- Another box of miscellaneous writings, papers, tshirts and ledgers from Grassroots Books in Iowa City off to my archive at the Tretter Collection at the University of MN this week. For those less familiar with my past, I lived in Iowa City, IA for 9 years before moving to Minneapolis. While there, I picked up an M.A. in Feminist Anthropology, spent time in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, worked at the archeological field school, worked scoring standardized tests, worked as a research assistant for independent scholars like Elsa Chaney and Deb Fink, opened and ran a feminist/LGBT/progressive bookstore called Grassroots Books for 2 years, contracted walking pneumonia, closed the store and went on to attend an accelerated semester of law school at the U. of Iowa. Then I dropped out to write, then ended up as as one of the cofounders, then the Director for a year, of the Iowa Women's Music Festival. I also volunteered at a ton of other things so my queer/feminist/miscellaneous activism collection is fairly large. And will soon be researchable, with more coming.
- Queen of Swords has a newsletter! And if you sign up at the website by 3/15/17, you will be entered in a random drawing for some fabulous prizes (folks already signed up will be automatically entered). Plus, all the latest QoSP news! Winners will hear back by 3/17/17. (Queen of Swords will not sell your name or use your information for any purpose other than sending you the newsletter for as long as you want to be a subscriber.)
- Respectable Horror has a glorious cover!
- I've decided I want to start a Patreon for the combined purposes of doing good deeds and giving my actual writing more structure and deadlines. I'm finalizing the description, et al and will try and post it this weekend. More updates coming soon.
1st new story of 2017 finished and submitted! It's an Emily L. Byrne story, an erotic retelling of "Beauty and the Beast." More news as I have it.
Today, Jana and I are celebrating our 23rd anniversary by going to a multimedia choral performance about the life of Civil Rights pioneer, Bayard Rustin. Really looking forward to this!
Speaking of civil rights, we're going to the Women's March on 1/21 in scenic St. Paul. Contact me if you'd like to join our group and head over on the light rail. D.C. looks like it will be amazing and there are so many local marches, it's going to be pretty epic. And that's not including all the events leading up to the inauguration of the Kremlin's Employee of the Month. Fight back however you can and hang in there - we're all going to need each other.
Speaking of which, I have some fannish signal boosting to do. Here's the thing: if we can't help each other out now, we're going to be seriously screwed in 6 months. Boost, kick in whatever you can and boost some more. A lot of little donations get to the same goal as one big one, just saying.
Bryan Thao Worra - famous award-winning Laotian-American poet, current President of the Science Fiction Poetry Society, former local pro and fan, erstwhile guest at Twin Cities conventions, editor, publisher, writer and...currently homeless and couch-surfing. Please kick in what you can.
Lou Hoffman - founder/organizer/sustainer of the Bisexual Organizing Project and the BECAUSE Conference, coordinator of WisCon's Annual Sign Out autographing session for authors and fans and all around great gal is having health issues at the same time that one of her sons is dealing with some new serious health problems. Please donate here. Elise Matthesen, jeweler extraordinaire, is donating part of the proceeds from her jewelry sales this weekend too.
Jen Riehm - local fan and artist, participant at CONvergence and Anime Detour, is currently homeless with her mom and their cats. Both of the humans are disabled and need some cash ASAP to stay in interim housing while they figure out better options. If you won't donate for the people, do it for the adorable kitties. It's way too cold to be living in your car right now in Minnesota.
Barnes & Noble - link coming later on Friday
IBooks - link coming later on Friday
Overdrive for Libraries - coming soon
Queen of Swords Press info:
Website - still in progress
Twitter - @qospress
Twitter - @clundoff
Facebook (as me), also as Author/Editor Page
Me, as Emily L. Byrne, AKA erotica and erotic romance writing Me:
Facebook Author page
Blog (sadly disused)
I still need to decide on a blogging platform for Queen of Swords. I might just start up one out here, since that would be path of least resistance. Currently under investigation.
Today was an all Queen of Swords Press, all the time day. While migraine-wrangling.
So what did I achieve?
