Alan DeNiro in Chicago

Wed 28 Jan 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Tyrannia and Other Renditions coverLook at me resisting writing Chitown! I am so strong.

What: Tuesday Funk with Alan DeNiro, Cameron McGill, Patty Templeton, Christa Desir and H.Melt, hosted by Andrew Huff and Eden Robins.
When: Feb. 3rd, 7 pm for 7:30 start.
Where: the Hopleaf (where the Bookslut readings used to be and very close to the excellent Women & Children First!), 5148 N. Clark St., Chicago 773-334-9851

Get ye along for there won’t be another chance to see Alan until AWP in April — where we will have a reading, a table, a banner, but probably not 100 mugs on a table the way Isaac Fitzgerald had on The Rumpus table in Boston a couple of years ago. Wait. We could totally rip that off.

Alan might read from his latest book, Tyrannia, which if you like weird political poetic poemic polemic stories: is for you.

In other news: Sofia Samatar has been burning up the internet! Here are a few links to keep you busy while we work on getting her second novel The Winged Histories ready to drop next year: twitter · The Guardian · Post 45.

Also: Karen Lord’s new novel The Galaxy Game just came out from Del Rey and is getting great reviews. You can read an interview with her here.

Ayize Jama-Everett is working on the final final line edits of The Liminal War. That book is going to Knock People Over.

Michael DeLuca was just out here in Western Mass. and we talked about his guest editing an issue of LCRW — and drank some delicious beer. He also shoveled our drive, whoa! Snow days!


Around Small Beer

Mon 14 Jan 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Just because the government tells you something doesn’t mean you have to believe it.

Tomorrow: Julie Day reads Kij Johnson’s “The Empress Jingu Fishes” on the Small Beer podcast on the tavern with beer and food.

And check out’s Geek Mom interview with Kij. Kij is off to Oxford to give the JRR Tolkien lecture on fantastic fiction and to teach a workshop: lovely!

Ayize Jama-Everett’s The Liminal People was on the Identity Theory Holiday Reading List. Add it to all your comix-and-sf-reading lists!

I just interviewed Karen Lord, whose lovely new novel The Best of All Possible Worlds comes out from Del Rey next month, for BookPage. That should go up at the start of February.

In April it’s last chance to see Under the Poppy in Detroit. Do it!

The Village Voice gives Errantry a stormer of a review:
“With grand feeling and inventiveness, Hand writes of modern life edging just into the impossible. Her ragged modern characters, often lost or stoned or just unfixed in their lives, set out over moors or into hidden parks in search of realities less dispiriting than our own.”

Kelly’s “The Faery Handbag” is this week’s story on the Bookslinger app.

The first review has come in for the new ish of LCRWHere’s Sam Tomaino at SF Revu on LCRW 28:
Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet is the kind of magazine that you want to read slowly. Read a story. Put the magazine down. Absorb what you have just read. Then, after a while, read another story. Repeat. After more than a year’s absence here is issue #28 with more of their very different stories.”

Scottish Television loves Alasdair Gray almost as much as we do. He’s doing another piece of public art in Glasgow—can’t wait to go over next summer and see it all—this time at the Western Baths Club. (Ok, so I may not be able to go see this one). Here’s the video of the unveiling of his previous mural in the Glasgow subway. It’s based on the art from Old Men in Love.

That’s it, out of time.

Redemption in Indigo wins the Parallax Award

Mon 6 Aug 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Redemption in Indigo cover - click to view full sizeGreat news this weekend (1): Karen Lord’s Redemption in Indigo has received the Carl Brandon Parallax Award!

Here’s more about the award (lifted from their website):

the Carl Brandon Parallax Award is given to works of speculative fiction created by a self-identified person of color. The award includes a $1000 cash prize. Nnedi Okorafor received the Carl Brandon Kindred Award for her novel Who Fears Death and the honors list comprised:  N.K. Jemisin,  The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Anil Menon,  The Beast with Nine Billion Feet, Charles Yu “Standard Loneliness Package.” The 2010 Carl Brandon Awards will be presented at Worldcon in Chicago, August 30 – September 12, 2012. The jury statements and full nominations list will be published at that time.

In other news about Karen, Redemption in Indigo is on the Not the Booker looonglist. She also has a lovely cover for the UK edition of her forthcoming book The Best of All Possible Worlds—it comes out next February and is great—AND, as if that is not enough, she (lifting from her blog) . . .

and Karen Burnham (NASA engineer by day, SF reviewer and podcaster by night) approached me to ask if I would be interested in doing a podcast with her, the ‘yes’ couldn’t fly out of my mouth fast enough. We have a lot in common, including a first name, a degree (BSc Physics) and a hobby (martial arts/fencing). I was eager to tackle my to-read list and take some recommendations and, more importantly, do so in a meaningful way that would expand my appreciation of the craft of writing and the literary and scientific merits of speculative fiction. And so the podcast SF Crossing the Gulf came to be.

