Gamut Part II

We hear a lot in the writing world about age being a deterrent for writers (too young or too old to publish). How do you feel about age and the impact on the ability to publish?

Interesting question. Can you be too young? Sure. Can you be too old? Sure. I think it really depends on the individual. If you read a LOT, a wide range of books, and live an active life, you can write great fiction at an early age. Some say you shouldn’t write until you’re 40, which is kind of what I did. The idea is you have to live and love and lose, etc. I kind of get that, too. How can you write a sex scene as a virgin? Might be tough. But then again, it’s fiction—I’ve never killed anybody, but I’ve written some pretty dark stuff. I wouldn’t really worry about age, as a writer. Just read, and study, and read more, and practice, and read, and get better, and take more classes, and evolve, and read, and fail, and hopefully along the way, find your voice. Chuck Palahniuk didn’t start until he was 35. Donald Ray Pollock, not until he was 50, and he won a PEN/Something. If you’re good, people will buy your work. Period.

Pure opinion: Have e readers damaged reading? Writing? Or opened the door to a more diverse readership and diverse authors? What are your thoughts?

Man, that’s a tough question. I think people will read however, wherever and whenever they want to. There are some crummy eBooks, but also some lousy books with the big six, too. If I hadn’t put two books out with Random House Alibi in eBook format, I never would have gotten blurbs from Irvine Welsh, and Chuck Wendig. I was running out of options, and RHA was excited, and that has done a lot of exciting things for my career.

What do you see as Gamut’s role in the online magazine realm? What niche will it successfully fill?

I don’t see a lot of neo-noir, speculative fiction with a literary bent. Most of the top magazines and websites tend to focus on one genre or another, but then again, I feel like we’re going to become part of the landscape, blending in and complementing other publications. We share a lot of the same authors, so in that sense, we’re family. We’re going to pay ten cents a word, which is double the current pro rate, so that should help us stand out. I think there is a demand for weird, dark, innovative fiction, and the authors certainly want to get paid.

What will an issue of Gamut contain?

New fiction, reprints, columns and poetry on a weekly basis. I hope we can expand our monthly budget to allow for new content on a DAILY basis—Flash Fiction Fridays, for example, or our second stretch goal, Stripped: A Memoir, for our Saturday Night Special serialization. We won’t really have “issues” per se. And we’ll also have original artwork with every story.

Last question: This is a shamefully personal request and is a bit off topic, but I have to hear about your trip to Transylvania last summer. Details, please. I need to live vicariously through others. LOL

Dawn, it was so much fun. So wild. It was way out in Romania, two hours east of Bucharest. The hotel / bed-and-breakfast we were at had a peacock out front, cured their own meat, made their own cheese. You could see old men on the really steep hillsides with scythes, cutting the grass. When we went to the forests, castles, and cemeteries it felt much older, very creepy, like anything could happen. When the priests blessed us the first night I wasn’t sure if they were protecting us, the hotel, or offering us up to some dark spirits. The food was great, the people very nice. I’ll have a big essay on my trip up later this year with a new online magazine (not Gamut) that will get into a lot more detail, but I had a blast. Brian Evenson will be teaching it this summer, so it’ll be even better. Wish I could return.

Thanks so much, Richard, for stopping by to tell us more about Gamut. Please ask questions or make comments after you check out Gamut online.

 

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Gamut

I’ve known Richard Thomas in the digital realm for a lot of years. He’s been an inspiration for many writers and instrumental in bringing excellent stories to readers nationwide. Gamut is one of many projects he has under his belt and I thought the unveiling of it was a good time to introduce those of you who don’t know him to my friend and fellow writer as well as an editor, publisher, and good guy.

You’re well known around the blogosphere and the conference circuit and have an impressive CV. Can you give everyone a brief idea of who Richard is, where he comes from, his favorite writers, etc.?

I started writing seriously about eight years ago, but I’ve always loved reading and writing. I saw Fight Club, which brought me to Chuck Palahniuk’s writing, which I devoured. It woke me up, showed me what could be done. Taking a class with Craig Clevenger was my first real investment in my writing career. He told me to send out a story from our class, “Stillness,” which ended up in Shivers VI alongside Stephen King and Peter Straub. That got me excited. I started a low-res MFA program in 2009, at Murray State University, and that helped me to read a lot of excellent literary black sheep—Denis Johnson, Joyce Carol Oates, Cormac McCarthy, Mary Gaitskill, Haruki Murakami, and Toni Morrison, to name a few. At that point, I was pretty committed. In the past eight years I’ve written three novels, three collections, 100+ stories in print, have edited four anthologies, and am Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press. I’ve also got stories out this year in anthologies (Chiral Mad 3 and Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories) alongside Stephen King, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, and Jack Ketchum. I’m drawn to dark fiction, a wide range—fantasy, science fiction, horror, neo-noir, transgressive, magical realism, Southern gothic, and literary.

