Back in June, I did an interest gauge in an anthology of Mormon alternate history stories. I am happy with the response and have decided do it. Here’s where I’m at with the project:
- I will not be putting out a call for submissions this year. I will likely do so next year and am fairly confident that that will happen, although the timing is still up in the air. It probably won’t happen the first 4 months of 2015 and might not happen until fall.
- Unless something changes, the anthology will be published by Peculiar Pages. (I don’t expect something to change).
- The anthology will offer token payments to contributors and will be confined to original short fiction (sorry poets and cartoonists and novelists and dramatists and short story writers with reprint hopes).
- I will be the acquiring editor for the anthology. Theric will be involved in the production process, and I may run some editorial decisions by him if I need a second opinion.
- Part of the reason for the delay is that I want to make sure that I have a dedicated fund from which to pay the contributors. I know it’s only token payments, but it’s important to me (and, in my opinion, to the field) that there be some form of renumeration even if it’s small.
- We did consider crowdfunding and that could happen if we decide to do a print version (which would likely also be an expanded version), but the idea here is to do something that has a 100% chance of success and is manageable.
- You may not want to start writing until you see the call for submissions. That said: I’m quite confident that I won’t be accepting stories over 9,000 words; that my preference will be for stories 4,000 – 6,000 words in length; and that I’ll be looking for killer concepts and plots, for sure, but also great prose. The short short pieces I mention in the interest gauge are also still on the table but are more nebulous in my head at the moment.
Any questions/thoughts? I may not have answers for you yet, but I’ll answer what I can.
Over the next few Fridays, I’ll be posting several times on Mette Ivie Harrison’s upcoming novel, The Bishop’s Wife (to be released December 30 from Soho Press). I know Harrison primarily from her memoir Ironmom (which I haven’t read) and the frequently forgotten fact (only to me) that she writes YA fantasy. This is the first longer work of hers I’ve read.
Instead of writing a long post covering many issues, I’ve decided to write a series of shorter posts covering such topics as exposition, marketing, genre whatnot, and who knows? maybe even a review! A couple posts that seem unfair to post before you’ve had a chance to read the book will post in the new year.
Suffice it to say I think the novel is worth your time and I’ll see you next Friday and the Friday after that and the Friday after that . . . . or maybe every other Friday. We’ll see how it goes.
more posts on The Bishop’s Wife
Those of you with long memories (or who followed my advice and bought the thing) will recall Brandon Dayton’s comic Green Monk. Well! When I was in Salt Lake I had a chat with Brandon and he showed me pencils for a new Green Monk story. (It looked good.) And the great news for all of us? He’s starting to put the inked art online:
Start the story from the beginning.
Follow Brandon’s Tumblr.
Follow Brandon on Twitter.
Support The Green Monk on Patreon.
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Jake Parker is having a banner year. Skull Chaser‘s been getting attention. He’s been tapped to take over art duties (at least temporarily) at Marvel’s breakout hit Rocket Raccoon. He’s working on a new Missile Mouse book. And his brainchild Inktober has gone massively viral this year, at times hitting thousands of hits an hour: Pinterest! Tumblr! Twitter! Facebook! Instagram!
Inktober is, simply, drawing in ink each day of October (or as many days as your endurance will allow) and posting it online. The first year, Jake’s rule was no pencils, but he’s relaxed that now as you can see with the story he’s telling this Inktober.
(Note: Inktober not Jake’s only brainchild.)
Follow Jake on Twitter.
Follow Jake’s Tumblr.
Follow Jake on Pinterest.
Support Skull Chaser on Patreon.
If I keep forgetting about the new Mormon Lit Blitz contest, then I have to believe a lot of people are having the same issue.
Here’s the pitch as taken from the Mormon Artist website (written by James Goldberg): more
Here’s the bad news: I don’t have the time and energy to do a second Monsters & Mormons anthology. I believe that there are a few people who will be disappointed by this. I know there’s at least one: me. I’m sorry. It’s just not going to happen.
Here’s the good news: I’ve been focused the past few years on writing fiction and criticism. See my author blog for a glimpse of what I’ve been working on. Most of that has not been Mormon-related. It’s great fun, and I’m continuing those activities, but I also am feeling the desire to edit again. I’m also concerned about the fact that with the shuttering of Irreantum there aren’t enough venues for Mormon short fiction. I’ve been saying for awhile now that what we need are more one-off projects that don’t require sustained effort — that that’s the best way to grow the body of Mormon short fiction because they don’t require the kind of long-term commitments and resources that most of us just can’t supply. Well, I suppose I should lead by example. So…
My vague thoughts: I’m thinking about editing an e-only short anthology of alternate Mormon history stories. I know for a fact that at least two of the entries in this year’s Mormon Lit Blitz are in the alternate history genre (one of them is mine). I’m guessing there might be more. It’s funny. I’ve been thinking about this for several months and even went so far as to toss some ideas around with Theric. And then Scott Hales recently posted Emily Adams review of D. J. Butler’s City of the Saints series, which is Mormon alt history steampunk. And, well, it just seems like it’s in the air. Indeed, it seems to me that in this post-Mormon moment moment alternate visions of Mormon history could be one of the more compelling ways of expressing our culture and help us think through both our past and future trajectories in interesting and fruitful ways.
Details and timing: I don’t know for sure yet. My best guess is that I’d put a call for entries out this fall with a deadline of early spring 2015 and a goal of having the anthology out in fall 2015. I would pony up the funds for token payments to the contributors. The anthology would likely be limited to 7-8 short short pieces, 3-4 short stories, and 1-2 novelettes with a goal of hitting 45-65k words (Monsters & Mormons is close to 180k). As with M&M, I’d be looking to range across the pulp and literary spectrums, but I’d also be shading a bit more towards the literary (where with M&M we shaded more towards pulp). And with the short short pieces, I’d be looking for a variety of forms of discourse including sermon, journal entry, reportage, personal letter, etc.
