TusCon 44

Next weekend, I’ll be at TusCon 44 which is being held from November 10-12 at the Sheraton Tucson Hotel and Suites in Tucson, Arizona. Timothy Zahn is the Author Guest of Honor, Theresa Mather is the Artist Guest of Honor, Melinda M. Snodgrass is the Media Guest of Honor, Geoff Notkin is the Toastmaster, Madame Askew is the Mistress of Chaos, Hal and Dee Astell are the Fan Guests of Honor. For more information about the convention visit http://www.tusconscificon.com

This year, all of my panels are on Saturday, November 11, but as you’ll see, it’s a busy schedule! I will be at TusCon all weekend and Hadrosaur Productions will be in the dealer’s room. Here’s my event schedule:

Saturday, November 11

  • 12pm-1pm – Autographing – Canyon Theater Foyer. I’ll be signing autographs alongside Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Marsheilla Rockwell, Rick Cook, and Dr. David Williams.

  • 2pm-3pm – The Astronomer’s Crypt: Making a Book and a Trailer – Panel Room 2 (Pima B). Filmmaker Eric Schumacher and I will debut our short film which presents a scene from my novel, The Astronomer’s Crypt. Our goal with this project is to make something that goes beyond the ordinary book trailer and actually brings you inside the world of the book. We’ll discuss how we made the trailer and, if you’re an author, we’ll show you how we can help you get more eyes on your book.
  • 4pm-5pm – Publishing in 2017 – The Options, the Opportunities, the Pitfalls – Ballroom (Sabino). There’s the big press, the small press, the self press, the no press. What to do what to do? On the panel with me are Ron Collins, Julie Verley, Cynthia Ward, Beth Meacham, and Catherine Wells.
  • 5pm-6pm – The Snowball Effect: How to pick up steam on the way to making a low-budget film – Panel Room 1 (Pima A). I’ll join director Marty Ketola, actor Eric Schumacher, and actor Geoff Notkin to discuss the making of the indie film Revenge of Zoe in which screenwriter Billy Shaw must face his inner demons while convincing comic book store owners John and Pete to help him write a sequel to his greatest work; a movie about comic book super heroine Fren-Zee.
  • 7pm-8pm – Why Do Adults Like Young Adult Fiction? – Ballroom (Sabino). What are adults finding in the “kids” shelves that they’re not find in the rest of the bookstore? On the panel with me are Linda Addison, Mary Fan, Jim Doty, Jill Knowles, and Beth Meacham.

Also, I’m planning my annual shared birthday celebration with fellow longtime TusCon dealer Marty Massoglia on Saturday night after all the panels. Check with us at the convention for details. We might even go back in time on Friday night to TusCon 43 to have the party we missed last year!

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Tales of Zandria

Last year, I had the pleasure of traveling to Baltimore for Balticon 50 where eSpec Books released it’s collection of steampunk fairy tales called Gaslight and Grimm. I’m honored to be one of the contributors and it was a real delight to meet many of my fellow contributors. One contributor I was pleased to meet was Christine Norris. The reason is that we had worked with each other at LBF Books almost a decade before, but this was the first time we’d actually had a chance to meet face to face.

In 2005, I edited Christine’s young adult novel Talisman of Zandria, then edited its sequel, Return to Zandria in 2007. I thought these were terrific stories and I enjoyed getting to know the protagonist, Ivy Peterson. Here’s a little bit about each of the novels.

When Ivy Peterson sees the most extraordinary thing in her own backyard—a fairy—she dismisses it as a daydream, but she quickly realizes that it was, in fact, the real thing. She goes in search of the mythical creature, and accidentally falls into Zandria, a magical world that exists just outside her own. Unfortunately, she finds that she’s trapped there. Someone has stolen the Talisman, a magical amulet that controls the five gates between Zandria and her own world. Ivy and her new friends, the wizard Arden, his young apprentice Connor, and a pair of fairies set off on a quest to reclaim the Talisman of Zandria.

