Today I am sharing some of my thoughts about editing Paramourtal:
I posted last time about writing my first paranormal romance tale for Paramourtal, the collection of stories published by Cliffhanger Books. Now I’ll pass on my experiences of co-editing that anthology. But before I do that, I want to give you a little history of how I ended up editing in the first place.
I've been writing tales of fiction (mostly sci fi and horror), for almost 30 years. But, due to focusing on my career in marketing, I didn’t get serious about it until about seven years ago when I began submitting them to publishers. Never too late to start, right? I was fortunate enough — and excited (I'm a big Trek fan) — to have stories included in volumes 6 and 8 of the Star Trek Strange New Worlds anthologies from Simon and Schuster. Since then, I've managed to have a few more short stories included in various collections and magazines. I've also written two novels (one horror and one sci fi), but I'm still searching for the right publisher to handle them. By "right," I, of course, mean one that will finally say "yes."
Then, in 2008, I decided to try my hand at editing. Why? I was afraid you’d ask that. The phrase "mental breakdown" comes to mind. But in reality it suddenly hit me one day that with all the effort and hard work I put into writing and submitting my stories, why not try editing an anthology myself? It sounded like fun (yep, definitely a mental breakdown), plus, it would give me the opportunity to help other talented writers unleash their work into the world.
But, the aspect of spending months searching for incredible stories and putting an entire book together was daunting, to say the least. So the first thing I did was find a partner in crime who could share in the stress…I mean, glory of my quest. Fortunately, my good friend, Evelyn Welle, an exceptional editor and writer I've know for sixteen years, agreed to accompany me on the journey (and she still hasn't forgiven me).
Once I convinced (begged) Cliffhanger Books to release the book, Evelyn and I began discussing which type of anthology we would produce. She immediately suggested we do a collection of romance tales. Evelyn is a dedicated romance fiction fan and even wrote a novel that won second place in a contest held by the Romance Writers of America. While I consider myself a fairly romantic person, I didn’t feel straight romance would be something I could handle effectively. Also, I prefer fiction with more of a darker edge. So I suggested we compromise and focus on paranormal romance instead. She considered it and agreed.
We spent the next three months accepting submissions from all over the world. That was followed by two months of trying desperately to narrow them down to the ten stories that would go into the book. To be honest, when we began the project I was concerned we wouldn’t receive enough decent submissions to fill the anthology. That wasn't the case at all. Evelyn and I were surprised and delighted to discover that most of them were excellent. Not just the writers' styles, but their ideas, as well. We were afraid all we would get were hundreds of vampire and werewolf tales. We did receive some of those, but we also ended up with some truly unique supernatural characters. And it was tough choosing which were the "best" because they were all so damn good. In fact, I still feel that deciding which stories to use to be the most difficult task of the entire project. It was like deciding which was better: chocolate or peanut butter.
Bearing down, we forced ourselves to select the final ten stories. The interesting thing is, except for myself, all of them were written by women, most of whom had never been published before. When we began searching for stories, we invited both male and female writers to submit. I'm assuming it's just a coincidence that the selected stories were all female. Either that, or maybe there's a good reason that most paranormal romance is written primarily by women. But I'll let you be the judge of that.
We then began two months of working with the writers to do some story edits. All of the authors were very patient and accepted (most of) our suggested revisions. Finally, we reached the point where we were all very happy with the results (and exhausted). So on Sept. 2010 we kicked it (lovingly) out the door.
Our intense work and dedication paid off. Not only has the book been successful, it was also nominated for Best Romance Anthology for 2010 by TheRomanceReviews.com. That recognition is, of course, due to the combined efforts of all the Paramourtal authors. Each of them did a wonderful job, and it was a joy and honor working with them.
I just finished co-editing Gods of Justice, a collection or superhero stories for Cliffhanger Books. Now that its off and running (and garnering some exceptional reviews), I'm about to begin work on Paramourtal 2, the second volume of our para-rom series. Sadly, Evelyn Welle isn't able to commit to the book due to a new job. She will definitely be missed. But K. Stoddard Hayes (Karen, to her friends), my co-editor on Gods of Justice, has volunteered to make sure I don’t screw it up. Needless to say (but I will anyway), we're both very excited about the prospect of finding and working with a new batch of gifted writers.
And that could be you. If you are a writer interested in submitting a story for consideration, we invite you to visit the Cliffhanger website for details and guidelines. Go to http://www.cliffhangerbooks.com. But hurry, the deadline is Oct. 31, 2011.
Kevin Hosey is an author, editor and cartoonist. His short stories have appeared in several publications, including two Star Trek Strange New Worlds anthologies (Simon and Schuster), Hint Fiction (W.W. Norton) and the sci-fi magazine, Beyond Centauri. He also co-edited and wrote stories for two anthologies published by Cliffhanger Books. The first was a paranormal romance collection entitled Paramourtal which was nominated for Best Romance Anthology of 2010. The second, a collection of superhero stories called Gods of Justice, premiered at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con. His short story, "Cure" (from Hint Fiction), will be filmed by contestants for the 2012 Hint Fiction Film Contest. The films will premiere at the 2012 Vail Film Festival in Colorado. Visit him at kevinhosey.net.
Author Website: http://www.kevinhosey.net
Paramourtal Buy Link: http://www.cliffhangerbooks.com/books-paramourtal.html
Publisher Website: http://www.cliffhangerbooks.com
Tomorrow Kevin talks about his writing.