Accepting stories for the 2nd “Baker Street Irregulars” anthology

What if Sherlock Holmes had been born in a different body? In a completely different time?

That was the concept behind BAKER STREET IRREGULARS — a new anthology due out on March 21, 2017. (You can pre-order it now!).  It contains stories from David Gerrold, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Jody Lynn Nye, Ryk Spoor, Heidi McLaughlin, Gail Z. Martin, Hildy Silverman, and more. It’s co-edited by NY Times Bestselling Author Jonathan Maberry, who also contributes a story.

You’ll find stories with Sherlock as an alien dog, a sex android, a vampire, a female college student, a musician in Beethoven’s orchestra, a monk, a computer simulation, a reality TV show host, a worker in a dystopian future, and a parrot (among other things).

There will be an audio book available around the same time as the book release.

Now we’re looking for stories for the second edition. You are invited to contribute.sherlock_holmes1

Your story must (a) feature a character who clearly has Sherlock Holmes’ personality but is not a traditional detective; (b) not take place in Victorian London; and (c) contain a mystery the character solves in a typical Sherlockian way.

I was thrilled with the number of stories that were submitted for the first book, and sadly had to reject some that were very good but either duplicated an idea in an already-accepted story or which didn’t really have a mystery in there.

If you are interested, please email me first with a short synopsis of your idea. There’s no need for you to spend time writing a story that is similar to one that has already been accepted. Please avoid variations of “Sherlock as a computer program/android” and “Holmes figures out he’s fictional” as those were the most common subjects received for the first book. Use your imagination — there are plenty of possibilities. Sherlock as a singer in a boy band. Sherlock as a Roman soldier. Sherlock as a caveman. Sherlock as an alien crashing at Area 51. Don’t limit yourself.

Include in your email any previous publications (unless I already know you). Stories from first-time authors are considered (and in fact, one was accepted for the previous book).

Note that there is no guarantee your story will be accepted even if you are in the first book. We’ll be looking for a good variety of ideas and styles, and a story that works but doesn’t fit may have to be set aside (but perhaps saved for a future edition).

The stories should be under 8,000 words but exceptions can be made if necessary. Since you will not be paid by the word, there’s no need to pad anything. Take what you need to tell the story and no more, please. We do have a word limit for the book, so if you go too long, it could hurt your chances of acceptance. On the other hand, we’ll always make room for a masterpiece of fiction.

We are not accepting reprints.

The book will be published by Diversion Books. Payment is royalties only. The rights will revert back to you after two years but there is an exception that allows you to have it published by any year-end “Best of” anthologies.

My agent Marisa Corvisiero will be handling the contracts.

The deadline for stories will be December 31, 2016. Note that this is the deadline for the finished story — your proposal must come before that time.

Your final submission should be in standard 12 point type in Times New Roman or variation thereof, in rtf, double spaced. Your name and email must be on the first page along with the word count.

So spread the word. If you know of an author who would love to write a Sherlock story, send this to them. And I look forward to hearing from you.

My Capclave 2016 Schedule

Capclave is a fine little literary SF convention held near Washington DC, which this year will be on the October 7th weekend. small_dodo_transparentCome and join us and meet some of your (and my) favorite authors, including but not limited to Tim Powers, Sarah Beth Durst, James Morrow, Alex Shvartsman, Catherine Asaro, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Allen Wold, Walter Hunt, and many more (including me!)

I’m anxious to meet Tim Powers again, who is one of my favorite authors. Unfortunately, I’m not on any panels with him. Capclave is where I spoke to George R.R. Martin a few years ago and then became an internet sensation for a week or so because of the “Hodor” comment.

Here are some pictures I took from from the convention in 20132014, and 2015.

And here’s my current schedule (subject to change):

Alternate History: How to Make it Work (Friday 6 pm) Many novels these days change history slightly — and fail. What does it take to make a good alternate history plot? With panelists Martin Berman-Gorvine, Emmie Mears (Moderator), Alan Smale, Michael A. Ventrella

Who’s the Bad Guy in a World Without Absolutes? (Friday 8 pm) Heroes, villains, and moral relativism. Does speculative literature have any concept of Good or Evil anymore? With panelists Anthony Dobranski, Christie Meierz, Hugh Taylor, Michael A. Ventrella (Moderator)

Reading (Friday 11 pm) Michael A. Ventrella will be reading from one of his books. With panelist Michael A. Ventrella

Writing Workshop (Saturday 10 am) Allen Wold will lead a panel of authors in a hands on workshop. Learn many skills as you work on a short story. All you need is a pen and paper. Limited to 15 people. With panelists Andrew Fox, Michael A. Ventrella, Allen L. Wold (Moderator), Darcy Wold

Social Media Promotion Without Being Obnoxious (Saturday 1 pm) Promoting yourself these days is a requirement for any writer. How can you do so without alienating everyone? With panelists Kate Baker, Inge Heyer, Natalie Luhrs, Michael A. Ventrella (Moderator)

Author’s Table (Saturday 2 pm) Meet the author! With panelists Andrew Fox, Michael A. Ventrella

Mass Autographing Session (Saturday 7:30 pm) Wherein all the authors gather in one room so you can get all your books signed

The Eye of Argon (Saturday 10 pm) The worst science fiction story ever written gets a reading by our brave panel as they compete to go the longest without tripping over a misspelled word or laughing uncontrollably. Audience members are also encouraged to take a chance. Can you keep a straight face, especially when the panel begins acting out the story? With panelists Hildy Silverman, Ian Randal Strock, Michael A. Ventrella, Walter H. Hunt

It’s a Conspiracy! (Sunday noon) Why are we so willing to believe that everyone is out to get us? How does this appeal to us in books and movies, even if we don’t believe them? With panelists T. Eric Bakutis, Warren Buff, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Michael A. Ventrella, Joan Wendland (Moderator)

It’s a Wonderful Death!

A brave knight breaks her vows to fight against a lunatic king calling himself “the Doomsayer” and ends up dealing with unreliable henchmen, political assassins, and a sarcastic disembodied head in a bag. Can she and her friends save the Hidden Kingdom from an unstoppable foe before her prophesied death?itsawonderfuldeath-510

IT’S A WONDERFUL DEATH is a stand-alone novel in the shared fantasy world of Fortannis. The story takes place after my novels ARCH ENEMIES and THE AXES OF EVIL and features Terin Ostler and the squires from those stories. However, you do not have to have read those books (or any of the stories in the various TALES OF FORTANNIS anthologies) to enjoy this book.

