One Story Debutante Ball

Sat 25 May 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Small Beer Press is happy to be one of One Story magazine’s sponsors. Every year they have a  big party, the Literary Debutante Ball: A Celebration of Emerging Writers, and this year it’s in Brooklyn at Roulette on June 6th, 2013.

As sponsors we receive some tickets for the ball and yesterday we offered them to LCRW subscribers. The three lucky winners are Kris, Shveta, and Colin!

Hope the ball is tons of fun and thanks again for subscribing. We have a new issue coming in July and we will post the table of contents here next week.  

Celebrating Death of a Unicorn

Wed 22 May 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

As noted yesterday, this month published a new edition Peter Dickinson’s excellent sort-of-mystery Death of a Unicorn.

Death of a Unicorn is one of those English novels which at some point you realize is all about inheritance. Lady Margaret, who goes by Mabs, is older than her twin sister Penny by twenty minutes. Those twenty minutes mean that Mabs who will inherit their stately home, Cheadle, which as someone says, “Looks kind of like it was waiting to eat someone.” Cheadle looms in the background behind every family squabble and argument:

When Bartrand Millett built Cheadle in 1712 he effectively bankrupted all his heirs, in perpetuity. Looking through the account books I can see the same scrimping going on generation after generation. My mother and I are only the last two in a long line of cheeseparers. 

Death of a Unicorn starts off with Mabs bored at a party, “hiding from Mark Babington and trying to get squiffy.” She is surprised to received help from someone she does not know and that first meeting leads to all sorts of interesting complications between Mabs, her mother and her sister.

We’re following Death of a Unicorn with another Peter Dickinson mystery, The Poison Oracle, this summer. Book Groups take note: There’s a Reading Group Guide in Death of a Unicorn which we hope you will take advantage of and for The Poison Oracle we have an interview with Peter Dickinson carried out by none other than New York Times bestselling author of the V. I. Warshawski novels, Sara Paretsky!


Tue 21 May 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Q. Is Nathan Ballingrud’s North American Lake Monsters  at the printer?

A. Yes! Review copies are going out and we are getting ready to receive complaints and plaudits. It is scary!

Q. Gavin, are you asking yourself questions?

A. You have no idea.

Q. So where can I get Nathan’s book signed?

A. Readercon, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh and  Malaprop’s, both in North Carolina.

Ok, now I’m done with the Q&A.

What else? Peter Dickinson! We have just published a new edition of Death of a Unicorna fascinating novel in two parts, thirty years apart, which follows a young woman as she gets her first job and has her first affair. The book picks up 30 years later as truths unknown to said young woman surface.

Book Groups take note: There’s a Reading Group Guide in Death of a Unicorn which we hope you will take advantage of.

Next: the sky in Easthampton is so low that I can reach up and touch it. Blech!

After Ysabeau Wilce tweeted about finding her Led Zep albums:

I dug out my CDs—not as cool, but I got a boxed set of all the recordings a couple of years ago from my excellent wife. How luxurious they seem compared to the tapes of tapes we had as kids! (The CDs are not as well worn as those tapes were.) I am listening to Presence. I know I-IV better, so time to explore the later years.

But I am also wishing I were going to WisCon—all those people, going to have so much fun! I love Madison, too. One of these years we’ll get back there.

What else? I’ve sent off another draft of a contract (short story collection FTW!). Also trying to see if I can bend a contract for good for all (I’m down with it, will everyone else go for it?), sent off ebooks for a secret fun thing, working on Google ebooks (why are they so opaque? our books were there for a couple of years and now I find they haven’t been there since last summer. Argh.), and waiting for another contract to appear so that I can jump up, jump around and spread the good word. Jump? Who has the energy for that? Eek!

Dancing between the monoliths

Mon 20 May 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We live in interesting times where independent voices, even whole online communities, are subsumed into corporate monoliths. We do business with these monoliths to survive but our hearts are with other independent businesses. We hope our readers will support them. If there isn’t a good indie near you, we recommend

Trunk Stories

Mon 20 May 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

In the mail today, copies of Trunk Stories, a zine from our friend William Smith of Hangfire Books. We’re going to be sending out copies with LCRW and other books. Extras that are excellent? Yay!

Trunk Stories


Fri 17 May 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Darn it, haven’t kept up with the Consortium Bookslinger app! Every week they post a new story from one of the Consortium publishers and since we publish a fair number of short story collections, a fair number of those stories are from our books. We’ve got new stories scheduled to go out just about monthly.

Checkkkk it out:

Ray Vukcevich, “Whisper

Maureen F. McHugh, “The Naturalist

Karen Joy Fowler, “The Pelican Bar

Kelly Link, “The Faery Handbag

Benjamin Rosenbaum, “Start the Clock

Maureen F. McHugh, “Ancestor Money

Download the app in the iTunes store.

And watch a video on it here:


Ground Control to Major Tom

Mon 13 May 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Is Col. Chris Hadfield the geekist astronaut ever? Has there ever been an astronaut who sang and played guitar? Do all the astronauts enjoy themselves this much? I don’t know, but this is fantastic! I think the best part are his special effects, which are just shots of his normal everyday life. I’ve enjoyed a bunch of his videos, some with our 4-year-old daughter, but today’s (via Amal, thanks!) is a headexplody pop culture mashup. Thanks Col. Chris!

