In the second half of 2013, Deborah Biancotti made one of those throwaway comments that piqued my interest and set my creative brain rolling. The biggest advantage of operating a boutique press is that the projects I choose to publish can evolve from idea to fruition far more quickly than for a major publisher, and also that I’m the only one I have to talk into doing things! Thanks to Deb’s comment, within a week I had the title and tentative table of contents in hand for what I plan to be an annual series.
Focus 2012: highlights of Australian short fiction reprints an exclusive selection of Australian stories that have been recognised as the best of the best – stories shortlisted for and winning major national and international awards. We looked at the Hugo, World Fantasy, Shirley Jackson, BSFA, WSFA, Aurealis, Ditmar, Chronos, Tin Duck and other relevant genre awards lists to select stories and artwork (by the incredibly talented Kathleen Jennings, appearing on several awards lists for 2012 including the prestigious World Fantasy Awards) to include in the inaugural volume.
And what an amazing table of contents we ended up with: Joanne Anderton, Thoraiya Dyer, Robert Hood, Kathleen Jennings, Margo Lanagan, Martin Livings, Jason Nahrung and Kaaron Warren, most of whom I have been fortunate enough to work with in the past, all of whom create brilliant work. Interestingly, several of the 2012 stories fall on the darker side of the speculative fiction spectrum, and a number of them are novelette length pieces, which of course means that while the selection is elite, you are getting hefty chunk of reading nonetheless! And of course, the quality of the inclusions is incomparable.
Focus 2012 is deliberately an ebook-only publication – we wanted to make it a readily accessible price-point, and to make it easily available internationally, to showcase the highlights of Australian speculative fiction for the year. And while the nature of the selections means the book comes out quite late in the year (we want to wait until all the major international awards shortlists are announced), that means it can act as a refresher for readers who may have not come across publications in the year they first appeared.
With the Focus series, we look forward to introducing readers to the astonishingly good work being produced by Australian speculative fiction creators for many years to come.
Focus 2012: highlights of Australian short fictionis available from your preferred ebook retail platform: find it for US$4.99 on Kindle, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords and more!
We are very pleased to announce that Focus 2012: highlights of Australian short fiction is now on sale! This ebook-only special anthology is the first of a series of yearly collections which will collect the previous year’s acclaimed Australian works. Containing only the most recognised speculative work of the year, Focus 2012 packs a big punch, for just $4.99USD.
Focus 2012: highlights of Australian short fiction features work by…
Joanne Anderton – “Sanaa’s Army”
Thoraiya Dyer – “The Wisdom of Ants”
Robert Hood – “Escena de un Asesinato”
Kathleen Jennings – illustrations and cover art
Margo Lanagan – “Significant Dust”
Martin Livings – “Birthday Suit”
Jason Nahrung – “The Mornington Ride”
Kaaron Warren – “Sky”
Focus 2012 is available from your favourite ebook seller!
Cover art by Kathleen Jennings, used with permission.
As a secondary school teacher librarian by trade, and a passionate lover of YA fiction by heart, I am frequently asked by other library staff and readers for recommendations of young adult fiction that features protagonists who are not necessarily white, straight or able-bodied. So many of our students and reading clientele experience life through a lens that is different to what the majority of YA fiction presents as “normal”, and it’s just heartbreaking to have so little to offer with a protagonist outside of this range.
I read extensively. I have judged for several Australian awards, both within the speculative fiction field and the general Young Adult and Children’s area. It’s far too rarely I come across a protagonist who is disabled, or queer, or mentally ill, or simply not from a white European background, and I even more impressed when the aspect of “difference” (such as it may be) is not THE plot of the book, but rather is simply an aspect of the character.
It’s possible publishing is improving in this area. We do see more lesbian and gay and other non-straight, non-cis gendered characters in our YA fiction, though more frequently as the “best friend” or other secondary role than the protagonist. We are coming across more inclusion of disability (physical and intellectual) or mental illness in stories, though again, less frequently as the main character. Love it or hate it, television shows such as Glee demonstrate to market forces that non-straight, non-white, non-able bodied characters don’t negatively impact on the popularity of a franchise. And the more books like Eon (Alison Goodman), Pantomime (Laura Lam), Guardian of the Dead and The Shattering (Karen Healey), Nightsiders (Sue Isle), Hunger (Jackie Morse Kessler), The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (Ambelin Kwaymullina), Ash (and others, Malindo Lo), Liar (Justine Larbalestier), and Akata Witch (Nnedi Okorafor) that are published and sell well, the more chance there is of more books featuring protagonists other than those who are straight, white able-bodied and mentally well.
