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Year Two launches Wednesday!

We’re ready! And we are officially launching on Wednesday!

The table of contents for Issue 4, the first issue of Year 2:

Mice by Keffy R. M. Kehrli
The Filigreed Cage by Krystal Claxton
Love Song of the Lizard Boy by Delilah S. Dawson
The Forever Endeavor: Part One by Chuck Wendig
Plus, artwork by Galen Dara!

Click here if you want a look at one of Galen’s pieces for Issue 4, along with a series of strange messages Chuck has been sending out.

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Launch date postponed

Remember I said the gods laugh when you make plans?

They are laughing now.

We’ve hit a bit of a wall with the development of the website and won’t be able to launch on July 8. The good news is we think this is a delay of just weeks, not months or anything like that. (Fingers crossed.) As soon as the website is done, we will set a new date and let everyone know.

Sorry, and thanks so much for your patience!

Year Two launch date: July 8!

Well the title kind of gives the next sentence away, doesn’t it? But, keeping in mind that the gods laugh when you make plans, we have a launch date for Year Two: July 8!

*throws flaming confetti*

We are so excited. We have 36 great stories to share with you over the next year, along with Chuck’s serial. I have the first couple episodes of that. It’s good. REALLY good.

The new website is shaping up really nicely. I can’t say much more about it than that, but I think we are building something really cool.

The majority of the non-magazine rewards have been shipped, with the exception of individual postcards and the pony. Oh god. The pony.

We’re working on getting the postcards out this week. The pony? *shudders*

Also, I wanted to signal boost a few things:

If you need to scratch a short story itch right now while you wait for Fireside, here are two ebook collections by friends that I have been reading and enjoying:

3024AD by DES Richard
Shiva’s Mother by Andrea Phillips

If you want to read some Chuck Wendig right now, I just finished The Blue Blazes last night. Gangster urban fantasy in New York. I love love loved it. (Get it at Amazon | B&N | Indiebound.)

And, finally, Year Two writer Karina Cooper is running an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign for The Fantastical Mr. Flip’s Carnival of Wonders & Curiosities, a steampunk fair in Washington state. Already sounds cool, right? It’s a local thing, but it raises money for a scholarship fund in memory of Caleb “Flip” Kors, a 10-year-old steampunk circus performer who died in an accident last year. The scholarship goes to “providing underprivileged children with ambitions of performing the help to achieve that dream.” Supporting young artists? Yes please!

Fireside update

So, a bit over two months after the Kickstarter, here are where things stand:

  • We received just a hair under 600 submissions of flash fiction between March 15 and May 1, and we bought 25 stories. We’ll have a lineup announcement once we have all the contracts signed, etc. (If you submitted a story and did not receive a response, please email me at brian@firesidemag.com.)
  • Many of the Kickstarter rewards have shipped, and the rest will be going out in the next few weeks, including the postcards.
  • The new website is humming along. I have seen some of the stuff Pablo and Kirk have been working on, and it looks really good. We are on track to hit our goal of starting publishing by July 1.
  •  I still love you all.

Quick note about submission response times

We have fallen a bit behind on our goal of responding to all submissions within 30 days. I was hoping to get caught up this week, but I live in Boston and work at the newspaper here, and I have been unable to do much outside of my work at the Globe since Monday.

If you have a story that is past the 30-day mark, please wait until we have hit 45 days to query at brian@firesidemag.com. We will do our best to catch up as quickly as possible.

Thanks for your patience, and my apologies.

We are closing to submissions on May 1

We have gotten nearly 300 flash fiction stories so far and are finding good stuff in there. We are going to close the window for submissions on May 1, so if you are interested in sending us a story of less than 1,000 words in any genre, you have 20 days left!

Details about submitting can be found here.

My comic “An Honest Mistake” is in an anthology to raise money for Sandy victims

So one of my favorite folks from Twitter, Lynn Beighley, has put together OH SANDY! An Anthology of Humor for a Serious Purpose to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy victims:

We put out a call for humorous work that was about experiencing a disaster, or surviving a hurricane, or living in New Jersey. We hoped that we might be able to bring a smile to some folks by sharing similar experiences.

And when I saw that call, I immediately submitted the comic I wrote for Issue Two of Fireside, An Honest Mistake (drawn by Steve Walker and lettered by Frank Cvetkovic). Because, you know, Zombies in Jersey.

Well, Lynn accepted it, and Oh Sandy went on sale this week! It’s got stories by a few dozen great writers, and all the proceeds are going to Sandy charities. I’m really happy to be part of this. If you’d like to help, here’s where you can pick it up:

Fireside is now open to flash fiction submissions

Flash  fiction submissions are now open, until at least May 1! All the details are on our submissions page.

Many many thanks to my friend Matt White (@geekstarter on Twitter), who volunteered to set up our submissions process and manage it. Also many thanks to our team of slush readers.

WE MADE IT!!!!!!