Well, I GOT A NEW BOOK OUT! I'm a tad excited about this because it has taken forever, at least by my standards. I've been working on the Press for nearly three years now - classes, legal and financial planning and set up, edits, more planning, more classes, cover art, edits, more edits, learning new software, meetings, more meetings, more stuff - so to finally unleash something upon the unsuspecting populace is glorious.
What's actually available right now:
- Review copies in various ebook formats. If you review ebooks and would like one, let me know.
- Amazon, bless its heart, decided to release the book early, so it's for sale now. I probably unchecked the preorder box on setup and didn't notice, so it won't go up on other sites and in other formats until later on in the week (official release is supposed to be 1/6/17). This is just as well because I ran into a snafu with Smashwords so I'd like to get that resolved before stuff appears.
- Queen of Swords Press now exists on Twitter (@QoSPress), Facebook (www.facebook.com/queenofswordspress/) and has a mailing list signup on the website (www.queenofswordspress.com). Website is still getting updated and cleaned up so maybe give it a day or two for my web person to finish before signing up.
- More formats and more availability (see above). I'll also look into an account on Weightless Books and see when they start adding new publishers again.
- Finalized website with buy links, etc. See above.
- Possibly sales direct off my website, but I need to doublecheck some things on that first.
- Print edition of Out of This World, if all goes well. But likely another couple of ebooks first (two by Emily L. Byrne forthcoming) and plan a print edition for my first convention of next year, which will likely be WisCon in May.
- More books! So much stuff in various stages of completion! I want to write all the things! And never sleep again! Oh wait, that won't work...
So, Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories.
The cover is by KaNaXa, known for her fabulous book covers for many well known romance publishers and indie authors. And the stories themselves? This will be a mix of my fantasy, horror and science fiction with queer protagonists. Some of these were collected in my now out of print single author collection, A Day at the Inn, A Night at the Palace and Other Stories. It's worth noting that A Day at the Inn is on the Sirens Conference of Women in the Fantastic Reading Challenge for 2017, so I'm going out on a limb and guessing that some folks liked it. It was never very widely read, however, so I'm hoping this one goes a bit further. Other stories in here are long out of print and/or never collected anywhere before. Several stories were award finalist or got honorable mentions in Best of lists and such so I like to think this is some of my best short fiction work. I hope you think so too. Stay tuned here or on my Facebook Author/Editor Page or on the email list that you will soon be able to sign up for on my shiny new Queen of Swords Press website (I'll link when we've got a few things set up).
Table of Contents:
Great Reckonings, Little Rooms
The Egyptian Cat
At the Roots of the World Tree
A Scent of Roses
At Mother Laurie’s House of Bliss
Spell, Book and Candle
A Day at the Inn, A Night at the Palace
Apart from that, I'm embarking on a new editing project and have just heard that the Secret Project has gone up to the next level, so I expect that to start soon, if all goes well. I'm trying to get a few stories out the door and dig in on the novel edits, which were moving along but have stalled due to time conflicts. Queen of Swords should have a website update as soon as I fix an email problem and get signed up for MailChimp. Author contract template is almost done too and I plan on getting ISBN numbers next weekend. More bulletins soon.
On the level of things that are not specifically about me:
- The MN GOP, ever eager to have more trainwrecks of their very own, is attempting to get a transphobic bathroom panic bill through the Legislature. Check the Outfront MN site for your rep's and senator's contacts and let them know how you feel about this b.s. Remember that even if Dayton says he will veto it (and he will certainly try), that these efforts have a horrible effect on queer kids and that the number of suicide attempts goes up every time one of these monstrosities gets put forward so let's make sure they can see that lots of folks are on their side.
- North Carolina. Shit. Where to begin? If you want to help folks there, I recommend Equality North Carolina, the ACLU of North Carolina or Lambda Legal as excellent places to start. If you live there (or have disposable income for donations), I recommend any and all opponents of the elected officials who endorsed this.