It was written by Derek Beebe and edited by me … and by editing, I don’t mean proofreading. I did an editor’s job as I have discussed in this blog before! So I’m really happy with the result and hope you will be, too.

Zachary Didur from Random Chatter magazine had this to say:

“Simultaneously epic and hilarious, IT’S A WONDERFUL DEATH tells a fast-paced story with a ton of heart. It focuses on a handful of characters and really makes you fall in love with them. Nevertheless, Beebe isn’t afraid to ramp up the action to 11 and deliver massive fantasy set-pieces.

Even though the book deals with some very dark subject matter at times, the tone was kept light by clever dialogue and moments of real levity. It never quite becomes a straight up comedy or farce but instead deftly toes the line, and in the end is an enjoyable epic fantasy story.”

So if you’re a fan of my earlier fantasy novels and want to know what happens to those characters later, please check this out! It’s available in Paperback, E-book , Kindle  and iBook !

My turn to be interviewed!

Buzzymag interviewed me a while ago — please check it out!

Transcript here:

Interview with author Nat Segaloff


Author photo by Liane Brandon

MICHAEL A. VENTRELLA: When I lived in Boston, I enjoyed reading Nat Segaloff’s movie reviews and comments in the Boston Herald. They apparently impressed me enough that when I saw his name on Facebook a few years ago, I remembered him instantly and friended him. 

Nat began as a movie publicist based in Boston, a career that carried him to New York, then back to Boston to be a film journalist covering the business of film. He also began doing radio (WEEI-FM, WMEX) and TV (WBZ, WSBK) before moving to Los Angeles to make documentaries (“Biography,” etc.) and other gambits mentioned in his new book

The book is full of interesting and funny stories about the movies, celebrities, and life in the entertainment industry. He discusses meeting Woody Allen in an elevator, being Saruman’s bagman, and forging Jesus’ signature on a publicity photo, among other things. It’s just full of wonderful anecdotes.

The book is called SCREEN SAVER: PRIVATE STORIES OF PUBLIC HOLLYWOOD and it’s from BearManor Press (who will be publishing my book about the Monkees in 2017).

Nat, what compelled you to write this book?

NAT SEGALOFF: Thank you for not calling it a memoir. It’s a collection of the show business stories I’ve been telling at parties and when I taught college classes — and some that I dared not tell while certain people were alive – since I entered the business. I figure I’d better set them down now before my brain defragged.

VENTRELLA: You’ve met some interesting people over the years – who impressed you the most?

SEGALOFF: Everybody in show business is impressive or else they’d be in a less exciting profession. Those whose company I remember most fondly include Michael Caine, Dom DeLuise, Martin Sheen, Louise Fletcher, William Friedkin, Arthur Penn, and one or two others. screen saverWhat made them impressive to me was how approachable they were/are. In many cases we became friends.

VENTRELLA: Some of the actors and directors you’ve met have very public personalities that are not at all like their real, private faces. Who seemed the most different to you?

SEGALOFF: I found James Earl Jones to be very much an introvert (this was before he went to the Dark Side) and Christopher Lee to be enormously chatty. The one who stunned me the most was Max von Sydow. When I interviewed him on WEEI-FM he wound up singing Swedish drinking songs. (Gee, I wish I’d put that in the book.)

VENTRELLA: Given the work you’ve done with so many of the Star Trek cast, have you found yourself revisiting the old shows?  Got an opinion on the various series or movies?

SEGALOFF: Starting the science fiction production company Alien Voices with John de Lancie and Leonard Nimoy made me an instant Trekker. I am told that I should revere TOS, but I prefer ST:TNG. I don’t re-watch any of the shows. As for the movies, isn’t the formula “Odd numbers bad, even numbers good”?

VENTRELLA: When you first began, the studios tried to make original films – there wasn’t this remake and sequel ideology. What happened? The film industry “lost its nerve” as you say?

SEGALOFF: I was fortunate to have come of age in the film business at a time when the film business itself was coming of age. The mid-1970s were a transitional period for American cinema. The crumbling of the restrictive Production Code gave movies a new freedom, the ready availability of cheap filmmaking equipment meant that every kid was making his own pictures, and the film companies had become so shaky financially and out of touch with the public that they embraced the youth culture as a way to attract a new audience. It lasted roughly from Easy Rider in 1969 to Jaws in 1975. After that the blockbuster mentality took over and the film companies embraced Roger Price’s definition of the mass production culture, “If everybody doesn’t want it, then nobody can have it.”.penn

VENTRELLA: You discuss how movies were once allowed to find their audiences by opening at a small number of theaters at first and then expanding their number of screens if they found favor with the public. Do you think the goal of making only huge blockbusters has hurt the industry?

SEGALOFF: Blockbusters have already killed the American film industry, it just doesn’t know enough to lie down. They cost so much to make and market that they must be tooled for as wide an audience as possible, which means that they cannot challenge or offend anybody (banality is apparently not considered offensive). This is what killed network television. But even disregarding the aesthetic content, the business model itself is suicidal. A $200 million movie simply cannot make its costs back unless everybody goes to see it. The huge grosses we see reported don’t reflect the money that gets sapped along the way by advertising, exhibitors,  gross deals (money off the top), distribution costs, interest, and overhead. What these blockbusters are is cash flow machines, not profit-makers. If the film companies had to exist on profits alone they would collapse. This is Hollywood’s dirty secret.

VENTRELLA: I wonder sometimes if people just have nostalgia for the old days, remembering all the great films and bemoaning the current state, but it seems to me that there were plenty of crappy films being released when I was younger, too … do you agree or has the quality really fallen?

SEGALOFF: The percentage of dross versus gold is probably the same now as it was twenty or thirty years ago; (Theodore) Sturgeon’s law says that 90 percent of anything is crap. The difference is that in 1976 a crappy film cost $1 million to make and $50,000 to advertise while in 2016 it costs $200 to make and $60 million to sell. Films back then were usually about something new. Now they’re about something old. Of course, I’m sweepingly generalizing.

VENTRELLA: Brian DePalma once advised you to review the film he made and not the film you wanted to see. How did you apply that to your reviews?

SEGALOFF: If the filmmaker sets out his or her goals in the early part of the film it’s a bargain made with the audience. Good filmmakers keep their end of the bargain.