We hear a lot about Kickstarter campaigns but I’m not sure how many people understand much about the process or why it’s an important element in our technology driven world. Can you tell us the steps you had to take to make the decision about funding an online magazine? How many people were a part of the decision making process and how many are involved in getting this off the ground once the money is raised?

It’s a big commitment. I didn’t have the $52,000 I needed to launch, so, having backed almost 20 campaigns over the years, it seemed like a good way to go at it. Seeing some publications close, and others shut the door to unsolicited submissions, if felt like the right time. Plus, everything else I’ve been working on has kind of brought me to this point. But more importantly, I wanted to create a community, for people to become invested (literally) in Gamut. They are helping to shape it, to make it happen, which should lead to a pretty passionate group of backers, readers, and authors. I did research for months, crunching numbers, seeing what all I needed to make this happen. Then I began the process of reaching out to 40 authors, to get their verbal commitment to the project. And then I put together my staff—Mercedes M. Yardley, Dino Parenti, Heather Foster, Casey Frechette, and Whittney Jones. Not to mention my columnists—Max Booth, Keith Rawson, and RK Arceneaux. AND, of course, my illustrators—Luke Spooner, George C. Cotronis, Daniele Serra, Bob Crum—and photographer Jennifer Moore.

Will Gamut feature published authors or a mix of published and on the verge of published writers?

A mix for sure. Some are very established—Stephen Graham Jones, Brian Evenson, Livia Llewellyn, Lucy Snyder, etc. Others are emerging, newer voices. Usman T. Malik just won a Bram Stoker award, the first Pakistani author to do that. Alyssa Wong is placing stories in so many great places, getting nominations. And then we’ll open the door to submissions later in 2016, if we can get our funding. We’ll be paying ten cents a word, double the current pro rates.

Can you define genre-bending or hybrid? One thing constantly evolving in the writing world is genres and some writers (and readers) have gotten lost in the shuffle. Is this genre filled with a wide base of writers? (As opposed to romance which is heavily skewed to female writers)

I’d say genre-bending is fiction that accents the main aspects of several different genres. A great example is Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. It is certain fantasy, with extensive world-building. It is science fiction, with a lot of technology and science. It is horror, with some gruesome and violent moments, terrifying at times. AND, it is literary—thoughtful, insightful, and lyrical at times. Not to mention it kicked off the new weird movement. That’s really the sweet spot for me—dark, tragic, touching, moving, and innovative. What neo-noir (which just means “new-black”) focuses on is something NEW, so you won’t see “classic” anything at Gamut—horror, fantasy, science fiction, crime, etc. We will definitely have wide base of authors—it was very important to me to get men and women, in equal numbers, and to embrace a range (a GAMUT) of different sexual orientations, races, countries of origin, ages, levels of experience, cultures, mythologies—you name it.

I hope you enjoyed this first part. Watch for part 2 on Friday. Please take a minute to say hello to Richard in the comments and ask questions regarding this venture. PressRelease_Gamut

DawnAllenSig

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Miss Me?

No, of course, you didn’t. I took a sabbatical after my two years of service to OWFI to get my writing back on track and frankly, to rest. It was time well spent and my good nature has returned (well as good as before anyway).

This fall I returned to teaching full time and that required adjustments to everything from my energy level to my exercise regimen and my reading time. I love what I do, but I discover every day that I cannot do in a day what I could at 30. I believe this means that I don’t need to anyway. Listen.Silent

I took time that was much needed, and I encourage everyone to do the same. It’s a  speedy life and sometimes we have to slow down and listen, remain silent. Be in your life instead of passing through it.

My first official post back will be all about speaking my mind. See you soon.

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Nano, Full Moons, & the World Series

A week of warnings of full moons in line with Halloween, which I love but my focus has been on the World Series as my KC Royals compete. In the wake of Nano, I’m trying to divide my focus between baseball and my Nano prep. I’m not particularly successful at either. LOL Here’s my Nano work.

Project Title:

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy (I think)

Word Count: This a Nano novel and it sat at 53,000 words and then I began revisions so it sits at 66,000 now.

Story: A boy, a car, an old man, and a dog. Nothing will ever be the same for any of them.