You can find it here, kindly hosted by SF Signal, and it will also be available via RSS feed and iTunes.

Edinburgh book fest & more

Tue 9 Aug 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Stories of Your Life and Others cover - click to view full sizeTime for some updates before we shut down for the August recess. First a few quick reviews:

  1. Gary K. Wolfe in Locus on Geoff Ryman’s Paradise Tales: “In the best of Ryman’s fiction, the world unfolds in ways that are at once astonishing and thoroughly thought out, both radically disorienting and emotionally powerful.”
  2. Ted Gioia on Ted Chiang. (It’s a TedFest!) “The divide between genre fiction and literary fiction is, blurry at best . . . “
  3. Catch-up: Matt Kressel interviews Richard Butner for the Shirley Jackson Award site.
  4. Very sad to read about William Sleator’s death. Many years ago Kelly gave me a copy of his autobiographical collection Oddballs (it’s still one of the books she loves to give people), a hilarious book that only gets more fascinating as I see if from two sides, the child POV and the parental. I haven’t read much of his fiction, but

Ok, so the last two weren’t reviews, but go on, open up some tabs and read them.

Next: a reading! Vincent McCaffrey will read from A Slepyng Hound to Wake at the Brookline Booksmith at 7 PM on Thursday August 25th. We love Vince and we love the Booksmith (and their reading series, they have Lev Grossman there this week) so we are very sad we won’t be there. Slepying Hound is shipping out very nicely. If you want a signed copy, the Booksmith, Poison Pen, or Avenue Victor Hugo are your choices. (On AVH’s site on you can see what else Vincent has published . . . )

august coverNext: Locus! The August issue has:

  • an interview with Karen Lord—who can be heard on the Locus roundtable podcast here.
  • a review of Geoff Ryman’s collection (ok, that one’s linked above, but I liked having all this stuff together)
  • a review by Rich Horton of The Monkey’s Wedding and Other Stories
  • and includes Lydia Millet’s The Fires Beneath the Sea in the Notable Books
  • and at some point soon, Locus will become available on Weightless

Next: travel! Next week Kelly will be at the Edinburgh Book Festival—apparently their website is down due to a lightning strike on their servers in Ireland!—where she and Audrey Niffenegger will have a lively chat at 8:30 PM on Tuesday, August 16th, and then Kelly will be part of what sounds like a great shindig of a night from 9 PM onward on Thursday the 18th. And since they are very sensibly headquartered in Edinburgh, we also get to go visit Kelly’s UK publisher for Pretty Monsters, Canongate!

Last! Clarion West. Kelly and I are excited to be among next year’s instructor’s at Seattle’s Clarion West:

We are very happy to announce that our instructors for the 2012 Clarion West Writers Workshop are Mary Rosenblum, Hiromi Goto, George R.R. Martin, Connie Willis, Kelly Link and Gavin Grant, and Chuck Palahniuk, the 2012 Susan C. Petrey Fellow.

Although with that line-up, we might just see if we can sit in from week one . . .

Bye! We’re also off to visit family in Scotland, so will be offline for most of this month. We’ll be back—and starting to do events for Steampunk!—at the start of September.

Redemption in Indigo wins the Mythopoeic Awards!

Mon 18 Jul 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Redemption in Indigo coverCongratulations to Karen Lord, who, along with Megan Whelan Turner(!), Michael Ward, and Caroline Sumpter, are this year’s winners of the Mythopoeic Awards!

Wandering around the Mythopoeic Society site, I couldn’t resist looking at their complete list of award winners, which would make a pretty fine reading list for the past forty years of fantasy.

Congratulations again to Karen and thanks to the jury and the Mythopoeic Society for the work they do—and for such cheery news this morning!

Not all media is mediocre

Fri 17 Jun 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

We recently watched the last episode of the British TV series Downtown Abbey which was a hit earlier this year. It was a fun soap, but the last episode was such a big soft pudding that my strong recc. (for those with the stomach to watch Edwardian-era upper class goings-on) drops to: Meh, maybe, but go walk the dog instead of watching the last episode. Blech. Wikipedia says there’s another season being made. Wonder if it too will be full of people holding themselves stiffly away from one another, doing the right thing, and jolly well getting what they deserved. Especially as this season ended with the Great War being declared. Hmm.

On the other end of the spectrum I was searching on YouTube for sign language videos (I am learning a tiny bit of sign language, but sooo slowly!) and found this Pearl Jam concert video of “Given to Fly” filmed in St. Louis in 2000, where, apparently to Eddie Vedder’s surprise, there was a sign language interpreter signing the songs. I am a casual fan of theirs (never seen them live) and can’t really say if this is a good rendition of the song (musically or ASL-ly) but every time I watch it I’m moved to tears. Silly me. Even Vedder’s silly dancing with her at the end isn’t enough to break it. Whoever set that up, I love the idea. Anyone who ever wants to sign any reading or panel of ours: you’re on. Video pasted in below.