VENTRELLA: Which film critics do you most admire?MrHustonMrNorth_cover.indd

SEGALOFF: I admire them all. (Do you think I have the word “stupid” written across my forehead?)

VENTRELLA: What happened to film critics, anyway? As you point out, now we just have “reviewers.”

SEGALOFF: Film critics have always been a liability, but every now and then they served a purpose (publicity, ego, targets). They are the only writer in the popular media who is expected to criticize an advertiser’s product. True critics presume that their audience has seen the film and is reading the review for insight. The job of a reviewer, however, is as a consumer reporter who describes a film not according to its place in the art of cinema but whether it’ll be a good time at the movies. Ironically, the advertising rates for movies are among the highest charged by a newspaper, magazine, or broadcaster. Yet the trend now is to get rid of film critics entirely – and even arts coverage – because publishers consider it to be free advertising. These people are called Philistines. It’s also because the communications conglomerates have become so vertically integrated that critics are superfluous.

VENTRELLA: You sort of fell into this business, didn’t you? This wasn’t originally your plan?

SEGALOFF: Like half the kids in my generation I wanted to make movies. I quickly discovered that if you want to make movies you have to run a gauntlet of people who don’t want you to. I wasn’t good at it. John Houseman put it best: “In the old days they used to help a producer make a movie. Now they dare him.” (That’s in the book.)

VENTRELLA: One thing you emphasize is that the “story is more important than the person telling it.” Do you think that is the flaw in many movies today? And does that transfer to novels?

SEGALOFF: I was referring strictly to myself. I’m not famous but the people I write about in SCREEN SAVER are, so I make the stories about them but from my point of view. It’s not so much about me as about them.

VENTRELLA: Why did you decide to name some people in the book and not others?

SEGALOFF: You’re the lawyer; you’re familiar with the term defamation.striling

VENTRELLA: Well, if it’s true, it’s not defamation … Anyway, one of the false myths you discuss is “Movies about movies don’t make money.” Hollywood loves making movies about itself, and they often win Oscars. So where do these myths come from? And do they really believe them?

SEGALOFF: Every pitch meeting starts out at “No” and works toward “Maybe.” Pitching a Hollywood story starts off with “are you out of your &%#@!ing mind?” and if you’re lucky you get to “No.” There’s a more sinister reason that goes back to the early days when the (mostly) Jewish moguls who founded Hollywood stayed away from Jewish subjects because they didn’t want to call attention to themselves in an intolerant country. The nix on movies about movies may feed off of that.

VENTRELLA: You complain about the decline of journalistic ethics – don’t you think Rupert Murdoch had something to do with that?

SEGALOFF: Murdoch simply took advantage of a system that was already on the skids thanks to a breakdown of enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Reagan FCC’s abdication of its responsibilities to the public, and the fact that he is a brilliant businessman. As to ethics, to pull a quote from Jean Anouilh’s Becket (although it might be from Edward Anhalt’s screenplay): “I enjoy good living; good living is Norman. I enjoy life and a Saxon’s only birthright is slaughter. One collaborates to live.”

VENTRELLA: A bit of your book talks about charity, pointing out that some of the clichés about Hollywood are not true. Why do you think that was important to put into the book?

SEGALOFF: I have written and called my share of charity fundraisers and I see the parade of stars, musicians, and others who show up, do their thing, and ask not one cent for lending their name, time, and talent to a good cause. Then you read in the tabloids about how demanding, selfish, and trashy Hollywood types are. I challenge any other industry to compare itself with Hollywood’s service to the cuts

VENTRELLA: How did you decide on the title SCREEN SAVER?

SEGALOFF: Because “Harry Potter and the Prick Who Gave My Book a Bad Review” was taken.

VENTRELLA: How did you find your current publisher?

SEGALOFF: This is my fourth book for Bear Manor Media. I was referred to them by film historian and prolific author James Robert Parish and I have found a home. Plus the publisher says he likes my writing. (My previous Bear Manor book, BTW, are FINAL CUTS: THE LAST FILMS OF 50 GREAT DIRECTORS, STIRLING SILLIPHANT: THE FINGERS OF GOD, and MR. HUSTON/MR. NORTH: LIFE, DEATH AND MAKING JOHN HUSTON’S LAST MOVIE.)

VENTRELLA: Which has been the most successful?

SEGALOFF: Serious film books are not a money tree. My most successful book is probably the first edition of THE EVERYTHING® ETIQUETTE BOOK that I wrote in 1997 for Adams Media Corp. God knows how many printings they had. You may ask how a film historian got asked to write a book on etiquette. I had a fine agent and a wonderful editor. Plus I wanted to be able to say that I wrote the book on good taste.

VENTRELLA: Which did you enjoy writing the most?

SEGALOFF: I enjoy writing all of them, but the one that I couldn’t believe I was writing while I was writing it was ARTHUR PENN: AMERICAN DIRECTOR (University Press of Kentucky, 2011). Can you imagine how it felt being able to sit at the feet of the man who made Bonnie and Clyde – the film that made me want to make movies – and ask him any question, not just about film, but about life?

VENTRELLA: Tell us about the Harlan Ellison book!harlan

SEGALOFF: It was after he read my Arthur Penn book that Harlan (whom I had known since I directed my Stan Lee documentary) asked me if I would be interested in writing his. He barely finished the question when I said Yes. It’s due out later this year from NESFA Press – the New England Science Fiction Association – and will be a very different book than people are expecting. Everyone who knows Harlan Ellison knows that he is combative, precise, relentless, and brilliant. My book probes the roots of those traits and led both of us into highly personal areas that reveal him as few have ever seen. We’re calling it A LIT FUSE: THE PROVOCATIVE LIFE OF HARLAN ELLISON, AN EXPLORATION BY NAT SEGALOFF. Note that it doesn’t have the word biography in the title. I don’t know what kind of book it is. Yes I do. It’s Harlan.

Thank you for the opportunity to mouth off like this about SCREEN SAVER and my other thoughts. I hope people buy the book, if not for themselves then to give to someone they love by way of dissuading them from going into the film business.

