Next Tuesday is Half-Witch Tuesday

Fri 18 Oct 2019 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Half-Witch cover - click to view full sizeComing next Tuesday: the paperback edition of Half-Witch. I love having this on the table at book fairs and conventions. The title speaks to so many people who pick up the book and say something along the lines of “I’m a bit of a witch . . . ” Pick it or here, you know, from Book Moon!

2018 SBP x Locus

Mon 25 Feb 2019 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Locus February 2019 (#697) cover - click to view full sizeFollowing up on my earlier 2018 wrap-up, I’d meant to post something near the start of February about the 2018 Locus Recommended Reading List but so it goes. The whole issue is worth digging into if you like weird or sff&h or genre fiction at all as between these reviewers they’ve tried to see everything that came out last year. Not everything is included in their write up but many are and I’m proud to say that 4 of our books and 3 stories we published in collections and one in LCRW were included.

I’m going to start with a lovely quote from Gary K. Wolfe and then put some reviews for each title:

It’s worth noting that three of these collections (Singh, Otis, and Duncan) came from Small Beer Press, which has become a reliable source for innovative short fiction collections.
Gary K. Wolfe

2018 Locus Recommended Reading List

Andy Duncan · An Agent of Utopia
“An Agent of Utopia”, Andy Duncan (An Agent of Utopia)
“Joe Diabo’s Farewell”, Andy Duncan (An Agent of Utopia)

“Dying Light”, Maria Romasco Moore (Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet #37, 7/18)

Abbey Mei Otis · Alien Virus Love Disaster

John Schoffstall · Half-Witch

Vandana Singh · Ambiguity Machines & Other Stories
“Requiem”, Vandana Singh (Ambiguity Machines)

Readers can go and vote for their own favorites in the Locus Poll and Survey (deadline 4/15).


Vandana Singh · Ambiguity Machines & Other Stories

“A major short story collection.” — Jonathan Strahan

“An essential short fiction collection in a year that saw many good ones. Singh’s superb work has appeared in a wide range of venues, and it is good to have a representative selection in one place.” — Graham Sleight (Ten books of the year)

John Schoffstall · Half-Witch

“Other highly recommended titles are Half-Witch from John Schoffstall, a traditional fantasy except that the sun orbits the world and God takes part as a not-very-helpful character . . .” – Laurel Amberdine

“Though billed as YA, had plenty for all to chew on in its vision of a magic-inflected Europe and a protagonist with a direct (if interference-riddled) line to God.” — Graham Sleight (Ten books of the year)

P.S. We just sold audio rights to Tantor on this title so listen out for that later this year.

Claire G. Coleman · Terra Nullius

“Searing.” — Gary K. Wolfe

Abbey Mei Otis · Alien Virus Love Disaster

“Abbey Mei Otis publishes in literary journals as well as SF magazines, so many of the weird SF and fantasy-infused stories in Alien Virus Love Disaster will be new and delightful for our readers.” — Tim Pratt

Andy Duncan · An Agent of Utopia

“Andy Duncan – in what might well be the collection of the year – invoked everyone from Sir Thomas More to Zora Neal Hurston in An Agent of Utopia, which also brought together some of his most evocative tales about the hidden corners of Americana, from an afterlife for Delta blues singers to the travails of an aging UFO abductee.” — Gary K. Wolfe

“. . . a book that showcased why he is a treasure.” — Jonathan Strahan

“An essential introduction to one of the great tellers of fantastic tall tales.” — Graham Sleight (Ten books of the year)

“Andy Duncan’s charming and affable stories abound with hidden depths, and An Agent of Utopia is no different, with a dozen stories, including a pair of originals that are generating a lot of buzz.” — Tim Pratt

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet

“My very favorite story this year may have been another story from a veteran of both SF and Mystery: ‘Dayenu’, by James Sallis, from Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. It’s an exceedingly odd and unsettling story, beautifully written, about a veteran of a war and his rehab – from injuries? Or something else done to him? And then about a journey, and his former partners. . . . The story itself a journey somewhere never unexpected.” — Rich Horton

Pinsker, Samatar, Marks (x3), Brennan, Schoffstall, Crowley

Wed 16 Jan 2019 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

And Go Like This cover - click to view full sizeNot to bury the lede, but in November we are going to publish John Crowley’s new collection — his first for a long time — And Go Like This: Stories. The book will be published in hardcover and ebook and in a limited edition. We will contact Kickstarter backers from The Chemical Wedding first about the limited edition then make it generally available.

