It isn't that I don't love the book--and "Fixed" my story in it. I do. There are scenes in that story that still make me giggle. And I can't begin to describe my delight at sharing space in the table of contents with writers like Seanan McGuire, Barbara Ashford, Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake and Jim C. Hines. But "Fixed" was my last story to to see print or pixels, and it was published in February 2012!
It isn't that I haven't been writing. I have, and I've got the callused fingertips to prove it. It isn't that I haven't sold stories. Or signed the contracts. Or done all the things writers are supposed to do.
Finally, 2014 is almost here, and I can draw back the curtain on one of those projects, a story called "A Gap in the Fence" in the 2014 anthology Athena's Daughters from Silence in the Library Publishing. Yes, there will be an excerpt, but first I want to tell you about the project.
The participating authors include friend of Beyond the Veil Gail Z. Martin, multiple award-winner Mary Robinette Kowal, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Sherwood Smith, Janine Spendlove, Vicki Johnson-Steger, Cynthia Ward (no relation that I know of, alas), and that other Ward girl--me! Veteran editor and bestselling author Jean Rabe will be doing the editing honors (and she may even add one of her own wonderful stories). Not only that, we're going to have a real, live astronaut writing our introduction: Colonel Pamela Melroy, USAF (Retired), the second woman to command a space shuttle! How cool is that?
Almost as cool as the ideas behind Athena's Daughters. The stories are all by women, about women, celebrating their strength at every phase of their lives, from ten to eighty. Not just physical strength either, but all the ways women show their strength. Wit and grit. Determination. Adaptability. Empathy. Courage in the face of overwhelming odds.
In addition, the anthology seeks to help women find their strength. A portion of the of every book sold will go to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers nationwide, and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense.
Athena's Daughters also marks a publishing first for me. This will be my first post-submission crowd-sourced project. Silence in the Library doesn't solicit funding until they've assembled and readied a project for production. As a result, the folks who contribute know what they're getting in advance. They know the book will be published and can see how great it will be, because it's already almost done. For a $5 pledge they are guaranteed an electronic copy in the format of their choice. And it gets better from there!
As the stretch goals are reached, you get signed postcards and additional ebooks from the contributing authors--and the anthology adds more stories. Bigger pledges net paper copies of the anthology (including a very special hardcover edition), Tuckerizations (a character named in your honor in one of the anthology's stories) and original art. Yeah, art. Did I mention every single story will have its own original illustration?
All for a click and a pledge.
Not sure, yet? Well, how about this: my story, "The Gap in the Fence" features two little girls, three special dogs, and one box-obsessed cat. The jacket copy reads: "Ten-year-old Ana will do anything to save her best friend's dog from being put down--even braving the fairies who live behind the Gap in the Fence."
Finally, here's that excerpt I promised you:
Now you want that link, right? It's the Athena's Daughters Kickstarter. And we've got an astronaut!
Jean Marie Ward