Posted in Planetary Anthology Series

PAOLINELLI: A Series Within The Series

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.

 

My first two posts in this series by authors and editors of Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series have dealt with how I went from just being one of the authors in it to publishing it and my experiences in editing Pluto. So today I’d like to talk about my stories in the series. I’ll touch on the six that were accepted and the two that were subbed and await the editors’ decision.

Aside from the story that appears in Pluto, there is an overall theme to them. A.M. Freeman, who looks to be on track along with Bokerah Brumley to get a story in all 11 books, also has a theme for her 11 stories.

red spiritual smoke on black background with copy spaceIn the case of Pluto, my story was Yes, Neil D. Tyson, Pluto is a planet. It is set around a vacationing family visiting Disneyland in the late 1950s. And, if you are wondering how that can fit into the definition of science fiction then all I can say is wait until you get to the end of the story. You won’t be disappointed.

As for why I included it, I felt a collection that took on the subject of death should have a light-hearted ending. Something, well if you will indulge me, goofy, shall we say?

As for the rest of my stories in the series, the theme is: The Last Humans. Be it the last human in space, on Earth or even in the entire universe itself. Each story, aside from Pluto, casts one human being in an incredible situation.

You might think that would be all doom and gloom in the finest dystopian fashion. But recall, Superversive Press was not just a publishing house. It was the flagship for a movement. Superversive storytelling does not buy into the subversive, dystopian, everything is horrible mindset that has infected SF/F these days.

So yes, my characters are in the soup and things don’t look so good for them when we encounter them. But at the end of the day, there is still hope. For them and for us.

So let’s look at my last humans and see if I can pique your interest in them a little.

For Luna, I wrote Polar Shift. We are immersed into the story of one Samuel Peck from Peck’s point of view. And Sam is having a very bad day shortly after we meet him. Of course, everyone else on Earth is having an even worse day and Sam comes to the realization that he may just be the last surviving human in the universe.

As a rule, I tend to insert myself into the main character and ride along the adventure I have set out for them. Which is why, more often than not, the finished story seldom ends up the was the story was originally laid out.

In Polar Shift, I really put Sam through hell and, as one of Luna’s themes was madness, I went down the rabbit hole of insanity with Sam on this story. But it is safe to say we both emerged out the other side filled with a renewed sense of hope.

Next comes Uranus and The Last Human. This was a story I originally wrote as a screenplay for film school (yes, I dabbled in screenwriting for awhile and took a couple of actual film classes) a very long time ago.

You might read this story and think “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and perhaps it has some elements of it in there. But there aren’t any actual alien pods replacing humans to be found in my story. Rather, this story introduces us to a young scientist who returns from a vacation to find the world has changed. What remains to be seen is was the change for the better or for the worse? And she holds the power to undo it all. For Anne Fontana, the questions she must examine are: What does it mean to be human? And, which version of humanity is the right one?

This story was the first time I wrote a female main character. I’d never done it before. Oh, I’ve created several female characters with major roles in my stories right and left. But never as the focus of the story. It was something of a challenge, as I mentioned above, I tend to insert myself into the main character a lot, and I’m a guy, sooo….

At any rate, I think the story worked out nicely and I think you’ll agree too.

In July, Earth will be re-released and my story is Extinction Point. In this, a

descendant of Neil Armstrong is about to  become the first human to leave our solar system. On the way out, he will become the first human to step foot on the surface of Pluto.

This story was originally intended for Pluto had I not become Pluto’s editor and wanted to run the story above in it.

It is on Pluto that our star voyager runs into a slight detour that becomes a First Contact, a visit to an inhabited world not called Earth, a discovery of the reason why we’ve never been visited by another intelligent species, and a race against the clock to save Earth from a fate shared by countless other worlds.

In September, we will re-release Jupiter which holds my story, Icarus Falls. In this

we have another astronaut, on his final mission in space before a well-deserved retirement, finding himself on the wrong side of a disaster.

This one, from a cascading collision of debris from the destruction of an orbital space station has formed an impenetrable ring around the planet. Nothing can leave the surface and nothing can return to the surface from orbit.

It is easily the longest story in the collection but I needed every word of it to set the stage for the final act, when two people make impossible choices and both in the name of love.

In early November the last of my currently accepted stories, At Homeworld’s End,

will be published in Sol. This one is one of the shortest stories I’ve ever written. And like I did with Sam Peck in Luna, I went down the rabbit hole with the main character in this story. But unlike Sam, I didn’t go all the way here.

This is a story told from a first-person POV. And as you read it you begin to wonder why I have not named the person, nor given you any kind of description – not even if they are male of female – this was done on purpose.

Because I want each individual reader to put themselves into this character, as I did when writing this story. And possibly to fully understand why “the observer” made the decision, millions of years into our future, to stand on the surface of the Earth as it meets its ultimate fate to be consumed by our dying Sun. And to do so for no other reason, ultimately, because it was only right that one of Earth’s far-flung children had returned so that it would not die alone in the night.

So those are the six stories that are/will be in this 11-book series. I have two subs, one each for Neptune and Saturn, that are awaiting their fate with each editor. They are NOT automatically going to get in. They will have to earn their way in like all of the others that the editors will choose. I hope they do but will understand if they do not.

In their own way they each hold to the last human theme. The 13th Medallion, subbed for Neptune and a pre-Christmas Day release, sees an interesting take on the old adage: Be careful what you wish for. Phantom’s Lodge, sent in to Saturn and a Feb. 2, 2020 release, is set on Earth and has, shall we say, a more supernatural slant.

