Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 01 Apr 2011
I got back yesterday evening from a visit with the Desert Rose RWA Chapter (Phoenix Romance Writers of America Chapter 60) and although I’m still a little jet lagged–and a great change in climate –it was a great trip. I got to meet some great folks and their hospitality was tops. If you are a writer in the Phoenix/Tempe area…this is a super group for you to get involved with!
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 15 Mar 2011
First, I want to note that several reviewers have admitted they never heard of the Chernobyl disaster. That may be understandable. At the time it happened, 26 April 1986, the USSR kept the lid on the news. People did not understand what was happening or how dreadful the price for some time. Right now, Japan’s post-earthquake/tsunami problem with damaged nuclear reactors—let us all hope and pray they are not severe—is being updated constantly. This tragedy, however, does make ROGUE ORACLE (even if fictional) and it’s basis in the aftermath of Chernobyl even scarier because of current events.
Edgar Allan Poe (born January 19, 1809) is credited with the transformation of the short story from anecdote to art. His literary criticism, as well as his stories and poems, have profoundly influenced literature. With “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and other works he invented the detective story as well as the modern mystery. He has been called the father of science fiction–and even if that particular paternity cannot be accurately assigned, he did fill his writing with the scientific theories of his day. Most memorably, Poe combined the intensely psychological with the gothic, the rational with literary romanticism, to create the foundation of modern horror.
Poe was the first to use the presentation of supremely horrific moments to frighten the reader. His stories show the dead coming alive and the living suddenly struck dead. According to Robert Gidding in his essay, “Poe: Rituals of Life and Death,” the author’s horror lay “in the animation of death. In his imagination, and in his writer’s hands, the terror lies in the vitality of death.” Writers of Gothic horror had, of course, used the fear of death in their writing. The suspense came from the anticipation of death. Poe went beyond the known terrors and created fright by bringing the dead to life; by mistaking the living for the dead; and by celebrating death as a ritual unto itself.
In “The Facts of the Case of M. Valdemar” and “Some Words with a Mummy,” the living and the dead literally converse. “The Cask of Amontillado” deals with an elaborately planned and executed death. In “The Pit and the Pendulum,” he renders complicated machinery dedicated to ritualized death; death itself is personified and takes a ceremonial stage in “The Masque of the Red Death.”
Like most modern writers, Poe also exploited the scientific ideas of his time: Laced throughout his work are references to the “new” science of archeology, explorations into spiritualism, Mesmer’s theories of hypnotism and animal magnetism, the beginnings of modern psychiatry, and the medical profession’s search for “physical death.” Poe nowadays would, no doubt, be dealing with computers, alien visitation, the psychology of serial killers, and other hot topics. Probably would have been fascination with forensic science
He also drew on his own psyche–his fears, frustrations, tragedies, and failures–to craft his tales. Poe was, perhaps, less frank about his personal nightmares and macabre visions than a writer these days might be and this is understandable considering the context of his times. But it’s easy to picture Poe purging his demons on Oprah, perhaps bolstering his mental health as a result.
When you come right down to it, Poe had a truly modern instinct for public relations. Intentionally or inadvertently, he surrounded his persona with myth. After his death his literary executor, Rufus Griswald, invented and perpetuated more stories to serve his own purposes. The most scandalous tales painted the picture of a pedophile, necrophiliac, alcoholic, and drug addict, both impotent and oversexed–an immoral, decadent, worthless wreck. Griswald would surely have offered numerous “exclusives” to the National Enquirer, Huffington Post, or Perez Hilton if they had been available.
If the mythology was disturbing, the truth was wrapped in a modern sort of drama as well. Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809, to actor parents. By 1811 his father (perhaps jealous of his wife’s success) had left the family and his mother had died. Three-year-old Edgar was taken in by John Allan, a Richmond, Virginia, merchant.
At 17 he entered the University of Virginia, where he ran up a lot of gambling debts and left after only a year. Following an unhappy stint in the military, which included an apparently self-contrived dismissal from West Point for disobedience, he set out to earn a living by his literary craft.
In 1832, the Philadelphia Saturday Courier published five of his stories–all comic or satiric–and in 1833, “MS. Found in a Bottle” won a $50 prize from the Baltimore Saturday Visitor.
Young Poe was on his way. In 1835, at age 25, he became editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond; a year later he married his cousin Virginia, 13.
Like most of today’s writers and editors in the publishing “grind,” Poe found it tough to keep jobs and make ends meet –even when his work was critically acclaimed. At the Messenger, for instance, his devastating reviews of the authors of the day increased circulation, but offended the owner. The January 1837 issue announced Poe’s withdrawal as editor but also included the first installment of “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym,” as well as his reviews and poems. Though Poe eventually succeeded in formulating influential literary theories and mastering his favorite forms — musical poems and short prose narratives– he was able to achieve only moderate worldly success.
For Poe, Virginia’s death in January 1847 was a heavy blow. He continued to write and lecture but less than three years later he was found unconscious on a Baltimore street. He was taken to the hospital and, after hallucinating and exhibiting other disturbing neurological symptoms, died on October 7, 1849. A brief obituary in Baltimore Clipper reported that Poe had died of “congestion of the brain.”
