Posts Tagged ‘Shimmer’

World Fantasy wrap up

Well. I got home around 1:30 am. My flight was delayed out of Austin and I just barely caught the connecting flight. Alas, my luggage did not. The wait for the flight to take off would have been worse had I not had a lovely conversation with Sally Harding.

The weekend is a complete blur, so I’m not going to try to tell you about things in chronological order. Because Beth and I were running around getting ready for the Shimmer pirate party, I only made it to a couple of panels. The panel on Alternate History sparked a pretty exciting conversation. The panel had been talking about “deep stories” as the point where events had changed in an alternate history. Howard Waldrop was talking about the Cone of History and used the words “Alternate Future.” I asked if anyone had every done a SF story with an alternate history deep story. You know, like, what would space look like if Lincoln hadn’t been shot? The panel stopped dead and then they all started saying that they couldn’t think of an example and wanted to write one. In one of those moments of telepathy, where I don’t remember having the conversation with Beth, we agreed that Shimmer had to do an anthology of Alternate Future stories. I announced that to the room at large and Paul Park said, “What are you going to call it?”

“Alternate Future. Is there another choice?” Howard Waldrop cautioned us that we needed to pay attention to Heinlein’s rule that you could only change one thing in a story. I know what he means, but I think with careful guidelines this could be an exciting project. So, anytime Beth and I weren’t working on the Shimmer Pirate party, we were hashing out beginning guidelines for the Alternate Future anthology. I’ll keep you posted.

I also got to hang out with folks from Codex, InkSlingers, Shimmer and meet new people. I finally met a whole host of online friends like Patrick Swenson, Lisa Mantchev, Cat Rambo, Eric James Stone, Deanna Hoak and Edmund Schubert.

Getting to be total fangirl to Peter S. Beagle and Charles Vess was very satisfying.

And then there were the folks I’d met before and getting to see them again made me happy. Mr. Fisher, Alethea Kontis, Jenny Rae Rappaport, John Joseph Adams, Ellen Datlow, Ken Scholes, Jen West, Jay Lake, Brad Beaulieu, Beth Wodzinski, Gavin Grant, Mike Munsil and his wife, Julia, Alan DeNiro and, and…there are more, but I suck with names and the weekend, as mentioned previously, is a blur.

The Pirate Party went off better than we could have hoped, since neither Beth nor I had thrown a con party before. We were totally stressed leading up to it but Melissa Tolliver saved our tails. Her son Adrick has a room decorated with pirate gear and very, very kindly let us use his stuff as part of our decorations. The piece de resistance was a giant Pirate Mr. Potato Head. Beth fell in love with it and bought one of her very own. We were also saved by Sulin, who cut lemons and got music going and took photos and generally filled in the gaps for us. I spent the party pouring drinks for folks, which was loads of fun since it meant that I got to meet everybody.

After it ended, I headed down to the Awards banquet to sit with Brad. The presentation on Six Fantastic Flags over Texas was very funny and I wish I had caught the name of the gentleman who delivered it. Everyone at the table was very nice, and despite the fact that we all introduced ourselves, I have forgotten everyone’s names except for Katie, Howard and John. I only remember them because we talked afterwards and I was able to stare at name badges and well, Brad blogged about them first. Sigh. I’ll have to come up with a better system for remembering names for the next con.

How about you? How do you remember names of people you meet at cons?

Leaving WFC

I had a great time at WFC. Highlights include the Shimmer Pirate party, where I served a drink called, pirate, to 150 or so people, while Beth tattooed them. Pictures will follow, meanwhile, here’s the drink recipe.

Shake in iced cocktail shaker & strain
3/4 oz light rum (2 cl, 3/16 gills)
3/4 oz Cognac (2 cl, 3/16 gills)
1/4 oz grenadine (1.5 cl, 1/8 gills)
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice (1.5 cl, 1/8 gills)
Serve in a cocktail glass (4.5 oz)

I met wonderful people and slept very, very little. I’ll tell you more tomorrow.

On what I like for Shimmer art

An artist just asked me, “Is there anything you’re particularly fond of, any imagery that your magazine leans towards?”

Why, yes! Thank you for asking.

If we start with the belief that one is submitting work that is well-rendered, with an understanding of composition, or, as Beth puts it, art that is not lame, then there are some things that make art stand out for me. In general, I like a sense of movement, texture and story in art. For me, it needs to be communicating something, be that a mood or a moment. I look for an elegance of line and tend to respond well to texture.

Our tagline is “Speculative fiction for a miscreant world.” We do fantasy, science fiction and unclassifiable stories that tend toward funny, dark, strange or all three, so I look for illustrators who will fit with our stories. To quote our art submissions guidelines:

We’re looking for art that complements the stories we publish: speculative, original and compelling. For each issue, we’re looking for one color piece for our cover, and a few black and white or grayscale pieces for the interior. We want art that tells a story and that pushes the boundaries of illustration in the same way speculative fiction pushes boundaries.

A few things to note that will improve your chances:

  • Know where the light source is coming from in your piece.
  • Please use a model or photo reference if you are trying for realism.
  • It is not enough to have a well-rendered figure; figures must be part of a strong composition.

I’m always curious; what do other people look for in art?

The Autumn issue of Shimmer is at the Printer!

To celebrate, we’ve got a puzzle which will show you the amazing cover art of David Ho.

Now, as much as I love this puzzle, there are occasions when the mouse behaves oddly and grabs the wrong piece. Sorry about that; I wish I knew how to fix it but the puzzle is enough fun that I thought you’d be willing to risk it. It seems to correct if you scroll the page up and down.