Diana Hignutt, author of the award nominated Empress of Clouds said, “Talisman of Zandria sparkles with wonder, adventure and excitement. A must read for fans of YA fantasy.”

Ivy Peterson was not ordinary. Ivy was More-Than-Ordinary because once she found herself in a very special place and had a very special adventure. But Ivy was far too old for fairy tales…wasn’t she? It has been three years since Ivy recovered the Talisman of Zandria, and her life is very different. She is no longer the shy young girl who chased a fairy through a magic gate, but a teenager, concerned with clothes, friends, and school. She has nearly forgotten about the special world that exists on the other side of a thin, magical veil. But they have not forgotten her. Now a crisis is brewing in Zandria, and only Ivy can help. They implore her to come to their aid, and Ivy’s memories of adventure pull her once again into the enchanted world of mermaids, dragons and wizards. Reunited with old friends, and bringing a new one along for the ride, Ivy must now lead them into the wilds of her own world, and not only keep them safe, but stop an empire from falling into the clutches of evil.

According to Coffee Time Romance, “The reader is transported into beautiful imagery that is quite magical as Ivy and Lori race to help the people of Zandria. Christine Norris sketches a tale that young and old will enjoy.”

Hadrosaur Productions has first edition copies of both novels on clearance for 50% off the cover price. The direct links to the books are:

A Time of Milestones

The middle of May 2015 marks several milestones in my life. In chronological order, my youngest daughter celebrated her thirteenth birthday, I turned in my tenth novel for publication, Hadrosaur Productions celebrates its twentieth birthday, and my wife and I celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

Twent-Five-Years

On the left are my wife and I about a year before we were married and the photo on the left was taken a little over a year ago. I have to say, those twenty-five years have gone by quickly. While it’s a little sad to see my little girl grow up, I’ve had to remind myself it’s the nature of life and I’m proud of the young woman she is growing into. She has a bright future ahead.

Novel number ten is The Brazen Shark, third novel in my Clockwork Legion Steampunk series, contracted by Sky Warrior Publishing. Beta readers have gone over the book and given me feedback, which I’ve applied to the novel as I’ve polished it for submission. It now joins novel number nine, waiting to begin edits. Number nine is The Astronomer’s Crypt, which is at Lachesis Publishing. I’m told my editor is ready to begin work and I’m just waiting for the contract to arrive.

Hadrosaur Productions was founded as part of my wife’s final project for her Masters in Business Administration at the University of Arizona. The original vision of the company was to produce audio stories, but the focus soon shifted to books and Hadrosaur Tales Magazine, which we published for ten years. Afterwards, we reformatted the magazine and called it Tales of the Talisman. Now as we celebrate our twentieth anniversary, the magazine will be going back into a chrysalis phase. Of course, Hadrosaur Productions has been much more than a magazine publisher. We also publish anthologies, have served as a cooperative publisher for novels, and we sell books at conventions. Of course, we also do have three audiobooks. To celebrate this particular milestone, we’re offering 20% off all our novels, anthologies, and audiobooks for the next month. This includes many of my novels! Drop by hadrosaur.com and celebrate twenty years with us.

Last but not least, this brings us to the twenty-five years of marriage with Kumie Wise. Fact of the matter is, none of these milestones would have been possible without her. Not only is she mother and wife, but as noted in the paragraph before, founder of Hadrosaur Productions. She’s also my biggest fan—the one who makes sure I don’t get distracted with other projects, and actually finishes the books I’m working on.

Of course twenty-fifth anniversaries are a common time for people to ask, how did you make it work? I routinely come back to one of the great quotes by Robert A. Heinlein’s character Lazarus Long: “Formal courtesy between husband and wife is even more important than it is between strangers.” The quote reminds me that it’s important to be considerate of feelings. It reminds me that no matter what, we’re in business together. In this case, I’m not talking about Hadrosaur Productions so much as the business of running a household and raising kids. Being courteous with each other, helps us set an example for the kids. Yeah, we’ve often forgotten this, but part of formal courtesy is knowing the importance of apology, forgiveness and moving on. Here’s to the next set of milestones!