Feedback: If I decided to do this, who would be interested in submitting? Or reading? Reviewing? Am I wrong that Mormon alt history is swirling about the current Zeitgeist? What are the promises and pitfalls of Mormon alternate history?
Speak up in the comments below, or if you’d prefer not to be public with your thoughts, email me at william AT motleyvision DAWT org.
Brothers and sisters I invite you to celebrate Mormon Arts Sunday this Sunday, June 8, 2014, and, from now on (unless we change it again) every second Sunday in June.
Mormon Arts Sunday started back in February 2013 when Scott Hales suggested a wear a black beret to Church day. That post was both inspired by and somewhat spoofing the feminist activism of the time of wearing pants to church, but the more some of us thought about it, the more interesting an idea it became. Scott expanded on the idea and then I explained why I wore a maroon tie to church that day. And when February rolled around this year, I kind of forgot about it, but Theric made sure the Berkeley Ward observed it in February.
But since we missed February, and since I don’t want to compete with Scout Sunday, and since AMV was founded in June (by the way: this is our 10th anniversary), we landed on the second Sunday in June.
Kent Larsen is already on board. He serves in a bishopric so he is able to influence the theme of sacrament meeting. But not all of us serve in a bishopric, so…
- Wear a beret or a dark red/maroon item to church this Sunday. Dark red is AMV’s color, but it’s also a good color to represent Mormon Arts Sunday — it’s rich and vibrant and not generally a color that people wear to church all the time. Purple would also work. Wear purple if you’d prefer.
- Wear a cockroach accessory (not my personal reference, but see the Scott Hales posts above for an explanation).
- If you are talking or teaching this Sunday, include a piece of Mormon literature or visual art in your talk or lesson. The right poem can work quite well for that. One good source for that is the winners of the Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest, which the Ensign used to run.
- Bring a work of Mormon art to church or to a home/visiting teaching appointment and share it with someone who you think would appreciate it.
- Do this on Saturday, but: buy a work of Mormon art. Something from Zarahemla Books, maybe. Or a Whitney Awards winner. Or from whatever your favorite purveyor of Mormon art may be (tell us in the comments).
- Have a special Sunday edition Family Home Evening where you consume and/or discuss a work of Mormon art.
That’s all I have. What suggestions do you have? How else could we observe Mormon Arts Sunday?
Every year there are titles that would be eligible to be judged for the Whitney Awards except for the fact that they don’t receive enough nominations. This sometimes includes titles that are published by major regional or national publishers. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen this year. Here’s how you can help:
Goodreads user Kaylee has set up a list titled Whitney Award Eligible Books 2014. If you are a Goodreads member or willing to become one, please consider adding titles to the list.
However: collecting the titles is only the first step. Even if you don’t have titles to add, click on over and take a look at the list. If you have read any of the novels on the list, please consider nominating them. You can do so via the Whitney Awards nomination form. Note that you can nominate multiple times in one form submission so you could have one tab open on the list and another on the form and flip back and forth between the two. I also recommend not being stingy with your nominations — even if you don’t consider a novel to be the best of the year, it’s important that the judges have a chance to look at all titles that are worthy of consideration.
Finally, take a look at the list, and if there are any novels on the list that you haven’t read, but seem interesting, go out and get them, read them, and then nominate them. The Whitney Awards are dependent on a community of Mormon readers and authors. I invite you to be more active in that community (if you traditionally haven’t been).
I’m stepping my game up this year too — so join me. It’ll be fun. And thank you Kaylee for setting up the list!
Friends of AMV: you have a singular opportunity facing you — the chance to increase my currently dangerously low levels of humility by beating me soundly in the Mormon Lit Blitz. Mormon Artist is hosting the contest this year. See all the details in the Call for Submissions.
I already have my story written. I’m feeling quite confident about it. That feeling must not stand. Really, you’ll be doing me a favor by entering.
HOW TO DO IT
All you need to do is find 4 hours between now and May 31. You could probably even do it in 3, depending on how fast you can write your rough draft. Here’s how:
- Spend 45 minutes coming up with ideas. Remember that you aren’t limited to flash fiction — poetry, comics, plays are all welcome. These 45 minutes don’t even have to be in a row. They can happen in the shower or as you’re driving or folding laundry. Just make sure you have something close to capture your ideas.
- Spend 2 hours (also don’t need to be in a row) writing your first draft.
- Spend 1 hour revising. It really doesn’t take long to revise 1,000 words (or less).
- Spend 15 minutes copyediting and then format and submit.
Have no idea what to write about? Here are some freely offered ideas to get the creative juices flowing:
- The story of Balaam and his ass, except Baalam is a PR flack, Balak is a CEO, and the ass is an Audi TT.
- Parley P. Pratt: Vampire Hunter
- First line: The Bishop’s wife was worried that he was spending so much time on Pinterest.
- Title: The Laurel Class President’s Lament
- Comic: Nursery toys/books/activities through the decades
- A story about a handsome, righteous, well-coiffed commercial pilot for Lufthansa who is inspired to re-route a flight to Istanbul thus avoiding a sudden deadly storm and the political crisis that would have ensued because one of the passengers that would have died is a moderate Turkish general traveling incognito.
- First line: As far as she knew, Tiffany was the only Mormon female jockey in the world.
- A pair of sister missionaries is contacted by the manager for a controversial female pop star who was raised Mormon and would like to be taught the discussions (and possibly re-activate).
That should be enough to get you started. Feel free to share more ideas in the comments section. But more importantly: get brainstorming.