Poe’s death has been a mystery ever since: his cause of death has been assumed to be alcoholism, drug overdose, encephalitic rabies, the result of diabetes, epilepsy, syphilis, cholera, or other diseases; both suicide and murder have been posited.
Nowadays, Poe, like any celebrity who goes off societal tracks or meets a tragic end would be a sure bet for the cover of People, tabloid headlines, tons of tweets, and thousands of blof entries. Looking at his life, one can’t help but wonder if, in our world, he would have scripted an autobiographical movie of the week.
Yes, sounds more like a rock star than a writer, but poets were the rock stars of the nineteenth century.
For those who consider Poe a now-quaint Gothic, or dismiss his work as antiquated “bad writing,” I offer a simple experiment: Gather together some gaming, TV-minded, screen-oriented, short attention-spanned children and read them (perhaps with some flamboyance and explanation of vocabulary) “The Tell-Tale Heart.” It still works. They will hear the beating of the hideous heart and forever picture the old man’s “eye of a vulture.”
And, my dears, I promise they will ask for more.
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 07 Dec 2010
Some say happiness is a warm puppy. Here’s the grandpup, Doc, telling Santa what a good dog she’s been and hoping all those packages are for her.
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 26 Nov 2010
As I am not cooking and doing the family get together at the groaning rable until tomorrow (Saturday) I spent Thanksgiving reading vampire stories and worrying (and dealing with–including unloading, dusting and moving a bookcase and many books) about the leak in my bedroom ceiling…and being very thankful two of my sons are home to (I hope) deal with the latter and the leaves in the gutters.
As for the vampire stories I hope to be done with them soon, too, as I am behind schedule on VAMPIRES: THE RECENT UNDEAD. (Follow-up to ZOMBIES: THE RECENT DEAD.
Publisher Warren Lapine announced earlier today in a “farewell message” that print magazine Realms of Fantasy will cease publication. The news was not entirely unexpected, but Warren fought the good fight to keep it going every way he could. Editors Shawna McCarthy and Douglas Cohen certainly put blood, sweat, and probably tears into the effort. As fiction editor Shawna McCarthy says in her own “farewell”, “Realms was a labor of love…” Doug Cohen also writes of his love for RoF noting the magazine lasted 16 years and 97 issues.
It’s sad to see any project with so much love and work put into it end. My condolences to all the staff and writers.
Warren cites the economy as the biggest factor negating his attempt to increase subscribers. I’m sure that’s part of it, but there’s also a longstanding problem with selling short fiction in magazine format. More than a dozen years ago (when I was trying to be a genre magazine publisher myself) I was told by the distributors that they simply were not interested in any new primarily fiction magazines of any type because there weren’t enough people buying the ones already established. (And in those days, circulation was considerably higher for the magazines that did exist.)
I imagine this is the core reason why Sovereign Media, RoF‘s orginal publisher since its beginning in 1994, shut in down in May 2009. (Warren felt he could turn it around and snapped it up almost immediately.) Not enough buyers for the product.
Another dismal factor for most print periodicals these days is the decline of revenue from advertising. This probably played a role as well.
Others may cite the growing popularity of online magazines and ezines as detrimental to print publications. I feel they are incorrect in that assumption. Reading online or in a downloadable format just means you are reading, not that you would have paid for the content in print form.
So…RIP Realms…or not.
After all, I work for Weird Tales a genre magazine — in fact, the first fantasy magazine ever — that has lived, died, been resurrected, reincarnated, and generally gone through several life cycles (one involving Warren Lapine as publisher) since 1923.
And we just shipped our 356th issue.
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 03 Oct 2010
I’ve had a nasty virus that turned into continuing bronchial or asthma or something-like-that problems. It’s getting better, but I’ve felt misearable, fatigued, and grumpy for much too long as far as I am concerned. A consequence of being ill is that work you are already behind on gets “behinder” and that makes one grumpier…etc. It also means I’d probably post grumpy things that it would be best not to. (Like how I am amazed that people keep saying ebooks are “cannabalizing” prints sales, especially mass market, or lowering advances…and other such poppycock I’d otherwise vent about…). I also might be less than cogent or diplomatic or reveal Arcane Secrets of Publishing or…
So I’ve avoided the blog.
I’m not very good at being under the weather. Bah. Humbug.
As they did last year, Orbit books put a summer intern to work looking at (some, but not all) fantasy covers. This year’s results note, among other things, fantasy cover clichés (“castles”, “glowy magic”, and “swords”) are in decline, but dragons held steady. Damsels are rarely found in distress these days, but they found ‘more than 70 bad ass women — and that’s with a really strict definition of “bad ass” (must be either armed, in a fighting stance, or riding a motorcycle). Thanks to to the rise of urban fantasy (also known as paranormal fantasy) 2009′s covers were dominated by tough, well-armed women who are more likely to glower than cower.’ A futher report concentrated on “changing fashion in urban fantasy heroines”. Among the “findings”: “Abs are in: Fantasy’s heroines are spending less time at the tattoo parlor and more time at the gym, as toned midriffs overtook tattoos as the favored accessory”…and stiletto heels are out.