Tales of the Talisman – Autumn 2014

Admittedly winter is almost upon us according to the calendar, but we still have a couple weeks of autumn left and I’ve been working hard this past week to finish the Autumn 2014 issue of Tales of the Talisman Magazine. Tales 10-2 cover The issue has something of a mad science vibe with stories of elder gods manipulating the Large Hadron Collider to break through to our world and Thomas Edison working to contact the dead. We also meet nineteenth century scientists working on the first artificial heart and we see a world where the wealthy reenact early space flights.

There are plenty of other stories as well, including the tale of a man who seeks King Arthur’s grave to implore the once and future monarch to rise and save the world. A doctor visits a village in Mongolia only to encounter terrifying magic. Another man peels up the corner of the world to reveal the elephants underneath. Of course, the issue itself is supported and enhanced by wonderful speculative poetry and terrific illustrations. I hope to send the issue to press sometime in the week of December 14. My guess is we’ll be shipping it out early in 2015. Please watch for it to appear at TalesOfTheTalisman.com and support the fine work of the authors and artists who have made this issue possible.

I suspect most people have heard by now that Tales of the Talisman will be going on indefinite hiatus. I thought I would take this opportunity answer some questions I’ve received about our break from the magazine.


Why are you going on hiatus?

In short, both Art Director Laura Givens and I have a lot of new, exciting opportunities on our plates and we could use more time to focus on them. I am contracted to deliver two novels to Sky Warrior Publishing in the next eighteen months. I will start working with my editor on a third novel for Lachesis Publishing early in 2015 and I have several other projects both personal and professional that have long been on the back burner simply due to lack of time.

By my estimate, I spend about 4.5 months of my year working at Kitt Peak. This is pretty much on par with an ordinary eight-hour per day, five-day per week job. Tales of the Talisman requires about 4 months of my year. That leaves about 3.5 months to do everything else, which has included writing a novel roughly every other year, multiple short stories, and attending conventions to promote my work.

In 1995, I assembled a small anthology called Hadrosaur Tales. That soon grew into a magazine, which I edited until 2005. At that point, in consultation with several people, we decided to take the magazine to the next level and add illustrations and give the stories the presentation they deserve. This became Tales of the Talisman.

For most of those twenty years, Hadrosaur Tales and then Tales of the Talisman supported themselves. However, they neither made me nor any of their contributors a living, much less making us rich. I have been delighted to have seen all the stories and poems that have come in to Tales of the Talisman and Hadrosaur Tales over the last twenty years, but I also felt like twenty years marked a good point to take a break and pursue other opportunities while I consider the next, best way for Hadrosaur Productions to present short fiction


When will Tales of the Talisman come back?

The most straightforward answer is, I don’t know. In short, deadlines are upon me for some of the projects I’ve mentioned above, plus I’m still spending time working on getting the final issues of Tales to press. I simply haven’t had time to consider that question. I plan to have a more definitive answer by the end of 2015.


Will Tales of the Talisman come back?

I’m not entirely certain, at least as it exists in its present form. Hadrosaur Productions, the company that publishes Tales of the Talisman remains committed to presenting great short speculative fiction. What we have to consider is whether the magazine is the best, most cost and time-effective way to do that. I have been considering other options, including an annual or semi-annual anthology, which might allow for quicker ebook conversion and easier distribution.


How long will Tales of the Talisman be published?

We have purchased stories through the spring 2015 issue. So, including the one that’s about to go to press, we have three issues to go. The artists are currently working on the winter issue, so I hope it will be released well before the spring winds start blowing here in New Mexico. We have all the material we need to fill those issues, so there will be no further reading periods until such time as we start up again, in whatever form that happens.


