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Sigh


     So I just wrote a really good post--it took me half an hour and it was just loaded with great info and nuggets of wisdom. You would have loved it--it might have changed the world. However, I decided when I was done with it to upload a user pic (see above) and when I got back to my post it was gone. Gone, gone, gone. Argghh. So much for changing the world. Maybe next time.
     Anyway, here's basically what I wrote, minus the earth-shaking widsom and preternatural insights. 
     I started out with my basic apology for being so slow in my posts. Consider yourselves apologized to. I was much nicer the first time around. I then reported that Doug and I had a long delayed slush transfer about a month or so ago, and at 318 mss. it was the largest Doug has had in his Realms history! I said that Doug was mostly dug (ha ha, a pun!) out on his end, but that I was still bogged down. I had a buying moratorium for a while, since we were over-inventoried, and I made the executive decision (quite sensibly, I thought at the time) that since I still had a batch of stories from the batch before that one that I wanted to buy and couldn't, that I would wait to start reading the "new" batch, since I couldn't buy anything anyway. The "new" batch is about to be no longer new, but I did get to buy the stack that was on hold. Here's what I bought:

The Fall of the Moon, by Jay Lake (feel better, Jay!)
The Swan Troika by Richard Parks
Middle, by Eilis O'Neal
Maiden, Mother, Crone, by Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky
The Banjo Singer by Dennis Danvers
Tools of the Devil by Jerry Oltion
The Time of his Life by Scott William Carter
Congratulations, all!

     I then talked about how cluttered my home/office is by piles of manuscripts, both short fiction and novel length. I felt sorry for myself and said that I didn't know how I kept up with it, except that I often don't.
     I then gave you some news on my day-to-day activities which you may or may not find of interest. I had dinner with Ellen Datlow last week and she very kindly took a picture of me for the WFC '11 committee to use on their website. Thanks, Ellen! And if there's anyone with more books and manuscripts around the place than me, it would have to be Ellen. But somehow she always keeps up with hers! Then, the night before last, I spoke to a fantasy writing class at NYU. The students were eager, lovely and well taught by my old friend Karen Heuler (who was actually my boss at my first-ever editorial job at Firehouse Magazine. Yes, you read that right. Firehouse Magazine. Deal.) If any of you are reading this, it was great to meet you and I'm sorry if I depressed you with my tales of the publishing industry! Then finally, last night I met another old friend (also from Firehouse!) for a wonderful dinner at Metrozur restaurant in Grand Central Station. The food was fabulous and so was the company. Hi Joanna! 
     And now, for the second and last time, here's the news you've all been waiting for--the winners of the first annual Realms of Fantasy Reader awards:
Fiction: Our Lady of Scarlet, by Tanith Lee
Art: Stephanie Pui-Mun Law's illo for Impractical Cats, by K.D. Wentworth

Runners up were:
Fiction: Bob and the Mermaid, by Bill Eakin
Art: John Kaine for his illo for Tio Gilberto and the Twenty-Seven Ghosts, by Ben Francisco.
You might be interested to know that John is Tanith's lovely and talented husband. And I mean lovely in both the British and American senses!
     Winners will receive tropies when we figure out how to acquire them, and runners-up will just have to bask in the glow of approbation.         Congratulations to all of you!

That's all for now folks--ttul!
Shawna

Whoo-Hoo and Thank You!


So, guess who's going to be Editor Guest of Honor at the 2011 World Fantasy Con! I'm so excited and, well, honored, to have been asked.
  
I have to admit that my main feeling one of validation. I created Realms over 15 years ago with Sovereign Media, and am now happily ensconced with Warren Lapine at Tir na Nog, and over that time we've published some truly amazing stories. But for some reason Realms has been consistently overlooked for the major awards. We won one Nebula for Jane Yolen's "Lost Girls," one Bram Stoker for F. Paul Wilson's "Aftershock," and have had a few scattered nominations over the years for Nebulas and WFC.  But we've never had a story (or an editor, ahem) nominated for a Hugo, and honestly, to have won only two major awards in 15 years is kind of sad.  Or at least, it made me sad. It made me so sad, in fact, that I stopped attending the World Fantasy Con entirely for some six years, since it got too embarrassing for me to attend as the editor of the country's bestselling fantasy magazine without having had anything on the ballot for years on end. I was, thankfully, able to rescind my boycott in 2008 when I was nominated in the Professional category. I didn't win, but that's okay. It was never about winning, it was only about being acknowledged.