Ok, so 2019: yeah! One aside: it is amazing to see the news reporting on events they reported on before yet now with added shock and horror: the Russian asset AKA the US President had 5 meetings with his boss Vlad P. and no one knows what was said? Yup. That’s why we’ve been, are, and will continue to be upset with the GOP, Mitch McConnell (good argument for him being a fan of Vlad, too; see 2016-present), and those who keep going along to go along with the Idiot Baby-in-Chief. Hoping 2019 will see the Idiot, McConnell, et al, chucked out and maybe imprisoned. Goals!

Another aside: Hope to see you at the Women’s March this coming Saturday either in my hometown of Northampton (12 p.m., Sheldon Field) or wherever you can march.

In the meantime, in the interests of sanity, good reading, and getting tremendous art out into the world, we are going to publish more fab books!

Besides LCRW (subscribe?) and perhaps an omnibus ebook edition of Laurie J. Marks’s Elemental Logic novels and innumerable reprints and possibly one other reprint, here’s what we know we are publishing this year:

  • Jan. 22 — Laurie J. Marks, Fire Logic, Elemental Logic Book 1
    — available now, whoopee!
  • Feb. 19 — Laurie J. Marks, Earth Logic, Elemental Logic Book 2
    — about to ship from the printer!
  • Mar. 19 — Sarah Pinsker, Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea: Stories
    — at the printer!
  • Apr. 9 — Sofia Samatar, Tender: Stories, trade paperback
    — about to go to the printer!
  • Jun. 4 — Laurie J. Marks, Air Logic, Elemental Logic Book 4 . . . !
  • Sep. 3 —  Sarah Rees Brennan, In Other Lands, trade paperback
    — Sarah’s new novel Season of the Witch (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Book 1) comes out from Scholastic on July 9th. That will be fun!
  • Oct. 22 — John Schoffstall, Half-Witch, trade paperback — the sleeper book of the year!
  • Nov. — John Crowley, And Go Like This: Stories


Celebrating the NPR Best of 2018

Tue 27 Nov 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Half-WitchToday NPR posted their endlessly fascinating year-end book concierge and I am elated to find that two of our titles are included.

But first, have you tried it? There are 32 filters and I am going to try every one of them, but not right now, as I have to ship ship ship books from our recent sale — so yay and thanks to everyone who ordered and I hope you enjoy the books!

But, look: who doesn’t need a Rather Short book sometimes? And then winter is great for Rather Long books. There are 3 or 4 books in the Comics I want to read and I love that Shobha Roa’s excellent Girls Burn Brighter is the first title that pops up in the Eye-Opening Reads. I could go on (and point out faves such as Sofia and Del Samatar’s Monster Portraits) but, really, NPR have set you up here. Hope you enjoy playing with it as much as I do.

The two Small Beer novels that are included are:

John Schoffstall, Half-Witch

Terra Nullius: A NovelClaire G. Coleman, Terra Nullius

I posted two tweets after finding out these two books were on the list. They are quite understated because if I tried to encapsulate my joy in discovery I would have exploded the 280-character limit and perhaps my laptop, too.

While I tend to think the books we publish are some of the best I read each year, I never know how the world will take them. Some books land well, some don’t. Some find their readership over years, not months. It is at once a joy, a vindication, a relief, and an inspiration to see these books read and put forward — among hundreds of other great books — as some of the best of the year.

We will raise a glass tonight to these authors and to all the authors who send us or let us publish their books. Thanks again, Claire and John, hope you celebrate, too!