So, looking at Pocket Juno’s covers, we guess we do not have many “bad-ass heroines”. In 2009, only the cover of Amazon Ink met the Orbit definition. We don’t get much “badder” in 2010, either: Only Amazon Ink, Shadow Blade, and Shadow Chase meet Orbit’s definition.
And we still have—intentionally—not a single tattoo or gun
Juno has certainly gone through a lot of changes since the first blog post on 06 May 2006 02:51 pm. And it is still evolving.
I’ve thought long and hard about what this 1000th post should be. I still am not sure I should be so open about our biggest news. I’ve noticed editors don’t really say all that much publicly about a lot of stuff. There are good reasons for that. But Pocket Juno is different and so am I, so…
Instead of a-title-month for 2011, there will be six Pocket Juno books (and all are super—of course, I will soon be telling you more):
- Jan 2011: Arcane Circle (Circle Series #4), Linda Robertson
- Mar 2011: Rogue Oracle (Oracle Series #2), Alayna Williams
- June 2011: Shadow Fall (Shadowchasers #3), Seressia Glass
- Sept 2011: Concrete Savior (Blood Redemption #2), Yvonne Navarro
- Nov 2011 Blood Sacrifice (Bloodlines #5), Maria Lima
- Dec 2011: Virtual Virgin (Delilah Street #5), Carole Nelson Douglas
Beyond 28 November 2011—what I assume is the release date for Virtual Virgin—I don’t know.
All I know is that I continue as editor of Pocket Juno, that this is the full schedule for Pocket Juno 2011, and that I’m not offering contracts at the moment for future titles. (So, right now, no need for submissions.)
Yes, there are authors and books whose series have hooked you and characters you already love missing from that list. You wanted to see more and soon. And you wonder what the future will be for those on that list too. I know, I feel the same way—except more so.
I think we all understand that the better the sales, the brighter the future for any author.
One thing most readers—and writers and even some editors and many publishers—don’t understand is just how little control one (whether that “one” is a corporate entity or an individual) has in this business these days over so many factors. Publishing is in the middle of some very interesting times, so that makes it even more unpredictable. And Pocket Juno is just a tiny part of publishing.
Steve Wasserman (literary editor of Truthdig; former editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review; former editorial director of Times Books at Random House, as well as editorial director of Hill & Wang at Farrar, Straus & Giroux; currently a literary agent) wrote on the impossibility of predicting the future of publishinga s a whole:
The predicament facing the publishing industry is best understood against the backdrop of several overlapping and contending crises: The first is the general challenge confronting publishers of adapting to the new digital and electronic technologies that are increasingly rendering traditional methods of production and distribution obsolete, and undercutting profit margins; the second is the profound structural transformation roiling the entire book-publishing and book-selling industry in the age of conglomeration and digitization; and the third and most troubling crisis is the sea change in the culture of literacy itself, the degree to which our overwhelmingly fast and visually furious culture renders serious reading increasingly irrelevant, hollowing out habits of attention indispensable for absorbing long-form narrative and the following of sustained argument.
There are ideas percolating for Juno, but they haven’t completely brewed yet. I can’t be pessimistic because the future may be even more exciting and fulfilling; but I can’t be overly optimistic either, one never can be in such “interesting times”.
I’m striving for a sort of zen balance right now.
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 03 Aug 2010
If you notice the little counter to the right, I’m coming up on post #1000 soon. I’d like to make it something *Special*. Anyone have any ideas? What should the thousandth Juno Books post be about? Let’s get some ideas in quickly!
That’s the question The Boston Globe has posed, complete with the subtitle: The Nordic bad boys have pillaged their way into our hearts. Reporter Alex Beam claims “the ferocious, globe-trotting rapists, pillagers, and marauders who traveled the known world of the Middle Ages…may be popular culture’s latest object of fascination.”
Although a bookstore owner credits Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy with helping to reawaken interest in Scandinavian literature, the Globe citations of of Viking popularity include Charlaine Harris’s Eric Northman, but gives credit for his invention to “the HBO script scribblers”. Feh. Supposedly Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan is working on a Viking script for Leonardo DiCaprio. Then there’s Brian Wood’s Northlanders graphic novel series; the reissue of Frans Bengtsson’s 1954 “The Long Ships”, and news that Bernard Cornwell “plans to start writing the fifth volume of his best-selling Saxon Tales shortly.”
Also mentioned are two classic H. Rider Haggard novels and “Thief Eyes” by Janni Lee Simner (Which is quite good. Read this review from Cynthia Ward for Fantasy Magazine.
NOT mentioned, however, is our own Maria Lima’s 1200-plus-year-old hot Viking shapeshifter Tucker Kelly of the BLood Lines series! And if you want to see a Viking go berserk–Tucker does in BLOOD HEAT, coming this October! You want a Viking? We got a Viking!