This lack of recognition became a fact of life for us at Realms. Every year when the various ballots came out and we weren't on them, we'd shake our figurative heads (and our literal ones as well) and say, well, maybe next year. Last year, however, it seemed as if "next year" wasn't going to come. I got a call in January 2009 from an industry reporter asking if the rumors that Realms had been shut down were true. I happened to be out of the country at the time, but realized that rumors like that usually had some basis in reality, and soon had it confirmed by the publisher that Realms was to cease publication. I was deeply sorrowful my creation had died such a sudden and unanticipated death, but I figured we wouldn't be much missed anyway. Wow, was I wrong about that! 

As I said in my first LJ post, I've long looked at the on-line community with trepidation, and avoided most on-line interaction out of a deep-seated sense of self-preservation. I've seen how easy it is to be eviscerated for one small misstatement, or an awkward turn of phrase (Women in Fantasy issue, anyone?), and so I completely unprepared to see the superpowers of the internet used for good and not evil! The long-silent fans of Realms of Fantasy came rushing to our rescue. Fan groups were started on Facebook and LJ, letters and emails were sent to various editors and publishers, petitions were circulated and voices were heard. Realms was brought back to life within four months, and we missed only one issue. Since I didn't have a public forum on which to thank everyone at the time, I'd like to do so now. Begin caps-lock: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! YES, I AM SHOUTING. I WISH I COULD STAND ON MY ROOF AND SHOUT LOUD ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE WHO HELPED TO HEAR. I AM ETERNALLY GRATEFUL!!!! End caps-lock.

Without your help I wouldn't be eligible to be Editor Guest of Honor at the World Fantasy convention, and have my long-held dream of recognition for Realms of Fantasy come true. Now all you have to do is keep us in business for the next 20 months so that I'll still be eligible in 2011! Thanks again, and I hope to meet as many of you as I can at the con!

 

 

Sad



 From Sarah Weinman's blog, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, via Publisher's Lunch:

Robert B. Parker is Dead (UPDATED)

At the age of 77, "just sitting at his desk" at his home in Cambridge, Mass., according to an email sent out by a representative of his U.K. publisher Quercus, Robert B. Parker is dead. The news of Parker's death on Monday was confirmed by Parker's U.S publisher, Putnam; an official statement is expected later today, though on Twitter a representative wrote: "R.I.P beloved author Robert B. Parker. You were indeed a Grand Master, your legacy lives on, and you will be missed by us all." The thriller writer Joseph Finder also confirmed the news directly with Parker's family, said to be "in shock."And the Bookseller quotes Parker's UK editor, Nick Johnston: "He was a great talent who will be mourned by all his many fans."

I just want to say that Parker was one of my all time favorite writers. He's one of the few about whom I can say that I've read every word he's written (not an inconsiderable feat considering his output!). I'll miss Spenser the most, I think. Spenser was a man you could depend on--macho and strong but kind and smart and a hell of a cook. He had a snappy literary quote for most any occasion, and he gave me my mental catch phrase for whenever I wanted to do something I knew I really shouldn't: "We'd be fools not to."  

This is not to say I won't miss Hawk and Sarah and Jesse Stone and Sunny and all the assorted cops, thugs, boxers and made men and cowboys that populated Parker's books. They all brightened my life and gave me hours of utter enjoyment and pure entertainment. 

Procrastinating


At the moment I have to do so many things that I don't want to do that I'm actually posting a blog entry rather than do them. And since we all know how ambivalent I am about blogging, you know these must be some pretty annoying tasks! You might wonder what could possibly be so bad. In a word (or three): Financial Aid forms. I'm sure many of you have college age kids and you've probably all had to fill out the dreaded FAFSA at some point. I'm only up to page three and I had to stop because I don't have Hillary's driver's license number handy. Why on earth do they need that anyway??? Because she's going to an out of state school next year I also have to fill out the College Board CSS profile, as well as the one directly from Penn. Oh yeah, and I also have to put together my W2 forms for 2009, pay some bills, complete an interview, write an editorial and put together yearbook ads for both kids, since one's graduating from college and the other from high school in the spring. 

So in an attempt to put off the inevitable, I decided to break precedent and buy a story for Realms outside of the normal buying cycle. I did this mainly because the author is leaving for overseas any minute now and I wanted to get the contract to him while he's still in the States. The story is Fallen, by Bruce Holland Rogers, a long-time Realms contributor. Unlike most of his stories, this one actually breaks 1,000 words, though not by that much! So one of these months you'll read the piece and wonder if I ever got my FAFSA filled out. Sorry, Bruce!

A slushy day in NYC


Well, it was only a little slushy in the literal sense of the word, but today was the day that Doug and I did our monthly slush transfer. What this means is that I take all the submissions that come in over a month and drive them from New Jersey to NYC, while Doug brings the survivors of the previous month in from LI. We then trade baskets and come home and read. This time I got a batch of 28 mss out of 213 given to Doug just before Thanksgiving. I haven't started on them yet since I just got back a little while ago and have been catching up on other work. I expect to do my buying run sometime in the next three or four weeks, though I have to check with Warren on the timing. 