Interview with author Paul Levinson

MICHAEL A. VENTRELLA: I am pleased to be interviewing Paul Levinson today. Paul is a Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University. His stories and novels have been  nominated for Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, Edgar, Prometheus, and Audie Awards. His novel THE SILK CODE won the Locus Award for Best First Science Fiction Novel of 1999. PLCapeHe’s appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, the History Channel, NPR, and numerous TV and radio programs. He was President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America from 1998 to 2001. His web page is here.

Since I love a good time travel story, I recently read THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES.  What led you to this plotline?

PAUL LEVINSON: I never believed that story that came down to us through The Crito, in which Crito (they only had one name in those days) comes to Socrates the night before he’s supposed to drink his death sentence, the hemlock, and tells Socrates that there’s a ship waiting for him in Piraeus, the Athenian harbor, which Socrates can take to escape, and Socrates says, oh no, I may criticize the state, but I would never put myself above it, so I’ll stay here and drink the hemlock. That rang untrue to me, and in fact went against every bone in my body.  If some jury sentenced me to death for my political opinions, and an old friend gave me an escape option, I’d be out of there in a New York minute. I mean, take me to Thebes, any place where I can continue my criticism of the state. So I never bought that story, never thought it gave the real reason that Socrates declined the boat to safety. I read some plausible alternative explanations, but, in the end, I came up with my own … which you’ll find at the end of THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES.

VENTRELLA: What background did you have to write about Socrates? Or was this just something you were always interested in?

LEVINSON: A combination: I was always interested in Socrates, and I also have some philosophic background.   My first published book was IN PURSUIT OF TRUTH: ESSAYS ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF KARL POPPER, which was published in 1982 (I assembled and edited the anthology). I read I. F. Stone’s THE TRIAL OF SOCRATES when it was published in 1988, and found its explanation of why Socrates was so provocative at his trial intriguing and plausible.  That nonfiction got me thinking about the plot that would eventually become THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES.

VENTRELLA: I note that the book has discussion questions in the back. Since I learned a lot, I am wondering if it has been required reading for courses?

LEVINSON: Those discussion questions were put in at that suggestion of Tor Books, which published that paperback. socratesFrankly, I think it’s lame to put in discussion questions at the end of a novel which was certainly not intended as a textbook. On the other hand, it has been used as required reading in a few courses over the years, and I’m certainly very happy and grateful for that. I am especially glad, by the way, that I was able to able to write from the perspective of a female hero – Sierra Waters – it was fun writing from the point of view of a gender that’s not you, and I hope I got it mostly right.

VENTRELLA: What is it about time travel stories that we like?

LEVINSON: First, travel to the past and to the future are two different things, with different payoffs. Travel to the past has the irresistible appeal of changing something we don’t like in history – either in world history, or in our personal history. Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to do that? Travel to the future shows us where we, those we love, and the world may be in the future – that’s important knowledge, too. But both are very likely impossible, which is what also makes these kinds of stories such appealing fiction.If I traveled to the past and changed something I didn’t like, how would I have knowledge of that in the first place? You’d need to say PL 1 from Reality 1 traveled to the past and changed it to Reality 2, with PL 2 and no knowledge of what was changed, but that’s ok because PL 1 did the time travel not PL 2. But that kind of new reality snapping into being with every drop of the time traveler’s hat is even more incredible than time travel. Meanwhile, if I traveled to tomorrow, and saw you were wearing a pair of jeans with a slight tear in the knee, that would mean you had no free will – that you will have no choice but to put on those jeans tomorrow, whatever else you may want to wear. And I think we do indeed have free will, that we can wear whatever we please. So that’s why time travel is likely impossible, but also why it’s so good to read or see on the screen.

VENTRELLA: You have two sequels – do you plan any more? 

LEVINSON: I have no specific plans for a fourth novel in this saga, but you never know.  When I wrote UNBURNING ALEXANDRIA, the sequel to THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES, I didn’t expect to write a sequel to that, but CHRONICA just came to me.

I do have a fourth Phil D’Amato novel about half-way finished, and a first chapter to a sequel of BORROWED TIDES. So, yeah, I like sequels, and we’ll likely see Sierra Waters again, somewhere down the line.41k79NJdbIL

VENTRELLA: Or up the line, as the time travel case may be.

Some time travel stories involve closed universes, where what happens in the past does not change the present;  you’ve gone the other way. Tell us about your decision-making process. Do you personally prefer one to the other?

LEVINSON: For some reason, I’ve always been partial to the kind of time travel story in which someone travels to the past to prevent some kind of bad event, then it turns out that the time traveler is the one who made that event happen, or contributed to it in some way. There’s a little of that in THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES, but there are also changes in the present as a result of the time travel, and that’s exciting to write, too. I think the key is to keep the reader off-balance, never quite knowing what to expect, but weaving a story that has enough connection to the reality we know to be plausible and therefore even more unsettling.

VENTRELLA: You’ve released your Phil D’Amato series with the comment that they are “they way the author always meant them to be.” How is that? What was it about the previous versions that you didn’t like? 

LEVINSON: The late David Hartwell was my editor at Tor for all three Phil D’Amato novels, BORROWED TIDES, and THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES (not the sequels). David along with Stan Schmidt were the best editors I ever had the luck and pleasure to work with. But I didn’t agree with every one of David’s edits or the changes in my initial manuscript he suggested. Sometimes we discussed this, and I got my way. Other times, I went along with the suggestions. In some of these cases, I found I was happy or at least ok with these changes when I prepared the three novels for Kindle re-issue. In other cases, I realized that I preferred my original wording, or plot point, after all. That’s what I meant by “author’s cut” or publishing the novels “the way the author always meant them to be”. Ultimately, there are no huge differences in the original Tor and the newer Kindle versions – but I do like the Kindles a little more.51bggurvo8L

VENTRELLA: Tell us about the series!

LEVINSON: Phil D’Amato began his exploits in “The Chronology Protection Case”. Stan Schmidt, then editor of Analog Magazine, got back to me a few months after I sent him the story and said, I really like this, but why did you kill off such an interesting character? I thought it over, decided to save Phil’s life, and expanded the short story into a novelette, which was published in Analog a few months later. That novelette has been reprinted five times, was a Nebula Award finalist, has been used as a text in at least one science fiction class in the MidWest for a decade, and has been made into a high-budget radio play (nominated for the Edgar Award) and a low-budget short movie.

I published two other Phil D’Amato novelettes in Analog – “The Copyright Notice Case” and “The Mendelian Lamp Case”.