- Author Veronica Harnish (Car Living When There's No Other Choice) wrote a powerful piece for VOX earlier this month on ending up homeless three times and living in her car with her cat due to the crappy job market, no housing and a lousy safety net. She's got a Go Fund Me and what I think is a current Crowd Rise page going and I believe that's she's still facing homelessness, so the Crowd Rise is to help her get a used RV which would be much safer and better for her and her kitty. Or you could buy her book, thus giving her ongoing income. Give it to everyone you know who thinks we don't need a safety net or that it'll never happen to them or any other person you think needs it.
- Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency is working on a new film project on women smashing stereotypes. It looks terrific and there's only 9 more days on the fundraiser here.
- Women's Month Reading at the Tretter Collection at the Elmer J. Anderson Library at the University of MN. Annual event cosponsored with the Quatrefoil Library, Saturday, March 26th, 1-4PM. I'll be reading with Rachel Gold, Jessie Chandler, Judith Katz, Ellen Lansky, Pat Schmatz and MB Panichi.
- AlterConf Minneapolis at Lead Pages. April 9th, 11-4PM. Valerie Lockhart and I will be doing a presentation on making tech workplaces more accessible.
Queen of Swords Press:
- Tweeking the author contract
- On the waiting list for a P.O. Box
- Got the email working
- Website is mocked up but waiting on new version of the logo and some text before I link
- Next up, more Quickbooks, short collections, post for submissions, get ISBNs and start formatting fun. It is moving, it's just slow.
Day job, rolling downhill. Other stuff, in progress. More bulletins soon.
- Had new author photos taken and should have final ones later on this week
- Started vetting the author contract for Queen of Swords Press (written by my IP attorney, for those curious).
- Got the manuscript for a new mentoring/editing project that I'll be doing with a local author.
- Met with my biz attorney for more LLC setup.
- Started estate planning.
- Met with my new accountant and started the adventure that is Quickbooks.
- Finished a blog post for Emily L. Byrne's first Best Lesbian Erotica appearance.
- Sketched out proposals for sekrit new project.
- Wrangled day job and more day job. And migraine and more day job.
- Class prep for my Loft Literary class this weekend. Find out tomorrow if it carries.
But we're not here to talk about dread and worries today. Today, we are writing and working on stuff and making progress on freelance editing and novel edits and such. Progress, especially finishing any of the above, will be glorious, glorious, I say!
So, writing update is minimal. But Queen of Swords Press update is impressive. In the last few weeks, I've gotten a business bank account, done some excellent networking with another writer about software and social media solutions that I need to check out, worked with my web designer to mock up a website and acquired Quickbooks. I get to meet with my new accountant tomorrow to get the latter set up, and my small biz lawyer to get a few more things finalized in two weeks. I have contract templates to review and very nearly have a new email address for the Press. So things are moving, which hopefully means that writing and editing will be picking up steam too. Progress!
"About Queen of Swords Press:
Queen of Swords is an independent small press, specializing in swashbuckling tales of derring-do, bold new adventures in time and space, mysterious stories of the occult and arcane and fantastical tales of people and lands far and near. What does that actually mean? It means we like all of the following: swashbuckling tales with female protagonists, people from wide-ranging cultural and racial backgrounds having adventures in outer space, LGBT and/or Q characters engaged in magic and swordplay and historically-flavored stories that reflect diverse casts of characters doing interesting things.
Submissions: Queen of Swords Press is not open to unsolicited submissions at this time."
So what does that mean? Good question, long answer. But in the interests of brevity and perhaps, wit, I’m hoping to publish steampunk, Gothic horror, alternate history, mannerpunk, space fantasy, space opera, historical mysteries with fantasy elements and likely things I haven’t thought of yet. Will there be an erotica/erotic romance line? Yes, though it will be limited and likely to be invite only for the foreseeable future.
Does the Press plan on releasing anything tarot-related? Honestly, no. The Queen of Swords is my card. She is ambitious, capable, smart, honest and clever, all things that I strive to be. Taking on her name and aspect has a fair amount of symbolism for me as a result. But I am no expert on the tarot and do not expect to be set up for publishing graphics, so no decks or books about tarot symbolism or anything of that nature.
Length of works: Novels and short story collections, to start with. I’d like to try crowdsourcing some anthologies (which often don’t pay for themselves otherwise), but that’s down the road a piece. But we can always talk.