Other Norse-based fantasy not mentioned: Kim Wilkins’ “Giants of the Frost” (2004) places a modern scientist female protag in what’s left of the realm of the Norse gods. NEil Gaiman used Norse myth in the Sandman series, “American Gods”, and “Odd and the Frost Giants”. I haven’t read Greg van Eekhout’s urban fantasy “Norse Code”, but I know it is based on Valkyrie mythology. There’s Diana Paxson’s “Brisingamen” (1984); Harry Harrison’s “The Hammer and The Cross”, “One King’s Way”, and “King and Emperor” (mid-90s); Poul Anderson’s “Hrolf Kraki’s Saga” (1977), “War of the Gods” (1997) , and “Mother of Kings” (2001). There is an even earlier Anderson, too, “The Broken Sword” in the 50s. L. Sprague DeCamp’s “The Incomplete Enchanter” (1941). David Drake’s “Northworld” (1990), “Vengeance” (1991), and “Justice” (1992) trilogy retells Norse mythology as military SF. And, uh, Tolkien’s trilogy is pretty darned Norse-influenced.
Any other ideas about sf/f based in Norse mythology?
Man, this Viking has a huge…tentacle!
Art by the fabulous Daren Bader.
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 29 Jun 2010
Use this link to vote for Shin-Soo Choo as an All Star. (If you don’t know. He’s a baseball player for the Cleveland Indians. A very good baseball player.) If you click on the link above and vote, then Choo gets more All Star votes (Choo plays right field so look under “outfield” to find S. Choo) and my son gets points. Enough points and he gets free tickets and takes me to the game. (And, yes, he already took me to one game already this year.)
And he really didn’t think I would do this…hehehe.
But what’s a mother for?
This is Choo. Not my son. I’m sure his mother want you to vote for him, too.
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 24 Jun 2010
GalleyCat reports from a Stephenie Meyer blog tour that the author is having trouble completing Midnight Sun, the next entry in her mega-bestselling vampire series:
What’s true is that I’m really burned out on vampires. And, I don’t want to write it badly. So I want to wait until I’m excited about the material again, and I’m excited about Edward, and that it’s something that’s motivating. You know, when a story is keeping me up at night, and I’m waking up at 4 am in the morning and thinking ‘Yes! That is what is what should happen in this moment!’ Then that is when I can write with happiness! So, right now it feels like homework … it really does. And when things feel like homework they go very, very slowly for me.
Ms. Meyer has discovered what most authors already know: Writing is HARD WORK! It’s made even harder when you have deadlines and real life to worry about. Meyer has neither, really. I’m sure she’s still a good mom and all, but I’m thinking, one way or another, she really doesn’t need to worry about paying the bills, providing helth insurance for her family, carpooling, or clipping coupons before going grocery shopping these days. (For one thing, her husband retired to take care of their three sons.) Instead, she has a different type of burden: she’s a franchise, a brand name. Other people’s jobs and incomes depend on her performing her JOB.
Yup. Writing is her job now. To expect to be excited and happy about your job day in and day out is probably a bit unrealistic, even if you love it most of the time.
Thing is, Meyer has a choice: Even though she’s only 36, she and her family are set for life (probably for a couple of generations if they are fiscally responsible and well-advised). She can quit. She can give up her job and do whatever she wants. Hachette/Little, Brown and Company would not be happy about this, but they’d survive. Hollywood would survive. Her fans would live, too.
Meyer has always been honest about her initial publishing naivety. She also knows she has been very lucky (although, personally, I don’t think she realizes just how lucky, but then most people in her position wouldn’t). Maybe she’s now learning she was pretty naive about writing as a career, too.
She has options. Most folks don’t.
Me? I’d be more than happy to sell only a few million books (instead of tens of millions), maybe make one lucrative film deal (instead of multiple deals and licensing), and then do whatever the heck I wanted. If I still wanted to write — I would write whatever I wanted to write.
How about you?
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 24 Jun 2010
So–thanks mostly to my daughter-in-law who explained the pro game to me last year on a big screen TV (she still plays and refs near Chicago), but also because two of my sons played soccer, and the local university (Akron) being #1 in the US last year (losing, unfortunately, the championship) and, not incidently because, well, gosh those are handsome lads out there dashing around in shorts and tight shirts–I became a soccer fan.
Naturally, the USA win was great yesterday, but today we are also celebrating Slovakia’s win over Italy. My kids are one-fourth Slovak. Guran, if you ever wondered (and I am sure you didn’t) is a Slovakian name. I know exactly two words in Slovak: čierny and pivo. The first means “black” the second means “beer”.
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 27 May 2010
BEA is going on in NYC and I should be there.
WISCON is going on in Madison and I should be there.
But I am not.
And if I were, it would just put me further behind on any number of things that should be done already that aren’t.
The official release dates for BOTH books are now October 26, 2010.