One day, in the late 1990s, I ran into David Hartwell at a con – it was Philcon, come to think of it – and he said, why don’t you write a Phil D’Amato novel and send it to me? I did, incorporating “The Mendelian Lamp Case” in the first part, and it became THE SILK CODE, which won the Locus Award for Best First Science Fiction Novel of 1999. THE CONSCIOUSNESS PLAGUE and THE PIXEL EYE followed, and I’m currently writing a 4th novel in the series.

My daughter Molly, 12 at the time, read THE SILK CODE in manuscript form, and said, “Daddy, Phil is just like you!”  She was very perceptive. Phil D’Amato is what I think I would have been had I gone in for forensic science. He does forensics for the NYPD, and has a penchant for getting involved in strange cases, in profound developments lurking just below the surface …

VENTRELLA: What are you working on now?

LEVINSON: I don’t like talking about what I’m currently writing, because, who knows, I could change my mind. But I did finish a 10,000-word brand new time travel story last month, with major historical characters I haven’t written about before (well, one, just a little). I’m currently mulling over what to do with this – expand it into a novel, send it out to a suitable magazine or web site, maybe publish it myself on Kindle.51i7-OBEt0L._SX295_BO1,204,203,200_

Speaking of which, I did finish my “Loose Ends” series last year, with a fourth story entitled “Last Calls” (the first three were published in Analog, and “Loose Ends” was Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon nominated). All four are now on Kindle, if you’d like some more of my time travel. So are my three “Ian’s Ions and Eons” novelettes, also first published in Analog a few years ago.

VENTRELLA: How did you first become interested in writing?

LEVINSON: I became interested in writing – both fiction and nonfiction – in first grade, where I wrote both. For me, writing is just a little more difficult than speaking, which has always been pretty easy for me, which is one reason I became a professor. I can’t even imagine a day without writing, it’s so fundamental to me.

VENTRELLA: How much of writing is innate? In other words, do you believe there are just some people who are born storytellers but simply need to learn technique? Or can anyone become a good writer?

LEVINSON: I think people are indeed born storytellers, in terms of their imaginations, concoctions of plots, and need to tell those stories, and even with the ability to tell them in appealing and intriguing ways.  That last part can be improved through practice and in some cases guidance, but, ultimately, either you have that capacity or not. And here’s a crucial point: don’t let anyone talk you out of your need to write, or even how to write, if you have a technique that works. There is no universally best or right method.

VENTRELLA: What is your writing process?  Do you outline heavily or just jump right in, for instance?

LEVINSON: I never outline, at least not on paper or screen. I sometimes think out a story partially in my head, but most of the time I just jump in and see where it goes. I take the same approach for nonfiction, and for speeches I give at scholarly conventions. I never write the speech beforehand – I just give the talk, and if someone wants to read the speech afterward, there’s always a transcript. Writing for me is a wild, untamed, dangerous ride, and I like to keep it that way.515piy7uGVL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_

VENTRELLA: Writers are told to “write what you know.”  What does this mean to you? 

LEVINSON: It means if I’m writing about a real city or town in this world, I need to have been there, spent some time there, in order to write about it convincingly. And it means that when I write about any character, good or evil, I need to plumb the depths of my own psyche, discover what I would do in that situation, in order to make the character convincing. With any luck, readers will find this compelling.

 VENTRELLA: What criticism of your work do you disagree with the most?

LEVINSON: Truthfully?  Most criticisms. But if I had to pick just one, it would be the observation that BORROWED TIDES is my “worst” novel. Of course, everyone has to have a worst novel. But I’m pretty sure I haven’t written it yet, and, with any luck, never will.

VENTRELLA: How did you get started?  What was your first story or book published?

LEVINSON: My first publication was a piece of music criticism, “A Vote for McCartney,” in the Village Voice in 1971. I sent it to them as a letter to editor. They published it as an article, and sent me a check for $65. What more could I ask for?

VENTRELLA: What’s your opinion on self-publishing?

LEVINSON: I have a very high opinion of it:  You don’t have to suffer through an acquiring editor, who, if you’re a new writer, is more likely to turn you down than accept your story or novel. Regarding novels, you make a 70% royalty on Amazon rather than a paltry 10%. Traditional publishing still has some advantages – a professional copy-editor and getting books into bookstores would be the main ones – but self-publishing is becoming increasingly worthwhile for authors.

VENTRELLA: What sort of advice would you give an un-agented author with a manuscript?

LEVINSON: Don’t waste too much time in pursuit of an agent. Send your manuscript out to a publisher directly, or publish it yourself.

VENTRELLA: What’s the worst piece of writing advice you ever got?Paul-Levenson-Digital-McLuhan-book-cover

LEVINSON: It came from an editor whom I had queried about a nonfiction book about Marshall McLuhan shortly after the media theorist had died in 1980. The editor told me no one cared anymore about McLuhan. My 1999 book, DIGITAL McLUHAN, is still in print, and my McLUHAN IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA (2015) is selling dozens of copies per month.

VENTRELLA: What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever got?

LEVINSON: Actually, from Marshall McLuhan. I asked him how to write a (nonfiction) book. He said think of each chapter as a separate paper. It’s worked like a charm for me.

VENTRELLA: What advice would you give to a starting writer that you wish someone had given to you?

LEVINSON: Don’t ever stop writing. Write what you want to write. Don’t pay too much attention to criticisms. Don’t keep your writing to yourself – get it out into the world, in whatever ways you can.

Interview with editor and author Ian Randal Strock

MICHAEL A. VENTRELLA: Today I’m pleased to be interviewing Ian Randal Strock, a good friend who has helped me out at many conventions with the Eye of Argon reading.  Ian is the owner and publisher of Gray Rabbit Publications, LLC, and its sf imprint, Fantastic Books. He thinks of himself as a science fiction author, even though 98% of his published words have been non-fiction. 23a62b17-cf39-4473-bb47-2e7d571e5f62He’s the winner of two AnLab Awards from his writings in Analog, and the author of THE PRESIDENTIAL BOOK OF LISTS (Random House, 2008), RANKING THE FIRST LADIES (Carrel Books, 2016), and RANKING THE VICE PRESIDENTS (Carrel Books, 2016). His name is unique on the internet, but having such a varied resume means that many of those pages look like they’re talking about different people, so he recently launched his own eponymous web site, just to draw them together to some degree.

