road series of science fantasy novels; co-wrote the Swords of Raemllyn series (with George W. Proctor) and the The War of Powers series with Victor Milan; and wrote Ruins of Power, a MechWarrior. He is also one of the founders of Bubonicon, a science fiction convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Having graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degrees in physics and a in materials science. Bob Vardeman says he loves the idea of using his education in a story, like “Mach 5,” his contribution to the upcoming anthology, Clash of the Titles. Ever since he read about Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier (Mach 1) for the first time, Vardeman has been thrilled with the idea of rocket planes. The physics and design of a rocket plane itself fascinates him, and he used some extrapolation as to what might go into a rocket racer for the story.

Recently, Bob Verdeman shared with me his thoughts about writing, and his participation in the upcoming anthology, Clash of the Titles.

How “Mach 5” different from your other stories?

Being given a title and working out a story to fit it makes this a story entirely different from anything else I have written. A more usual way for me, is writing a story and then changing the title, either from editorial dictate or because something better suggested itself. The Clash of the Titles approach reminded me of the olden days of Astounding SF when John Campbell would give out story ideas and see what his authors came up with. Giving only the title, rather than a story plot opened up a vast universe of possibilities. Nothing is more fun than letting an idea roll around until it goes from vague to actual with the characters taking on lives of their own as the story builds.

What excites you most about the anthology?

Legacy publishing is not known for innovation. Things that have been done for 150 years are still being done, because that’s the way it should be. Ebooks, print on demand, and other alternative ways of publishing open up vistas that will never be explored otherwise. Picking a title, as in Clash of the Titles, then writing the story with editorial shaping along the way is pretty much impossible traditionally. I love new ideas and new ways of delivering entertainment to readers. This approach is new and potentially a real crowd pleaser.

Aside from the anthology, what other projects are you currently working on?

Right now I am finishing off the second book in a weird western trilogy, Punished, to be published by Sundown Press, under my “Jackson Lowry” pen name. The central character is not a likable sort. Life has dumped on him—and maybe it was karmic payback for the evil he has done. A former slave casts a voodoo curse that slowly turns him into a zombie. To lift the curse, the bigot must deal with those he hates most, whether it is a Chinese apothecary, Navajo shaman or voodoo mama loi. Following completion, I will be returning to a near future SF book dealing with alien first contact in a different way. What would aliens really expect or need from Earth? Forthcoming in a couple months is an sf novella, “Jupiter Convergence,” in the anthology Rocket’s Red Glare from Rough Edges Press.

You can visit Bob Vardeman’s website, or his blog. or follow him on Facebook.

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Aug 22 2016

Interview with Mike Resnick

Published by under Interview,Uncategorized

Part of a series of interviews with the writers for the upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Clash of the Titles. the anthology is the brain child of Glen Bavel, who conceived of an endearing conceit: he provides a list of titles and the members of his Facebook workshop, Writing the Short (SF) Story, use it as a starting point for a short speculative fiction story.

mike resnick

ِA full time professional writer for half a century, Mike Resnick sold his first article at the age of fifteen, and his first story at seventeen. His novels have been published by Tor, Ace, Bantam, del Rey, Pyr, and others, while his short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, F&SF, and many others.

According to Locus, Mike Resnick is the all-time leading award winner, living or dead, for short fiction. He has won five Hugos (and has been nominated a record thirty-seven times), has recieved the Nebula and been honored with other major awards in the USA, France, Poland, Catalonia, Spain, Croatia and Japan.

He’s the author of seventy-five novels, nearly three hundred stories, and three screenplays. Mike is the editor of forty-two anthologies. His work has been translated into 27 languages, and he is the editor of Stellar Guild books and Galaxy’s Edge magazine.

Mike Resnick reprises his famous character, Harry the Book, for an upcoming anthology, Clash of the Titles. Mike was gracious enough to discuss with me his participation in the anthology, and his writng in general.

So, first some basic questions: Why Speculative Fiction?

It’s what has always interested me, perhaps because it’s the only form of fiction that acknowledges the existence of Change.

Do you have a favorite writer?

In science fiction, either C. L. Moore or Robert Sheckley. Elsewhere, Damon Runyon.

What made you want to submit to the anthology?

It was an interesting challenge, writing a story to fit a title.

How did you come up with your story? What made you choose that title?

I have a regular character, Harry the Book, a bookie in a fantasy New York. If the story is “The Fastest Dragon”, they clearly have to have a race, and that makes it prime territory for a Harry the Book story.

