Charie La Marr
The Summer Dark Reading Series continued with an evening of readings by James Chambers, Ed Cardillo, and Erik T. Johnson. So far, the weather has been cooperating, and we have been having great turnouts on Friday nights.
Member Teel James Glenn had a busy month. His short story, “Plague of Smiles,” will appear in Martian Magazine. “The Red Sisterhood” will appear in the Crossbones and Crosses anthology. And “The Golding Fleece” will be in the October issue of Crimon Streets Magazine. “Semper Occultus—the Occurrences of Dr. Argent,” a linked collection of Victorian Occult Detective tales, has been picked up by Pro se Productions for publication in 2019!
Edward Cardillo’s new novel, The Dark is Full of Monsters, has been released by J Ellington Ashton Press.
Charie D. La Marr has a short story, “La Mort de la Baroness,” in Vampz vs Wolvez 2 by J Ellington Ashton Press.
Marc Abbott is proud to announce that Etienne and the Stardust Express, a children’s book illustrated by Taren Atreides Lopez, will be released August 17.
The chapter is ready for August 4 when our charity anthology, New York State of Fright, will be launched at Windfall 23 39th St., between 5th and 6th. We hope to see a lot of friends there and sell a lot of books. Thanks to the authors who have contributed books for our raffle.
This month, we wrap up the interview with member Ellen Datlow. Read her great insights into editing below.
– Part 2 –
Charie: Do you advertise for submissions or is most of what you do done by invitation? How can an author break into the anthologies you publish?
ED: Except for my Best of the Year, it’s invitation only. There have been a few rare exceptions, one for the HWA anthology Haunted Nights. Lisa Morton and I held two or three slots open to all members and we instituted a blind submission process, with several members reading and passing the best submissions on to us.
But I’ve been covering short horror for going on thirty-two years now, so I’m pretty aware of what and who is out there. I read hundreds of stories annually for the Best of the Year, so if I think someone’s work might be appropriate for one of my original anthologies I’ll contact them. Every year there are several “strangers” in my Best of the Year: new writers I’d never previously published (and sometimes never read or even heard of before).
Charie: When selecting who to invite for an anthology, do you think at all about the diverse nature of the eventual ToC? Do you seek to invite women or minorities to that end? Do you look for a certain balance in the book to avoid having anthologies made of stories by white men? Would you pass over stories just to include women? Does being invited into an anthology guarantee you a place in the final book?
ED: My first thought when I have an idea for an anthology is who would I like in it? Whose writing do I love? Who do I think might be interested in the theme? In addition to my usual “stable” of writers (every editor has a stable of writers whose work they love and who they can rely on to write really good stories), I’ll approach a few newer writers whose work I’ve been following and see what they come up with.
With The Best Horror of the Year I’ve never calculated a balance of male and female writers, but over the years I’ve been editing it (going on thirty-two, starting with the horror half of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror) there’s been a marked shift from the mass majority of writers being male to the current volume, The Best Horror of the Year Volume Ten with the balance shifting to more females than males in the book. To me, it’s always a surprise, because I don’t choose the stories on the basis of gender or anything else. It always has been and always will be on the basis of the stories I love.
I have been trying to be more open to soliciting writers whose work I’ve taken for my bests of the year and I do try to balance gender more consciously than I may have in the past. But some themes seem to lend themselves to a preponderance of one gender over the other. For example, Mad Hatters and March Hares has way more women than men in it. I think women have been influenced more by the original “Alice” texts than men so that really didn’t surprise me. Supernatural Noir was primarily men. Six of the women I asked to contribute and said they were interested, didn’t write anything and four stories by women were rejected (but several men who said they were interested also didn’t write anything and several men’s stories were also rejected).
Charie: According to Lisa Morton’s calculations, less than eight per cent of the work being published by small presses is being written by women. Do you agree? What, if anything, do you think small presses should do to change that?
ED: I don’t keep track, so I really don’t know. They should become much more aware of who’s out there by reading short stories and approach the writers whose work they like. I’m guessing that most of the male publishers of small presses publish the male writers they know and hang out with. Unless they also hang out with women writers that’s a very limited way of finding new voices. They need to open their eyes and look around.
Charie: How do you know when a work is “finished?” Is there always the temptation to go over it just one more time? Can you actually over-edit?
ED: I do a final line edit a few months before a story goes into production (for an anthology or for a magazine or webzine—it doesn’t matter). Sometimes a copyeditor will catch things that I and the author missed. It’s especially annoying to editors when we find typos in finished works that no one caught.
Charie: What are some of your favorite themes that you have done?
ED: My fantasy, dark fantasy, horror anthology of cat stories, Tails of Wonder and Imagination (although it didn’t sell well—I think partly because although the cover art was beautiful, it was terrible cover art and partly because most cat lovers, other than myself, don’t seem to enjoy horror stories about cats [if the cat comes to a bad end]. And maybe because the title was unclear. Supernatural Noir, Lovecraft Unbound, Mad Hatters and March Hares, and honestly, two of my favorites are my non-theme horror anthologies Inferno and Fearful Symmetries.
