In a couple of weeks, I’ll be pushing a new baby out of the nest. A superpowered baby that just may not have been raised right, hugged enough or medicated sufficiently. An anthology about what real people might do with incredible abilities. Will they change the world, or merely their own lives?
This is my second anthology, though the first is so rare you get infinite cool points for even remembering it once existed. OUR SHADOWS SPEAK existed for a period of a couple years, and even made an appearance at the 2007 World Horror Convention, courtesy of a contributor who attended (I was just returning from Afghanistan, which is where I was when I edited OSS, as a matter of fact). It also appeared in the middle of a freakin’ tornado, believe it or not.
I learned a lot from editing the book. I was 24 years old at the time I created it, and conceived the idea mere months after I began writing for publication. I think I had maybe three short story credits to my name. But people took the project seriously (it had an introduction from Stoker nominee Fran Friel and a story from Garry-freaking-Charles!) and I knocked out the very real business of reading slush, selecting stories and sending acceptances and rejections.
I think the book still stands the test of time now, though the contributing authors and I have all since moved on to bigger projects (half the members of Snutch Labs, for instance, saw publication in OSS). I even took on the task of editing two more anthologies a couple of years later, though the projects fell through when the micropress I was working with disappeared into the ether. If you’re a fan of editor humor, you can read about some of my experiences here.
All of that hard work certainly prepared me for my work on CORRUPTS. The project was a bit different, though. I copy edited, laid out, and made OSS print ready all by myself except for Loren Collins‘ lovely cover. CORRUPTS is being released by Damnation Books, which meant a bit more coordination on my part, but also more exposure for the project. I was also able to draw upon a larger community of talent (Weston Ochse, Joe McKinney, Jeff Strand and Cat Rambo, for instance) than I was six years ago, when I didn’t even know the first thing about a horror convention. However, when I was sent:
- Thinly-disguised Powerpuff Girls fanfic–and worse, without Mojo Jojo!
- A straight-up horror story with not even a comic book reference in it, let alone a metahuman
- At least THREE submissions in completely unalterable PDF format
- A survey–an honest to God survey– from an author in response to a rejection letter
I didn’t bat an eyelash. Well, the PPG fanfic kinda made me. But that was early in the six-month submissions window. So thanks–to my OSS alumni, and even the authors who didn’t make the cut–for the experience I gained while working with you.
One thing that makes me incredibly excited as CORRUPTS comes closer to its release date is reading all the blog posts and promotional work being done by the authors involved in the book. I’m spearheading a major effort myself, which includes weekly virtual panels and marketing emails to comic news websites and comic shop owners (a superhero anthology being an easy sell in a comic shop, of course), but it’s a lot of fun reading what the other guys and gals are saying–some of them published authors for the first time! Here’s a few links:
- Trisha Wooldridge
- Tim Marquitz
- Malon Edwards
- Lee Mather
- Anthony Laffan
- Jason Tucker
- Kris Ashton
- William Todd Rose
- Ariyana Spencer
- Ed Erdelac
Finally, I can’t think of a better way to close off an essay that began with one anthology and ended with another but to mention one author in particular who’s a contributor to both, though it certainly wasn’t planned that way on my part (i.e., I didn’t solicit the story from him): Jeremy Hepler. And if that wasn’t strange enough by itself, three of the other authors in the book–Ed Erdelac, Malon Edwards and Wayne Helge–all went to high school together back in the day (and that wasn’t planned on my part, either…in fact, Wayne submitted right at the deadline, so if it hadn’t been great, it wouldn’t have stood a chance of making it in)!
[And if that wasn't crazy enough...check out the date on that tornado post! I swear that was completely unintentional!]