This Memorial Day weekend, you might have time to stretch out with a good book, in between the grilling and the beers. There are a lot more military personnel (current as well as former) creating genre fiction than you might imagine. Supporting one or two of them by picking up an awesome read would accomplish multiple acts of awesome with just a few mouse clicks. Here’s a short list, just to start you off. If I left out your favorite veteran/author, add him or her in the comments box. I’m certain to miss one or two. If your wallet’s a little light after buying all that beer and meat, follow a few of these folks on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribe to their blogs!
Of course, this being my site, I’m going to lead off by pimping my dark superhero anthology, CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? (which opens with Tim Marquitz’ tale of a superhuman weapon in the War on Terror followed by an excellent story by Weston Ochse) but, if you already have that or superheroes aren’t your thing, you can pick up a copy of FOUR IN THE MORNING today, in advance of the official release date of 1 June.
Former Navy man Brian Keene has something for everyone–the holiday is certainly a good excuse to pick up something from him. I recently reviewedTHE CAGE and recommend it if you’re in the market for a quicker read.
Army vet Weston Ochse’s BLOOD OCEAN is available for a measly five bucks on Kindle. I have this one on my stack and will be cracking into it soon.
I haven’t read Army Reserve officer Myke Cole’s CONTROL POINT yet, but it looks interesting and has a lot of good reviews.
…of the viral social media SLAUGHTER of Anthony Giangregorio and Undead Press, there have been some interesting developments (yes, I know–passive voice, but it worked with the post title I wanted to use, so screw it). I still haven’t received any response to my public call for response from Tony G here on the site, nor to the private message I sent him. His Facebook profile also appears to be gone.
There have been some good advice posts for budding authors to come out of this; my own addendum to my initial blog post on the matter, of course, has been joined by posts by Kim Krodel, Jon F. Merz, Greg Chapman, Elizabeth West and others. Anything that results in budding authors getting a new wrinkle on the brain isn’t a complete waste, as far as I’m concerned.
Interestingly enough, the more I’ve thought about this matter over the past couple days, the more involvements I’ve had with this guy over the years than I thought. Two buddies of mine had near-misses with Tony G–one rescued by a colleague beforehand, and another who got his short story collection back and released it elsewhere. The funniest, perhaps, is from January 2011. I wrote to Living Dead Press (one of Tony’s other ventures) in my capacity as a reviewer for Shroud Magazine, asking for review material. He responded that his press didn’t send stuff to reviewers and that I was welcome to buy the books. I remember ranting on Facebook after receiving that email, and predicting that his press wouldn’t last a year.
At least two authors of my acquaintance have spoken up this week about a publisher, Undead Press, and an editor, Anthony Giangregorio, who accepted their stories for anthologies and published them after making major changes—to include changing the name of the story (a move of debatable immorality, to be sure), and adding in a touch of RAPE (much less debatable!) in another—without any consultation with the authors. The authors didn’t even know the damage was done until after the books went to print because they didn’t receive galley proofs—not even electronic ones. I submit the blogs of authors Alyn Day and Mandy DeGeit for your consideration:
The anthology was released under the name of a different publisher, Undead Press, and my story was no longer my story. It had been butchered. I sat in my livingroom with one of the 6 copies I had purchased, flipping through the pages, eager to see my words in print… only they weren’t my words. It wasn’t even my TITLE. Parts of my story had been cut out, names and details had been changed, things I was never made aware of and had never agreed to. –Alyn Day
They turned a non-gendered character into a boy, they named the best friend, they created a memory for the main character about animal abuse. They added a suggestion of rape at the end… –Mandy DeGeit
If you’ve been around the block a bit as an author, the rest of this post is TL;DR. Please just disseminate as widely as possible so that everyone knows who sucks and why. But since the authors in question are new, and got sucked in by a predator, and because I, in my larval stage, had a near miss with similar idiocy, I want to say a few things to the new authors who may be reading my blog.
What Happened Was Bullshit.All of it. The only changes an editor has the ethical right to make without consulting the author are grammatical and typographical corrections. Plain and simple. As an editor, I’ve been privileged to edit authors’ first published stories and the work of Bram Stoker Award winners, plus everything in between. I am not afraid to offer suggestions to any of them. But all they are is suggestions. If an author doesn’t like my suggestion, these are the ONLY options:
The author makes the changes;
The author says not happening;
The editor says I’d rather have the author’s preferred version than nothing and takes the submission without suggestions being used;
The editor says it’s my way or the highway.
Note the distinct absence of Editor Does Whatever the Fuck he Wants with the Story.
You Should Always Get a Galley. I’ve NEVER had to ask for one. EVER. My publishers have always sent me a copy of what the finished work is going to look like before going to print. I began editing my first anthology a mere three months after my first serious publication, and published the book six months after that. Guess what? I sent the contributors a galley before it went to publication. I was a NOOB and I understood that concept. If this assclown is calling himself a publisher, he should have understood that, too. Which brings me to my last point.
It’s Only Your Fault if you Get Fooled Again the Same Way. I knew from the get-go that authors get galleys. It’s not any new author’s fault if they didn’t know that. Some people have a different learning curve, and honestly, I was surrounded by an amazing group of mentors and fellow authors from Day One. The blame for this shit is firmly on the shoulders of Undead Press and Mr. Giangregorio. If you call yourself an editor, or hang your shingle out as a publisher, you are saying I have my shit together. I want to enter into a professional arrangement with authors and I know how to do this. An author has a right to expect this of a publisher and/or editor—though, granted, those of us who’ve been around a bit know how to smell a rat. If I had made a mistake like this during my first stint as editor, the only appropriate response would have been a sincere public apology and immediate implementation of a solution.
Having said that, I’d like to conclude by asking Mr. Giangregorio to come on out—in the comments section of this blog, even, if he’d like—and discuss what he’s going to do to make this shit right.