How will subscriptions be handled that extend past the last issue?

We don’t have many of those at this point. If you are one of those subscribers, I’ll contact you after we ship the final issue and find out if you want a refund for the balance of your subscription or if you’d like a product from the Hadrosaur Productions catalog for the value of the subscription.


If you have a question that I haven’t covered, feel free to ask in the comments. I want to thank all those people who have supported Tales of the Talisman and Hadrosaur Tales over the years. I ask that you continue to support my work and growth as a writer in the coming months. I hope that growing as a writer will help me grow as an editor as well. When we come back—in whatever form that is—I want the short fiction and poetry venue of Hadrosaur Productions to be a strong, vibrant home for the best voices in speculative fiction. My goal for this hiatus is to grow so that the material I choose and guide remains on that cutting edge. Please visit davidleesummers.com, browse my books and sign up for my newsletter.

Tales of the Talisman – Summer 2014 and Beyond

Tales10-1-cover-big

The stories and poems for Tales of the Talisman volume 10, issue 1 have all been edited and they’ve been sent to the artists for illustration. The current plan is to send the issue to the printer by August. In the meantime, I’m working on volume 10, issue 2 and the reading period is now under way for issues 3 and 4. At this point, we’re only five days into the reading period and submissions are rolling in. The good news is that I anticipate assembling two more outstanding issues of the magazine. The bad news is that I’ll likely have to say “no” to quite a few contributors, even if I generally like their stories.

Often times, when I discuss story selection with people, the discussion focuses on rejection. What I find interesting about this is that over the years, I’ve found that I rarely look for reasons to reject a story. I actually look for reasons to love a story. Did it have characters I cared about? Was the situation interesting and unique? Was the story told well? Did it provide interesting insight? Was it fun? The reason I reject most stories is that they simply didn’t give me enough reasons to love it.

That said, there are some things that will cause me to reject a story outright. For example, sometimes it’s clear the author didn’t proofread their story. There are a lot of wrong words or clunky grammar. If you don’t love your story enough to proofread it before sending it, how can you expect me to love it? Sometimes I read a story and can’t figure out how it can be considered science fiction, fantasy, or horror. Some people just don’t pay attention to the guidelines and send stories that are far too long.

This reading period, I don’t anticipate writing long rejection letters. Most people will simply get a letter that says, in effect, “Sorry, we’ve decided not to purchase this story.”

Hadrosaur Tales 3

Finally, I have decided that after this reading period, I’ll be putting Tales of the Talisman on an indefinite hiatus. Between Hadrosaur Tales and Tales of the Talisman, I have now been editing a magazine of speculative fiction for 20 years, essentially without break. Sure, I’ve taken off a reading period here or there, but the magazine itself has not ceased publication. Partly, I need some time to concentrate on writing projects I’ve committed to. Partly, I want to consider the best way for Hadrosaur Productions to present short fiction. Ideally, I’d like to offer better pay to writers and artists, but of course, that needs to be done in a sustainable way.

An important factor in my decision relates to my return to Kitt Peak National Observatory six and a half years ago. To be honest, I didn’t think the job would last more than five years. Much as I love astronomy, I was uncertain about the funding situation. Admittedly, the funding situation is still not entirely clear, but there is hope for the future. As such, I’m not in a hurry to leave a job where I feel I’m making an important contribution. With a full time astronomy job, a busy writing career, a family life, and possibly a couple of other projects I’m looking into, I find it challenging to devote the kind of time to the magazine it deserves.

I’ll just wrap up by noting that this is a hiatus, not a permanent closing. We will continue to produce the magazine through volume 10, issue 4. At that point, I’ll take a break. It’s indefinite only because I’m not prepared at this time to say just how long the break will be. I’m prepared to refund unused portions of subscriptions that go beyond volume 10, issue 4, but will offer supporters the option of continuing when we resume operations.