Redemption in Indigo

Guess what showed up at the office? (Not me, sorry!) The absolutely new and shiny Recorded Books audiobook edition of Karen Lord’s Redemption in Indigo. Heartily recommended!

You can hear Karen herself here: Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe have a nice thing going with their weekly podcast. A couple of weeks ago they talked with Karen Lord and even though Skype dropped the call a few times it was still lovely to hear them talking about Redemption in Indigo and much more.

3 Karens

Tue 17 May 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

What a morning we’re having. But along with the other stuff, here’s the great news:

  1. Karen Lord’s debut novel Redemption in Indigo is a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award. That’s a really strong list of books—both the adult and children’s—lit lists making it a real honor to be nominated.
  2. Karen Joy Fowler’s What I Didn’t See and Other Stories gets a lovely review on Strange Horizons and both the book and the original story, “Booth’s Ghost” are finalists for the Locus Award. That book is piling up the awards!
  3. The third Karen moment today is that fabby Karen Russell who recommends Kelly’s Stranger Things Happen on NPR. Wow! There’s a link to

ETA: Want to go see Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield . . . sign a book? That’s what he’ll be doing at [some future day at] one of our beloved indie bookshops, the Brookline Booksmith. [Event postponed because the guy has to go pitch!] The guy is a great player (or so I’m told, still not really up on the whole baseball thing, give me time) but he’s also a great guy: at Franciscan Hospital for Children there’s a lovely all-weather playing field behind the main building called the Wakefield because guess who funded it? That makes him awesome.

And: we got emailed asking whether we’d publish a book by an author we love. Wow. Fingers crossed.

Redemption nominated for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

Wed 2 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We are immensely honored to share the news that Karen Lord’s debut novel Redemption in Indigo has been longlisted for a major new award for books by Caribbean writers, the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

The OCM Bocas Prize will be awarded for the first time in April 2011. The prize includes an award of US$10,000, sponsored by One Caribbean Media.

The Longlist:

Elegguas, by Kamau Brathwaite (Barbados) — Wesleyan
A Light Song of Light, by Kei Miller (Jamaica) — Carcanet
White Egrets, by Derek Walcott (St. Lucia) — Faber

The Loneliness of Angels, by Myriam Chancy (Haiti/USA) — Peepal Tree
Redemption in Indigo, by Karen Lord (Barbados) — Small Beer Press
The Amazing Absorbing Boy, by Rabindranath Maharaj (Trinidad and Tobago/Canada) — Knopf Canada
How to Escape a Leper Colony, by Tiphanie Yanique (US Virgin Islands) — Graywolf

Beauty and Sadness, by Andre Alexis (Trinidad and Tobago/Canada) — House of Anansi
Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, by Edwidge Danticat (Haiti/USA) — Princeton
The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief, by V.S. Naipaul (Trinidad and Tobago/UK) — Picador

The winners in the three genre categories will be announced on 28 March, and the Prize will be presented on 30 April, during the first annual Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain. More information on the longlisted books is here.

Library of a global nomad by Karen Lord

Wed 26 Jan 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Library of a global nomad by Karen Lord

I inherited a love of travel from my father and a love of books from my mother, and it has been a challenge trying to balance the two. Books accumulate, and when they accumulate while I am away from home, I have a problem. They are heavy, shipping is costly, and you can only fit so many books into a suitcase before it becomes a health and safety issue for both you and the luggage handlers.

I tried to save the best, of course. Each time I went home I’d leave a few behind, even if that meant I wouldn’t see them for a year. I bought second hand books, reasoning that it would be less painful to give those up, but that ploy failed when I became emotionally attached to the familiar old covers of earlier editions. Some of the best could not be saved; textbooks trump fiction when choosing which doorstopper to transport. And some, best or not, I still gave away when I got home . . . say book three to a friend who had books one, two and four of a series (those were the days before the broad choice of online bookstores).

I dreamed of ebooks. I discovered Project Gutenberg, read texts on my Tungsten and imagined the day when I would be able to hold entire libraries of leisure reading, textbooks and research papers on a light, sturdy, paperback-sized screen. Of course I prefer ‘the real thing’. I have my page-flipping search technique down to a fine art and shun the common bookmark (real or virtual). Furthermore, I am a vigorous reader. I do not sit posed and polite with the book held gently open to preserve the spine from breaking. I roll on the floor with books. I eat with a book in one hand. I take books to places with water, sand and grit, places inimical to the delicate structures of electronic devices. But I will never be rich enough to afford to travel with a proper collection of deadtree books.

