Welcome to Schoolbooks & Sorcery.
It's been a long time in the making, because life is unpredictable, words are hard, and dreams sometimes take a while to come to fruition. It started as a quixotic idea of mine back in the dark ages of "several years ago" when a kerfluffle in the publishing industry outlined the need--nay, the demand, for more diversity in YA literature. Now, in the time since this project began, we've seen some tremendous advances in terms of diversity, with some truly magnificent anthologies, magazines, and novels coming out as a result. But there's always room for more. That's where we come in.
From my call for submissions:
"Take high school. It’s weird, confusing, complicated, and frustrating. It’s a time of growth and change, when teens start discovering what they’re made of and who they want to be. Now throw in magic. What happens? That’s the premise of this new YA anthology. Schoolbooks & Sorcery is what happens when you take all the normal ups and downs of high school, inject a healthy dose of magic, shake, stir, and serve."
For this project, I collected a dozen YA urban fantasy stories which incorporate the themes of sorcery, magic, and enchantment. The magic comes from within, as an intrinsic ability or a family trait, and from without, in the form of talismans, training, or teaching. Protagonists are wizards, witches, sorcerers, magicians, shamans, apprentices, or practitioners of more esoteric traditions. Whether they pick it up on their own (accidentally or on purpose), learn from a master, or go to school for institutionalized training, they’re involved with magic to some degree.
I also insisted that "Schoolbooks & Sorcery is also designed to be a queer-friendly YA anthology, embracing the full spectrum of sexuality and gender identification, while offering a wide selection of satisfying, entertaining, fascinating, powerful stories in which the mundane and the magical overlap and interact. Stories are encouraged to take place in the overlapping area between urban fantasy, high school, and LGBTQ issues and themes. Stories should send the message that it's not just okay to be gay, it's okay to be gay and to have the same crazy, wicked, scary, seductive, exciting, magical, strange, funny, romantic, dark adventures as everyone else. We’re looking for stories which are all-inclusive, with the characters writers have been dying to write and readers clearly want to see, diverse and interesting, with an underlying current of tolerance and acceptance. Obviously, we’re looking for a wide range of themes, tones, and voices."
And my authors delivered, and they are, each and every one of them, wonderful storytellers with rich voices, passionate tales, and unique viewpoints. That's why this Kickstarter campaign is designed to not just bring this anthology to life, but to pay my contributors a professional rate of 6 cents a word. Honestly, they're worth much, much more, but the market won't let me buy them each a private island, or even a communal island.
Table of Contents:
Who are these stalwart souls? I'm glad you asked.
- “Finals” by Seanan McGuire
- “Protection” by Cheryl Rainfield
- “The Grimoire Girls” by E.C. Myers
- “Where We Come From” by David Sklar
- “Bad Roommates” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
- “Dirty Deeds” by Kelly Swails
- “Heart of a Fox” by Aaron Canton
- “The Delicate Work of Bees” by Emily Horner
- “Awaken” by Rain Fletcher
- “All That Matters” by Elizabeth Shack
- “The Chosen One” by Katrina Nicholson
- “Fishing for the Dead” by Eric Esser
Should the Kickstarter campaign prove monumentally successful, I'll even seek out more stories, in an attempt to represent even more voices and experiences. Because sadly, a mere dozen tales isn't enough to cover an ever-growing, ever-changing spectrum, and I desperately want to see even more representation. I have an idea of what sort of stories I might seek out, based on what I've learned since this began, so the better we do, the more diverse we can become in the long run.
- At $6500: An all-new Magic University story by Cecilia Tan, suitable for a YA audience.
- At $7000: 2 more additional stories from as-yet-to-be-determined contributors, to increase diversity.
- At $7500: Bonus payment for all contributors and the editor.
- At $8000: Interior art for selected stories. Stories and artist to be determined.
Right now, we all need stories of hope and acceptance, tolerance and strength, survival and triumph. That's what Schoolbooks & Sorcery promises to deliver. So please help us make this a reality.
Risks and challenges
I have the stories in hand, and this collection will be published by Circlet Press' Ultra Violet Library imprint--the same publisher which handled my previous anthology, Scheherazade's Facade. We have the experience, the infrastructure, the support network, and the people in place to make this happen. I stand by the successful release of my previous anthology, while Circlet Press has been in business for over 20 years, with dozens, if not hundreds, of books to their credit. The only way this won't come out is if I get hit by a meteor, in which case someone else will pick up where I leave off. However, I've left the instructions in a hidden vault, protected by a series of clues...Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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