To celebrate finishing the proof-reading of the Autumn issue of Shimmer, I offer you a wordsearch based on the Autumn issue. Each word represents a story in this issue.

Halloween Night by John Parke Davis
Skeletonbaby Magic by Kathy Watts
Pray for Us, St. Dymphna by Bryan Lindsey
The Angel Wood by Angela Slatter
Interview with John Scalzi
Melancholix: Affinity by Joseph Remy
Through the Obsidian Gates by Aliette de Bodard
A Wizard on the Road by Nir Yaniv, translated by Lavie Tidhar
Voices of the Gods by Monica Eiland
The King of Sand and Stormy Seas by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Let’s be silly. Why not post your time in the comments section?

The Slush God Speaketh: Pirates say Arrr!

Take note, for those of you planning to submit to Shimmer’s pirate issue, of what the Slush God says on his blog.

Pirates say “Arrr!”, damn it: no “gh.” “Argh!” is a cry of frustration (it is, also apparently a fungeoid esoteric programming language). I keep seeing this error over and over, and as the editor of a piratical periodical, this bothers me.

I have to say that I love the way “piratical periodical” rolls off the tongue.

A Writer’s Vanity – Hunting for Hubris

Jason Sizemore, at Apex Digest, has been very supportive of me and of Shimmer. This was on his blog today.

A Writer’s Vanity – Hunting for Hubris

This is my own personal horror story. In it, I play the guy whose pride won’t let him ask for help when he sees that he needs it. I might have waited too late, even now. Hubris can be a complicated personality trait. It’s one that I’m struggling with at the moment.

See, I’m having to come out to the public that Apex Digest needs help. That I need help. Like, within two weeks.

Those who know me that my hubris is a personality flaw.

But this damn magazine means too much to me.

The story starts out well. A nice guy, me, starts a science-fiction and horror magazine. He loves it. He puts his own money into it. To his delight, the critics respond well to the stories. It goes into Barnes and Nobles. It starts breaking even. Who cares if he has some debt from starting it? He’s paying that back and things are golden. He is proud of his magazine.

You see where this is going, don’t you? The word “pride” is your cue that things are about to go south.

This nice guy loses his job. He has four months of unemployment, but he keeps putting the magazine out. That small debt starts to get bigger. But he keeps his writers and artists paid and delivers the magazine on time. The printer is understanding and lets him slide on payments.

If the nice guy had asked for help then, he wouldn’t have needed to slide on payments. But he has a lot of pride and thinks he couldtough it out. Then the nice guy gets a new job, which proves his point. He starts paying down the debt to his printer.

If this weren’t a horror story that would be the happy ending. There would be butterflies and fuzzy kittens. But this is a horror story.

We never see the printer’s POV, so we don’t know why the email is sent. All the nice guy knows is that the printer wants all of the money and wants it now. He doesn’t have it.

At the moment, I don’t know how this story will end.

All of Apex’s distributors rightfully expect their copies of the magazine within the next couple of weeks. Apex subscribers rightfully expect their copies within the next couple of weeks.

If I fail to get Apex #7 out to the distributors and subscribers, the story ends. I’ve begged and borrowed as much as I can. Now I’m dropping my pride and admitting that I need help publicly. I need 200 new subscribers to create the revenue required to pay off the debt to the printer.

Tell me how my story ends. Think of this as one of those “choose your own adventures.”

Do you buy a subscription?

Apex Shopping Mall

I’ve renewed my subscription and picked up extra copies of Issue Six, which has Cerbo en Vitra Ujo in it. If you have any doubts, you should also read Maggie’s article on her blog about karma and publishing.

National Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Avast! Here be an instructional video on “How to Talk Like a Pirate.” Make note of it for when you be preparin’ your submissions for the Pirate issue of Shimmer. Arrr.

I expect each of ye scurvy dogs to be talkin’ like a pirate this fine day. And to make sure ye do, this journal be havin a pirate filter installed, so any o’ yer comments gonna be convertin’ to pirate speak. In case ye be needin any other advice, visit the hearty lads at There’s many other fine instructional videos there.

slushmaster: Editorial Musings–Issue Five

Douglas Cohen, aka The Slushmaster, has just posted an interview with John Joseph Adams, the Slush God. Go read the rest of the interview to find out more about the fierce Captain Adams.

I’ll be guest-editing the Summer 2007 issue of Shimmer Magazine, which will be a special themed issue about pirates. As the guidelines say, fantasy, science fiction, contemporary, historical, futuristic, high seas, deep space — if it’s got pirates and it’s speculative fiction, I want it.

A brief rant.

Gah. Okay. There are some amazing computer programs out there, but for crying out loud that doesn’t mean that you get to ignore the basic elements of composition. Nor does saying that your work is surreal mean that you get to ignore shading when you are using hyper-real stock elements from a program. Plus, it’s not surreal just because a tree is floating. It’s lazy.

Here is an example of computer rendered art which is very, very good. Please, if you are going to send me computer art try to be this good.

In fact, here are the websites of the artists we’ve printed at Shimmer. If you want me to use your art, you have to be this good or better.

Please. Know how to render. Know what gravity means. Know how light behaves. Understand composition.

Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror

Woo-hoo! From our first issue of Shimmer, “Nobody’s Fool,” by Ed Cox, got an honorable mention in the 2005 Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror! This is the first story we picked for the first issue. We are very, very proud of Ed.

We also got shout-outs in the Summary section. Ellen Datlow says we’re “worthwhile” and Kelly Link and Gavin Grant say we’re a “good-looking new zine with strong ambitions.”