Things are improving—e-readers, formats and availability of titles—but my dream has adjusted slightly. I want both. I want a publisher to give me, the reader, a reasonable print and e-book package, the real and the virtual together. Imagine the possibilities! I could buy a e-book to read while in London and have the print version sent home for my library in Barbados. I could arrange for the book to be shipped to a friend, or to an after-school reading club. In fact, why don’t publishers adopt some literary charitable concern or outreach programme and encourage me to buy a package with the option to donate the print or audiobook portion towards the indoctrination of a new generation of literati?

I don’t know how this post went from book nostalgia to world domination, but there it is. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to research e-readers and bookcase design and create a plan of action and a timeline for making my dream come true.

Previous posts:

Fictional Geography
Ghost in the Machine

Sekrit news

Mon 24 Jan 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

I am dancing about in an annoyingly childish way singing about the sekrits I am sekritly keeping. Mostly from myself (Irrational self to rational self: “I know your bank balance, I know your bank balance, ha ha ha! ha ha!“) but also from you! Aren’t I mean!

I am actually dancing around because it is cooooold in Boston: 11 degrees F (which = Damn Cold in celsius) right now and the automatic heat in our apartment thinks it is summer so it is on low. Ha ha. So how can I have any faith in artificial intelligence when I can’t trust the stupid heater to work when it is cold?

Later this week when it is warmer Karen Lord (“I dreamed of ebooks. . . .”) and Karen Joy Fowler  (“I’ve been losing faith in activism . . .” !) will be back blogging and in the meantime Karen F’s collection has been making some pixels happy:

Karen talked with Rick Kleffel about Ursula K. Le Guin on the Agony Column podcast. (The tables get turned on Rick and he gets interviewed here.)

What I Didn’t See and Other Stories was included on a couple of great lists: the Story Prize‘s Long List of Notable Books and Gwenda Bond‘s Top Ten for 2010 (“every story shines like a rare gem”) on Locus—so that’s two great reading lists, yay!

and it was reviewed on newish site, Chamber Four:

For some authors, a short story collections is like a science lab. The stories in this collection, published over a span of nearly two decades, show Fowler experimenting with many different styles and forms distinct from her novels. But no matter the genre or subject, the author retains what makes her full-length books so successful: an attention to detail,an ear for language, and compassion for her characters. For those who have found Fowler through her novels, these stories offer a chance to encounter an imaginative storyteller as she moves from subject to subject.

And Con or Bust is running its auction where you can become a god! There will be some Small Beer goodies appearing there, too. Excellent prezzies are are available now!

Ghost in the Machine by Karen Lord

Wed 19 Jan 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Ghost in the Machine by Karen Lord

I suffered (and I do not use the word lightly) two serious computer crashes in the weeks before Christmas. The first one was vexing, but ultimately I was complacent about my files due to my habit of backing up data at various levels and to various degrees in about five different places. The second crash, which killed my main and largest backup drive, destroyed my complacency at last.

On my first visit to the repair shop, I met a fellow customer who turned out to be a thinker. He saw me on a borrowed computer restoring my iPod, which had also suffered during the First Crash. I explained to him that although the process would restore an iPod, it would not restore my iPod, my Caritas, with my particular blend of apps, music, vids, books and settings. However, I was not worried because somewhere in the heart of my backup was the real Caritas in potentia, waiting to be called back into being.

That reads more seriously than how I said it. At the time I was giddy with the gallows-humour of the seriously-inconvenienced, and I spoke with mock-pedantry using words like aether, virtuality and potentialityRead more

Some things to look forward to

Mon 17 Jan 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We got some lovely news about Poppy Brite’s Second Line: it was selected for the ALA’s Over the Rainbow committee’s inaugural list of LGBTIQ books for adults—along with Sandra McDonald, a Batwoman comic, James Magruder’s Sugarless, Queering the Text, Locas II (still haven’t got this, want!), and titles from the good folks at Midsummer Night’s Press, Chizine, Blind Eye Books. Overall the committee selected 108 titles, which should make for a good reading list (hope my local library adds them all!), and if you want even more reading, here are all the nominated titles.

After the Rain: After the Floods limited ebook editionOn Weightless we just added After the Rain: After the Floods edited by Tehani Wessely, which is a fundraiser for the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal—100% of the proceeds go to the Flood Appeal. Queensland has been hit brutally hard and this is a great way to pitch in. Buy one for everyone you know! Anything you can do to help spread the word would be appreciated.

This week we have some of our writers back after the holidays and posting again—the good news is that some will continue throughout winter into spring. Enjoy!

Karen Joy Fowler is back walking the dog after:

Christmas came to town much like the circus, complete with parties, guests, dreadful influenzas, and deadlines. It was either the circus or else the four horseman of the apocalypse. Those are hard to tell apart.