And here is a project that aims to do just that. Kaleidoscope is an anthology of diverse contemporary YA fantasy stories. Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios are co-editing the anthology, which has a planned release date of August, 2014. Right now, Alisa and Julia are running a Pozible fundraising campaign to make the project happen. If you want to see more diversity in YOUR Young Adult fantasy and science fiction, I recommend it to you.
In 2014, FableCroft will publish an anthology of historical short fiction inspired by cranky ladies of history. Co-editors Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely are immediately seeking expressions of writerly interest in submitting to the anthology.
Authors are invited to submit a story pitch detailing story idea/historical personage. We are aiming for a diverse range of backgrounds, nationalities, time periods and reasons for notoriety in the book, and are particularly interested in stories that are firmly grounded in historical fact. We welcome stories that utilise elements known about the lives of the characters, but are not averse to artistic license either.
Some fabulous cranky women of history include (but definitely are not limited to):
Ada Lovelace, Ahhotep I, Amelia Bloomer, Amelia Earhart, Anne Bonney, Annie Oakley, Artemisia I of Caria, Bina Das, Boudicca, Caroline Chisholm, Caterina Sforza, Catherine de’ Medici, Catherine The Great, Daisy May Bates, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Elizabeth Kenny, Fu Hao, Fulvia, George Sand, Grace O’Malley, Gudit, Harriet Tubman, Isabella of Spain, Joan of Arc, Katharine Susannah Prichard, Livia, Lucrezia Borgia, Mary MacKillop, Mary Queen of Scots, Nancy Bird Walton, Nancy Wake, Nellie Melba, the Pankhursts, Rosa Parks, Sarala Devi Chaudhurani, Susan B. Anthony, Tamar of Georgia, Trieu Thi Trinh, the Trung Sisters, Tsaritsa Sophia Alekseyevna of Russia, Vida Goldstein, Vivian Bullwinkel, Zenobia…
From the list, you may note that our definition of “cranky” is rather broad, and stems somewhat more from a tendency to buck societal standards of the era than a true inherent crankiness. Though that’s good too!
HOW TO SUBMIT
Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org a story outline of no more than one typed page that clearly identifies your cranky lady of history and your proposal. In your cover email please use the subject heading CRANKY WOMEN PITCH [your chosen historical figure] and in the body include your own details and a short writing resume.
We will be regularly updating this page with historical women already spoken for, so please check back frequently, and get your pitches in as early as possible.
We are not specifically seeking young adult fiction, but we do want the book to be suitable for a high school audience, which will restrict explicit sex and graphic violence elements.
Open to authors worldwide.
Word count: fairly flexible.
Payment: 1 cent per word, capped at AUD$75.00 + contributor copy of print and ebook. Further royalties will apply for e-book revenue – information about royalties will be provided in contract negotiations with successful authors and is dependent on final book details.
Approximate timeline to publication
October 21, 2013 – December 31, 2013: open to pitches
January 2014: finalise pitch acceptances.
June 2014: deadline for stories to be submitted.
We are particularly looking for original work, but please query to email@example.com if you think you have a suitable reprint story.
FableCroft thanks Liz Barr for her inadvertent prompting of this project idea.
Submissions will open in December 2013 for the new unthemed speculative fiction anthology, Insert Title Here.
Stories should be between 2,000 and 12,000 words and contain speculative elements – science fiction, fantasy and horror and their sub-genres are all welcome, but we recommend researching FableCroft’s past projects for an idea of the sort of stories we publish. Generally, no erotica or splatterpunk is desirable. Please query the editor before sending stories outside those limits.
We are seeking original stories only, for first and exclusive world rights (for a period of twelve months, excluding any subsequent Year’s Best reprint request) – no reprint submissions please.
No simultaneous submissions please.
For multiple submissions, please query first.
The anthology will be open worldwide.
Submissions open: December 1, 2013
Submissions close: February 28, 2014
Anticipated publication date: August 2014
Payment will be AUD$75.00 and one contributor copy of the print book. Further royalties will apply for e-book revenue – information about royalties will be provided in contract negotiations with successful authors and is dependent on final book details.
Thanks to Jonathan Strahan for the title idea, from his Aurealis Awards acceptance speech in May this year.