BTW, sometimes a Web site will post a cover they aren’t supposed to. For one thing, what they may find online may not be the final version. For another, it’s technically illegal for them to do so. Just because you can find something online doesn’t give you the right to display it. There still may be minor changes even to these covers, but at least I’ve been given permission to post them.
“I love Akron. Since I was a little kid, I always said I was going to find a way to put this city on the map. And I’m going to continue to do that.”
Weird Tales editor emeritus George H. Scithers passed away yesterday at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, from complications following a heart attack suffered the morning of April 17. He was 80. He had been in declining health for the last few years, due to complications from diabetes and a heart condition.
Scithers first became active in the SF field in 1959 as editor of two-time Hugo winning fanzine Amra. (In which Fritz Leiber proposed the type of adventurous stories Amra was devoted to be called “Sword-and-sorcery”.) He was the founding editor of Asimov’s when it launched in 1977, continuing there until 1982. He edited Amazing Stories 1982-86. In 1987 he revived Weird Tales with Darrell Schweitzer and John Betancourt. In 2007 stopped editing the magazine actively, becoming editor emeritus.
He founded specialty publisher Owlswick Press in 1973 and also edited numerous anthologies and also wrote fiction.
He was nominated for seven Hugos as a professional editor, winning in 1978 and 1980; was fan guest of honor at the 2001 Worldcon; won a special professional World Fantasy award in 1992 (with frequent collaborator Darrell Schweitzer); and received a World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2002
Personal condolences may be sent to Larry Fiege, 218 Blandford St., Rockville, MD 20850-2629. Remembrances of George’s life in the SF community may be sent to email@example.com for inclusion in an upcoming tribute issue. Further details regarding memorial plans will follow.
The picture you see here, which I didn’t know existed until last night, was taken when George received his Lifetime Achievement award at the World Fantasy Convention. That’s my hair in the background as I was sitting next to him at the table. We just happened to sit at the same table. We’d met before, but he didn’t really have a clue as to who I was (and I was pretty much nobody he would know anyway). It was the first time I ever really talked to George. He was a legend to me. I was a new audience for him to tell stories to. George had lots of stories. Always.
When I started working for Wildside and got to know George better, but since I worked from home in Akron, I only visited the Maryland offices a few times a year. I still liked to hear the stories. He accepted me as a peer, a fellow editor, someone to talk shop with.
There are literally hundreds of people involved in the sf/f field who knew him better than I, who he mentored, edited, taught. I didn’t even know him in his prime. But what I did know about him (and from him indirectly) guided my concept of what an editor (at least a genre editor) should be—not that I could ever live up to the ideal.
George felt finding new talent and nuturing it was an important part of the job. I know in the 80s with Asimov’s, he intentionally had a high profile and attended conventions to meet new writers and simply be known as an accessible person. He also used to give insightful replies/critiques—handwritten—to many who submitted stories. He genuinely wanted to help writers.
And when he found someone with talent, he made sure others knew about them.
George once dropped Robert A. Heinlein a postcard asking: “What happens after the Hero wins the hand of the princess and half the kingdom?” Consequently, Heinlein wrote Glory Road and dedicted it to George. Editors, see, are supposed to inspire, too.
George H. Scithers inspired me and countless others.
His was a life well-lived.
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 12 Apr 2010
It’s Monday and despite having no time to muse, I’m musing anyway…some recent sales news piqued my interest. As much as I love the books I’m editing, they *are* one type of book. Sometimes I think, when reading of recent fiction sales, “Hmmm. Now there’s something I wish I’d had a shot at.” You know, if I ruled the (publishing ) world and all that…not that I have any idea these will turn out to be good books. But the descriptions intrigued me…
- Kate Williams’ debut novel THE PLEASURES OF MEN, a historical thriller set in 1840s London, amid a sexual, obsessive underworld of murder, body-snatching, wrong science and torment that the Victorians tried to hide, pitched as reminiscent of Suskind, Faber and Kostova…
- Mark Lawrence’s PRINCE OF THORNS, introducing a compelling new anti-hero and his ultra-violent world, pitched as the best of Brent Weeks and George Martin…
- Rochelle Staab’s HOLLYWOOD HOODOO, the first book in a series of supernatural themed murder mysteries, featuring a pragmatic shrink and a broad-minded occult expert…
- Matt Beynon Rees’s MOZART’S LAST ARIA, set in 18th-century Austria, where Mozart’s estranged sister is determined to uncover the truth about his suspicious death, in a world of powerful secrets, powerful men, soaring music and brilliant performers…
- Karen Miller’s THE TARNISHED CROWN series… love and hate, treachery and power, the rise and fall of dynasties, and the remaking of a world. The theme of this fantasy saga is contained in its title: nobody is innocent. Every crown is tarnished. Redemption is possible but at a great price.