Karen Lord on machines, ghosts, dependence, and what a writer needs:

I suffered (and I do not use the word lightly) two serious computer crashes in the weeks before Christmas. The first one was vexing, but ultimately I was complacent about my files due to my habit of backing up data at various levels and to various degrees in about five different places. The second crash, which killed my main and largest backup drive, destroyed my complacency at last.

Vincent McCaffrey reveals the secret of why writers write:

Having ‘something to say’ is just as silly a reason to write. Why should anyone care what you have to say? Are you rich? Are you famous? Are you wise? No. Well then. Case closed.

I have frequently encountered the ruse ‘I hate to write. I don’t know why I do it.’ Or some such unlikely statement. This is the equivalent of what Br’er Rabbit told Br’er Fox. “Please don’t throw me in that briar patch.”

And Edward Gauvin introduces two more writers from the Belgian school of the strange:

1) There once was a lawyer named Gérald Bertot, who worked all his life in the management of the same flour-milling factory. He held a doctorate in criminology, and a side career in art criticism under the pseudonym Stéphane Rey. Spared service in World War II, he turned to writing mysteries for money, with the encouragement of Stanislas-André Steeman, a celebrated craftsman of Belgian noir. In Tonight at Eight (1941), he introduced the police commissioner Thomas Owen—a character whose name he liked so much he later took it as his own when he embarked on what he has called his true calling, his career as a fantasist.

2) No survey of Belgian fiction can fail to mention Jean Ray, born Raymundus Joannes Maria de Kremer—but where to begin? . . . Ray had a particular fondness for nautical skullduggery, and actively encouraged the proliferation of rumors surrounding his person and past

Waiting around for Borders to live, &c.

Thu 13 Jan 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Borders StoresBorders have about 3,500 copies of our books in stock. Hmm. Selfish wonderings: if they go under, will we get those books back? Will we get paid for the lovely numbers of Under the Poppy, Stories of Your Life, The Poison Eaters, and some backlist books such as Poppy Brite’s Second Line, they’ve been selling? I really hope they don’t close. I can’t imagine all those booksellers and so on being chucked out of work right now. Yes, ebooks are the future, but we need all kinds of bricks and mortar (or mall and strip mall) in the meantime to remind people that there are books out there to be read, not just shoes and gadgets and food court lunches.

So, we, along with all the other publishers who have shipped books to them, await the outcome of today’s meetings with baited breath!

Besides wondering about that we’ve been enjoying the lovely busyness of Weightless and adding new titles for the next season—Fall 2011! I’ve hardly wrapped my head around last year never mind this spring or summer—we have tons of new books to publish before Fall comes rolling around. But that’s the book biz, so we’re adding away. What are we adding? Some of the books are Super Sekrit (as in: we have no contracts yet) but others . . . ok, this isn’t the place for that.

But I did sign two contracts today: the first was a contract for Turkish rights for Couch. It will no doubt be an age until the book comes in, so something to look forward to. And the second was for the audio rights to Redemption in Indigo. Although that contract still needs to come back to me countersigned, so maybe those chickens should not yet be counted.

And we heard from the printer that the second printing of Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others will ship at the end of the month—go Ted! It’s such a fabulous book and we are so happy to see it being picked up by a whole new generation of readers.

We haven’t managed to send Paradise Tales to the printer yet so it looks very doubtful that that will be out on time. Boo! Is it our most complicated book yet? (That anthology we’re doing later this year might give it a run for its money.) Geoff did let slip that he’s just finished a new novel. Not sure if we’ll get a peek at or not. Of course we want!

The latest LCRW (#26) received a couple of nice reviews recently on  SF Revu & Rise Reviews, although, come on, since when was LCRW (or Small Beer) noncommercial?

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet is certainly a horse of a different color. I can’t think of where else I’d be able to read and assembly of stories so diverse. Though some were not to my particular taste, I applaud the editors for their fearless inclusion of some pieces that would otherwise not see the light of day simply due to their noncommercial nature. Any fan of speculative fiction, or simply good writing, will find something to like in LCRW.

Reviews of our new edition of Solitaire are popping up everywhere including Future Fire which has reminders that this is SF, not contemporary literature, “Questions concerning sexual equality and sexuality are not discussed and this invisibility is genuinely innovative and refreshing.” Can’t wait for the day when sexual equality and sexuality not being discussed is run of the mill rather than innovative.

What else? The Working Writer’s Daily Planner is our bestseller so far this year—that should last until the end of the month. It’s now $7.95.

And Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker won the Printz Award. Wow. That guy is unstoppable! And now’s a good time to pimp last year’s most excellent winner, Going Bovine.

BTW, we’re giving away copies of Solitaire on both Library Thing and Goodreads. Of course, you or your friend may neeeed a copy for yourself, too.