So, is your story for the anthology similar to your other works?

It’s the 12th Harry the Book story, so it’s similar in that respect. More to the point, one of my bibliographers tells me that I’ve done more than 130 funny sf/f stories, so this fits in that respect.


What other projects are you working on, besides your story for Clash of the Titles?

Since the beginning of 2016 I have sold a book to Subterranean Press, two more to Wordfire Press, and have signed contracts to deliver a novel to Pyr and a collaborative novel to Stellar Guild. In addition, as of March 29th, I have sold seven stories this year – six shorts, including another Harry the Book story, and a novelet.

To learn more about Mike Resnick, please visit his website.

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Aug 22 2016

Interview with Duane R. Waite

Published by under Interview

Part of a series of interviews with the writers for the upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Clash of the Titles. the anthology is the brain child of Glen Bavel, who conceived of an endearing conceit: he provides a list of titles and the members of his Facebook workshop, Writing the Short (SF) Story, use it as a starting point for a short speculative fiction story.

duane Waite

While Duane R. Waite has been an avid and prolific writer since he was a kid, “Worst Neighborhoods of Epsilon Eridani,” his contribution to the upcoming anthology, Clash of the Titles, is his first professional sale. Duane blames his maternal grandmother for giving him the writing bug. For his eleventh birthday, she gave him a copy of Jack London’s Call of the Wild, and he’s been infected ever since, even winning first prize for a short story in his high school’s writing contest. Jack London, along with healthy dose of television’s “Star Trek,” prepared Duane for Harlan Ellison’s works. Through Ellison’s Dangerous Vision series, Duane was exposed to such greats as Phillip K. Dick, Robert Silverberg, and Philip Jose Farmer. By the time Duane rode Farmer’s “Purple Wage,” he had become a committed SF writer. Duane shared his thoughts with me about the anthology, his story, and writing in general.

How did you find out about the anthology, and what made you want to submit?

A notification appeared on my home page and I said to myself that if there was ever a sign from the Universe that I should take an advantage of an opportunity, this was it!


How did you come up with your story? What made you choose that title?

I actually connected with most of the suggested titles in some way, but, “Worst neighborhoods of Epsilon Eridani,” did nothing for me. I saw that as a challenge, a way to create a brand new story out of whole cloth without any expectations.

How is your story for the anthology the same and/or different from your other works?

This is a tough question to answer. One of the reasons I had such a late start in my writing career is that I didn’t know how to write about people. I could describe an amazing environment for a story to take place in, but for some reason I couldn’t get my head around how to center a story around a character in conflict. This story is unique in the sense that I finally broke through a wall and “got it.” It doesn’t matter how lush or well thought out other story elements are; we read stories to empathize with characters, whether they be human or alien. Now that I understand this, you are going to be hearing a lot from me.


A lot has been said about the workshop process wherein the editor offers the writers help with instant feedback and shares with him the editing process along the way. How did you find this process?

His critiques were spot on, and I referred to them frequently as I worked out the story. I never would have gotten such quality attention from an editor at a major magazine, and I can’t thank Gil enough for it.


What do you think is the most important thing that readers know about Clash of the Titles?

This anthology is built on raw passion. I can’t even begin to comprehend how much work Gil has put into it, even with everything else he is dealing with. Unless you are in a truly unique circumstance, there is always time to feed your passion if you can commit to it.


What do you think is the most important thing for booksellers, libraries and other outlets to know about Clash of the Titles that they don’t know?

There are talented writers with unique stories to tell who are looking for an audience, and that there is an untapped audience waiting for their stories. Our distant ancestors weaved great tales around the camp fire, and despite our newly connected, virtual reality oriented world, we are still human beings who crave meaning through the stories others tell.


What other projects are you working on, besides Clash of the Titles?

I’ve started work on my next story, which I hope to send off to Analog or Asimov’s soon, and I’m working on a novelization of “Worst Neighborhoods.”

You can follow Duane on Facebook.