Join me in Nanoland.

DawnAllenSig

 

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One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other

Every once in a while, something comes along that changes things for the better.

And in the world of writers, this is especially welcoming, because we all know just how much sweat, courage and persistence it takes to write a book and then release it into the world.

Today I’m pointing you toward a new website which I hope will help writers brainstorm stronger characters, craft deeper, more compelling plots, and teach us how to be more effective with our description so we draw readers in.

One Stop For Writers is a collaboration between Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus, and Lee Powell, creator of Scrivener for Windows. This powerhouse online library is filled with one-of-a-kind descriptive thesaurus collections, tools, tutorials and much more, all geared to provide the resources you need to strengthen your prose and write more efficiently.

Want to check One Stop For Writers out?

Hop on over to Writers Helping Writers for their Launch Week festivities (October 7-14th)! If you know Angela, Lee and Becca already, you probably can guess there will be some great prizes, and probably a bit of paying-it-forward too.

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Chameleon by K.T. Hanna

My friend, K.T. Hanna’s book arrives today. She rocks and this is an excellent chance to discover a talented author to add to that “To Be Read” list. (I’d put it at the top:-)

Chameleon Releases Today!

CHAMELEON Domino Project Front with Text 2

“Wow! A fast-paced, science fiction delight with fabulous action, a seamless world, and the most unique characters I’ve read in a long time.” Elana Johnson, Author of the Possession Series.

 

An Interview with K.T. Hanna

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
I wish. I actually think that if you get writer’s block, you need to examine why. Take a look and see what emotions you’re having, things that have happened recently. Because usually, I find, it’s something completely unrelated to writing that’s making my creativity slump. Usually.
When you find a way to get through it that’s effective though, let me know?

Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
I was lucky enough to win an ebook cover in a charity auction from S.P. McConnell. He actually offered to read the book, and even though I’d had an idea of what I wanted, suffice it to say that his idea was far superior. As you can see by the cover. I decided on a wrap because, well, the world is big and complex and it’s sort of nice to see it in the flesh. Frankly – S.P. is a freaking amazing artist, and if you want any type of artwork done, he is great to work with and extremely talented.

You do a lot. Writing, freelance editing, interning, plus your family. How do you find time?
Honestly? I forgo sleep and I still run out of time. I’m not sure how much longer I can do the whole load. Something will have to give eventually. I’ve decided to slow it down a little for a bit – my daughter turns 3 in November, and I feel like I’m missing a chunk of her life. But for me slowing down will mean – focusing what time she’s asleep better on getting the work done that I need to.

Tell us a secret we don’t know about you.
My favorite pizza is pepperoni, fresh tomato, & anchovies

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.
Um. Kind of? I’m the sort of person who believes in judging people by their actions and not by anything else. Skin color, gender & sexual preferences – those to me are things that are immaterial to what makes a person good or not. So, I write the world I wish we had, or we’re striving towards, I guess. To that end, and the fact that it’s set almost 350 years in the future (where I hope we’ve got over the superficial crap), it has multiple mixes of races, and Sai is of Asian descent and I’d say she probably leans towards being pansexual.

Beef Jerky or a juicy steak?
Ooo this depends on mood, but I’m more of a cooked chicken person, so I’ll go Jerky

Latin or Greek? (Languages)
Latin

The Blurb:

When Sai’s newly awoken psionic powers accidentally destroy her apartment complex, she’s thrown into an intensive training program. Her only options are pass or die.

Surviving means proving her continued existence isn’t a mistake–a task her new mentor, Bastian, takes personally. Her abilities place her in the GNW Enforcer division, and partners her with Domino 12, who is eerily human for an alien-parasite psionic hybrid.

After eliminating an Exiled scientist, she discovers nothing is what it seems. With each mission more perilous, Sai must figure out who to trust before her next assignment becomes her last.

Available at:

Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | IndieBound

If you’d like a signed physical copy, Watermark Books has them in stock.

CELEBRATION!

We’re having a blog hop, and an e-card & mega swag Rafflecopter giveaway!

The blog hop stops are noted below. Each day has a different theme and you can find out about the process, the idea, and the evolution of Chameleon, and even a bit about K.T. by visiting each blog, when their posts go live.