Crossroads by Karen Lord

Tue 14 Dec 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Crossroads by Karen Lord

I’m not fond of the word exotic. I find it mindbending when people use it to describe things that are familiar to me. Snow, long nights in winter, oak trees and strawberries—those are the things I find exotic. Mangoes, mahogany and sunny days are normal. Having said that, let me assure you that any traveller, in space or mind, needs to be able to have more than one ‘home’ setting. I do, in fact, have a mode for which strawberry tarts and real ale are the norm, and another which is fine with black coffee and honey crullers. Read more

A week of upcoming fun

Mon 13 Dec 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Holly Black’s giving away copies of The Poison Eaters every day this week.

Aaaaand, we have lovely new posts coming from these fine folks:

Karen Lord:

The word exotic is merely a way to measure the distance from home to the unknown, and it is my opinion that such a word has no place in the lexicon of the speculative fiction writer

Vincent McCaffrey:

I paid special attention to ‘trashy’ novels.

Kathe Koja:

Some of the keenest pleasures in fiction come from meeting the characters who seem to be moving sideways between the world constructed for them on the page by the writer and the more lasting, more ephemeral world of the readers’ continued imagination.

and Karen Joy Fowler:

This same wild world used to be a source of great comfort to me in times of need. I thought it was eternal, that my place in it (and therefore my troubles) was small and inconsequential. Now I walk along the ocean and I know that I’m looking at a system in peril.

and, at least for this week we have craaaazy sale prices! Git your prezzies here!

Fictional Geography by Karen Lord

Tue 7 Dec 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 8 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Fictional Geography by Karen Lord

When I hear that term worldbuilding, I can’t help but think of Tolkien the academic. He provided the template for fantasy worldbuilding: maps, languages, eras-worth of politics and history, genealogies, unique flora and fauna, and peoples with all manner of costumes and customs. Science fiction has its academics too—Asimov, Benford, et al—tweaking stories out of real or slightly adapted quirks of physics, astronomy, chemistry and biology. Speculative fiction is the geek paradise—the place to be as a reader if non-fiction thrills you as much as fiction, if you need but the slightest excuse to research dead languages, distant cultures, far-off planets, whispers of future technology, and legends ancient and urban.

(Nothing nearby, nothing too well-known and contemporary, please. It’s interesting enough when a mystery is set in modern-day Paris, but what really catches the attention is the ‘what-if’ of an alternate Paris with its underground passageways and catacombs populated by the not-quite-human; or New Paris on Earth’s second successful extrasolar colony, with the megasized, grav-boosted replica of the Eiffel Tower.) Read more

Endings by Karen Lord

Tue 30 Nov 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 8 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Endings by Karen Lord

I was at a teahouse last Tuesday, chatting with a fellow Bajan author and feeling very literary and cultured (which doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, especially the tea). We were debating the age-old question of literary versus genre or, more accurately, the perception of what may be defined as literary or genre. This post is not about that debate. It’s about an interesting tangent that came about as we discovered a mutual dislike for a particular staple of science fiction and fantasy—the multivolume opus.

I’m not talking about the trilogy. The five volume epic also gets a pass from me. I’m not at all disapproving of completed novels in a linked arc of however many books the author can produce and the readers may desire. I mean those books, those doorstopper-thick books, those finely detailed, intricately plotted and often even well-written books that take you through 1027 pages and leave you hanging for next year’s sequel … again and again over the course of several years.

I’m sorry. I can’t risk it. I’m no longer a teenager gifted with long, slow summer vacations and delusions of immortality. I will wait till you have finished the story before I pick up even the first volume.

This goes double for television. I’m not hanging around week after week, hoping for some tiny bit of story resolution. We both know how it’s going to end: one thread tied off neatly, two formerly completed threads frayed, and an entire new seam unravelled to make sure I have to tune in next week. But I might be busy next week, and the weeks after that. That means I’ll have to catch up on five more episodes before I can begin to understand what’s happening in the newest episode—at which stage I will drop the show entirely and make vague promises to buy the DVD (or, which is more likely the case, take the instant gratification of a quick summary and some viewer reactions from a wiki or forum).

I know it’s my own peculiar quirk and it certainly needn’t be anyone else’s. I would not judge any writer’s creative choices, and I’m not sneering at the reader or viewer who likes that kind of approach. I too once looked forward to each new instalment in a long, slow, twisty tale with anticipation and delight. Now I’m finding solace in movies without sequels, stand-alone novels, short stories and miniseries, which distil experience to such brevity and intensity that what takes hours or minutes to read or view will take days and months to ponder and discuss. I’ve exchanged the thrill of a possible future for the bittersweet joy of farewell to worlds and characters I will never see again save in memory and retelling.


Thu 4 Nov 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Best Books of 2010gets a jump on everyone else and says Redemption in Indigo is one of the:

Best Books of 2010

Top 10 Books: Science Fiction & Fantasy


Redemption in Indigo cover - click to view full sizeNice to see Brian Conn’s The Fixed Stars on there, too. And it’s fun to compare the 2010 bestseller list (wonder if that will change over the next 2 months?) with the editors’ picks. No crossover but I love that Machine of Death made it on there. This is the one time of year we put up Amazon links and any purchases you make through these links will benefit the Endicott Studio.