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Jul 18 2016

Interview with Hope Erica Schultz

Published by under Uncategorized

Part four of a series of interviews with the writers for the upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Clash of the Titles. the anthology is the brain child of Glen Bavel, who conceived of an endearing conceit: he provides a list of titles and the members of his Facebook workshop, Writing the Short (SF) Story, use it as a starting point for a short speculative fiction story.

hope erica schultz2

Hope Erica Schultz has been writing for nearly forty years, but her first sale was in the first days of January, 2014. Her YA post-apocalyptic novel, The Last Road Home, came out November 2015. Hope ventured into the role of editor, when she became the co-editor of the YA anthology, One Thousand Words for War, which is expected to come out this coming May. She gravitates towards science fiction and fantasy genre for adults because, as she puts it, they offer, “limitless possibilities.” Her stories have appeared in Fireside Press, Diabolical Plots, and Plasma Frequency. Hope Erica Schultz is an Associative Member of SFWA. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to talk with Hope about her writing career, and in particular, her participation in the Clash of the Titles anthology,

What authors influence you as a writer. Who is your favorite?

My favorite author at this very minute is Lois McMaster Bujold. It varies, but she’s always in the top three.

So, tell me about how you came to be a part of the Clash of the Titles anthology. How did you come up with your story?

I joined Writing the Short (SF) Story group when the idea of putting out an anthology was just starting. The concept—pick a title and make it your own—was fun, and reading down through the list gave me a dozen ideas. I picked “Black Hole” for the humor element, then dredged up a half dozen memories of people and places that evoked the same emotion, threw them into a pot, and stirred well. (I actually was the last woman whom a friend of mine kissed before deciding he was gay — It’s funnier, though, with the gender changed.)

How is this story the same and/or different from your other works?

Each of my stories is itself; I don’t think any of them are really like any of the others. Most were written for a prompt, usually a general one, but the most specific prompt was an anti-apocalypse issue that mentioned they didn’t have enough fantasy, horror or flash fiction—so I wrote them a story that was all three. A good prompt hits me like crack hits an addict; the world stops until I get my fix, that is, write the story.

A lot has been said about the workshop process wherein the editor takes a video meeting with the writers to help offer instant feedback and share the editing process along the way. How did you find this process; what are your feelings about it?

The workshop process is a hybrid of editing and collaboration. I really enjoyed it. Sometimes when Gil and I were on totally different wavelengths, we could sort it out in a matter of minutes. “You mean this?” “No, I mean that.” “Is that a continuation of this theme here?” “No, but it really ought to be, thanks!”

What do you think is the most important thing that readers know about Clash of the Titles?

Most of the people writing here wrote outside their comfort zones, and that is awesome. You may start with the authors and sub genres you already know, but you owe it to yourself to also move outside your comfort zone and read them all. You’ll be glad you did.


It’s said that the editor will make an anthology every year. Even if the “I pick the titles, you write the story” conceit isn’t used again, would you work with the editor again? Why or why not?

I enjoy working with Gil, so it depends on my other projects and the prompts. See above re: good prompt = crack. It is likely that Gil will hit me with another prompt I can’t refuse.


What do you think is the most important thing for booksellers, libraries and other outlets to know about Clash of the Titles that they don’t know?

Some of the authors are already household names. Others will be.


Would you recommend the process to other writers; how did you find working with this editor to be compared to others?

This process will not work for everyone. If you still find constructive criticism painful, this is a level even more brutal, and you probably aren’t ready for it yet. That’s OK—do a few writing workshops. If you’re submitting regularly and you consider even negative feedback useful, you will probably love this, because it is far more in depth that you will ever get with even the most helpful rejection letter—and it isn’t a rejection, it’s suggestions of how to improve.


What excites you most about the process, and the anthology in general?

My favorite part is the high of the initial prompt. Writing the rough draft is the fun and easy part; revising is the work that changes it to a story you can be proud of.


Did your story grow in ways you didn’t expect due to the workshop nature of the process? How?

Every story grows during revisions, and my personal writing style is openness to surprises without prior expectations.


What other projects are you working on, besides Clash of the Titles.

I’m working on a collection of YA short stories with Susan Bianculli, a far future novel for adults, and contemplating another stint as co-editor with Madeline Smoot. And trying to avoid more short story prompts before I get sucked into something else.

You can learn more about Hope Erica Schultz by visiting her web page, or following her on Twitter and Facebook

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Jul 10 2016

Interview with Judy Rubin

Published by under Interview

Part of a series of interviews with the writers for the upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Clash of the Titles. the anthology is the brain child of Glen Bavel, who conceived of an endearing conceit: he provides a list of titles and the members of his Facebook workshop, Writing the Short (SF) Story, use it as a starting point for a short speculative fiction story.

Judy Rubin

They Came at Night,” Judy Rubin’s debut Science Fiction story, is featured in the upcoming anthology, Clash of the Titles. An accomplished Children’s Book author, Judy Rubin has previously focused in Historical and Fantasy fiction, but she has demonstrated her considerable talent. Judy shares with us her experience in the crafting of her story for the anthology, and her writing in general.

