31 October 2008

We're Live!

We're live with a new issue of Electric Spec! Check out our selection of excellent stories by Tyree Campbell, S. Hutson Blount, Jason K. Chapman, Lyle Skains, and Bob Burnett! We also have some excellent features including our movie column by Marty Mapes and an article "Irony in Fiction" by our own Editor Betsy. And of course, I already blogged about my interview with author M.M. Buckner. Check them all out!

Thank you to all our editors, authors, and artists! You guys rock!

29 October 2008


And the conference season has come to a close, at least for this editor, at least until spring. Mile Hi Con is a small regional convention, but we had a decent writers track and top-notch authors like Carrie Vaughn, Connie Willis, Jim Butcher, vampire writers Jeanne Stein, Mario Acevedo, and David Dvorkin, Hugo Nominee Paulo Bagigalupi, Warren Hammond, author of the gritty KOP series...and the list goes on. It's inexpensive (something like $40 for three days) and they do a great job at making it easy for participants--panels don't require as much prep for a busy author.

I attended a great panel, Short Story 101, more fondly known as "Clarion in Five Minutes." When the authors were asked what is the best lesson they can impart to the audience in just a few minutes, they unilaterally agreed:

Ask the story question on the first page; answer the story question on the last page.

Sounds simple, right?

Well, you'd be surprised how many stories I read that have me wondering at page three, Writing's nice, but what's the story about?

One other thing struck me. Lesley and I in particular have always believed short stories should be about more than one thing. This panel disagreed, stating emphatically that the short form only has room for one question at a time. So I thought about that and I decided that maybe what Lesley and I are driving at is that multiple devices should support one story question. Backpedaling? Maybe. It is election season. :)

She can chime in here on this topic as well, later, but I believe character, setting, and plot should all drive the story question to its logical conclusion (ironic twists notwithstanding). As well, stories are often more interesting if unlikely, conflicting elements combine to support the story question.

Thoughts on this, anyone?

21 October 2008

Interview with M.M. Buckner

Our new issue of Electric Spec, out October 31, 2008 will feature an interview with award-winning author M.M. Buckner. M.M. burst onto the scene in 2003 and has already racked up some awards including the Philip K. Dick Award for her 2006 novel War Surf. Her new book Watermind is coming out in November, 2008 and she told me it's about a liquid artificial intelligence... Wow! Sounds intriguing! The Electric Spec editors met M.M. at WorldCon 2008 and thought she was so interesting she'd give a good interview. We were right! Check out what she has to say about eco-fiction, "post-cyberpunk", classic literature, mental whiplash and more in the next issue of Electric Spec!

In other Electric Spec news...
The new issue is coming along nicely, and looks like it will be one of our best ever. (Yes, I do say that every time.)

We're working on some big changes for 2009.

Come meet Editor Betsy and me at MileHiCon this weekend in Denver. I'll be on ecology, women's fiction, post-Harry-Potter science, and cartoon physics panels.

And keep sending us those stories!

16 October 2008

Writing on Reading: Grimspace

My favorite thing happened last week: I discovered a new author! While perusing the new books section at the library, I came across Grimspace by Ann Aguirre. From the official blurb: "By all accounts, Sirantha Jax should have burned out years ago…
As the carrier of a rare gene, Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace—a talent which cuts into her life expectancy, but makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. But then the ship she’s navigating crash-lands, and she’s accused of killing everyone on board." etc. etc. Needless to say, when she busts out of prison hijinks ensue... I won't ruin it for you.

This book was excellent for many reasons: the protagonist is flawed and sympathetic, it starts in the middle of the action and the plot moves at a brisk pace, the big-idea (grimspace and the protag's special ability) is intriguing, and the prose is very smooth. I heard this was Ms. Aguirre's first novel. I'm not sure if that's true, but we should all write so well.
I have nothing negative to say about this book. Wait, I thought of something: it was too short. :) Check it out. Or maybe you already read it? If so, what did YOU think?

In other Electric Spec news...

Sorry I haven't been blogging much, putting together the new issue is a lot of work. The new issue will be out on October 31! It looks really good, too.

Early next week I will blog about a very interesting interview...

Keep sending us stories for our first 2009 issue! (Hey, Editors, we need to finalize the publication dates for 2009.)

09 October 2008

E-Spec Editor in Locus

Boy am I mad! I've been trying to get my picture into Locus for years, but who did I see in the latest issue? Electric Spec editor Betsy Dornbusch! It's a picture from Worldcon with her standing next to Carol Berg and Brenda Carre. Okay, I admit she looks fab, but I was really hoping they'd publish the pic of me hanging from the chandelier and dipping my ears in the chocolate fondue. Or maybe the one of me reaching into the stripper's bra strap. 

I guess Charles Brown is still angry at me for that little incident where I accidently bit his ankle. I told him I was drunk on axel grease and Bacardi 151, but he won't listen. Man, can that guy hold a grudge!

05 October 2008

Countdown to Issue III

I'm very excited about our next issue of Electric Spec, coming out on October 31. Not only do we have some great stories, but we have an exciting author interview, our movie column, and something interesting in the Editor's Corner.

It is hard to believe that this will be our ninth issue of the magazine, and we're still going strong. In fact, we're planning some new surprises for 2009. We always welcome feedback and ideas about how to make the magazine even better. Feel free to post a comment about it or e-mails us at our "editors" address, which is on our website.

01 October 2008

Production Overload

You may have noticed that our posts have not been as frequent lately. That's because things get pretty frenzied here at Electric Spec about a month before our publication date. All three of us have a pile of tasks to perform to get the magazine ready. We get author contracts signed, we edit and format stories (and send authors the galleys), we convert the magazine into PDF and PRC formats, we find and choose art, we write a Message from the Editors, we put together author bios and links, and we try not to tear our hair out in the process.

Come to think of it, I can see why some many fledgling e-zines fail. Putting out a quality product on a regular basis is much harder that you might think. Generally, you need more than one person on board and you all need to work together, trusting each other to get all the jobs done. I, for one, feel lucky to have such terrific partners in this endeavor who are willing to work for such low pay (okay, free) and will still drink beer with me on occasion.