Of course we have our own Holiday Best Books List. Cough.

Last Week; This.

Mon 6 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Last week: found a postcard on the street for a band called A Sunny Day in Glasgow. Well that can be some rare thing so had to check them out. They have a fun—weather inappropriate—video filmed in New Orleans.

This week: prep for Sunday which is the Brooklyn Book Festival—come on by and say hi!

We could take a week in reviews like last week any time. Just in case you were worried and thought you should call your friends at Good Morning America and maybe Terri Gross or Jon Stewart and say, “Hey, you know, I think Small Beer needs a bit of down time. Why don’t you cover the Boring Blockbuster of the Week this week instead?” because, really, we don’t need you to do that. We love it! Bring it on!

Julia Holmes’s Meeks got a total dream review in the New York Times Book Review and then was an Editor’s Choice this week. Swoony! Also, Julia was interviewed on Portland’s Reading Local and picked 5 Recent Reads for Impose Magazine.

Then this week A Life on Paper and Redemption in Indigo were in Jeff VanderMeer’s Science Fiction Chronicle (hope this becomes a regular feature)—see more below.

With that review and us bringing some stock back to the office for the Book Festival both of our debut novels, Meeks and Redemption in Indigo, have shipped out their first printing—Whoop de do! (Ok, so go on: order the Alasdair Gray!)

A Life on Paper got a handful of great reviews this week—we’re hoping to publish more of Edward Gauvin’s excellent translations of Châteaureynaud. All these people agree:

“The celebrated Châteaureynaud, who over the course of a distinguished career has created short tales that are not exactly contes cruels but which linger on the edge of darkness and absurdity.”
New York Times

“Châteaureynaud is a master craftsman, encapsulating weighty themes with pith and heart. In his hands, the short story is a Gothic cathedral whittled from a wine cork.”
The Believer

“Châteaureynaud celebrates the quiet, hidden beauties of the world and the objects or knowledge we hold tight like talismans to protect us from its losses and horrors.”
The Quarterly Conversation

You can get a great taste of Karen Lord’s Redemption in Indigo from her set of readings taped on launch night. From the pictures and so on it looks like a fun night and the readers were great. I had them on in the background and enjoyed their take on the book.

“A clever, exuberant mix of Caribbean and Senegalese influences that balances riotously funny set pieces (many involving talking insects) with serious drama initiated by meddlesome supernatural beings.”
New York Times

That’s it for now. Back at some point with more on the Brooklyn Book Fest, a Steampunk! update, some reprint news from Kelly, and so on und so weiter.

West Coast Holmes

Fri 20 Aug 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

If you’re in Portland (Monday, 8/23) or Seattle (Wed. 8/25) next week don’t miss the Meeks roadshow. Then, on Thursday the 26th Julia will be reading with our own Jedediah Berry at the Porter Square Bookshop in Cambridge (that place next to Cambridge, not that place in England). Fingers crossed I’ll see you at the Boston(ish) one!

Next month Julia will be reading with Karen Lord who is visiting from Barbados and will be at McNally Jackson and Greenlight Books as well as the Brookyln Book Festival—where she’s reading with N.K. Jemisin. October and November are busy with readings, too: check it out.

Yesterday, we shipped!

Thu 1 Jul 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We have good news: we have copies of Redemption in Indigo and Meeks! Which means that soon enough your local bookstore (and maybe some other retail outlets) will have them, too. Pre-orders (for which: thanks!—and more TK soon about that for Kathe Koja’s book…!) and more review copies have been shipped from the office. Consortium ship out books to stores, soooon. Of course, you can see both authors in New York (and other places!) over the next couple of months. Keep an eye out here (ouch) or see the handy dandy events thingy.

And, also, Ladies and Gents! All this week! Karen Lord has been blogging at one of the biggest bookshops in the universe: Powell’s Books in Portland, OR. Listening to stories. Making a book trailer. Cake! And today: Authenticity.

Ok, another tab to be opened: Edward Gauvin is at Kepler’s Books’s Well-Read Donkey this week writing about talking to himself and then getting to talk to everyone else about G.-O.C. now that A Life on Paper has been published and ways of reading Châteaureynaud.

Lastly, Kathe Koja on writing what you have to at Ramblings of a Tattooed Head.

Next: tea time and wondering if the tea lady will have any of those nice gingery biscuits left by the time she reaches this part of the office.

Redemption in Video!

Wed 23 Jun 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Tom Canty art, signed books by Kelly, more more more

Thu 20 May 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Here is a tiny note to ignore. In fact, skip this para and go right to the next one. If you do read this, please don’t go bid against us for the Thomas Canty-illustrated copy of Water Logic—which is part of the auction to raise money for Laurie J. Marks’s wife, Deb Mensinger’s liver transplant.