Death of a Unicorn

Mon 13 May 2013 - Filed under: Books, Peter Dickinson | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

May 2013 · trade paper · $16 · 9781618730404 | ebook · $9.95 · 9781618730411

Death of a Unicorn has nothing to do with unicorns or fantasies. … This is a mystery by Peter Dickinson….
“The thing about Peter Dickinson is that his books, one from the other, are totally different. … And this is a novel, a mystery, where the mystery doesn’t really happen. The event that is mysterious, the death — if you will — doesn’t really happen until probably two-thirds of the way through the book. And it’s written from the point of view of a young upper-class … woman in England and her relationship with the [financier] of a magazine very much like the New Yorker.
“I think that this is one of those books that I hope will … introduce people to Peter Dickinson and then they’ll go and pick up all the rest of his books. … But I have to stress these are not for people who want fast-moving thrillers. These are not mysteries in the style of American private-eye stories. These are really character studies and studies of society at a particular place in a particular time.”
Nancy Pearl, NPR

For bestselling author Lady Margaret, the past is no longer a pleasant memory. Her first lover’s mysterious death and the seeming inevitability of her inheriting the family’s stately home are cast in new light by secrets unwillingly revisited in Dickinson’s wonderful novel of family and friends, work and duty, and above all, love.

Reading Group Questions included.

“Mr. Dickinson has a nice dry wit and a talent for deft characterization.”
New York Times

“Everything here is exactly right.”
New Yorker

“Peter Dickinson is my own chosen demigod in the pantheon of crime fiction.”
Laurie R. King

“The Tolkien of the crime novel.”—H.R.F.Keating

Death of a Unicorn is the first in a series of reprints of Peter Dickinson’s mysteries from Small Beer Press. This classic British mystery will win fans currently engrossed in Downton Abbey.

Read more

Locus awards & this month’s Locus

Thu 9 May 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

LocusLovely news from Locus that 2 (or 3, depending on how you count) Small Beer books are finalists for this year’s Best Collection Award. Any time something like this happens, I remember what an honor it is to be nominated. It is excellent and reassuring to know that there are readers finding these books. Congratulations to Kij Johnson, Ursula K. Le Guin, and all the nominees in all the categories. (Er, one note: come on world, there are some excellent women artists out there.)

When this month’s issue of Locus came in the mail I forgot to say that they have a fascinating indie publishing section where they asked the same couple of questions of many independent presses. I answered for Small Beer and am glad I did because it is awesome to be included with some of my favorite indies out there.  And, for a Locus trifecta, Rich Horton reviews Angélica Gorodischer’s Trafalgar and picks “Trafalgar and Josefina” as his favorite. (For instant gratification, you can pick up Locus from Weightless.)



Introduction • Small Beer Press • Lethe Press • PS Publishing • Earthling Publications • Cheeky Frawg Books • Fairwood Press • ChiZine Publications • Twelfth Planet Press • EDGE Books • Prime Books • Aqueduct Press • Tachyon Publications • Ticonderoga Publications • Subterranean Press • Night Shade Books

Susan’s lovely poem

Wed 8 May 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Susan Stinson writes about meal at Bela, one of about “forty-odd restaurants, bakeries, ice cream parlors and bars” that are “currently displaying poems by local poets as part of the Nourish the Body/Nourish the Soul project organized by Rich Michelson, Northampton’s Poet Laureate.” Susan has a poem, “Garden,” posted on the front door or Bela. Out of towners, you can read it here.

Susan is a force of nature (keep up with her here) and fittingly will be reading at Shape&Nature Press’s Summertime Reading and Music Party! along with many other readers on June 2nd 5-9pm, at Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton, 4th floor. They promise 8 amazing readers, 4 rockin’ musicians, and a raffle—which will include some books of ours.

Hey, go read the poem.

Solarize Massachusetts

Wed 8 May 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

I was one of 100+ people at the first Northampton Solarize Massachusetts meeting last night. Woohoo!

Solarize Massachusetts is a state program that uses group buying to bring down the installment cost of solar power. I’ve long wanted to add solar power at home—at work at the Paragon Arts building I don’t choose the electricity provider. But the cost, the cost. We are signed up for Greenstart so we are paying slightly more than the average but are buying into solar, wind, etc.—although it is mostly hydroelectric. (Not as good as the rest, but better than fossil fuels.)

Anyway. The first round of towns in the 2013 Solarize Massachusetts program are Bourne,BrooklineCarlisleChelmsfordLeeMedfordMedwayNewtonNorthampton, and Williamstown. The program selects one solar power installer who does site checks and so on to see if the interested people (me!) can actually have panels installed. The installer offers the town a deal: the more people who buy in by the end of the program (September 30, 2013), the lower the price. The average savings in previous rounds of the program have been 20%. Not bad!


There are also Federal tax credits worth about 25% of the cost, a $1,000 Massachusetts income tax credit, “solar renewable energy credit” (SRECs), net metering (you get a credit if your solar panels generate more power than you need), and the possibility of a few other credits. Overall, if the town gets enough people into the program—and there were 100+ people there last night—the panels usually pay for themselves within 5-7 years.

Any Northamptonites interested in the program should email Susan Lantz at [email protected]. Send that email!