Independent publishing is the powerhouse of the literary industry, gaining momentum and changing the face of fiction. Many of us have been predicting this for a long time; for years I've been attending panels at writing conventions talking about the decline of brick-and-mortar bookstores and the predestined reign of the e-reader. I recall several minds greater than my own predicting the rise of print-on-demand before the infrastructure to support it was even in place.
No matter how much we miss the labyrinthine bastions of our local bookstores (which I do, though Houstonians like myself are blessed in this area), science fiction is a genre that dwells in the future, and the future we've been watching for has arrived. Kickstarter, CreateSpace, Amazon, B&N, other online venues and e-readers of all kinds have obliterated the industry norms that for some of us were an inescapable cage. And for the readers, it's a new era of accessibility, where the authors and editors are only one tweet away and can be directly supported with a purchase that they'll see every penny of.
A new age calls for new voices, and in the genre of speculative fiction there are uncountable bards, poets and storytellers in search of an audience to captivate.
"Tides of Possibility" is all about finding the best new or up-and-coming science fiction writers and bringing them to their audience. The future generation of sci-fi is going to be populated by distinct ideas and fresh voices. Here's a few of the writers and stories the anthology will contain:
K. J. Russell is an author of speculative fiction. He has been seen scouring the shadowed swamps of Houston for inspiration, which may explain his feverish participation in the Houston Writers Guild and rumored sightings at local conventions and other such dubious events. This shady character has also been spotted hiding in plain sight at science fiction conventions as far away as Denver and Colorado Springs, where it is said that he studies Creative Writing at the University of Colorado. His science fiction first appeared on the internet in 2007, and its echoes continue, especially on his blog at holeinhell.blogspot.com. K. J. Russell is the author of the sci-fi tragedy Absolute Tenacity, and is the editor of the Tides of Possibility anthology.
The protagonist of his story A Perfectly Stable Dataglobule literally deconstructs the human condition. Charged with managing the data and knowledge inside the meaty brains of fighter pilots, the titular Dataglobules have a hobby of crafting dreams for their charges. One among them twists this vision, becoming an artist of nightmares, and the results are either horrible or beautiful depending on your angle.
D.L. Young, known to his friends and family as David, is a speculative fiction writer who grew up in Texas. At various points in his life he resided in Mexico City and Miami, and he currently lives in the heat and humidity of Houston with his family. His undergraduate degree in English Composition is from the University of North Texas, and he has a Master’s degree in International Business from Baylor University. He works in the high-tech industry. An avowed language freak, he’s fluent in Spanish and speaks passable Portuguese (the Brazilian flavor). He’s also the founder of the Space City Critters Writers Workshop, a member of Mensa, an English soccer fan, and a cigar lover (but not the loud, obnoxious, scotch-drinking kind). His fiction has appeared in many publications and anthologies. D.L.’s stories are edgy, sometimes dark, and often set in dystopian futures with overlapping Latin and Anglo cultures, where advanced technologies amplify both the best and worst aspects of human nature (but never at the same time...that would just be weird). To find out more about his writing, visit his website at www.dlyoungfiction.com.
His story, The Reader, portrays the deadly negotiations for control of the natgas fields in Texas. The secret to one baron's wealth is a man that others call brujo, who has the ability to see through any deception. But when the brujo is faced with a secret from his past, he'll have to decide if trust is more than just an absence of deception. He can see everyone's lies, but can he see the truth?
Erin M Kennemer is a writer and artist living in Austin, Texas. She takes her inspiration from the kinds of "what if" scenarios that only good scotch and late night conversation can engender. She has a BA in English from Texas A&M and studied under Larry Heinemann, who taught her how to write with bite. The university denies any responsibility for what happens when she takes her literary background and mixes it with a hefty dose of horror. Most of the blame should be put on her critique groups: Writer’s Ink, Houston and the Round Rock Writer’s Guild. Her short fiction has won multiple awards, the most recent being an honorable mention in the L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Competition. Her mother’s support and winning the Silver Key from the Scholastic's Arts and Writing Competition inspired Erin to become a professional writer. She looks forward to one day sharing her imagination with her daughter Alexis. The idea for The Black Prince came from a starless night and a bowl of gumbo. Erin’s fiction often explores the effect technology has on culture and childhood. Her current project is a science fiction novel exploring human society in the confines of space travel. Find her on twitter @emkennemer.
Her story, The Black Prince, shows us a future in which there are no stars in the sky above Earth, and people don't think that's strange. Except for one father-daughter team who decide to build a ship and see for themselves. But maybe there's a reason people don't question the darkness in the sky. The secrets they think they're looking for are not what they find, but is there a glow of starlight on the other side of the sky, is there just a void, or is it something else entirely?
Watch for more writer and story announcements in the "Updates" section over the next month. We have a lot to tell you about!
The Houston Writers Guild is one of the best support networks for writers of all kinds in Texas. Its members are local writers and publishers who meet regularly for critique circles, teach workshops and attend events throughout Texas, and work with local businesses, non-profits and libraries to educate and enrich Houston's culture. Their 2014 writers conference, coming in April, will gather writers from the area with editors from all over the country, featuring talks, panels, workshops and manuscript competitions.
SkipJack Publishing is the brainchild of the HWG's current president, Pamela Fagan Hutchins and her husband, Eric. It hosts a blog of advice for independent authors, provides services and publishes some of the best indie writing Houston has ever seen. I've never met anyone who knows more about indie publishing than these two.
The starting goal for the "Tides of Possibility" is, according to our calculations, the exact minimum amount of money needed to make this project what we want it to be. Obviously we hope to throw in a few extras, and we'd especially love if we could reach the following goals:
$1000 -- HIGH TIDES OF POSSIBILITY
There's no shortage of fresh voices trying to be heard in the world of sci-fi or new visions waiting to be seen. If the Kickstarter reaches this point, you will be enabling us to bring even more stories to you that might otherwise never see print. We will increase the size of the anthology by fifty percent. There are writers, stories, worlds, just waiting for you to say that you're ready for them.
$1500 -- TIDES OF IMPOSSIBILITY
Speculative fiction is so much bigger than sci-fi. When this stretch goal is unlocked, the HWG and SkipJack will produce an entire fantasy anthology with more new stories and new authors and deliver the ebook to everyone who contributed at the $5-level or above.
Risks and challenges
The stories and authors for the anthology have already been collected. We're still making some final decisions on a few stories (and hoping we reach the $1000 stretch goal), but we can guarantee there are no shortage of stories to fill the anthology with. In that much, we've already cleared the first major hurdle.
Independent publishing is a new and vicious game that many writers, editors and publishers are terrified to step into. Of the many who have dared, though, some have learned how to make the hostile wastelands of printers, publicity engines and legal labyrinths work for them. One such dragon-tamer, SkipJack's own Pamela Fagan Hutchins (who literally wrote the book on indie publishing) is an editor of the anthology. The editing team has mapped out every expense, expected and unexpected, and is prepared to deal with shipping and production delays with the confidence of a team that has done this many times before for our own books.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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