Posts Tagged ‘fantasy magazine’

Aidan Doyle is a Clarion South 2009 survivor. Quotes for which he will be remembered are: “Bears are my unicorns”, “The zombies didn’t work for me from a programming perspective”, and “Needs more monkeys”. He is a traveller, writer, computer programmer and is publishing new stories at a rate of knots and working on a novel. I suspect an army of super monkey slaves. 

His work has been published in Fantasy Magazine, Weird Tales, Strange Horizons, Borderlands, Aurealis … and more!

1. If I wasn’t a writer, I would be …
In my high school careers class we had to compile a list of five jobs we thought might be interesting. I chose: computer games programmer, writer, actor, board games designer and security guard. I worked for a few years as a computer games programmer before moving into web site programming.  I don’t know why I listed security guard –
perhaps I was envisioning a life of foiling supervillains rather than patrolling cold warehouses.

I’ve visited several countries where for the purposes of filling in immigration forms, I am most definitely not a writer.  In those cases I list my occupation as pixel-pushing monkey wrangler.

2. Does every story really need 32% more monkeys?
Scholars have long debated the percentage of monkeys needed to provide a rich and satisfying tale.  Personally I think that adding 20% more monkeys after the first draft is the secret to crafting a literary masterpiece.  This excludes cases where you have zero monkeys in the first draft (20% of zero is still zero).  But if you were serious about writing, why would you have a zero monkey draft in the first place?

3. You get to be invisible for one day – where do you go, what do you do?
When I lived in Japan, I visited a ninja master who was training an army of monkey assassins in the art of stealth.  But the monkeys ended up just using their power of invisibility to play pranks on each other.  I suspect I would behave in a similar way to the monkeys.

4. My Snoopy Dance sale was …
When I was 17, I sold an article to my favorite magazine at the time – Dragon, the American role-playing magazine.  That was my first sale.

5. Donuts or danishes?
Donuts.  Is there anything they can’t do?

His revolution is here, but will not be anthologised … merely blogged.


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Head over to Fantasy Magazine for Aidan Doyle’s new, poignant tale Stone Flowers.

Even though he was a god, Daisuke always removed his shoes before he went inside. It was the polite thing to do.

He knocked on the sliding screen door.

“Come in,” a woman’s voice called.

Daisuke slid open the door and stepped into the front chamber. He stared in surprise at the woman sitting on the tatami mat floor. He couldn’t remember the last time he had been able to see Yoshiko so clearly. She wore a yellow kimono decorated with white flowers. Her bright eyes and sunrise smile shared her face with an abundance of wrinkles.

“Please sit down,” she said.

He knelt in front of the low, wooden table in the center of the room. He couldn’t take his gaze from Yoshiko. She looked almost solid. His own skin was translucent.

Yoshiko poured two cups of tea and handed one to Daisuke. “The cherry blossoms will be here soon,” she said. “I don’t think the flowers would be as beautiful if they lasted all year. A week or two and they are gone.”

He couldn’t detect any sadness in her voice, but he knew the significance of her flesh becoming solid had not escaped her.

Ze rest lives here.

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Sean Wallace is founder and editor of the World Fantasy Award-winning Prime Books, he is co-editor of Clarkesworld (a Hugo and World Fantasy nominee), and Fantasy Magazine. He’s also edited a variety of anthologies, including: Best New Fantasy, Fantasy, Horror: The Best of the Year, and Jabberwocky.

He takes some time out to answer my questions. He is a nice man.

1. I didn’t choose editing, editing chose me: discuss.
I’ve always wanted to be a publisher, more so than an editor, but as with doing a lot of what goes on behind a small press, you find yourself with many hats. Editing is really an extension of that, and I enjoy it, particularly with the stories that I bring to CLARKESWORLD, and FANTASY MAGAZINE. I like bringing to readers something exciting and new that I saw first 😛

2. When I started Prime, my main motivation was …
… to publish projects that didn’t quite fit in with what I was doing with Cosmos Books, which was a bit more traditionally-focused than what I wanted to do with Prime Books.

3. The worst mistake made by newbie authors is …
… undervaluing their talent or themselves to the extent that they don’t give themselves a chance to get published.

4. Batman -v- Dr Manhattan: comments?
Batman. He’s a total badass. Who wouldn’t want to be him?

5. Donuts or danishes?
Usually danishes, unless it’s Krispy Kreme donuts, at which point I can seemingly snarf down a dozen in under a minute 😛

He blogs here.

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Marshall Payne is an awesome US writer of fantasy, horror, science fiction and any number of hyrbid crossovers. His work has been published in venues as diverse as Aeon Speculative Fiction, Brutarian, Talebones, Hub Magazine, Triangulation: End of the RainbowFictitious Force, and Polluto: The Anti-Pop Culture Journal. He has also been a reviewer at Tangent Online, reviewer and interviewer at The Fix (as Eugie Foster’s assistant editor – nice pedigree!), and an interviewer at Fantasy Magazine.

