Five Reasons to Get REALLY Excited about Gamut

  1. Speculative fiction needs more professional, paying markets. In fact, the literary scene in general could use more professional, paying markets. Too often, writers are writing for free. Gamut will pay professional rates to its writers and artists.
  1. Gamut already has “street cred.” The editor has connections with established writers and artists in the field. This provides the journal with a jump start into the field that other journals have to work their way up to. In short, Gamut has basically overcome years 1-2 in the new business scene before it has published a single word.
  1. Similar to #4, Gamut is using a Kickstarter campaign to get going. When businesses are started through crowdfunding, they start with a level of patronage that doesn’t exist for many other new businesses. Just how much support is this? In the first 13 days of Gamut’s campaign, the Kickstarter campaign has earned over $25,000 toward their $52,000 goal. That support comes from 77 countries.
  1. The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers. Speculative fiction is dominated by men. While the editor of Gamut is a man, Richard Thomas is also dedicated to advancing speculative fiction by women. The Lineup, edited by Thomas, is haunting and thought-provoking. If you haven’t read it yet and you’re a woman, read it. Support work by women. If you haven’t read it yet and you’re a man, read it. Support work by women. And know that you won’t regret the read.
  1. Gamut will be a place for literary speculative fiction, a genre that exists only in bits and pieces right now. Both Thomas’s own writing and the books that he has edited demonstrate that literary quality is of paramount importance to him. Those of us who love speculative fiction that attends not only to the needs of the genre, but also to the craft of writing beautifully will at last have one place to which we can turn to get our fix. No more wading through half a dozen SFF magazines to find the one story that speaks to us!

Are you in yet? Support Gamut’s Kickstarter campaign here. Do it now!

In Answer to Your Questions about Inspiration

So, it’s been a while since I posted. I’d make excuses, but I don’t have any. This morning, I read an email from a high school student working on a project about inspiration and asking if I would be willing to answer some questions to help them out. I asked my artist friends on Facebook to offer a comment about the one thing they would want someone to know about inspiration, went to work, and mulled over my answers most of the day. I think I might have this all wrong, but the answers seemed worth sharing, and it had been, you know, a really long time since I posted anything over here. So double thank you to the high school student–once for making think this through and then again for giving me a blog post. Here goes:

What is inspiration to you? And where does your inspiration come from?


Inspiration is not a thing. It is a moment. I can’t predict what is going to inspire me, but I leave myself open to it at all times. Sometimes, it’s a particular shade of a particular color in a sunrise or sunset or a woman’s dress or a man’s eyes. Sometimes, it is deep internal reflection about something. Sometimes, it’s a chord in a song or a series of words in something I’m reading or a poignant news story or the tears of a friend. Sometimes it comes from my students: their stories, their triumphs, their epiphanies, their relationships with one another and with me. Often, it is loss. That can be a personal loss–a loved one, a change in major plans, a rejection of some kind–or something I perceive as a societal loss–the failure of a bill that would help people in poverty or people with disabilities, for example, two subjects that I care about deeply. For me, the only way to combat grief and loss is to make it worth something, to bring something out of it that is worth sharing.

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On the Mayfair Witches by Anne Rice

The theme of anti-heroes in literature always brings me back to the first anti-hero novel I read: The Vampire Lestat. Instead of talking about that particular book, though, I come to another, lesser known Anne Rice series: The Mayfair Witches. I do this in part because someone invariably compare the Vampire Chronicles to Twilight et. al. and piss me off and in part because the Mayfair Witches played a more dramatic role in my development as a writer (while the Vampire Chronicles played a bigger role in my development as a person).

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On Lord Foul’s Bane

Next to my wonderful son, the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are the only good thing my ex-husband ever did for me. I was 18 before I read a fantasy novel (with the exception of Watership Down and The Hobbit, both given me by my dad) and within two pages of Lord Foul’s Bane, I was entranced. By chapter 2, I hated the hero. By the middle of the book, I couldn’t stop rooting for him. By the end, I was glad he won, but wished he’d died in the process. It was one of the most emotionally challenging novels I had ever read – and was the first book that I ever read more than once.

 

The beauty of Lord Foul’s Bane rests in the utter humanity of it. Thomas Covenant is not a particularly likable hero, quite the opposite in fact, but he is a believable hero precisely because of that. The reader may not like him, but somehow has to empathize with him. The reader’s prejudices are challenged and no one but Lord Foul himself is completely evil or completely good. This is Donaldson’s strength as a writer. He presents humanity not as it should be, but as it is, and in so doing, we become a little more human ourselves.