FINN: Crazy Like An Elf

DECLAN FINN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. DECLAN WAS THE EDITOR FOR TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA.  IN ADDITION TO EDITING THE ANTHOLOGY, HE ALSO WROTE STORIES FOR MERCURY, VENUS, LUNA, MARS AND PLUTO. TODAY HE SHARES A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HIS STORY IN LUNA

 

I grew up in a family of writers.
As a college professor, my father wrote his own textbooks. He even wrote murder mysteries, one of which that I just polished up and published. Twenty years ago, my sister got an English degree because she wanted to work in publishing. My mother went through the newspaper with a red pen.
Now? My wife writes faster than I do.
Back in the dark ages, when I wrote my novel A Pius Man (I was still in college), my father added a line. Just one line. It was a reference to our hero having faced off against “Middle Earth’s Most Wanted Assassin.”
Then this became a thing.
I went back to a previous novel, It Was Only on Stun! and introduced Galadren

“He was only known by one title: Middle Earth’s Most Wanted Elven Assassin.

Don’t you look at me like that: Middle Earth’s Most Wanted Elven Assassin happened to be about 5’9”, with blond hair, blue eyes, and enough sleek muscle to make jaguars back away slowly.  His daily routine consisted of eating his own homemade Mueslix, with enough healthy food to make most health food freaks run the other way.  He did everything short of picking his own fruits and harvesting oats personally—though he thought the Quaker Oats man was one of the oddest looking elves he’d ever seen, and he wouldn’t even discuss the Keeblers (he had long ago concluded they were Wood sprites, and someone was just too lazy to make a distinction).”
He was nuttier than squirrel mix, but boy, was he useful.
Along comes Luna, an anthology about madness.
Mysteriously enough, I also happened to be the editor. I could very easily make this work.
But this is about the moon, isn’t it? But this is very Earth-bound. That’s why God made astronomers, of course.
Hilarity ensued. It was more my usual theme of madness and shootouts. But I knew the editor, so it was okay.
   – DECLAN FINN
Declan Finn is best known for wearing loud and obnoxious clothing at conventions. He writes full time, sometimes when he’s off the clock, and tries to come out with a book of the month, much to the irritation of his usual publisher, Silver Empire. He is the editor of the Luna anthology, and has made appearances in Mercury, Venus, Mars, Pluto and Storming Area 51, for Bayonet Books. Most of his books can be found at Silver Empire, and the rest can be found at Amazon.
You can check out the entire 11-book series right here. While four of the books have already been released, the remaining seven will be coming out in six-week intervals and can be pre-ordered at the link above. 

FINN: Editing Luna

DECLAN FINN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. DECLAN WAS THE EDITOR FOR TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA.  IN ADDITION TO EDITING THE ANTHOLOGY, HE ALSO WROTE STORIES FOR MERCURY, VENUS, LUNA, MARS AND PLUTO. TODAY HE SHARES A LITTLE BIT ABOUT EDITING LUNA

 

I generally hate short stories. I hate anthologies.

They’re always a grab bag of “who?” and “what?” and “How did you get published, ya hack?” There are always exceptions. There are some anthologies I’ve purchased just for the joy of reading something from Jim Butcher. Maybe a JD Robb scifi murder mystery. Thankfully, both of them collect their short stories, so I no longer feel the need to buy an anthology for one lousy person.

Why edit any anthology, then?
Because if the short stories can get past me, then they’re GOOD.
When I started, I began with taking a note from something Larry Correia noted at DragonCon: start by inviting authors you want to play in the anthology. Now, apparently, I couldn’t restrict myself to just this list, because when I started editing the anthology, the now-deceased publisher has a stable of authors, and like any other livestock, it had to be used regularly. So I had to at least look at them closely for the sake of good form, even if I had known nothing about them. They got first dibs.

I was assigned as co-editor L Jagi Lamplighter, a 20-year editing veteran of the publishing industry. I don’t know if it was because of my relative inexperience or because I don’t play well with others, but I wasn’t going to complain, especially not with someone who has that much experience. And we’re friends, so hey, I get to actually be sociable with someone I like and get paid for it.

Yes, I get paid to do this.

What? Did you think I would do this for free?

Or worse, for “exposure”?

No thanks. In God we trust, all others pay cash.

