20 September 2014

The State of the Ward

In a word: Busy.

Every since Memorial Day, I've been up to my eyebrows organizing and formatting the collection of stories, art, nonfiction and historical photographs which will make up Unconventional Fantasy--the huge, five-volume ebook anthology celebration of forty years of World Fantasy Con. The first four volumes are with the proofers, and I'm finishing up the fifth.

Note: I said "finishing". I ain't done yet, and all the final files have to be with the company making the thumb drives by October 1 to be ready for distribution at this year's World Fantasy Con.

Nervous?  Me?

I'm practically vibrating. On the other hand, that could just be the caffeine.

But I had to take time out to let everyone know that two of the books I've been waiting for all summer have finally arrived at real and virtual bookstores near you.

First out of the gate, the paper version of Athena's Daughters, the 22-story anthology of stories about strong women by strong women, is now available for sale by all the usual suspects: Indiebound, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. In addition to my story "The Gap in the Fence" which holds the coveted last story spot (user buffs nails and hums with pride), Athena's Daughters features stories by Mary Robinette Kowal, Sherwood Smith, Gail Z. Martin and Diana Peterfreund AND an introduction by astronaut and space shuttle commander Pam Melroy. Can't beat that.

But I'm going to give it a shot--a photograph, to be precise of The Management inspecting copies of that other book I've been waiting for: Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens. It's got Steampunk. It's got aliens. It's got my story, "The Wizard of Woodrow Park", starring a chicken secret agent in a human suit, academic politics and Chihuahas. What more could you ask?
Excerpts?  Well we've got them right here:

"The Gap in the Fence"

"The Wizard of Woodrow Park"

But obviously new releases and encyclopedic anthologies weren't enough to maintain my full operating level of madness. I had to get involved in another Kickstarter, run by Zombies Need Brains, the same folks who produced Clockwork Universe

Temporally Out of Order features gadgets, timey-wimey and seven amazing anchor authors--David B. Coe, Laura Anne Gilman, Faith Hunter, Stephen Leigh, Gini Koch, Seanan McGuire, and Laura Resnick--authors I pre-order, which is a very small number indeed. The stretch goal authors ain't too shabby, either--Juliet E. McKenna, Jack Campbell, and me!

To say nothing of all the wonderful swag you get on top of the perks of pledging. For example, the first 400 backers will receive A Rain of Pebbles, an ebook containing all the short stories in Stephen Leigh's Alliance Universe. And there will be more special incentives as the Kickstarter continues. To say nothing of its awesome cover painting by Justin Adams of Varia Studios.

Check it all out here.
But that still wasn't enough for me. The weekend of September 26-28 I'll be at the Baltimore Book Festival. When I'm not participating in the SFWA programming track, you can find me at the Silence in the Library Publishing and Dark Quest Books tables doing my best to shill books. 

Come and check it out...and bring more caffeine!

Jean Marie Ward
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