Ian, you have a political science background as I do. Tell me about that and explain how you ended up where you are now.

IAN RANDAL STROCK: I went to college thinking I was going to be a doctor, but half way through, I realized that wasn’t my proper career path. I wandered into the student-owned newspaper, worked my way up the editorial staff, and chose a major in something that had always fascinated me. Unfortunately, there’s just about no place you can walk into and say “Give me a job; I’m a political scientist.” But you can get a job saying “I worked the equivalent of a full-time job on the student newspaper at Boston University, working my way up to Deputy Editorial Page Editor and Assistant Book Review Editor.”

VENTRELLA: What did your years as an editorial assistant teach you?  

STROCK: That the world is usually not what you imagine? That I’m immune to hero worship? That even though publication may be ephemeral, there are facets that last a long time? That technological changes can be overwhelming when you look at them in retrospect? That sometimes it pays to play it a little more cautiously? That’s just a few, but perhaps they deserve some fleshing out.

That the world is not what you imagine: After I graduated from college and moved to New York, I looked for a job in publishing. After taking a job that was a mistake, I was looking through the classified ads in the New York Times, and saw a three-line ad: “Wanted: Editorial Assistant for science fiction magazine. 380 Lexington Avenue, NY NY 10017” (I still remember it, though they’ve moved several times since then). I said to myself “I know that address. I’ve been sending them stories. That’s either Analog or Asimov’s.” I sent them my resume with a cover letter that basically said “Gimme the job! Gimme the job! Gimme the job!” I got called in for an interview, and was thrilled to learn that the job was for both Analog and Asimov’s. I knocked on the door, expecting a large reception room and spacious offices beyond, so when I opened the door, I was… surprised. Inside was a room about ten by twenty feet, crammed with five desks, four floor-to-ceiling book cases, and half a dozen file cabinets. This one room was the entire editorial space for the two largest US science fiction magazines. The intern wasn’t allowed to come in on Tuesdays, because that was the day the editors came in (the rest of the week, they worked from home), and there wasn’t a place for him to sit.

That I’m immune to hero worship: My second day at the magazines was a Tuesday. On Tuesdays, the editors came in. And on Tuesdays, Isaac Asimov visited the office. His name was on the magazine, but his only responsibility to it was to write the monthly editorial and to answer the letters. But every Tuesday, he’d come in to the office, talk with the editors, ask if there was anything he needed to know, and socialize. So on my second day at work, in the middle of January (it was cold), I heard this harsh Brooklyn voice coming closer to our door, singing loudly and cheerfully. In walked this nebbish bundled up in a heavy coat with a thick hat wearing big muttonchop sideburns and a big smile. Isaac Asimov. One of those names I’d known since I’d discovered science fiction. He was here! After he’d unwrapped himself, Sheila Williams (one of my bosses, she was the Managing Editor of Asimov’s) introduced us. Isaac looked up at me (he was about 5’9”, I’m 6’2”) and said “you’re not a cute little girl” (my two predecessors in the job had apparently been five-foot-nothing and really cute). I said “you’re not a ten-foot-tall god” (not sure where I found the chutzpah to say that to Isaac Asimov). 9781631440588-frontcoverHe said “I’m not going to make up a limerick for you.” That began our friendship that lasted for the last three years of his life. Two or three months later, Sheila told me one of our authors would be visiting, and I got excited. “I’m going to meet my first author!” I said. And she said “what about Isaac?”

That even though publication may be ephemeral, there are facets that last a long time: Those crowded book shelves in that tiny little office contained every issue of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine and of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Not a week went by that we didn’t get a letter from someone offering to sell us back issues of the magazines, either accumulated or inherited. We had a list of dealers we’d send back to them, but we knew there was almost no call for old magazines. On the other hand, two or three years later, I was involved in a writers’ group for which we were going to share stories of the past that inspired us, and I spent several days trying to find one particular story I’d read in high school. Eventually, having had no luck, I described it to Stanley Schmidt (the editor of Analog). Stan said, “Oh, yes, we published it: ‘Diabologic’ by Eric Frank Russell.” I checked our archives, and pulled the March 1955 issue off those shelves to find the story I’d been looking for.

That technological changes can be overwhelming when you look at them in retrospect: When I walked in the door to interview for that job at Analog and Asimov’s, I was not the least bit surprised to see a typewriter on every desk. By the time I left those magazines six years later, my desk (which had in the interim moved into different offices three or four times) was the only one that had a typewriter on it. I also had a computer on my desk, as did everyone else. And now I think back on how little that poor computer could actually do, with its monochrome monitor and dial-up modem.

That sometimes it pays to play it a little more cautiously: When I walked in for that interview, Sheila and Tina Lee (the Managing Editor at Analog, my other direct boss) asked if I’d be willing to commit to staying in the job for at least a year, because each of my predecessors had left within six months, and they wanted someone who’d stay a little while after being trained in the job. I said of course. They also asked what my career goals were. I said “I’d like one of your jobs, but I really want either Stan or Gardner’s job (Gardner Dozois was the Editor of Asimov’s).” I wound up staying six years, and left because, to my mind, my bosses weren’t getting any older, they weren’t making any moves toward retiring, and when the entire “up” in the company is four people, there’s not a lot of room for advancement. The opportunity came along to start my own magazine (Artemis, which I published until 2003), so I left. I’ve since been through a series of jobs. But if I’d passed on the chance to start Artemis, and instead stuck around, Tina left two years later, and I would have been the Managing Editor of Analog. Then I would have been in the perfect position to move up and become the Editor of Analog when Stan retired in 2012.

VENTRELLA: How did you decide to establish Fantastic Books?

STROCK: I’d published a magazine for several years (Artemis), and been involved in several other start-up businesses, so the entrepreneurial nature of starting a publishing house wasn’t alien to me. A friend of mine was publishing lots of public domain books, and making some money at it, when he decided to start up a science fiction line. He hired me as an acquiring editor, but soon he decided to spin off the line, and I bought it from him. The original concept was a reprint house, bringing back into print authors’ out-of-print back lists (to go along with new books they’re writing and publishing). Soon, however, I decided to take on original titles as well. Now, the company is about half reprints and half original titles. Without consciously planning it, we seem to publish an inordinate number of collections of short fiction (in part because the larger publishing houses are less likely to pick those up). And Fantastic Books is just half the company; the other imprint, Gray Rabbit Publications (which is also the corporate name) is a catch-all for anything else I think will sell: literary fiction, mystery, erotica, history, we have a line of Presidential speeches.…

VENTRELLA: What are you proudest of?  New releases or the re-releases of classics?

