PAOLINELLI: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Pluto

Tuscany Bay Books’ co-Publisher Richard Paolinelli is today’s blogger as we continue our series of blog posts regarding Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series. Richard is the co-editor of Pluto and has stories in six books in the series so far.


A couple of days ago I talked about how I went from subbing stories to the Planetary Anthology Series, to editing Pluto in the series and finally to publishing the entire series. To say the three years since I first heard about the series have been eventful would be an understatement.

But today I want to focus on editing Pluto. Having never edited an anthology before I was both excited by, and terrified of, the challenge. You’d think having edited an entire section of a daily newspaper would mean that taking on a long-term project like this would be a breeze. And you would be wrong.

red spiritual smoke on black background with copy spaceIt’s an entirely different critter to tackle. So the first thing I did was call in reinforcements and asked Dawn Witzke if she would be a co-editor. Dawn had gone through the process as Earth’s editor and her experience was invaluable throughout the process. It’s why her name is listed first on the cover.

Then came sorting through the subs. We received nearly 50 stories and read each one of them from the first word to the last. Aside from one or two exceptions, they would have all made a great collection and were worthy of inclusion. Unfortunately, we had a word count limit – which I violated by 10% – and could only accept 21 stories.

As a writer, I know rejection letters and e-mails come with the territory. It doesn’t make them any easier to accept, but if you do this for a living, this is the reality you have to deal with. As someone who hates getting them, imaging how much more I hated having to write nearly 30 of them, especially when most were for stories that were very good, but just didn’t quite fit the bill for Pluto?

Ugh. Writing those rejection letters was easily the one thing I hated about this process.

Actually editing the stories was just like my old days on the copy desks at the newspapers I worked at over the years. The writers we worked with were professional and that part went off without a hitch.

Then came deciding the order the stories would appear in. The choice for the first story was an easy one for both of us as B. Michael Stevens’, Like So Many Paper Lanterns, was an amazing story that set the tone for the entire collection.

But setting the order for #2 thru #21? Wow, that took some time. In truth, we could have arranged them in any order and it would have worked. They were all that good. And I can’t say I have any favorites over the others because if they already weren’t a favorite, they wouldn’t have made the cut in the first place. We have stories by established authors and by first-timers and all of them fit the requirement of a story of great wealth, or of death or set on the planet itself.

But there is one line from the book that will always be a favorite opening line for a story for me. It comes from Bokerah Brumley’s, Pluto Chronicles.

“The chicken had to die.”

That line all by itself ensured that her story was going to make it into Pluto. Trust me, the rest of the story lives up to that opening line.

Yes, Pluto has chickens in space and Vikings in space. It has military sci-fi stories among fantasy tales. It has heartbreaking stories and some that are guaranteed to make you smile when you finish reading them. There’s even a Rainbow-Colored Rock Hopper.

And, oh by the way, Walt Disney himself even pops in to say hello.

And after you finish reading the collection which concludes with my story – Yes, Neil D. Tyson, Pluto Is A Planet – and you find yourself wondering what inspired that bit of madness… well, here’s a hint:










I swear, the man knew exactly what we were going to find when we finally got out there. Exactly how Walt knew would probably make for a very interesting episode of Ancient Aliens.

Unless of course, my little story isn’t actually a work of fiction after all…



Find out more about Richard, his books and his free-to-read 1K Weekly Serial Series at this website:

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