How did you find out about the anthology, Clash of the Titles?

Information about the anthology appeared on a few Facebook writing sites that I follow. The concept was intriguing, including the promise of close work with Gil Bavel, the editor.

What made you want to submit to it? How did you choose your title?

Coming in late to the process, titles that I would have chosen were already selected, but when I saw the title, “They Came at Night”, I re-developed a concept that I was working on into a stronger story than fit the title’s direction.

Would you consider doing it again, if the opportunity arose?

Given the opportunity to work closely with an editor is always a benefit. Gil Bavel made the journey a rare treat that I will gladly revisit.

How did you find the workshop process–what are your feelings about it?

 Gil Bavel and I shared our visits via telephone and email, both of which worked beautifully. Before sending a manuscript, I edit and revise it at least twenty times, a process that works well for my story development. Gil’s process, though, resulted in four more revisions that tightened plot and characters, providing the outcome of a much stronger story. Also, having time between revisions, allowed me an opportunity to set the manuscript aside and revisit it weeks later, giving me time to play, replay, and redirect characters and plot.

What do you think is the most important thing that readers need to know about Clash of the Titles?

 We are a collective of diverse writers with varying backgrounds and publication credentials. Based on the selection of title premise, we re-interpreted existing concepts, giving a new direction to our chosen title.

 It’s said that the editor will make a new anthology every year. Even if the “I pick the titles, you write the story” conceit isn’t used again, would you work with the editor again? Why or why not?

 Gil is a joy to work with. His sincerity, humor, and overall desire to make each story the best that it can be is a major factor in revisiting the workshop and submitting a new manuscript. Knowing the premise and the one-on-one process should make the next encounter even more enjoyable.

What do you think is the most important thing for booksellers, libraries, and other outlets to know about Clash of the Titles that they don’t know? What about bookstores, websites, and, particularly, at WorldCon/MidAmericon II?

 Not having read the other stories, I am not completely certain of the direction and content of Clash of the Titles. Our diverse range of authors, known and unknown, in science fiction, is a factor. The cover mock-up is intriguing and enticing. As a writer, editor, and librarian, I rely on reviews and excerpts. Also, an early release of story illustrations entices and draws readers, as well as purchasers, into the process. Blurbs will help the understanding, while reading and/or listening to interviews will cull the interest of purchasers, as well as future participants.

Would you recommend the process to other writers; how did you find working with this editor to be compared to others?

 I love working closely with editors. Fortunately, each of the editors with whom I have worked with in prior publications, has worked closely with me, to the point where they have even sent preview illustrations of picture books and allowed me to provide input. Interaction is essential in developing a manuscript’s potential. One of the benefits of working with Gil, though, is that he gave me ample time to revise and redirect characters and plot, a luxury that I usually do not have with editors and publishers. Being able to set the story aside, then revisit it, lets me view and revise with fresh eyes and mind.

What excites you most about the process and the anthology in general?

I look forward to reading how titles were interpreted by the authors selected for the anthology. Each title entices, gives rise to imaginative interpretation and lets you wonder how you might have interpreted it. Reading Clash of the Titles will reveal these interpretations, an exciting aspect and result of the process, especially since readers with knowledge of titles and their origins will factor that into the reading equation.

Did your story grow in ways that you didn’t expect due to the workshop nature of the process? How?

Thanks to Gil’s suggestions,”They Came at Night” moved in a direction entirely different from my initial intent. Change is difficult, especially when your concept evolves and moves into a different direction; but the results made the revision process
worthwhile, giving me stronger characters and a new conclusion to my plot.

Please describe your favorite experience in working with Clash of the Titles.

Inventing and reinventing new aspects of “They Came at Night” occurred as each interaction with Gil gave a unique momentum to the story’s writing process, quite different from my initial intent. At times, my story moved away from my original concept; yet, ultimately, I embraced the changes and watched “They Came at Night” evolve and, once again, become my own.

What other projects are you working on, besides Clash of the Titles?

 “They Came at Night” is my first science fiction story. I write primarily historical fiction and fantasy, as well as picture books. Recent publications include: The Blanket (Caramel Tree) and When Mama Reads to Me, (Be There Bedtime Stories), both picture books. As a contributing author, I collaborated in: Story Sprouts: Voice, Story Sprouts: Setting, Kayla Wayman, Time Time-Traveler: Lost in the Stream, and Stepmothers and the Big Bad Wolf. Projects in their final revision include: Babi Yar and Matteo (historical fiction) and Wanderer’s Way (fantasy).