So, as I said when I started out this post, and got lost in the weeds, I was going to generate a list of people to invite. And I’m not exactly shy. I invited anyone who I thought was talented, whether or not I had a hope in Hell of actually getting them on board. I reached out to Larry Correia and John Ringo, Steven R Green, even Jim Butcher. I’m not sure those emails got through, since three out of the four of them have been polite enough to tell me “No” in the past.

And then there are the heavy hitters.

Because if I say “short stories” in SFF, three people should come to mind immediately: Lou Antonelli, Brad Torgersen, and Jody Lynn Nye. If you read this list and say “Who?” I’m going to have to ask you to please go to Amazon.com and look them up, then get back to me. Thank you.

Lou, of course, is the author of Another Girl, Another Planet, nominated for the Dragon_Award-221x3002017 Dragon Award for best alternate history novel. Brad ran Sad Puppies 3 and wrote The Chaplain’s War. And Jody, among other things, has been running Robert Aspirin’s “Myth” series.

All of them have generated more short stories than I can even keep track of. As I write this, the last count I saw from Lou was over a hundred.

As I had Jagi editing the book with me, I had her and John C Wright throw in stories for fun.

I went down 2017’s Dragon Award finalists, and started throwing out invites: Richard Paolinelli (his Escaping Infinity was excellent). Mark Wandrey of the Four Horsemen series.

And since it’s The Moon, I looked up William Lehman, who I knew from doing a short story about a werewolf. If he couldn’t make a story around the moon, I would have dropped dead from shock (I had mild shocking sensations when it was completely different).

While I was at it, I also had some people in my Rolodex to summon: Ann Margaret Lewis, who had just finished one of her SF novels. Lori Janeski, who was working on a novel set around the moon. Karina Fabian, who has some awesome rescue nuns.

And I got some fun ones. As I said, I generally don’t do short stories. I’m very hard to please.

There’s one problem. We got a LOT of submissions. A lot. Don’t believe me? Order a hard copy of Luna. I dare you.

I presume that people just found the ideas and themes of the anthologies more interesting than some of the earlier ones. I can’t imagine anyone went out of their way to have me as their editor. I’m sure I cured them of that idea. (more on that in a moment.)

We had so many submissions, it was suggested at the previous publisher that we make two anthologies! One is the dark side of the moon for the darker stories!

When we came to Tuscany Bay, it was decided, nah, we’ll do one anthology. I made the mistake of not culling the short stories again. Hence the two-pound anthology that you can break your foot with if you’re not careful ***.

Oops.

   – DECLAN FINN

 

(***-Publisher’s Note: Yeah, we didn’t chew that decision all the way down to the bone, did we?)
Declan Finn is best known for wearing loud and obnoxious clothing at conventions. He writes full time, sometimes when he’s off the clock, and tries to come out with a book of the month, much to the irritation of his usual publisher, Silver Empire. He is the editor of the Luna anthology, and has made appearances in Mercury, Venus, Mars, Pluto and Storming Area 51, for Bayonet Books. Most of his books can be found at Silver Empire, and the rest can be found at Amazon.
You can check out the entire 11-book series right here. While four of the books have already been released, the remaining seven will be coming out in six-week intervals and can be pre-ordered at the link above. 

FINN: Love Boat To Venus

DECLAN FINN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. DECLAN WAS THE EDITOR FOR TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA.  IN ADDITION TO EDITING THE ANTHOLOGY, HE ALSO WROTE STORIES FOR MERCURY, VENUS, LUNA, MARS AND PLUTO. TODAY HE SHARES A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HIS STORY IN VENUS

 

I am a romantic. I think Don Quixote didn’t quite go all the way.