Wow! My head is still spinning about how awesome yesterday was. Here’s what a rally looks like:

final chart1

We had 248 new backers and raised $7,245 just yesterday, catapulting us over the top. Thank you to everyone who backed us, and to everyone who was spreading the word, both all the way through the campaign and especially in the final frenzy last night. You guys are the reason we will be able to publish a full year of fiction, and pay our writers well.

We’ll have the flash fiction submission guidelines posted by the end of the weekend. We’ll be opening to submissions March 15 and be staying open at least until May 1.

One minor indulgence. If you are a fan of short fiction and are excited about supporting the arts through Kickstarter, there are two anthology projects going on right now I’d love to see funded. I don’t have any involvement in either aside from being a backer:

First is the Raygun Chronicles space opera anthology. It looks really cool, and the authors include Year Two writer Jennifer Campbell-Hicks. They are down to 32 hours and still need to raise a little under 40% of their goal of $8,000.

Second is Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History. My friend Rose Fox is a co-editor of this project, and it is a really interesting idea, to focus on the stories of people pushed to the edges. It also has an amazing lineup of writers, including Year Two’s Ken Liu. Their campaign still has 25 days left, but go pledge now if you can!

OK. Now we get to work! There are stories to write and edit, artwork to create, a website to build, and lots more!

Thank you so so much.

Down to 4 days! | Q&A with Galen Dara

Still having a bit of trouble with the Kickstarter update page today, so I am posting here again today.

There are just four days to go on the Year Two Kickstarter, and we have a ways to go, but we can do it with your help!

Here is our final Q&A, with Galen Dara, who will be illustrating each issue in Year Two.

fireside promo_FINAL 8x10 smWhen we talked about your doing an illustration for the Kickstarter, I kind of had a vague idea of a storyteller and audience gathered around a fire . How did you get from that to the fatanstical image you created?

Oh that was so much fun! I wanted to do something mysterious and magical, depicting a fireside as this powerful symbol of communal sharing. I wanted the gathering of storytellers to be a menagerie of fantastical beings bringing their mystery and their magic and their stories to the gathering. Neil Gaiman said of storytellers; “We are not our faces… Read the books. That’s when you see us properly: naked priestesses and priests of forgotten religions, our skins glistening with scented oils, scarlet blood dripping down from our hands, bright birds flying out from our open mouths. Perfect, we are, and beautiful in the fire’s golden light…” That is how I see those with the gift for storytelling. That is a bit of what I was trying to channel here.

Where do you look for inspiration? 

I like to look at how other artists have tackled similar imagery. I’ll spend a good bit of time collecting an eclectic range of ideas and visuals from photographers, designers, movies, comics, and art annuals (pinterest is my newest favorite thing), but at a certain point I need to put that all away. Take all those other fabulous creators and put them behind the door so I can dive in doing it my way. If I get stuck, I open the door again and let the party back in, but I have to be careful; that can been an easily justified way of work avoidance.

Is your artwork all done electronically, or do you work on paper and scan, or a mix? Can you tell us what tools you use in either case?

Right now I am almost exclusively a digital artist (tho I used to get my hands dirty and miss it). The Fireside piece is a prime example. Using photoshop and an intuos wacom tablet I start ‘sketching’ very much like how I would with a pencil and eraser. Because it’s digital I can rearrange things and resize things much faster than if it was a pencil on paper sketch. For example; when I initially started working on the Fireside piece I had misunderstood the dimensions and laid it out vertically. When my mistake was pointed out it was relatively easy to cut and copy and paste and re-arrange the sketch to a horizontal layout. Once the preliminary sketch is where I want it, I flatten it and begin to ‘paint’ building up layer upon layer of color. I tend to alternate blending mode paint layers with normal mode paint layers (flattening as I go along) to create depth, similar to glazing with transparent washes in traditional painting. My 9-year-old son has pointed out several times that I have many many brushes in photoshop and it’s a travesty that I only use two of them. I guess I need to think about that.

Do you have any projects you are working on right now that you can tell us about?

This month I’ll be finishing up the cover art for two anthologies; Glitter and Mayhem and The Future Embodied.

Tell us something about you that doesn’t make it into your bio.

I’ve had blue hair for way too long. I need to find a new color.

Year Two Kickstarter (Rewards include postcards and 8x10s of Galen’s Fireside artwork.)

blue hair at workGalen Dara likes to sit in the dark with her sketchbook, but sometimes she emerges to illustrate for books and magazines, dabble in comics, and hatch wild collaborations with friends and associates. Galen has done art for Edge Publishing, Dagan Books, Lightspeed magazineApexScapezineTales to Terrify, Peculiar Pages, Sunstone, and the LovecraftZine. She has blogged for the Inkpunks, BookLifeNow, and the Functional Nerds. When Galen is not online you can find her on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, climbing mountains or hanging out with a loving assortment of human and animal companions. Her portfolio can be viewed at www.galendara.com and you can follow her on twitter @galendara.