Will I be open to lesfic (the current lesbian romance genre) and m/m? Eh. I’m interested in stories that break the mold and I think there are a number of perfectly lovely publishers who will wax more enthusiastic about books that fall squarely into those categories. I really want to see LGBTQ and ace and genderqueer protagonists having adventures of the types described above, but would prefer those adventures to have romantic subplots if the story requires them, rather than being primarily romances. That said, I anticipate exceptions and changes as things move forward.
“Waxing enthusiastic” is the key here. I’m funding the Press out of pocket to begin with, with all that goes along with that (no advances, slow ramp up, etc.). Consequently, I want to be pretty enthusiastic about anything of yours (or mine, for that matter) that I publish. That said, I anticipate discovering all sorts of things along the way and there will be things that I do just to learn how to do them and missteps and bold new adventures that go in completely unanticipated directions. And some things that go exactly as planned, because I have that kind of brain.
I have a tentative plan of opening up to ideas, not full proposals, in the next few weeks. I’m open to hearing about reprints if you have full rights to them. We’re ironing out a publishing contract soon and once the website is up (anticipating by February), I should be able to post some terms. I anticipate that it will be squarely within industry standards. I anticipate having a functioning email soon. Other stuff is zipping along briskly so I should have regular bulletins on the press status going forward.
So what else would you like to know about Queen of Swords Press, LLC.?
- Trademark application for Press name is submitted
- Contracts and other legalese for website getting drawn up
- Interviewing prospective new accountant on Monday
- One manuscript (by someone other than me) being reviewed for release, one manuscript by different author under discussion and such
- Several minicollections of my short stories in various stages of getting pulled together so I can run them through the formatting, cover art distro process and get a better understanding of how to do all that. Also, in hopes of making a bit of money to offset the expenditures.
- 2 edited novels (mine) in need of revision for release/re-release. Still waffling on one and may yet decide to sub that as an Emily novel elsewhere.
- Another novel draft (mine) in progress for a different project.
- Dedicated computer acquired.
- Pull together website and emails
- Get ISBN numbers
- Get EIN and other financials set up
- Software licenses
- Social media presence
- Decide how to handle calls/invites, slush pile.
- Decide on a project to try and crowd source
- Space/ P.O. Box
- Release schedule
- Contacts for reviewers and book blogs
Around this time last year, there came rumblings at the day job which, due to a zillion years in corporate IT, I recognized as likely presaging eventual layoffs (projected timeline announced this week, as a matter of fact, but projected as slow moving). I decided that it was time to get my life back together. I spun off my erotica and erotic romance under Emily L. Byrne, wrote a bunch of stories and essays both as Emily and as myself and got a bunch of stuff either published or in the pipeline and started a whole bunch of financial planning on various fronts. I also took classes, talked to a lot of experts in various areas and bought a domain name. I decided that I would self-publish and see how that went, and maybe think about publishing other authors.
Then a friend of mine's publisher went belly-up and I realized that one of her series was exactly the sort of thing that I wanted to publish and could market (unlike previous publisher). I talked to her and she was amenable, but now I was tackling a bigger project than I had planned on. Fast forward through more elderly parent crises and other stuff and I got referred to a nice small business attorney. And found a web designer and a template and a terrific logo artist (S.L.Johnson). I'm most of the way through my business plan and have a full list of all the other things I need to do next. What I don't have in place yet includes my finalized LLC, my financial structure, books ready to go out the door yet, distribution accounts, submissions guidelines and all that good stuff. So we are still early in the process, but beginning to gain traction. Think of this as Update #1.
Here is a brief description and page proofs of the new logo (bliss!)
About Queen of Swords Press:
Queen of Swords is an independent small press, specializing in swashbuckling tales of derring-do, bold new adventures in time and space, mysterious stories of the occult and arcane and fantastical tales of people and lands far and near. What does that actually mean? It means our publisher likes all of the following: swashbuckling tales with female protagonists, people from wide-ranging cultural and racial backgrounds having adventures in outer space, LGBT and/or Q characters engaged in magic and swordplay and historically-flavored stories that reflect diverse casts of characters doing interesting things.