STROCK: I’m very proud to be one of Michael Moorcock’s publishers, and James Gunn’s, Shariann Lewitt’s, Allen Steele’s, and so on. But the original titles tend to outsell the reprints. Having those big names (and some smaller-name midlist authors) gave the company a jump start when we started publishing original titles by newer authors, and earned us a bit more attention from reviewers (which, in answer to one of your later questions, is one reason to go with a publishing house rather than self-publishing).

James Gunn reminds me of amusing story. We’ve got several of his books available, and I’d been showing them at conventions for probably two years when someone excitedly pointed to them and asked “Are these by the James Gunn?” I said of course, who else? This happened at the next few conventions, until someone pointed out to me that there’s a movie writer/director named James Gunn. Several of my James Gunn’s books were published before that other James Gunn was even born.

Allen Steele is one of our hybrid authors: he is still published by a major New York house, but he’s a long-time friend, and when we started the company, he offered us a few old reprints (including one massive collection which was out of print). We published his collection TALES OF TIME AND SPACE last year. Tor published his latest novel, ARKWRIGHT, earlier this year. I would have published that novel in an instant, but Tor was able to offer him more money and better distribution, so I’m just happy to have some of his new work.

We also had a few reprint titles from Tanith Lee, but a few years ago, she got an offer (with significant money) for the books, and asked for the rights back. 9781631440595-frontcoverAs a small publisher, one of the things I offer authors is a much more personal relationship, so when she asked, I of course said yes. As thanks, she offered me a new collection, and I jumped at the chance. DANCING THROUGH THE FIRE was published on what would have been her 68th birthday last year, and was a Locus Award finalist for Best Collection.

VENTRELLA: What future plans do you have for it?

STROCK: Without planning it, I’m a serial entrepreneur. Gray Rabbit Publications / Fantastic Books is the fifth start-up business I’ve been involved with. But it appears to be the first for which the business plan does not include the line “and then a miracle occurs.” My future plans are to keep running this company and grow it into something that can support me in the manner to which I would like to become accustomed. It’s still at the stage that, like a baby, it will take all the time and effort I can give it, but I can see a day hopefully in the not-too-distant future that it grows to where I want it to be.

VENTRELLA: I have to ask this question because I know some of my readers want to know: Do you take unsolicited manuscripts?

STROCK: No. Emphatically, no. I’ve read piles of unsolicited submissions for several magazines (Asimov’s, Analog, Artemis, Absolute Magnitude) and even for a book publisher (Baen). Fantastic Books is still so small that it makes no financial sense to spend that much time reading unsolicited manuscripts (in fact, I’ve got ten books stacked up on my desk right now for consideration, and those incredibly patient authors haven’t started threatening me yet).

VENTRELLA: What are the things that make you throw a story aside? What frustrates you the most?

STROCK: The one thing that frustrates me the most comes from working with authors who aren’t quite publishable yet. They frequently (painfully frequently) have characters do things because the author needs them to do those things, rather than because the characters would do such things themselves. When you’re writing a story, you’ve created a world, and all the characters in it are your toys to play with as you see fit, to move around to do what you want to do, like a chess board. But just like that chess board, it’s no fun when you move the pieces about randomly: the moves have to follow the rules of the game to make it most exciting. And when you’re creating characters, they have to be believable characters within the world you’ve created.

One scene I remember specifically from a book I edited involved the main character on a ladder. We meet the love interest as he rushes in, cushioning the main character as she falls from the ladder. They have a moment, a brief conversation over the dangers of climbing on ladders, and then the love interest walks out, end of scene. The problem, of course, is that we never learn why the love interest was in the scene in the first place. The author had him there to catch and meet the main character, but in order to make the story believable, the love interest as a person must have had a reason to be there.

VENTRELLA: You’ve written many short stories, but when you finally decided to do a book, you wrote THE PRESIDENTIAL BOOK OF LISTS. What inspired you to do that?

STROCK: I’d always been interested in the Presidents, from the time my mother hung a poster in our house with the Presidents’ pictures, names, and dates of office. Soon after I’d memorized that, my earliest political memory is learning that Richard Nixon was going to resign, and asking my parents if that meant Kissinger would be President (since his was the only other political name I knew). They explained about the Vice Presidency, and I was off and running. My brain likes to categorize and rank things, so it wasn’t much of a leap to try ranking the Presidents, seeking out shared characteristics (and wondering if I could acquire those characteristics myself to become President). But it was just a hobby until 2006, when I realized I could turn it into a book. As a writer, most of my output has been short-short stories (I may still have the record for the greatest number of Probability Zero stories in Analog), and I realized I could write my book as a bunch of individual, short-short chapters (because writing a book-length work was daunting). I set out to arrange all the data I had, find the gaps and write new chapters to fill those, and, within six months, I’d written a book.

Then came the problem of what to do with it. I’ve been a science fiction professional long enough that I know all the agents, but none of them had a clue about selling this non-fiction book. Walking around the Brooklyn Book Festival in 2007, I overheard a fellow at a table say to the exhibitor “I’m an agent…” I waited for him to finish his conversation and turn away, then approached him about my book. He wasn’t very encouraging, but offered to look at my proposal, which I promptly sent him. Again, he wasn’t terribly encouraging, but said he was willing to look at the whole book. Receiving that, he said he thought it would be very hard to sell, but he’d be willing to give it a try. And within three weeks, he’d sold it to Villard, which rushed it into print in October 2008.

VENTRELLA: And now, as a follow up, there’s RANKING THE FIRST LADIES. What kind of ranking? How did you make that determination?

STROCK: As with the Presidents, by characteristics that are both measurable and rankable. Important things, like height, longevity, fertility, education…

On the Presidents book, THE PRESIDENTIAL BOOK OF LISTS was, in my mind, just a place-holder for a title. But the publisher kept it, and then added the subtitle: “From Most to Least, Elected to Rejected, Worst to Cursed—Fascinating Facts About Our Chief Executives.” In all those 21 words of title and subtitle, far and away, people looking at the book focus on one word almost to the exclusion of the others: “worst.” Without picking up the book, the one question everyone asks is “Who was the worst President?” But I’ve learned that what they mean is “You agree with me when I say XXX is the worst President, don’t you?” 90% of those people go on to tell me that to them, the worst President is either Barack Obama or George W. Bush. It’s really frustrating, because my goal was never to foist my view, my choices on the readers.bookcover I really was looking for the characteristics of the Presidents, trying to figure out if I could predict who the next President would be (and for the last two elections, it turns out that the “average President” I created in the book really does predict the winner).