- Ben Aaronovitch’s RIVERS OF LONDON series, focusing on 20-something police constable who finds himself seconded – much to his surprise! – to a secret and arcane branch of the Met specializing in crimes of a supernatural nature, and thus apprenticed to the last wizard in Britain
- Steven John’s untitled thriller, set in a city shrouded in an unnatural permanent fog that covers an unspeakable crime…
- Stina Leicht’s OF BLOOD AND HONEY… fantasy exploration of the conflict between Ireland and Britain…against a backdrop of Anglo-Celtic fantasy, a secret Roman Catholic sect of assassins, fallen angels, and the fey…plus an untitled sequel which will also explore the rising punk rock movement…
- [YA] Gabrielle Zevin’s first three books in the BIRTHRIGHT SERIES, set in a dystopian future where chocolate and caffeine are contraband while water and paper are carefully rationed, the series relates the ascension and ultimate downfall of a 16-year-old girl, the heir apparent to an important and dangerous New York City crime family
- [YA] Ari Marmell’s HOUSEHOLD GODS, a Renaissance-style fantasy adventure about a brilliant but reckless teenage thief who happens to have an invisible god living inside her head…
- [YA] OR Melling’s THE CELTIC PRINCESS, a mythological adventure series in which the 16-year-old daughter of the High King strives to become a warrior to avenge her father’s murder — with the help of a young and charismatic slave, and together they make magic happen…
- Steven Harper’s THE DOOMSDAY VAULT, first in a new series of steampunk novels in which two people join an underground police force in Victorian London, where they fight zombies, mad scientists, and air pirates in an attempt to save the British Empire from a terrible plague, only to discover that the cure may be worse than the disease…
- Piper Maitland’s ACQUAINTED WITH THE NIGHT, a spellbinding tale of vampires and forbidden love, a quest for an ancient book that has the power to shake the world, and a perilous race against time through ruined temples, clifftop monasteries, Venetian lagoons, and the Sinai Desert…
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 04 Apr 2010
Passover Potato Kugel
6 tbsp vegetable oil
6 large potatoes, peeled
1 large onion (peeled, chopped/grated finely)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
6 tbsp matzoh meal
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Pour the vegetable oil into a 9×13-inch baking dish. Grate or shred the potatoes. Transfer the grated potatoes to a colander and run cold water over the shreds, rinse thoroughly (toss the grated potatoes as you rinse). Drain and squeeze the shredded potatoes by hand. Gret as much water out as possible. Place in a large mixing bowl. Add onion to the potatoes.
In separate bowl, deat the eggs with the salt and pepper. Add to the potato mixture along with the chopped parsley and matzoh meal. Mix thoroughly.
Place the baking dish containing the vegetable oil into the preheated oven and let it heat for about 5 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour about half of the hot oil into the potato mixture, stir well, then spoon the potato mixture into the hot, oiled baking dish. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top of the kugel is golden brown and crisp.
Makes about 12 servings.
My email this morning (happy Easter) offered me: Amazon Kindle: FREE Kindle for Mac Download. I downloaded it right away. (It was announced March 18. An iPad ap has just been announced. (And there is a other Kindle aps.)
For one thing, it means I can now check Kindle files and see how they look to the rest of the world. Working for a small press I’ve actually made Kindle books — and had no way to view the finished product. And, right now, as one of my “side jobs” I am prepping some other files for ebook publication. (I also do what used to be called typesetting — and is now called compositing since type isn’t involved these digital days — for print books and a lot of other publishing-related jobs to earn extra cash to pay for extravagant things like health insurance. Yes, Juno is a more than full time job. Sorry if I just destroyed your illusions about how glamorous and financially rewarding editing is as a career.)
Anyway…Finally, I’ll be able to see a Kindle version and make corrections if needed.
And, if I do need to read an e-book, this expands my ability to do so.
As I’ve said before, I think ebooks are keen and have long recognized them as an important part of publishing. (Albeit one that, at first, circa 2000, elicted an over-reaction and is still is viewed somewhat askew in various ridiculous and/or serious ways by the publishing industry. Things will, eventually, work out. One hopes with no loss of blood — after all, In the last “book revolution” Johann Gutenberg never profited from his invention and died in poverty and, well, in the history of the book since then, authors often have gotten the shaft.)
BUT — (1) I spend 8-12 hours a day in front of a screen as it is and (2) I have no intention of spending a small fortune for a single-use electonic device that needs a battery or power cord. Further (3) I’m a bibliophile. We all have our fetishes.
Am I interested in an iPad? You bet. (Yeah, I’ve been a Mac addict for 25 years.) When I travelled a lot, I needed a laptop–primarily for email, ftp access, wordprocessing, and occasionally to display cover art and the like. But when my youngest son went to college and needed a laptop, instead of a new one, he got mine (that money thing again). Right now, I’m not travelling much (money…again), so it’s not too bad. An iPad probably will be better for me than a laptop when/if I ever get around to making another tech investment. But the primary reason for getting one would not be ebooks.
But, no, I don’t see myself ever buying a Kindle; $260 buys a lot of print books (and actually own them, unlike Kindle ebooks that are just licensed to “purchasers”.) But I’m glad I finally have access to the books.
This is the official release day for Embers by Laura Bickle. I’m suppossed to just tell you that and fling some virtual confetti and get on with the rest of the show. Maybe mention that Sparky, the heroine’s salamander familiar) is having a virtual birthday party on laura’s blog (There’s even virtual salamander cake!)