Ok, so you skipped that paragraph. Thank you! But before you read on to find out what exciting things are happening here (alchemy! we turn art into commerce!) how about bidding on this copy of Water Logic customized with an original drawing by Thomas Canty ? Yay!


And, they just posted this offer: all of Kelly’s collections either signed or personalized to you. You know we’re not going anywhere for a while so if you’d like a signed copy, this is your best chance for, what, a year at least?

Today’s featured (starred!) review on Booklist is Karen Lord’s Redemption in Indigo! That cover is not the actual cover, everyone will be relieved to know. The final cover is almost done, the interior is done (sorry, not being printed in indigo ink), so off to the printer it will go. This is the first novel you’re going to love and you will be so happy to be one of the readers who can say I was there when . . .

New Zealanders—this one is for you! “Next week (May 24 – 28) ‘Good Morning‘ book reviewer Laura Kroetsch is looking at Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link (Text, 9781921656361)” + 2 other books! (Thanks Renee!)

Edward Gauvin is fighting a valiant battle against those who think Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud is a Kurt Vonnegut literary game.

The strenuousness of these assertions–mine and publisher Small Beer’s–should not, I repeat, decidedly not be construed as protest, or evidence of insincerity. That is all.

In the meantime, A Life on Paper has shipped from the printer and will be hitting stores in a week or two—reviews should then pile in. Who isn’t going to review a major French author’s first work in English? Here’s a story from the book, “The Excursion,” in (the fantastically named) Joyland.

Over there in October (since all time exists at all times if you look sideways from here you can see October) we’re in the middle of publishing Kathe Koja’s Under the Poppy—and part of the fun is the stage show which will debut next February (look a bit more to the side, there it is! Phew, sexy!). Kathe’s joined Kickstarter to raise some knicker money (so that the knickers can later be dropped? There’s a vaudeville joke in there somewhere) for the girls Under the Poppy, which is, natch, a Victorian brothel.

Inside baseball time: we just presented our autumn and winter titles to our sales reps and it was fun to see the reactions from the sales reps so yay for that. We’re lucky in that we have a team of sales reps (Consortium’s) who read a ton (some of them had already read some of these books from early ebook versions we’d sent ahead) and like the slightly weird stuff we give them.

Also: how many times a book is sold:

  1. By the author to the agent
  2. agent to editor
  3. editor to publisher and sales team and whoever else
  4. sales team to sales reps
    1. publicist to reviewers/editors
    2. reviewer to editor (or vice versa)
  5. sales reps to the booksellers (or to the bookstore chain buyers)
  6. bookseller to you

There are probably a few more steps in there!

Round up

Mon 26 Apr 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Catch-up post about recent happenings with our books.

1) April: Alasdair Gray! At last! Nope. Now a June book due to a printer error. Sigh. You can see an excerpt on Scribd.

2) May:  Edward Gauvin (translator of A Life on Paper) was recently blogging on translations, Belgium, and more at the 3% blog. (Surely 3.5% by now?)

4) June: 2 starred reviews so far for Karen Lord’s Redemption in Indigo!

5) July: good news coming soon on Julia Holmes’s debut novel Meeks.

Ok, bored with numbering now. The Interstitial Arts Foundation has a call for papers for a new interstitial-sounding anthology:

What is Interfictions Zero? Interfictions Zero is an online virtual anthology, comprised of a Table of Contents listing seminal pieces of published interstitial writings (with live links to those texts where possible) and original essays about the focus pieces listed in the TOC. With the online publication of Interfictions Zero, the Interstitial Arts Foundation will begin to create a historical context for how interstitial writing affects the growth and development of literature over time.

There’s also an interesting addition to the ongoing conversation about translations at the IAF blog.

Poets & Writers spotlights one of Chicago’s many wonderful bookstores: Women & Children First.

I Heart Rachel MaddowDo you like Rachel Maddow? Essentials in Northampton has the shirt for you—in white or pink and 10% of all proceeds will be donated to support the Capital Campaign for the Northampton Survival Center.

Apparently the folks at Essentials aren’t having quite enough fun there so there’s this site, too: My Parents Made Me Wear This.

The NY Center for Indie Publishing their 6th Annual New York Round Table Writers’ Conference, May 1 (er, tomorrow!), 9AM- 7PM, where you can meet various people in publishing—including Kelly’s fabby agent Renee Zuckerbrot. Tickets are Members – $69.00/Non-Members – $89.00/Student – $20.00:

Please e-mail [email protected] to reserve or confirm a spot today – we hope to see you all here on May 1st!

And that’s it for now. Maybe there’ll be more later. After all, what else is there to do on a spring afternoon but haunt the web and wait until the tick tick tick hits leaving time!

Earlier Entries in Karen Lord »