Wednesday, March 23, 2016

An Interview with Dancing Lemur!!!

Hello, friends, Hart here (or Tart, as you may notice in my comments]. It's my first shot taking the helm at our collective blog, but I had an excellent opportunity I felt I needed to share with all of you. The owner and primary editor of Dancing Lemur Press, LLC, agreed to let me interview her. Some of you may know her as ever helpful fellow blogger, L. Diane Wolfe, but she took on this new hat nearly a decade ago and is making it fly. So please join me in welcoming her today and sit down to learn a bit about her and about Dancing Lemur Press and what they are looking for in submissions!

Okay, so how about we start with an ice breaker. Llama, wombat or hedgehog? And why? 

Llama! Because the Emperor Kuzco in The Emperor’s New Groove was a llama. And I love that movie. [Tart note: We have a winner kids! Llamas always win!]

*cough*  Sorry, where was I?

Maybe we should  head for the actual topic at hand. Do you have a favorite sort of speculative fiction? 

I grew up reading Anne McCaffrey and liked soft science fiction. I’m really into paranormal romance at the moment. (And that is the genre of my next book.)

What is the earliest speculative fiction you fell in love with (any medium)?

I’m sure there were earlier children’s books, but I read The Hobbit when I was eleven and loved it. The following year I fell in love with The Chronicles of Narnia.

I'm a believer in the writing ethos... we are sharing a universe. And you get a chance to see that play out. As a reviewer for this anthology, were there any recurring themes you found surprising (or overdone?)? 

I went through each story myself and they are all very different. Themes that might seem played out (zombies, a dying earth) are given a fresh spin. I was really impressed. [Tart note:  Very diplomatic. Not even an overdose of flesh eating fungus?]

And if you could give us maybe three things, for advice to future submitters, that really pull you into stories like these, what would they be? (and does a story need all three, or will one or two of them do it?) 

First is voice. I know that’s so hard to nail. But the narrator/main character has to have a unique and memorable voice. It’s all about adding personality to your characters. Make them come to life. Second, the words have to flow naturally and with good grammar. When I first began writing, I was notorious for using passive words, especially “was.” Now I really notice passive voice and the overuse of adverbs such as those ending in “ly.” They really yank me out of a story. The third thing actually has nothing to do with the story, but it’s critically important - the query letter. I get so many query letters that are, well, not good. They don’t follow the proper format, nor do the writers send me what I ask for in the submission guidelines. I know there is so much pressure to create a perfect query letter with a great hook, but I’d be happy to see one that included every item on the submission list and for a genre I publish! So, I guess a story needs all three, because without that last one, I won’t even get to the other two. [Tart note: But queries are so hard! But yeah, I see how a good one makes your job a lot easier.]

Tell us a bit about Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.. How long have you been around? How many books do you publish a year and in what genres? 

I founded the company at the very end of 2007 after years of researching the industry. I knew that owning a publishing company would be challenging, but I’ve been self-employed for years and was ready. I wanted to create a platform that was profitable for me and an opportunity for other authors. It’s been a slow build, but after the expansion of our imprint, Freedom Fox Press, things have just exploded. We publish 4 - 5 books a year now and in several genres - Young Adult, New Adult, Middle Grade, Non-fiction (self-help, motivational, instructional, Christian,) Science Fiction, and Fantasy. Through Freedom Fox Press, we also publish Mystery and Romance. We prefer manuscripts that aren’t salacious or R rated.

Do you and/or any of the other editors have wish lists? Particular stories you are just dying for somebody to write--stories you really want to publish or characters or settings you'd like to see? 

I would love to see some paranormal stories or science fiction. Space opera is our best-selling genre and I’d like to see more adventures set in space. Fun ones with memorable characters. I also want to see some paranormal, especially romance. People still devour it, including myself! Bring me a fresh spin on the genre. (Without delving into pure evil.) [Tart note: So I've got this great Cthulu romance idea... I call it The Tentacle Tease... no?]

And finally, when looking at the stories submitted for Parallels, was there a particular delight or surprise that really made you give a shout, or made your heart race? 

You want me to pick a favorite? That’s not fair. They were all really good. Let’s just say I decided to bookend the anthology with the strongest entries... [Hey, I had to try!]

L. Diane Wolfe owns Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and is the author of seven books, including two non-fiction titles and a NA/YA series, The Circle of Friends. Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” Wolfe is a member of the National Speakers Association. She conducts seminars on book publishing, promoting, leadership, and goal-setting, plus she offers book formatting and author consultation. She travels extensively for media interviews and speaking engagements and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. - Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. - Spunk On A Stick - Spunk On A Stick’s Tips - The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Monday, March 21, 2016

A to Z - Parallels

We are the authors of the 10 stories

that make up the book


we're going to be discussing us and our stories.

So tune in daily to learn something new

and if you comment you'll have

a chance to win a copy of the 

most exiting book to hit the shelves

this year! 

Every comment during the A to Z Challenge

will be one entry into the hat

for a drawing and 10 winners will receive a copy of the book!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Science Fiction Challenge

You've read our commentary on speculative fiction, and seen the blurbs for the stories in our anthology. Now it's your turn.

Below are five writing prompts to jump start your imagination. Can you create an amazing story using one or more? How about in 100 words or less? Give it a try and share in the comments section below. We'll offer our feedback on any shared before next Wednesday. Good luck - we look forward to reading your creation!

1) You discover you're the result of a DNA experiment.

2) You wake to discover you have no memory of the last five years, during which time you have been a missing person, and now you have a special ability.

3) Investigating colonization prospects in other galaxies, you discover the unexpected.

4) In Victorian England your new inventions change society.

5) Dream walking.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Speculative Movie Trivia

Image courtesy: Valerie Everett

Hi speculative fiction fans! Today we have some bits (or bites) from some classic sci-fi movies. How many of these can you name? (Please keep your eyes on your own comment box. Any cheater will be fed to the nearest black hole where you may be crunched into a mass the size of a pin head over a millennium or burnt to a cinder depending on which scientific theory you follow.)

1.     Quote: "I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that."

2.     Telekinesis, dancing broom, flying camper

3.     Worst prom ever.

4.     Mashed potatoes mountain

5.     Quote: “Here’s Johnny!”

6.     (A younger) Donald Sutherland pointing his finger with his mouth open in a huge, scary O.

7.     Nazi face melt

8.     Abdominal explosion

9.     Quote: “Strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”

10.   Homicidal marshmallow man

Did you get all ten? 

We will post the answers later.