Can you sum up your story, “They Came at Night,” in a single sentence?

Let the macabre notes of the calliope lure you to the carousel and slip into an intergalactic ride of your life.

You can find Judy Rubin on Facebook.

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Jun 30 2016

Interview with George Nikolopoulos

Published by under Interview,Uncategorized

Part of a series of interviews with the writers for the upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Clash of the Titles. the anthology is the brain child of Glen Bavel, who conceived of an endearing conceit: he provides a list of titles and the members of his Facebook workshop, Writing the Short (SF) Story, use it as a starting point for a short speculative fiction story.

George Nikolopoulos claims to have been writing since ‘forever.’ That might not be an exaggeration, but more of philosophical edge, his Greek heritage shining through. A Greek native, George Nikolopoulos (Γιώργος Νικολόπουλος) has won over 50 Greek and international awards, his most prestigious being a children’s fantasy novel published in Cyprus. He’s been writing in English since 2012, and has been published over fourteen times in magazines such as Unsung Stories, Bards & Sages Quarterly and SciPhi Journal. I recently discussed with George about his writing, and, in particular, his story, “An Itinerant in Carcosa” which he wrote for the Clash of the Titles anthology.

So, first question, why Speculative Fiction?

That’s what I always ever wanted. I read hundreds of literary novels from primary school to high school, but the ones I loved the best had fantastical elements even though they weren’t classified as genre fiction. And when I started reading speculative fiction I never looked back.


Who’s your favorite writer?

Only one?

So give me a short list of your favorites.

It would be impossible to choose. Let’s say GRR Martin, Robert Jordan, Ursula LeGuin, Tanith Lee, Roger Zelazny, Douglas Adams, Michael Moorcock, Orson Scott Card, JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling, Anatole France… OK, I could go on forever.

Let’s talk about the anthology. How did you find out about the Clash of the Titles?

Deborah Walker mentioned she’d be in the anthology with a poem with a very cool (and Greek-sounding title), so I had to check it out. I owe a lot of my story sales to Deborah, because she’s very often published in markets I didn’t know about.


What made you want to submit to it? Would you do it again?

I liked the concept of title-picking and the idea of the anthology, so I decided to try it out. It worked out. I’d definitely do it again.


How did you come up with your story? What made you choose that title?

There were a lot of titles to choose, but Carcosa… I just had to have that one. It’s a name associated with a lot of very prominent authors.


How is your story for the anthology the same and/or different from your other works?

I’d never written Mythos before and I rarely write horror. But then again, most of my works are very different from most of my other works.

What do you think is the most important thing that readers know about Clash of the Titles?

That it’s great! Seriously, there are a lot of very good writers participating and the “pick-a-title” concept is very intriguing.

 

It’s said that the editor will make an anthology every year. Even if the “I pick the titles, you write the story” conceit isn’t used again, would you work with the editor again?

I sure would! It would be a great challenge to see if I could make him like my next story as much as this one.


Would you recommend the process to other writers; how did you find working with this editor to be compared to others?

I haven’t “worked” with many editors, they usually just reject (or accept) my stories and that’s that, so I can’t compare. Working with Gil, however, was really interesting and very useful and I’d definitely recommend it to others.

 

What excites you most about the process, and the anthology in general?

Being part of a groundbreaking concept is great, and being included in such a great anthology is a very rewarding experience.

 

Did your story grow in ways you didn’t expect due to the workshop nature of the process? How?

In fact, it did. Gil never pushed me to change things, but he did make a great many very intriguing suggestions, and trying to follow them made the story branch out into new places. My story doubled in size from my original submission in the end.


What other projects are you working on, besides Clash of the Titles?

I’m writing and revising a bunch of short stories, as much as I can. The hardest challenge is finding the time to do it.

Geroge Nikolopoulos’s story for the anthology, “An Itinerant in Carcosa,” follows Hoseib the Wanderer who finds himself in the ancient city of Carcosa, accompanied by Cassilda and Camilla, the gorgeous Devil Twins. Seeking The King in Yellow, they become enmeshed in the mysterious city. Soon reality gives way, and Hoseib finds he must desperately cling his humanity and remember his origins – before everything becomes lost.

You can learn more about George Nikolopoulos by visiting his blog, or his Amazon author page or you can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or at Goodreads.

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