And he (a further mark of awesomeness – if one was needed) is the fact that he’s just been signed by Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. Cameron read Marshall’s urban fantasy, Petrol Queen, and it struck a chord – huzzah! Much Snoopy Dancing resulted.

1. If pushed: music or writing? Or are they complementary art forms?
They’re not complementary for me. I remember years ago Pete Townsend of The Who relating the difference between getting high in America and getting high in England. In America you smoke a joint, turn up the music and jump up and down on the sofa with a bunch of other crazy people in the room. In England you toke up alone, go outside in the drizzle, take a walk in the park and pick up a twig and study it, then go home and have a cup of tea. As to writing fiction, I feel more productive in Pete’s drizzle. I never listen to music while I write. I consider myself a rhythmic writer and having conflicting rhythms in the room (in my head) works against me hearing the music I’m trying to create on the page.

But to answer your question: writing. Music was my old passion; fiction-writing is where I’m at today.

 2. What are the five essentials of any story?
Location, location, location! No, those are the principal things for starting a business. Fiction, huh? Plot and character are the big two. Meaning people in the story to care about and the horrible things that happen to them. I could add that conflict is the all-important element in fiction, though I think that falls under plot. Having a fresh idea is important, or at least a new twist on an old one. Though a story can be successful without it if the plot and characters shine. And especially in SF/F, detail in rendering a unique setting onto the page is important, which brings us back to: Location, location, location! 

3. What makes any character irresistible?
Outward passion and a sense of humor. Wanna write a flat character? They seem to be popular in our misanthropic times. Then leave out these two ingredients. A character doesn’t have to dish out bon mots, but fictional folks who constantly ponder how miserable they are have to have something else going for them. A suicide plan? Although it’s an overused device in urban fantasy, a character who can laugh at him/herself with a detached sense of irony will leap off the page quicker than a navel-gazer who whines a lot.

4. How do you deal with your rejection slips?
By keeping a lot of stuff out there. I always keep the subs in the double digits. And when a story comes back, I send it right back out. I used to have a defense mechanism when I booted up the PC every morning. My mantra was, “Go on, kick me in the teeth. I can take it!” My skin is pretty thick nowadays, so I don’t need the mantra anymore. I’ve been selling stories for over four years now, so I’ve seen the patterns. For some reason I seem to be the king of feast and famine. The dry patches suck. But the feasts are oh so sweet. I’ve learned that the good stuff will come if I keep my work out on the market.

 5. Donuts or danishes?
What, no scones? Why can’t this question incorporate scones? Truth told, I’ve never had a scone. I need to get out more. I wonder if Pete ate a scone with his tea when he had the munchies.

He maintains a Super-Sekrit Clubhouse here. Scones are the currency for entry into said Super-Sekrit hideout :-).

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Lisa Hannett survived Clarion South in 2009 (inspite of my cooking), and in the eighteen months or so since she’s published stories in (but not restricted to) Clarkesworld, Fantasy Magazine, Chizine, Weird Tales, ONSPEC, Midnight Echo, Scary Kisses, and Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s Steampunk Compendium. She is also working on finishing a PhD in Old Icelandic Literature (for which she went and learned Old Icelandic). She is, quite clearly, an underachiever :-P.

Lisa’s writing is wildly imaginative, beautifully rendered, and seemingly effortlessly crafted. She has stories coming out in Twelfth Planet Press’ Sprawl anthology, Tesseracts 14, and her collection of Blue Grass Opera stories must be read by those wanting their minds blown (someone should really snap it up, some smart, sexy publisher).

Here she takes time out from doing everything in the world to answer my random questions.

1)      I first knew I was a writer when…
… I got my first rejection. I mean, I’d been scribbling for years. Jotting down notes, working out plots, building worlds, creating characters. I had a totally lame epic fantasy in the desk drawer, and a stack of tragic poems (we all go through that tragic poetry phase, right?) but I was doing it all privately. Secretly, even. It wasn’t until I went through the process of sending out a story, waiting to hear from the editor, trying not to think about hearing from the editor, getting rejected – and then immediately setting myself up to do it all again – that I felt I was really a writer.