Charie: What theme have you never done that you would like to?
ED: I’m not telling—someone might steal the idea. But I’d like to edit another non-theme horror anthology.
Charie: You have traveled all over the world attending conventions and conferences. What are some of your favorite places to visit? Do you get much time to sightsee when you go to a convention?
ED: Whenever I attend a convention in an interesting place, or someplace I haven’t been, I always make sure I have time to explore either before or afterward and hang out with friends. Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. I’ve been to conventions in Japan and Australia (stopping in NZ twice). I try to visit London every year or two, I’ve been to Italy several times and plan to go again next year (not for conventions). And I had a wonderful time in China a few years ago and would love to return—again, not for a convention.
Charie: What do you enjoy reading? Books? Magazines? Newspapers? Short fiction? Poetry? Who are some of your favorite authors?
ED: I don’t have time to read many novels, other than those I can justify covering in my Best of the Year. But I always read the novels of Elizabeth Hand, Jonathan Carroll, William Gibson, and Richard Kadrey. No time for anything else other than what I can justify squeezing into the Best Horror summary of the year.
I have subscriptions to Vanity Fair and New York magazines. I used to get The New Yorker, but never had time to read it so they piled up for months at a time. I get most of my news online.
I have dozens of favorite authors.
Charie: What is your education? Did you study editing in school?
ED: BA in English Literature. I didn’t know I wanted to get into publishing until after I graduated. I did take one book publishing course while working at Holt, Rinehart, and Winston a long time ago. You cannot teach editing. Either you can do it or not. One learns on the job.
Charie: What project or projects are you working on now? How many books do you edit at one time?
ED: I’m going over copyedits and galleys of the ghost story antho for Saga that’s coming out this fall. Just finished working on The Best Horror of the Year Volume Ten out in June and The Best of the Best Horror of the Year, which consists of stories I’ve chosen from the first ten volumes and will be out this fall. The Devil and the Deep, my sea horror anthology, recently was published.
I acquire and edit short stories and novellas for Tor.com. A great sf novella I acquired and edited for them came out a few months ago and is getting a lot of attention: Kelly Robson’s Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach. I think it’ll get nominated for the Nebula and Hugo Awards next year. Over the next several months I’ll be line editing the five stories and novelettes I’ve acquired for Tor.com this year. And hopefully be buying some more stories when we open to (solicited) submissions again. I’m also waiting for a couple of novellas for the Tor.com novella program that I hope hope hope some writers are working on for me.
I’m currently reading for Best Horror #11. And a new all-original anthology I can’t talk about.
The number of anthologies I edit varies annually. I’m always working on the Best of the Year and try to keep original anthologies to one or two a year.
Charie: How did you get involved with HWA?
ED: I’ve been friends with horror writers and editors for many years, even though I started out primarily editing science fiction while at OMNI Magazine for seventeen years. Once I began attending The World Fantasy Convention, I met a ton of horror folk (before HWA existed) and when some of the attendees of WFC decided to start a horror organization, that interested me, as I had started editing fantasy and horror in addition to sf by then. But I was hesitant, because as a member of SFWA I couldn’t vote or participate in any decision-making as an affiliate member—they have no active membership category for those who only write nonfiction. Not only couldn’t I vote, but I didn’t even receive all the organization’s publications. So … I told this to Doug Winter and he said that I could indeed become an active member of the HWA if I applied because of my nonfiction writing. So I said, ok. And here I am, decades later (ha).
I continue to enjoy being a member of the organization because I feel I can help influence where the organization is heading and make changes for good in the organization and in the field at large.
Charie: I know that you are a busy person and don’t sit still for long, but do you have any hobbies for your downtime? Are there any hobbies you wish you had time for?
ED: Actually sitting still at my computer and on my sofa is how I spend most of my days—reading and editing. But I realize you don’t mean that.
My only hobby is antiquing. I happily haunt flea markets and yard sales and garage sales in different cities/states/countries. It’s fun. I don’t have much room anymore and I have too many different collections, but still, sometimes I find a treasure. As I tell friends: it has to be weird, cheap, and small.
Because I freelance, I can pace myself and have time to do what I choose—unless I’m on deadline. It’s only bad when multiple deadlines on various strands of my work creep up on me at the same time. I try to stagger my anthologies to not be due at the same time, but weirdly enough they always seem to be anyway.
Charie: How are your cats doing? I know you got a new one recently.
ED: Jack’s driving me nuts. He’s a good-natured but rowdy teen of thirteen months old. Sophie is getting used to him though. He’s lying behind me on the back of my sofa (where I work) right now, and I gave him some loving, so he’s happy.
Charie: Describe yourself in six words.
ED: Curly-haired, stubborn, lover of short stories. (I count “curly-haired as one word).