Embers is a debut novel from an unknown writer.
And it’s a good book.
Yeah, it is a “first novel.” Like most of those, there are flaws–although not as many as you will find in many a debut novel that’s gone on to bestsellerdom. It’s sequel, Sparks, is even better than Embers and I’m sure that more books in a series feauring Anya Kalinczyk, her salamander familiar Sparky, and friends would continue to be winners. If it gets a chance.
There are way too many “urban fantasy/paranormal” novels being released each month right now. (Publishing has a history of killing genres this way.) Even if you live, breathe, and eat the stuff…even if you just get the best of it: there’s no way you can keep up with it all, let alone buy it or read it. Bookstores and other venues that sell books can’t even stock it all. Publishers try, but can’t publicize them all well enough. Reviewers are burned out. And there are all sorts of other factors about distribution and economics affecting especially mass market paperbacks as a whole that come into play, now more than ever.
This is not the best time to be a debut author in this genre, especially one who has no personal acquaintance with bestselling authors to push the book. Sincere thanks must go to two authors — M.L.N. Hanover and Jeri Smith-Ready — who did take the time to read Embers and provide lovely quotes:
“Bickle has something great in Anya. Embers has everything: demons, ghosts, dragons, love, sex, police, and murder.” — M.L.N. Hanover
“Gritty but never grim, Embers is a truly urban fantasy, where the soul of a city haunts every page. I can’t wait for more of Anya and the unforgettable Sparky!” — Jeri Smith-Ready
Oh, not everyone will love Embers — it fits the formula for this “urban fantasy/paranormal” genre, but it also shakes it up a little. (You readers who want your romance to be something out of a perfect fairy tale may not, for instance, care for it.) And it’s truly an “urban fantasy” because it’s locale, a Detroit that is both fictional and fantastic while remaining grounded in grim reality, is integral to it. But it’s not China Mieville or John Crowley and it’s not meant to challenge you; it’s “commercial”: meant to entertain you because it’s a good story with interesting characters that maybe makes you think a bit but doesn’t stress your brain cells.
It’s got a great cover, but it’s not of a half-naked woman in a “strong pose”. Anya, its protagonist, is an arson investigator. Having her tramp around with her boobs hanging out or her trim tummy exposed would have been ridiculous. So we actually have a strong cover that is appropriate to the book. (Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against beautiful women scantily clad on covers. That’s another topic.)
And it seems to be getting good reviews. Good reviews never hurt, but when it comes to mass market paperbacks, they also don’t have the magical power to produce phenomenal sales.
It’s author, Laura Bickle, is doing everything she can to promote the book herself.
But still, I worry. I worry that Embers isn’t going to get the chance it deserves. Maybe Embers (and Sparks when it comes out in six months) will set the world on fire or at least ignite a small part of it. Maybe not.
And you know what? In this business, I’m not supposed to care. It’s not just this book. It’s all books. I’m supposed to just accept that some books make it and some don’t. That the whims of store buyers (or lack there of) can make or break a book. I’m supposed to understand that due to bad timing or bad cover art or a negative snark or mindless stupidity somewhere or a lack of support from whatever or a myriad other things I have no control over or input on that, oh well, these things happen.
Well, fuck that. I still care.
I’m probably not supposed to say that either.
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 17 Mar 2010
You’d think with all this snow (at least in some parts of this country) that writers and agents would have nothing better to do than submit to us editors. Maybe everyone is watching the Olympics?
Hey, I’d rather be watching the Olympics, too. But (among a bunch of other chores) I’m looking (and re-looking and often deciding) at submissions *right now*. So, here’s a mission for those of you perspicacious enough to read this blog:
- Read or re-read the Submission Guidelines
- Ask yourself: “Do I have a completed or near-manuscript that would work for Pocket Juno?”
- If the answer to #2 is “yes” then (for a limited time) skip the part in the guidelines about sending a synopsis and three sample chapters. Send me a short synopsis in your email and the full manuscript attached.
- If the answer to #2 is “No, but I have a friend who could answer “yes”, then clue them in.
- Make sure you (or your friend) otherwise, adhere to #1 including the proper eddress to email.
- Act now! This is a limited time offer!
Special Bonus Hint #1: I wouldn’t mind seeing some steampunkish novels, but they still would have to fit within the context of what Pocket Juno publishes. Still, you might take a chance…
The recent Sherlock Holmes movie provided motivation for a Sherlockian revival in publishing (The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes edited by John Joseph Adams, The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures edited by Michael Ashley, reissue and–well-warranted–renewed interest in Carole Nelson Douglas’s Irene Adler series, and much more etc.) and now BBC Worldwide and PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre “will present a 21st-century spin on the classic detective stories” in a series starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 09 Feb 2010
Someone once postulated there was some sort of “idea cloud” hanging over authorial humanity and that sometimes those ideas would drift down into more than one writer at a time. Maybe so.