The funny thing is that for all these years Doug and I have been meeting on the weekends, mainly because I thought he had a day job and couldn't meet during the week, which would have been much more convenient for me in terms of setting up business lunches, dinners, parties, etc. It only occurred to me to ask about a mid-week transfer this time because we just couldn't get it together on two consecutive weekends because of snow storms, holidays, traffic, etc. I suddenly realized that his full time job is now home based, and I thought I'd give it a shot. What a nice change! I was able to meet Ellen Datlow for a wonderful lunch at my favorite neighborhood restaurant and I was home by 3:30!  

So this is blogging? Kind of boring, I think, but if people want to read about their friends' haircuts on Twitter, maybe someone wants to read about my drive into New York and my nice lunch!

Stay warm and happy, people!

I can't ignore you any longer!


As many of my good friends and colleagues will attest, my overall attitude towards this giant digital community has basically been the equivalent of sticking my fingers in my ears and chanting, "Lalala, I can't hear you! " I've recently discovered that this won't work anymore. Even if I stay off the interwebs and keep my nose clean and my typing fingers innocent of slander and ridicule, I still end up in trouble, so I give up. Here is my neck--please direct me to the nearest guillotine.

Anyway, the first thing I wanted to address today is the tempest in a teapot that has been stirred up by the announcement of Realms of Fantasy's Women in Fantasy issue. Doug Cohen, the general editor, announced the issue earlier this week, and apparently a mini-firestorm immediately erupted on the basis of whether or not it's sexist that such an issue even exist. I decided to ignore that, as usual, since I thought it was silly. But then some more serious charges arose around Doug's choice of language in his announcement, and I can't ignore the issue or the internet any longer.

My kids have, over the years, discovered the hard way that irony, sarcasm, humor and even affection just don't travel well digitally. If you text someone a message saying U suck, the recipient has no way of knowing that you meant it affectionately, or as a joke, or utterly sincerely. 

So, Doug is a guy. I don't really know how old he is, but from my lofty perspective (which is how I choose to refer to my age), the answer is "not very." He's a hard-working, fantasy loving, football watching kid who is just now beginning to realize that there are certain things you just can't say on the internet (or in real life). Much like my kids, he's now finding out the hard way that what sounds good in your head sounds awful on the internet. I know he's not a sexist pig, and using the terms a) "girl writers only" and b) "ladies" was not intended in any way other than a) as a joke, and b) as a young male person's ignorance of how much we women hate to be referred to as ladies.  I also know that this ignorance is a sign that, yes, we still have far to go in the battle against sexist language and the underlying, unaware sexist attitudes, but we also need to just chill a little bit. 

What gives me the right to stand (or more accurately, sit) here and say this? Well, I started working in SFF field when in 1978 when the proportion of men to women was 90/10. I was the first woman to edit a major SF magazine, and the first woman to win a Hugo for doing so. I edited the first women-in-science-fiction anthology, A Space of Her Own back in 1983.  Since then the balance of men to women has shifted somewhat, but not as much as I'd like to see, especially in the SF venue. In fantasy the numbers are more even (I don't have any statistics to hand, but I'm basing this on my own perception after many years in the field), but still tilted towards the male. I think the idea of a Women in Fantasy issue Realms is perfectly legitimate and I honestly think that objecting to it on the basis of sexism is just silly. Objecting to Doug's choice of language in announcing it is legitimate, but he has apologized and is slowly but clearly learning his lesson is just what you can and cannot say on line. I too apologize to anyone who was offended by his words,but I do not apologize for fact of the issue's very existence. 

So now that I've got a blog (god, I can't believe I'm doing this!), I will post more often on topics related to the magazine and probably, as I get more comfortable with being in the crosshairs, other stuff as well, For now, though, I've got to get back to work!

ETA: I've  been reliably informed, and have even looked it up myself, that my Space of Her Own anthology was predated by about five years by Pamela Sargeant's groundbreaking Women of Wonder. Apologies and deep bows to Pamela!
ETAA (edited to also add!): I have further been informed that my feminist street cred is not nearly as old as I thought it was. Ellen has also reminded me about Virginia Kidd's Millennial Women, 1973 and several others that followed with Ursula LeGuin as co-editor, along with the name of Cele Goldsmith who edited Amazing stories and Fantastic while I was still in training pants. As I said to Ellen, it hasn't taken me long to learn how to be a blogger--like most bloggers I prefer to rely on my faulty memories and deeply held opinions.

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shawnam
shawnam

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