However, having grown up on films like Commando and Die Hard, I think he should be carrying some C4 to take on the windmills.
Fast forward to my short story for the Venus anthology — Love Boat to Venus. This was one of three short stories that I submitted for the anthology. This one was chosen for one odd reason. It actually featured THE PLANET VENUS. Apparently, I was one of the few submissions who wanted to play on the planet. Granted, having seen the research on the planet … well, let’s just say you wouldn’t want to go there either.
But I figure, humans in the future will be just as tacky as humans now. Who could resist a romantic cruise to Venus? The answer is anyone who knows just how HOT the bloody planet gets.
But aww, isn’t it romantic?
So I have the obligatory old couple / new couple scene. Let’s face it, it’s a trope that goes back farther than I can recall, and I don’t mean Nicholas Sparks books (that was the point of The Notebook, wasn’t it?). But since these are my characters, the older married couple is at a point in their relationship that they can relax, be calm, and just enjoy each other.
And then someone tries to hijack the cruise ship … because in my stories, if there isn’t some sort of confrontation, I’m not doing my job. Remember: romantic, but with C4.
Like with some of my other stories for the anthologies, I used older, familiar characters…. from work I hadn’t published yet. Why? Because I’ve been writing for over 20 years, and only publishing for 7. I have a bit of a head start on my readers. And the background on these characters is a bit more colorful than the average cruise ship passengers.
Because if there’s one trope that doesn’t get old, it’s “Criminals try to victimize an easy target, and discover that OY, did they pick the wrong people.”
  – DECLAN FINN
Declan Finn is best known for wearing loud and obnoxious clothing at conventions. He writes full time, sometimes when he’s off the clock, and tries to come out with a book of the month, much to the irritation of his usual publisher, Silver Empire. He is the editor of the Luna anthology, and has made appearances in Mercury, Venus, Mars, Pluto and Storming Area 51, for Bayonet Books. Most of his books can be found at Silver Empire, and the rest can be found at Amazon.
You can check out the entire 11-book series right here. While four of the books have already been released, the remaining seven will be coming out in six-week intervals and can be pre-ordered at the link above. 

FINN: Deceptive Appearances

DECLAN FINN TAKES OVER THE BLOG TODAY. DECLAN WAS THE EDITOR FOR TUSCANY BAY BOOKS’ PLANETARY ANTHOLOGY SERIES: LUNA.  IN ADDITION TO EDITING THE ANTHOLOGY, HE ALSO WROTE STORIES FOR MERCURY, VENUS, LUNA, MARS AND PLUTO. TODAY HE SHARES A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HIS STORY IN MERCURY
My first creation was Sean Patrick Ryan. I was writing a space opera and wanted someone who could have a reasonable chance against a Wookie if it came down to it. It’s why he ended up being two meters tall and one wide. Then, for reasons I can’t recall, I made him a telepath. It was probably useful at the time.
Anyway.
The space opera I wrote was four books long, at 400 pages each, and I wrapped up writing them within 15 months…. Keep in mind, I didn’t know that publishers also used double-spaced type, so I really wrote 800 page novels.
So that was fun.
When it came down to writing a short story for Mercury, in an anthology that involved themes of tricky, I had one character to call on. My first. Because Sean Ryan wasn’t dangerous because he was big and knew how to fight. He was dangerous because the only fair fight was one he finished. He’d smile in your face and talk you to death, because he already wired the floor with explosive charges and he’s trying to remember when button triggers the explosive you’re standing on.
Sean Ryan is very much a combination of growing up with a cinema library of Commando, Die Hard, Sleuth, Deathtrap and The Sting. We end up with a product that’s one part shoot ’em up, one part con.
And I’d already written a short story that was “Sean Ryan is being a sneaky sumbitch.” I didn’t have any particular place to put this one. So I made a minor rewrite and placed it on Mercury. It was called Deceptive Appearances.
Remember writers: it’s not cheating to recycle.
While editing Deceptive Appearances, I dug through some research on Mercury and decided, yeah, it’s going to need some habitat domes. And we’re going to be in a poorer, more rundown dome, so it’s going to be hot. Overly hot. The sort of dry heat that starts bar fights over nothing, and a wife feels the edge of a kitchen knife while eyeing her husband’s throat….
And for the record, I may have just quoted Raymond Chandler, both here and in the short story.
Another writing tip: Good writers borrow, great writers steal. But always call it “research.”
And I was fairly surprised. Our editor David Hallquist …. did nothing to it. Nothing memorable, anyway. That’s probably what happens when you polish the same bloody twenty pages for two decades.
Final tip: edit … but not too much. Otherwise you’re going to hold on to the same book you first wrote when you were 16, and don’t release it until you’ve edited it to death by 38.
 – DECLAN FINN
Declan Finn is best known for wearing loud and obnoxious clothing at conventions. He writes full time, sometimes when he’s off the clock, and tries to come out with a book of the month, much to the irritation of his usual publisher, Silver Empire. He is the editor of the Luna anthology, and has made appearances in Mercury, Venus, Mars, Pluto and Storming Area 51, for Bayonet Books. Most of his books can be found at Silver Empire, and the rest can be found at Amazon.
You can check out the entire 11-book series right here. While four of the books have already been released, the remaining seven will be coming out in six-week intervals and can be pre-ordered at the link above.