4-Aug 5-Aug 6-Aug 7-Aug 10-Aug
Fun facts about the book What I learned writing Chameleon Author Interviews The world of Chameleon The Evolution of Chameleon
Manuel Soto Marlo Berliner Leatrice McKinney Rebecca Enzor Patricia Lynne
J Elizabeth Hill Stacey Trombley Dawn Allen Sharon Johnston Bex Montgomery
E.L. Wicker JC Davis Suzanne van Rooyen Mandy Baxter Madelyn Dyer
Jessie Mullins Andrew Patterson Heather Rebel Jessica Therrien Carissa Taylor
Emma Adams Lady Jai Elyana Noreme Kendra Young

I’m giving away e-cards of your choice from B&N, iTunes, & Amazon – one to the value of $25, and three to the value of $10! Each prize includes a swag pack of a magnet, sticker, bookmark, postcard, and mousepad!

Just follow the options listed on the giveaway and you’ll be entered!full swag pack

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Me Squared

KT Hanna has a love for words so extreme, a single word can spark entire worlds.

Born in Australia, she met her husband in a computer game, moved to the U.S.A. and went into culture shock. Bonus? Not as many creatures specifically out to kill you.

When she’s not writing, she freelance edits for Chimera Editing, interns for a NYC Agency, and chases her daughter, husband, corgis, and cat. No, she doesn’t sleep. She is entirely powered by the number 2, caffeine, and beef jerky.

Note: Still searching for her Tardis

MUG

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Pit2Pub

The Intro: Who has fun spending hours creating that perfect 140-character pitch? Then bouncing that sentence or two off others to see if it’s fantastic? And finally having to create a couple more so you’re not posting the same one every few hours?

The Why: Kristin and Ann know what you’re going through. In fact, they both did quite a few Twitter Pitch Parties so they know your pain. Kristin remembers what it was like to see that little colored star and then checking and re-checking email to confirm that someone did in fact click on the pitch and favorite it. And Ann’s recalls her heart pounding and her palms sweaty, all the while hoping and praying that it wasn’t made by accident from a friend or some complete stranger who marked it and not re-tweeted it by mistake. They both trolled the feed all day long and didn’t work their day jobs (well, mostly this was Kristin).

So it’s because of those reasons Ann M. Noser and Kristin D. Van Risseghem wanted to help other authors. So why not pay it forward? They are fortunate enough to have a published book, and working on their second. But let’s face it, the best reason for them doing this? IT’S FUN! So let’s all have a blast, help each other out, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find that perfect relationship between author and publisher.

The When: Here’s the date for #Pit2Pub: July 15, 2015 starts at 8AM and ends at 8PM (CST or CDT, which is Chicago time).

The What: What is #Pit2Pub? A Twitter Pitch Party for writers to tweet a 140-character pitch for their completed manuscripts. Have several variations of your Twitter pitch available. The pitch must include the hashtag #Pit2Pub, the Age Group, and the Genre (#YA, #MG, #A, etc. see chart below) in the tweet. It’s important to include the hashtag(s).

Age Groups:
#PB = Picture Book
#C = Children’s
#MG = Middle Grade
#YA = Young Adult
#NA = New Adult
#A = Adult
#WF = Woman’s Fiction

Genres:
#NF = Non-fiction
#SFF = SciFi & Fantasy
#LF = Literary Fiction
#M = Mystery
#T = Thriller
#CL = Children’s Lit
#CB = Chapter Book
#R = Romance
#Mem = Memoir
#S = Suspense
#RS = Romantic Suspense
#W = Westerns
#E = Erotica

RULES:
Authors of all genres are welcome to pitch their completed and polished manuscripts. You can pitch more than one manuscript. Tweet your pitch throughout the day, but no more than twice per hour per manuscript. When you see an industry professional on the feed, tweet it once. Remember to include the hashtag #Pit2Pub and genre.

The publishers will tweet their submission preferences and favorite your tweet if they wish to see more. If you get a favorite from an agent or publisher, follow their submission directions on their website or look for them on this blog. Then send them their request as soon as you can. They may have tweeted what they want you to send, so check their twitter feed for that information.

Make sure to put “Pit2Pub Request: TITLE” in the subject line of your email when sending your request.

Don’t tweet agents and publishers directly unless they tweet you first.

Don’t favorite friends’ tweets. You can RT your friends to show your support. Save favorites for publisher requests to avoid confusion.

Be sure you research each requesting publisher. Don’t submit if you don’t want to work with them.

Be nice and courteous to each other and to the industry professionals. If you do see abuse, please report it to Twitter or notify Ann or Kristin right away.

Check back on their blogs (http://www.kristinvanrisseghem.com/blog) or Ann’s Blog (http://annmnoser.com) as we post the list of confirmed publishers who have signed up to monitor the feed on July 15, 2015!

Thank you! And let the fun begin!!!

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