If either or both are eventually accepted, I’ll be back to discuss them in a little more detail. But even if the final count is only six, I am very glad I was able to add to this incredible series. I hope you enjoy reading all 180 stories as much as I have so far.

   – RICHARD PAOLINELLI

 

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

 

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Posted in Planetary Anthology Series

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:

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pluto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…

 – RICHARD PAOLINELLI

 

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

Posted in Planetary Anthology Series

PAOLINELLI: An Unexpected Adventure

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.

The last few days we’ve had a few of the authors and editors here on the blog to talk about their experiences with Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series. Several other authors and editors will follow in the coming days.

I figured it was time I should join in on this as I edited Pluto and, as of this writing, have stories in six of the 11 books in the series. In addition to my story in Pluto I have a story in Luna, Uranus, Earth, Jupiter and Sol. I have subbed to both Neptune and Saturn, the final two books in the series, but it will be awhile before I find out if they will be included. Yes, just because I’m publishing the series now it doesn’t mean I’m automatically in. That call remains solely within the capable hands of our two editors and they have the final say on what stories get in and what stories don’t. In an upcoming post, I’ll talk about my stories in the series.

But for today I want to focus on the road taken to get to this point. How I went from writing a story to sub to the series, to editing Pluto and finally to publishing all 11 books. It was quite the journey, so grab your refreshment of choice and settle in.

Superversive

It all started nearly three years ago when Superversive Press announced their plans for an 11-book anthology series of science fiction and fantasy, along with all of the sub-genres contained within, stories. They would be based on the nine planets – yes, Pluto is a planet so lets get that settled here and now – plus our own Moon and the Sun itself. They would also incorporate the mythology and the gods associated with the planets as well.

I loved the concept from the first second after it was announced. After scanning the requirements, I targeted eight of the 11 books – Mercury, Venus and Mars didn’t make the cut for me – to write stories for. And I had something else in mind for one of those eight books.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Pluto is my favorite planet. So it was only red spiritual smoke on black background with copy spacenatural that when Superversive was still looking for an editor for Pluto in the series, I decided to step up and take the job. But, because I’d never edited an anthology before, I asked Dawn Witzke to be a co-editor. She’d done a fantastic job editing the Earth volume of the series and Pluto would not be as good a collection as it is without her. My story, Extinction Point, appears in Earth and was originally intended for Pluto until I became its co-editor. So, off to Earth it went. Which was fine because I had a second story in mind for Pluto: Yes, Neil D. Tyson, Pluto Is A Planet. Have you guessed what my opinion of the conference that demoted Pluto is yet?

For  the next two years I focused my attention on culling through the subs for Pluto, editing the ones Dawn and I agreed were best, all 21 of them, and awaited Pluto’s turn in the rotation to be published by Superversive.

Then disaster struck. After publishing only five books, Superversive Press shut down. For the six editors left hanging it was, to say the least, a huge disappointment as it was for the authors who had been accepted into many of them. But there was a ray of sunshine to be found among the dark clouds. Jason Rennie, the publisher at Superversive Press, announced he would be willing to turn over all rights to the series to another publisher should one be found with an interest in doing so.

As you know, I just happen to have a small publishing house, well at least one-half cropped-tbb_website-1.jpgof one, in my back pocket. And we’ve already established my interest in this entire series. So I put in a call with the other half of Tuscany Bay Books, Jim Christina, and we decided to pick up the series.

We also decided to re-release the original five – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter – under our own imprint. This meant waiting for Superversive’s first editions to come off of Amazon after a three-month wait.  Instead of sitting and waiting, we decided to release the three new books that were ready to go.

Pluto was first, followed by Luna and Uranus. Then we reached the point where we could start re-releasing the originals and Mercury came out earlier this month. Venus will be released in late May and every six weeks after that a new release will become available until all 11 books are out.

When we took over the series we wanted to keep the interiors the same as they were in the original five regarding the editors and the stories within. It didn’t work out that way, but we managed to keep nearly all of them intact. We lost one story in Venus by the author’s request as she was using it elsewhere. We lost one of the editors, Mars, who choose not to continue on in the role under TBB’s banner. But aside from those two losses, these original five appear exactly as they did before. And, as a bonus, we picked up two brand new stories for Mars along with our new editor.

PAS_TWITTER_PROMOThe big difference is the exterior covers. Superversive went with the “Golden Astronaut” theme in an anime style. But we decided to go a different direction, wanting to feature the astronomical body and the associated god each individual book was based upon. Looking at all 11 together, I’m very pleased with the way it all turned out. And I’m very much looking forward to the coming February, when all 11 books will be out and I have each one of them sitting  on my bookshelf in my office.

It has been an incredible journey with this series, an epic in its way, these three years. When it began I never for a second imagined it would turn out the way it has. I’d like to thank Jason for creating this series and, when circumstances forced him to shutter Superversive, that he was willing to allow another publisher to pick up this series’ banner and carry it on to completion.

But without the efforts of the 12 editors (Venus also had co-editors), the nearly 90 authors who submitted nearly 180 stories that make up this series, we wouldn’t be here talking about it today. Thank all of you for writing these great stories, for editing these great stories and – in the case of the original five books – keeping them in the second editions that TBB is publishing. We could not have done this without you.

And, finally, thank you readers, who have and continue to make this series successful. We hope you enjoy the books to come as much as you have those that have been released.

  – RICHARD PAOLINELLI

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