VENTRELLA: Was it difficult comparing the First Ladies, given how the role of women has changed so much since Martha Washington?

STROCK: Well, the most recent ones tend to be better educated and have fewer children (on average), but beyond that…

VENTRELLA: Since we will probably have a First Gentleman soon, will that make your book obsolete? Will you have to rename it? 

STROCK: The book is a comparison of the Presidential spouses to this point. The fact that all of them have been female is almost incidental. Similarly, the fact that all the Presidents have thus far been male doesn’t seem to be a big point. For instance, in the election of 2008, the candidate closer to the Average President was much closer, and he won. Other than his skin color, Barack Obama looks almost exactly like his 42 predecessors. The only top-five list that changed in that book due to his election was The Five Youngest Presidents (Obama is the fifth youngest to hold office, edging out Grover Cleveland by 182 days.

VENTRELLA: If we call a male President “Mr. President” then why don’t we call a female President “Ms. President”?

STROCK: Actually, we call the male President “Mister President.” “Mr.” is a written abbreviation, but not a spoken abbreviation. “Ms.” on the other hand, has no verbal extension beyond that written abbreviation. I’m guessing that when we have a female President, we’ll probably call her Madam President (because we call female foreign leaders Madame Prime Minster).

VENTRELLA: Let’s talk about writing. How much of writing is innate? In other words, do you believe there are just some people who are born storytellers but simply need to learn technique? Or can anyone become a good writer?

STROCK: I supposed it depends what you want to write. A big thing in writing in these days of easy self-publishing is journaling. Apparently a lot of people feel very satisfied writing down their life stories and having them produced in book form, so in that regard, I guess anyone can be a writer. But in terms of writing something that other people will want to spend money to read, I think that’s a somewhat more rare ability. It may be teachable/learnable, but as with any skill, it requires a lot of effort.

VENTRELLA: Do you think it is important to start by trying to sell short stories or should a beginning author jump right in with a novel?

STROCK: I don’t know about important, but it always made sense to me. Some pundits have said that we have to write through a million words of garbage before we get to the good stuff. Others have said that you have to practice your craft. My thinking is just that the first few things you write probably aren’t going to be very good, you’ll have to keep practicing to learn your craft. If those first few things are short stories, they’ll take a few days or weeks to write. But if those first few things are novels, they’ll take a lot longer to write.

Then again, I’ve had this conversation several times with novelists: I’ll ask how they can possibly write 100,000 words. I sit down to write a story, I get to the end, and it’s 900 words. They’ll respond that they’ve tried to write short stories, and before they’ve finished clearing their throats, the stories are at 30,000 words. So maybe different writers have different innate lengths, and to do the other takes training and effort.

VENTRELLA: What’s your opinion on self-publishing?

STROCK: When I got into professional publishing, and started attending science fiction conventions, the occasional self-published author in a dealers’ room was usually avoided. People would look askance at an author sitting behind a table of books he himself had written and published. But now that I run a publishing house, when I’m at conventions with the books I’ve published, most people walking up to the table are surprised that I didn’t write them. So apparently, self-publishing is much more accepted by the general readership (and since they’re the ones buying the books, it’s their opinion that matters).

But whether you’re self-publishing or going the traditional or small press route, you want your book to look as professional as possible, be as good as possible. A publisher will spend time and money editing, designing, producing, publicizing, distributing your book. Doing it yourself means a lot of your writing time has to be spent on non-writing things. If you’re going to do those things, do them well. A self-published author recently showed me her book, and when I opened it up, the interior was double spaced and ragged right. All I could say to this excited young woman was “very nice, I wish you success with it.” But what I was thinking was “Have you never opened a book before? Do you not see how your book differs, physically, from every professionally published book?”

I own a small publishing company, and I’m also an author. My books have been published by imprints of Random House and Skyhorse. That’s not because I couldn’t do it myself, but as an author, I know the publisher can do things for my books that I can’t. Also, a publisher will pay me an advance that I don’t feel right taking from my own publishing company. They give me greater publicity and distribution. And my marketing efforts—which I would be doing regardless of who published the book—are enhanced by those of the publisher. But in the end, I guess I’m uncomfortable with the thought of self-publishing my own books. Now that other publishers have picked them up—showing that another publisher values them enough to put the time and money into publishing them—if they go out of print, I’ll be much more comfortable bringing them back into print through my own publishing company. And I have actually self-published a few small volumes, which go along with my usual speech topics, to have something to sell at those lectures.

VENTRELLA: What’s the best advice you would give to a starting writer that they probably haven’t already heard?

STROCK: “Don’t do it. There are many less frustrating ways to live your life, so if you can possibly not write, then by all means, don’t. The world needs far more readers than writers.”

That’s the same piece of advice I give every person who asks how to become a writer. I figure if I can save a few of them from being writers, I’ve made those people happier. Of course, most of the people asking that question laugh off my answer, and then tell me they have to be writers (I don’t know how many of them really will be writers, but ignoring that first piece of advice is inevitable). To them, I say: write what you want to read, what you enjoy reading, because if you’re not enjoying what you’re writing, it will show. But once you’ve decided you simply must write, treat it like a job: learn the tools of your trade (that is, first and foremost, the English language), learn how to tell a story (and how not to) by reading a lot. Follow the rules (Heinlein’s rules of writing, Stanley Schmidt’s “The Ideas that Wouldn’t Die,” and so forth). And then, when you’ve completed the story, treat the concept of getting (and being) published as a business. Present yourself appropriately to editors, readers, and other writers, both in person and online. I could go on at great length, but even my eyes begin to glaze over at this point. Just remember that it’s a fun business to be in, but it is a business, and pissing off potential customers is bad for business.

Hamming it up in the "Eye of Argon" reading at Balticon 2016 with Ian ignoring me in the background. (He was the editor judge!)

Hamming it up in the “Eye of Argon” reading at Balticon 2016 with Ian ignoring me in the background. (He was the editor judge!)

%d bloggers like this: