Monthly Archives: February 2021

FLASH BATTLE RESULTS TO DATE

Congratulations to the Grawlix Growlers and all the Flash Battle writers from the LAJD 1:1 match up. LYDIA PRIME earned 25 points for the Grawlix Growlers with A.F. STEWART, JOSHUA E. BORGMANN and DAVID NIALL WILSON each bringing in 10 points. Read the LAJD 1:1 entries here.

Congratulations to the Paradox Pandas and all the Flash Battle writers from the FADE 1:2 match up. FELICIA MARTINEZ earned 25 points for the Paradox Pandas with ALINA MĂCIUCĂ, ELAD HABER and DANI J. CAILE each bringing in 10 points. Read the FADE 1:2 entries here.

Paradox Pandas have moved up to 35 points, closing in on the Grawlix Growlers with Syntax Serpents in third at 20 points. Malaphor Minotaurs are in last place with 0 points.

Want to be a battle writer? Link to sign up here!

LAJD 1:1
FADE 1:2

PUBLISHING PANEL: SPACE & TIME, DREAMFORGE AND ABYSS & APEX

Looking to get your work published? I’ll be talking submissions (and representing SPACE & TIME) next week along with DREAMFORGE publisher and editor-in-chief Scot M. Noel and ABYSS & APEX editor Wendy S. Delmater on Wednesday, March 3, at 8 p.m. EST. No worries if you can’t make it. I’ll be sure to share it here. Find Russ’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster channel on YouTube here.

#5 POETRY LIVE WITH HIPNESS_AND_OUTRAGE

I have spent much of the past year curled into an mentally uncooperative ball this past year but I’ve still been doing stuff. Amy Zoellers started doing live poetry events on Instagram last fall and she invited me along for the ride. We’ve been doing one a month since. Sometimes they are in exotic locales, like the Woodlawn Cemetery or historic Independence Square. Often they are broadcast direct from our creative workspaces at home.

You can scroll through and find them on her Instagram page at instagram.com/hipness_and_outrage. You can see past poetry live events here.

Hear all about cake, hot dead guys, discovering new poets and almost getting in a wreck over them, mystery mailman authors, exquisite corpses and more…

FIVE MINUTES WITH SCOT NOEL: DREAMFORGE

DreamForge magazine has been doing some interesting new things over on their site dreamforgemagazine.com. DreamForge and Space and Time have done a lot of cooperative things over the last two years with advertising, general brainstorming and most recently… an anthology of stories from both publications from UpRoar Books.

My favorite memory: having a meeting on Skype with Scot and Jane while I chased a chicken through the yard. That’s high powered publishing at it’s best. Like Space and Time, DreamForge is going through some pivots and reorganization to ride through these difficult times. Who best to share this than Scot Noel, publisher over at DreamForge.

Scot Noel

Scot, thanks for taking the time to share the changes going on over at your publication with me, but before we get into that, can you tell readers here a little about yourself and why you and Jane decided to publish DreamForge?

You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But
there’s no such thing as the unknown — only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not
understood
.” —Captain Kirk

When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the
truth.
” —Mr. Spock

And for me, the attraction of Science Fiction (and Fantasy) has always been fundamentally underpinned by Gene Roddenberry’s notion that “the Human Adventure is just beginning.” Now, DreamForge as an idea came about in 2017. In my reading, I had become disenchanted with the level of apocalyptic thinking and the hopeless tone in many stories. Near the end of that year, I saw the Black Mirror episode entitled “Metalhead,” which was an amazing piece of dark fiction, culminating in the extinction of humanity by AI in the form of robot dogs equipped to hunt down and kill humanity. While there are certainly problems, even existential threats in today’s world, that’s simply not going to be our fate.

I’m just a Star Trek geek who, at the age of 9, was watching TV on September 8, 1966 when the episode “The Man Trap” premiered. I ran to my mom in the kitchen and told her this was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. Of course, it was more than a show, it was a philosophy, a way of life.

And so DreamForge was born. While we had no previous publishing experience, we took a year to get organized, plan, assemble test issues, go to conventions, put together a Kickstarter, and launch DreamForge, Issue One “Tales of Hope in the Universe” in February of 2019.

Maybe I’m too dark, but I can totally imagine robotic canines taking out humanity. I’m actually surprised they didn’t show up during 2020—everything else did! What are some of the books that you and Jane love to read? What has inspired you the most? What writers do you admire?

These days, Jane and I rarely read the same book, but we often tell each other about the books we read. I guess we cover more ground that way. When we got married; however, we discovered our book collections had many duplicates, often of the same edition. In part this is because we both belonged to The Science Fiction Book Club growing up, such that our shelves were filled with works by Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Roger Zelazny, Ray Bradbury, Robert Silverberg, Larry Niven, and especially Tolkien.

Oh, one author we both follow religiously is Jane Lindskold, whom we worked with many years ago in our past careers as computer game developers and now count as a close friend. Everyone should read her Changer and Changer’s Daughter, and anything in her Firekeeper series.

We both highly admire Bill Bryson, and all speculative fiction writers should be familiar with his A Short History of Nearly Everything for an engaging lesson in history, geology, biology, and the universe in general.

I’ll have to check these out. I think I own a copy of Bryson’s book and I’ve been meaning to read Lindskold. How about the work you publish? DreamForge has a strong vision for the stories and poetry you print. Why are stories of hope so important?

Human technology is advancing faster than the human brain can adapt. Right now, we are in an informational trap of our own making, as the Internet spreads bad news and misinformation around the globe at the speed of light. The main problem is not bad actors spreading conspiracy theories or even actual conspirators, the problem is that our brains have not evolved to handle the feedback loops and echo chambers we’ve created.

We’ll probably be able to handle it in a generation or two, but right now the world needs everyone who can to spread the idea that humans have always handled anything that is thrown against them, including many of the problems we create ourselves. I would venture to say few people reading this know that, on the whole, forests worldwide are increasing, or that renewable energy is set to account for 95% of the net increase in global power capacity through 2025, or that while the human population has increased dramatically to nearly 8 billion, starvation is decreasing. From literacy to education, advances worldwide have been dramatic in the last century. The future of humanity is bright, but self-doubt, defeatism, and self-degradation can cause us to retreat in fear from shadows of our own making.

Let’s get to some of the changes your are making with your publication. Tell me about DreamForge Anvil? How is that different from DreamForge the magazine?

2020 was a challenging year. Though DreamForge achieved its share of critical success, dwindling resources, along with stresses at our day-jobs and on our families (all largely attributable to the pandemic) have forced us to consider how we can continue in 2021.  Where DreamForge was a lavishly illustrated print magazine, DreamForge Anvil will be primarily a digital resource presented in our online Reader’s Portal.

DreamForge Anvil will be presented in 6 issues over the course of 2021 with a new mission:

One – To present speculative fiction that is positive and hopeful, demonstrating humanity’s
ability to overcome challenges.

Two – To go behind the scenes of our storytelling with author notes, editorial observations,
essays on writing, and even some line edits showing story development.

Three – To point out that the overarching trend of humanity’s direction is toward
enlightenment, compassion, and an ever-advancing civilization.

Check out our Free first Issue at HERE!

What do you have planned for the future? How can new fans find and follow you?

Right now, the future just means getting DreamForge Anvil up and running, telling some good stories and helping some writers improve their craft. We’re planning a subscription drive Kickstarter to start around February 20th , with a submissions period opening at about the same time. Watch for us on Kickstarter, and watch this page to see when we open for submissions. – https://dreamforgemagazine.com/call-for-submissions/

One piece of excitement for our Kickstarter is that we’ll be introducing an Anthology, Worlds of Light & Darkness, published by UpRoar Books that contains 20 of the best stories from the pages of both DreamForge Magazine and Space & Time.

We’ll also be continuing our cooperative effort with Space & Time – if you are a paying subscriber of one magazine, you can have free digital access to the other, all in our online Reader’s Portal. If you check out our Kickstater, we’re grateful for any support you can give, and we look forward to getting to know you.

FIVE MINUTES WITH ALINA MĂCIUCĂ

ALINA MĂCIUCĂ

I am so excited to welcome ALINA MĂCIUCĂ to my blog. Technically we are in an Horror Writers Association mentee/mentor relationship but she is such a natural writer she doesn’t need any help with her craft (more then we all constantly need to hone our craft). I love her dark prose, rich atmosphere building and realistic characters. If anything, she can just use a hand getting her name out there.

To that end, I’m happy to introduce her here in a five minute interview. Alina also has a story coming up in issue #140 of Space and Time (March 2020) and, if you don’t want to wait that long, you can read her work right now in the current Flash Battle. Go here to read all the submissions and vote for your favorite.

Alina, welcome and thank you for taking a few minutes to chat with me. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read by you and am excited to include your story in the next magazine. It’s always exciting to find a fresh talent. Tell me a little about yourself and why you write.

Hi Angela! Well, in a nutshell, I want to bring all these worlds and characters that I spawn in my head into our own world, imbue them with life, somehow. It’s an impulse, nothing too complicated. When I see something that intrigues me in a certain manner, I grab it and twist it and find a place for it in a universe I’m going to write down someday. Maybe it’s a rundown house that still has curtains in its windows, or a china puppy, or someone’s hair or whatever. But I suppose that’s how most of us do it. I’m a city girl and there’s lots of things you can imagine when you walk the city by night.

Hahahaha! Spoken like a true writer. One thing is true of all good writers is that they are always good readers. What are some of the books that have inspired you?

There’s so much stuff that I love to read and it’s all so different. I don’t even know where to begin. I set this rule for myself as to what concerns my reading habits, I should only be reading two books at a time, one fiction, one non-fiction but it doesn’t always work like that. For example, now I’m “officially” reading Gene Wolfe’s “An Evil Guest” and a book on sexuality and Romanian customs and taboos, but I’ve also skimmed some chapters from Alai’s ‘The Song of King Gesar’ or China Mieville’s ‘Iron Council’, which I should have read years ago, anyhow, because I’ll need to refresh my memory about the Bas-Lag stuff, as it’s been years since I’ve read the previous two.

A lot of authors that have inspired me are not actually SFF. When I say this, I think of Georges Bataille, for example, or of Herman Hesse. ‘Demian’ will stay with me ‘till the day I die Anyhow, my tastes are quite eclectic and really depend on my mood. I find beauty in both Byron and Bukowski. I also try to stay up to date with SFF and Horror and love reading genre magazines and anthologies.

I think reading a variety of material and genre goes far to helping us write creative stories. Something else I think is important is seizing every chance to polish are craft, which is how we met through the HWA mentorship program. I’ve been a mentee twice and can attest it really helps. How did you become involved with the HWA and their mentorship program?

I don’t remember precisely how I found the HWA, basically it was a long time ago. I guess I was Googling an author I was reading, and they were a member of the HWA or a Bram Stoker nominee or winner. I thought it was awesome that there’s such a thing as a Horror Writers Association and just lived with this thought in the back of my head for the following years, until 2020 when I started seriously reconsidering writing again.

Fair enough. So glad you joined up so I could run into you. I love the story you have coming up in Space and Time. What inspired this story? Does anything stand out in your mind as particularly easy or difficult when writing it?

Yes, and that’s amazing! When I was a kid, I loved to imagine that, at night, all the ghastly denizens of the city came out and played. I like to think of this story as a scene from one of those unseen worlds unfolding on the city streets.

To be honest, shaping the voice of the narrator protagonist was something I found frustrating, at times. I never thought it would be so challenging to write from the perspective of someone who’s completely hammered when you’re sober and sipping tea, and have twenty more minutes left until you need go to sleep, because, hey, work tomorrow. But overall, I really enjoyed the experience.

I think that’s what charmed me so much. You effectively caught the experience of being intoxicated. I think most of us have some experience to draw from there. What do you have planned for the future? How can new fans find and follow you?

I’d love to keep the short stories coming, and maybe I’ll want to live through the novel experience. Everyone that would like to say hi or just check what I’m up to, could follow me on Instagram or Facebook, but you’ll just have to request it first, as I keep my profiles private. Find ALINA on Instagram here and/or Facebook here.

I would love to read a novel by you and hope we will stay in touch. Consider me a fan.