2018 by the Numbers

Mon 19 Nov 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Before this week disappears I wanted to post about the year in Small Beer. The year out in the world is very dark although I refuse to be pessimistic about the present and the future. I believe everyone rises together and that working with that in mind is the way to live. One of the ways I can deal with all the crap right wing antihumanists are throwing at us around the world — besides going to protests, calling politicians, tweeting in desperation, lying on the floor, donating to nonprofits, and listening to audiobooks instead of the news — is to keep making things. Some of those things go out into the world, some of them are breakfast, some of them are ephemeral toys me and my kid make. The biggest things I make, with Kelly and the work of many other people, come out from Small Beer Press.

Every year I want to look back and see that we’ve published stories I haven’t read before — seems like a good place to throw in a reminder that we’re always looking for work by women and writers of color; our submissions are always open and we still ask for paper subs because there are two of us and we want to read everything.

So, in 2018 we published 2 issues of our million-year-old zine — still the best zine named after Winston Churchill’s Cobble-Hill Brooklynite mother, Jennie Jerome — LCRW and 6 diverse and fascinating books. To break down the books a little:

7 starred reviews — feel free to grab the illo above and put it into the hands of Netflix, review editors, &c.
5 US debuts
3 novels, 3 short story collections
3 women, 3 men
1 translation
2 NPR Best Books of 2018
1 Washington Post Best of the Year
plus 4 reprints:
— Sarah Rees Brennan, In Other Lands, 3rd printing, June 2018
— Kij Johnson, At the Mouth of the River of Bees, 5th printing, June 2018
— Kelly Link, Stranger Things Happen, 9th printing, November 2018
— Naomi Mitchison, Travel Light, short run reprint, November 2018
Somewhat related: 1 MacArthur Fellowship (so we had a sale — sort of still going)

The books:

Ambiguity Machines & Other Stories by Vandana Singh
“Magnificent.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review), Top 10 SF, Fantasy & Horror Spring 2018
“hopeful, enriching” — Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal

The Invisible Valley: a novel by Su Wei, translated by Austin Woerner
“pleasantly picaresque” — Publishers Weekly
“complex, colorful characters” — Kirkus Reviews
“shocking and gritty” — Library Journal
“lushly atmospheric and haunting novel” — Booklist

Half-Witch: a novel by John Schoffstall
NPR Best Books of 2018
“Genuinely thrilling.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“a marvel of storytelling” — Amal El-Mohtar, New York Times Book Review

Alien Virus Love Disaster: Stories by Abbey Mei Otis
“A breathtaking reading experience.” — Booklist (starred review)
“An exciting voice. . . . dreamy but with an intense physicality.” — Washington Post “5 best science fiction and fantasy novels of 2018”

Terra Nullius: a novel by Claire G. Coleman
NPR Best Books of 2018
Stella Prize finalist
“Imaginative, astounding.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Highly recommended.” — Library Journal (starred review)

An Agent of Utopia: New & Selected Stories by Andy Duncan
“Zany and kaleidoscopic.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Evocative, playful, and deeply accomplished.” — Booklist (starred review)

The zine

fiction: 9 women, 3 men
nonfiction: 1 woman
poetry: 3 women, 2 men
2 first publications

So far next year, besides helping with the ongoing progressive revolution, we’re planning on making many Small Beer things including 2 (or maybe 3) issues of LCRW and at least 3 books:

1 debut
1 novel, 2 short story collections
2 women, 1 man
4 Reprints
— Laurie J. Marks, Fire Logic, January 2019
— Laurie J. Marks, Earth Logic, February 2019
— Sofia Samatar, Tender: Stories, trade paperback, April 2019
— Sarah Rees Brennan, an, In Other Lands, trade paperback, September 2019

And one or both of us are planning to be at Boskone (Boston, February), AWP (Portland, OR, March), WisCon (Madison, WI, May), Readercon (Boston, July), Brooklyn Book Festival (September), & maybe more, who can say?

We published a lot of things to read this year and we know at least 2 people (us!) loved them. Hope you get a chance to read and enjoy them, too.

