30 November 2014

Live, we are!

We're live with the notable November 2014 issue of Electric Spec! Thank you authors! Thank you editorial staff, including Chris Devlin and Nikki Baird, our associate editors. Thank you to our tech guys at Hardlight Multimedia. And thank you to our cover artist Karl Eschenbach. We appreciate everyone's contributions.

And special thank you to our readers! We wouldn't exist without you!

25 November 2014

steampunk alternate history urban fantasy

We have a super-interesting author interview for our notable November 30, 2014 issue of Electric Spec. We're interviewing Cory Dale, author of Demon Fare, out December 15, 2014. Demon Fare is an utterly unique novel in the steampunk alternate history urban fantasy genre. And, yes, I just made up that genre, but this novel has it all.
It has lots of steam-powered machinery, and just look at the cover (left): it's very steampunky. It's alternate history because one hundred and fifty years ago something happened to Earth that put it on an alternate course. And it's quintessential urban fantasy in tone and plot: it has humor, it has romance, it has good versus evil, and it has kick-ass heroes.
I did ask Dale about this genre mash-up and much more. You'll have to check out the whole interview this coming Sunday November 30!

18 November 2014

epic fantasy with a twist

To finish up our preview of coming attractions, at least as far as short fiction is concerned, we have some epic fantasy with a twist in the notable November 2014 issue of Electric Spec. It's a bit curious that we don't get more epic fantasy submissions... (Hint, hint.)

In grad school I studied speculative fiction and I wrote a paper one semester in which I stated (provocatively) that there are reactionary elements inherent in epic fantasy. I was trying to stir up trouble but I do think epic fantasy tends to be old-fashioned with damsels in distress and brave knights, etc. Thus, you can imagine my delight in Tyler Bourassa's "Plight of the Magi" featuring a kick-ass female protagonist in an epic fantasy setting. As I've said before, we enjoy original fiction here at Electric Spec.

We also have a lovely (creepy) mixture of epic fantasy and the macabre in the next issue. The story in question is "Corrine's Song" by Michael Haynes, and it's one of the creepiest and saddest pieces I've read.

Are you intrigued? I hope so! Check out all our new stories on November 30!

11 November 2014

humor in spec fic

Surprisingly, we have quite a bit of humor coming in our notable November 2014 issue of Electric Spec. Personally, I really enjoy humor in my spec fix. We'll be interviewing Cory Dale on her upcoming novel Demon Fare, a humorous steampunk alternate history urban fantasy. (!) But I'll tell you more about that later in the month.

In the issue will be one of the funniest stories I've ever read, "Aladdin's Neti Pot" by Sarina Dorie. Imagine, if you will, the genie Aladdin living in a neti pot instead of a lamp... What could possibly go wrong? :)

We'll also have the story "Dennis" by Nathan Ehret. This starts out with The trouble with being a robot was you never got to do anything for fun. It just gets better from there.

I'd have to say, in general, humor can be a little problematic. Humor arises when the reader's expectations are subverted resulting in surprise. The reason humor is tricky is every reader has different expectations. The story in Editor's Corner this time will be my "Green is the New Black." I think it's funny, but you'll have to decide for yourself if you agree.

Also in the next issue will be "Best's Laid Plans" by Lane Cohen. We selected this story because it's a very good time-travel story featuring Pete Best and the music world. At the production meeting I was surprised to find out the other editors did not realize "Best's Laid Plans" was humorous. Look at the title; it has an actual pun! How could this not be humorous?
Also consider a quote from the story: "Oops," Britney said. "I did it again." Ha! But be forewarned: Britney is definitely not the character you might expect her to be.

Be sure to check out all the stories coming November 30, 2014!
Stay tuned in coming weeks for more previews of coming attractions.

04 November 2014

notes from production meeting

We recently had another productive Electric Spec Production Meeting. Huzzah!

By now, all the folks in Hold-for-Voting should have heard from us with the possible exception of a couple acceptances. (It takes a little while to get the contracts together.) Even if we didn't take your story, you should feel proud to be in Hold-for-Voting. All the Hold-for-Voting stories were publishable.
Acceptances are asked to acknowledge the contract, send us their bio info and Paypal account info. Once we get the contracts back we start editing. We send the resulting edited story back to the author for his/her approval. We may repeat this step as needed. Eventually, we send the story to our copy-editor and the final step is posting the story on the preview page. The author has a final chance to check it over there. Finally, we publish. This quarter we go live on November 30, 2014!

I've passed along our hopefully-objective ranking system for the production meeting in the past, so I won't go into it again here. For the current issue we ended up accepting the top five stories. Thus, we had time to discuss stories in general. We agreed endings are particularly problematic for authors.

Short stories are works of art and authors can do whatever they like. However, for our market we like emotionally satisfying endings. Stories we publish have endings that wrap things up (good or bad); they do not just stop. This means in your story:

  • Something has to happen.
  • Something should be different at the end.
  • Your ending should relate to your beginning.
  • You should be able to state clearly what your story is about.
A writing or critique partner can help you decipher if you have an ending or not. We are currently accepting submissions for our first issue of 2015. Good luck!

Soon, I'll start bragging, er, blogging about the November 2014 issue. Stay tuned!