Thanks to everyone who has supported Hadrosaur Tales and Tales of the Talisman for the last two decades!

New and Forthcoming Books from Hadrosaur Productions

Hadrosaur Productions is the publishing company I founded with Kumie Wise and William Grother back in 1994. If you’re familiar with my work, you probably know Hadrosaur Productions best as the publishing company behind Tales of the Talisman Magazine. However, that’s not all that Hadrosaur does. Over the years, we have published story collections such as Wayne James’s When Only the Moon Rages and audio books such as Joy Smith’s Sugar Time.

Over the years, Hadrosaur has also worked in cooperation with other organizations and publishers to produce books. For many years, we worked with El Paso Community College to lay out their literary magazine Chrysalis. We also collaborated with LBF Books to publish such works as Shawn Oetzel’s Dying Moon and B.T. Robertson’s Alliances.

In this post, I want to introduce you to three books Hadrosaur has published or will soon be publishing.


The 2012 Rhysling Anthology

This year, we worked with the Science Fiction Poetry Association to bring out the 2012 Rhysling Anthology. Each year, the Science Fiction Poetry Association presents the Rhysling Award for the best speculative poems published in the previous year. Poems are nominated by the organization’s members and collected into the Rhysling Anthology which is sent to members so they may vote. The result is a collection of the year’s best science fiction, fantasy, and horror poems. The 2012 anthology features works by Megan Arkenberg, Albert Goldbarth, Shira Lipkin, Tim Pratt, Ann K. Schwader, Mary Turzillo and many more. The wonderful cover image was taken at the Kitt Peak 4-meter Telescope by Heidi Schweiker and Travis Rector. You can read more about it at the NOAO Image Gallery.

All profits from the sale of the 2012 Rhysling Anthology go to the Science Fiction Poetry Association to aid their mission of spreading the word about speculative poetry. Copies of the anthology may be ordered here: http://www.hadrosaur.com/collections.html#2012rhysling


Revolution of Air and Rust

When I was at Bubonicon in August, Robert E. Vardeman asked me if I’d be interested in writing a novella for a shared world steampunk series called Empires of Steam and Rust. In this world, it’s 1915. Queen Victoria is still on the throne…and getting younger. Teddy Roosevelt is still president of the United States. The Russian Revolution failed. Around the world holes have opened up that look into another world. In some cases, material oozes forth. In other cases, people travel through the portals. What really appealed to me about this series was it’s globe-spanning nature.

I decided I wanted to take a look at the Mexican Revolution of this world and find out what Pancho Villa was up to. The result is my entry in the series, a novella called Revolution of Air and Rust.

Authors of Empires of Steam and Rust Books are responsible for distributing the books themselves. So, mine will be coming out through Hadrosaur Productions. The plan is that Revolution of Air and Rust will be released as an ebook this coming week! I will also be creating a print chapbook that should be available soon afterward. Of course, I’ll let you know when the ebook and print book are available, but you can also check the catalog page for updates at: http://www.hadrosaur.com/bookstore.html#revolution.


A Kepler’s Dozen

Since its launch in March 2009, the Kepler Spacecraft has discovered over 100 confirmed planets around other stars. Hadrosaur Productions will be publishing an anthology of science fiction stories set around planets discovered by the Kepler Spacecraft entitled A Kepler’s Dozen. I have teamed up with Kepler’s Project Scientist, Dr. Steve Howell, to assemble this exciting anthology. We have a team of writers including some well known science fiction authors, Tales of the Talisman veterans, and astronomy professionals working on stories for the book. The first stories have already come in and this is shaping up to be an exciting collection. I’ll be sure to keep you posted as this project nears completion.

In the meantime, please drop in and visit the Hadrosaur Productions website at http://www.hadrosaur.com and see all the fine books we have to offer. If you like science fiction, fantasy or horror, I’ll bet you’ll find your next must-have book.