Startlingly Original and Deeply Familiar

Mon 8 Oct 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

I slept through most of Saturday due to having a cold, yay! Would I have slept the day away if it wasn’t the weekend, who knows? I could be a good bot and go to work and ship stuff out and infect everyone. But the question was moot, so sleep it was. Phew.

Sunday brought a relief from the cold and — ignoring for a moment the stupidity of the fools in charge — something good to read: the New York Times, which included a fantastic review by Amal El-Mohtar of John Schoffstall’s debut novel Half-Witch. Although if I’m honest, as per usual I read the business section first (I recommend the interview with Eileen Fisher) and the review section — where you owe it to yourself and this world to read Emma Gonzalez’s advice.

Later I found the review of John’s novel and took this photo with flowers that had been sent to Kelly in the background:

Half-Witch cover“John Schoffstall’s Half-Witch is one of those books that are simultaneously so startlingly original and deeply familiar I can’t quite believe they’re debuts. . . . Half-Witch is a marvel of storytelling, balancing humor, terror and grace. Lizbet is so earnestly good, in a way that I think has fallen out of fashion but that I loved reading. She and Strix are a perfect double act, and the shape and texture of the friendship they build is a joy to discover. . . . This is a book of crossing and mixing, of mashing and counter-mashing, with surprise and wonder the result. The ending suggests a sequel, which I hope comes about; the book’s last act is full of revelations (as it were) about the especially strange nature of Lizbet’s world that I’m keen to see Schoffstall develop and explore. But Half-Witch is also fully satisfying in and of itself.”
— Amal El-Mohtar, New York Times Book Review

Up to Saving God?

Thu 2 Aug 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Half-Witch coverHalf-Witch by John Schoffstall, our latest title from Big Mouth House receives a lovely review by Colleen Mondor in the new issue if Locus.

There is something deeply satisfying about a traditional fantasy with plucky protagonists, nefarious villains, hungry goblins, tricky witches, and a dangerous and difficult quest. In John Schofstall’s Half-Witch, everything you expect to find is present, plus a lot of unlikely twists and turns that make this adventure a classic read. . . . As they continue their quest, Lisbet and Strix become the very definition of plucky, and it is hard not cheer them on. They are charming characters who overcome all sorts of fantastical obstacles and forge a powerful friendship.”

There’s more, including the note about saving God but you’ll have to get Locus to read that. In the meantime, pick up a copy of Half-Witch while you can still get a first edition hardcover . . . !

Readercon 2018

Thu 5 Jul 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

ReaderconWe will be at Readercon in Quincy, MA, next weekend and hope to see you there. While neither Kelly nor I are on panels, we will have a couple of tables in the Dealers Room — nope, not at this time ready for that but by July 13th I expect I will be! — and many, many good people will be there. One of those people will be John Schoffstall, whose first novel, Half-Witch, comes out next week so we will find some way to celebrate that!

Out there in summerland

Wed 28 Feb 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

People will be reading John Schoffstall’s Half-Witch. One bookseller, Christina at Ravenna Third Place in Seattle, got a jump on summer (see Edelweiss if this sounds like it could be you) and sent us this, heh.

Is there some kind of list available where I can sign up to join Lizbet and Strix’s witchy duo? Because that would be so amazing. This otherworldly, sweet story of madcap adventures shared between seemingly mismatched companions has shades of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth — it will totally delight any fans of Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series.

New Books? New Books!

Tue 17 Oct 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

It is boom time here at Small Beer! Books are rolling off the printing presses, more are being sent for quick reprints (whoopee!), I’m working on a couple of contracts, lining up some books for next autumn, and here here here are a few fun, mindblowing, immersive, weird and fantastic (so: just the usual then?) books that we will publish next spring and summer.

In reverse order they are:

Alien Virus Love Disaster, a debut collection of door-stomping-down stories from Abbey Mei Otis

Half-Witch, a debut YA novel of by John Schoffstall

and The Invisible Valley, a debut novel by Su Wei translated by Austin Woerner

Don’t like vertical images? Like ebooks? Check them out on Weightless!