I realized at one point that hints of ancient Egyptian mythology suddenly appeared in several Juno Pocket books. Now, I was fully aware of the underlying mythos in SHADOW BLADE when I bought it. But it also popped up unexpectedly in the second of the Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator, series BRIMSTONE KISS (and continued in the third, VAMPIRE SUNRISE. Minor ancient Egyptian references also surfaced in VICIOUS CIRCLE and HALLOWED CIRCLE.
Now it is spontaneous human combustion.
Months ago Laura Bickle emailed me with this cool idea to use spontaneous human combustion (the burning of a living human body without an apparent external source of ignition) in SPARKS, her follow-up to EMBERS. Considering her heroine, Anya Kalinczyk, is an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, this was an interesting concept.
Then, as I was editing Maria Lima’s BLOOD HEAT (the fourth of her Bloodlines series following MATTERS OF THE BLOOD, and BLOOD BARGAIN, and BLOOD KIN) — up pops a little reference to spontaneous human combustion. Even more oddly, toward the end of Yvonne Navarro’s upcoming HIGHBORN, spontaneous human combustion occurs and is explained in an entirely different way than in SPARKS.
I don’t, however, see this as a new “trend” in fantasy
Today’s Wall Street Journal article article on “The Death of the Slush Pile” made me go, well, at least “Aaarrrgh!”
Before I vent specifically, allow me to point out:
- *I* take unsolicited manuscripts (aka slush).
- So do Tor and Ace/Roc Science Fiction & Fantasy. Maybe others.
- Genre magazines take slush, too.
- Of the current Pocket/Juno line-up Stacia Kane, Linda Robertson, Maria Lima, Laura Bickle/Alayna Williams (yes, yes, she’s the same person — more on that later) all initially came from slush. Carole Nelson Douglas was/is represented, but our first contact was personal and not through her agent. As for the original small press line-up, almost all came from the slush pile.
Now, to the WSJ article:
1) They mix screenwriting and book publishing. They are comparing apples and oranges and shouldn’t have. I won’t address the Hollywood side of things.
2) The article completely ignores that there are simply more submissions these days than ever. Wordprocessing and the Internet have made a great many more people think they should be authors. So has the “starification” of popular authors — since the media play up blockbuster authors, huge advances, and the tiny minority of writers who make big bucks, folks think becoming an author is an easy road to riches. Nothing could be further from the truth.
3) WSJ: “As writers try to find an agent—a feat harder than ever to accomplish in the wake of agency consolidations and layoffs…” Is this true? I don’t think it is in publishing.
4) WSJ: “Book publishers say it is now too expensive to pay employees to read slush that rarely is worthy of publication. At Simon & Schuster, an automated telephone greeting instructs aspiring writers: “Simon & Schuster requires submissions to come to us via a literary agent ….Company spokesman Adam Rothberg says the death of the publisher’s slush pile accelerated after the terror attacks of 9/11 by fear of anthrax in the mail room.” Okay, treading softly here since Pocket is part of S&S and Juno is part of Pocket. Yes, I am sure that it is not worth paying employees to read the amount of slush they get. No arguing. However, as many smaller publishers are learning, you can automate email submissions and avoid even compute viruses, so anthrax and mailrooms need not be a concern.
5) WSJ brings up rejections of Rowling, Meyer, etc. What articles like this never point out is that often many rejections come because the manuscript is submitted to the “wrong” publisher or editor. You may have a wonderful YA novel — well, don’t send it to me. Pocket Juno does not publish YA novels. Or short story collections, or horror novels, or space opera, or thrillers, or novels with male protagonists, or…etc. Want to count that as a rejection? I don’t. I count it as a misguided submission.
One plus for the WSJ article: In a sidebar, a Random House editor mentions that editors “travel, they get around. They look at writer’s conferences, at MFA programs. They look at magazine articles and at blogs. That’s what editors do, they sniff things out from so many different sources.” This is true for me, at least. Especially about personal contact. I wish I still went to as many conferences as I used to. I find it a valuable way not only to meet potential authors, but to make contact with readers and “sniff out” the future vibe.
One more thing: The WSJ article is subtitled: Even in the Web era, getting in the door is tougher than ever. Is it? At least in in sf/f, authors have been discovered online via blogs. Romance and erotica writers are often starting out in ebooks these days. And the networking — what you can learn from others and who you “know”, in any career, is always something to consider — you can now do as an author due to the Web is a whole new universe for authors.
And yeah, that’s where I got started, too, online.
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 05 Jan 2010
Okay, so she’s not so happy with the hat, but she does like her new sweater. Grandpuppy Doc (aka Duchess) was one year old yesterday.
Comments Juno Editor/Paula Guran on 25 Dec 2009
If you recall, the semi-resident grandpup, Doc, was pictured earlier with Santa.
But I was missing a holiday photo of the other grandpups who live in Chicagoland, Malcolm and Dewie. (Although they have made earlier appearances: here, here last Christmas, and here. But now I can give equal blog time to them too (below).
All pups had very exciting happy Christmas.
We hope you did, too.