2)      A story can always be improved by the addition of…
… Pinkertons. And underground cities. And insane asylums. And bayous. And libraries with secret passages, trapdoors and revolving bookcases. And cemeteries. And peacocks. And haruspicy. Insane Pinkertons in an underground bayou searching for peacocks; finding them; gutting them; reading their entrails for clues; recording their findings on tombstones in a swamp library? Hmmmm. But, most importantly, stories are always improved by the addition of the ‘delete’ button. If I’d listened to my own suggestion, this answer would’ve been much more concise…

3)      Which sale caused you to Snoopy Dance around the room?
Every sale gets its own little dance. Sometimes I’m composed enough to do a little jig, but most of the time I jump up and down on the spot, often with arms flailing, kind of like a toddler not quite used to standing up. Any magazine or anthology willing to publish my stuff instantly becomes dance-worthy. But I suppose the biggest official Snoopy Dance™ I have done so far was when I sold a story to Clarkesworld last year. Honestly, reading that acceptance email launched me out of my desk chair so fast and so high, I think you can probably still see a dent in the ceiling.

4)      Who is your favourite fictional character, and why?
This is the most devilish question ever! So hard to choose! In fact, I’m incapable of choosing only one, so I’ll narrow it down to a few:

I usually fall for elusive, peripheral characters; the magical, trickster characters who tantalise us and then leave us wondering if we’ll ever see them again. When I was younger, it was Tad Williams’ ‘Sithi’ (pseudo-elves in his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy) that captured my imagination, largely because they were different enough from Tolkien’s elves to unsettle me. I must still carry a fondness for characters like that because one of my favourites recently has been the Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair from Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (which, by the way, is a brilliant brilliant brilliant book.) He is amoral, self-serving, and oozes magic – and he only makes brief appearances in Clarke’s massive novel (and have I mentioned it’s brilliant?). I also frequently think about the Fool from Robin Hobbs’ first three trilogies. I love that the Fool’s gender is hard to determine, that he/she is almost colourless, and he/she has a quick wit and an even quicker tongue. I love that the Fool doesn’t seem to be bound by one reality; much like the tricksters in Charles de Lint’s early fantasy novels, who are also favourites of mine.

But I also adore characters that are emotionally repressed — like Stevens, the ageing butler and narrator of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day. His inability to express his feeling is absolutely heartbreaking, and utterly effective. It’s been a year since I read that book last, and I still think about it. And characters who are repressed for other reasons — like Robert Neville in Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (the book! not the film!), or the father in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, who are both forced to deal with isolation, the end of humanity, and, well, not getting eaten — are the ones I find most intriguing.

I could go on forever, but I’ll leave it with one last, potentially favourite, favourite: Al Swearengen, proprietor of the Gem Saloon, from Deadwood. If I ever write a character as complex as Swearengen I’ll have reached nirvana. He is a greasy-haired, craggy-faced, foul-mouthed, ambitious, murdering son-of-a-bitch. His compassionate side involves performing mercy killings and working out his psychological issues while getting ‘serviced’ by his favourite saloon girl. And he frequently seeks advice from a rotting head kept in a box in his office. What’s not to love?

5)      Donuts or danishes.
Donuts all the way. Preferably Tim Horton’s (anyone who has been to Canada will know what I’m talking about). The best are Tim’s chocolate glazed – and by chocolate glazed I mean chocolate cake glazed with translucent sugar. Not white cake with chocolate icing, no siree. These are like fluffy mud cake rings dipped in deliciousness. And the best part about Tim Horton’s is the Timbits! Ever wonder what happens to the donut-holes? Well, they wind up in variety boxes of Timbits, sold in lots of 6, 12 or, for the serious sweet-tooth, 18. Yum yum yum and yum.

She blogs here

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Rich Horton reviews 4 Aussie spec-fic anthologies, including saying some nicely things about The February Dragon, LL Hannett’s and my sexy flying reptile story. Read the reviews here.

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My dear friend and occasional partner-in-crime, Lisa Hannett, is interviewed over here http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/2010/03/writing-writing-writing-lisa-hannett/ at Fantasy Magazine. Well worth a read – as always – and she’s just become an Australian citizen. 🙂 And quite frankly, you should probably go and read The Good Window, too. Oh, go on. You know you want to!

It’s here – just waiting for you … go on, don’t disappoint it … it’s put the kettle on and everything http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/2009/09/the-good-window/

What inspired “The Good Window”?

I’d had a few of the story’s elements kicking around in my mind for a while, but a flight I took from Tasmania home to Adelaide last year was the catalyst I needed to bring them all together. Basically, we had just taken off and the plane had made a really sharp turn—so sharp that all I could see out my window was vibrant green grass, dense forests, and sparkling waters. No horizon, just ground. And since Adelaide’s been experiencing intense drought for years, Tasmania’s lush landscape came as a shock. It was such a contrast to what I’d gotten used to seeing at home! So, since I generally tend to think morbid thoughts at the beginning of my flights, I looked out at this gorgeous view and thought, ‘If the plane crashed right now, this would be the last thing I saw. Apart from the plummeting towards death part, that wouldn’t be half bad.’

Once the plane righted itself, I started thinking about how our perspectives—literally, what we see when we look out at the world—influence the way we experience life. From there it was a quick step to: What if a character’s world view was mostly based on what she saw outside her window each day?

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