Saturday, May 27, 2006

prepping the personal antho, and then some

One of the things I'd like to do this year is release a collection of my short fiction. I've entered talks with my publisher who has given it the go signal - pending approval by the board of directors for content, etc., of course. I honestly don't think any of my stories are objectionable (at least I haven't been told so by any of my readers) so there's a pretty good chance it will be published (if not, then it's shop-the-manuscript-around time). A bigger consideration for me is time. My publisher knows me well: "We know how you like to move quickly", she wrote me. "But there is a process we have to follow". Which is both true - I do like to move fast, and they do have a way of doing thing which takes months and months.

So if they accept my collection, the book will not be out this year (it took around 7 months for Salamanca to be published, from submission for consideration to the book launch). Unless I find another publisher, say Anvil. Who most likely will have the same time table (and probably even longer, given the fact that Karina Bolasco publishes more books). Or publish it myself (but not under the Kestrel publishing house, but more on that interesting tidbit in a month or two, so as not to jinx the thing in incubation).

So basically, one way or the other, the book will come out late this year or sometime next year. Perhaps it is better to time it next year, so at least I can say I have a new book next year, haha.

Deciding what to put in was easer than I thought. For one thing, I don't have a gazillion stories in inventory. I lost several early ones ("Spark", "The Last Mermaid Story", "The Secret Measure", "Magan & Balo") that I cannot recreate. National Midweek, the magazine that published them in the early 90s, has folded, and through a series of computer crashes, the digital files were lost. Which really makes me sad because I think at least one of them was good - "Spark: The Sad and Strange Tale of Sister Maria Dolores, the Nun who Exploded", which won a literary competition while I was an undergrad at UP.

Ian had a fantastic insight - he asked me if I had submitted those missing stories to the Dumaguete Writers Workshop as part of the fellowship requirements when I attended in 1992. I think I did, so I investigated and got the ball rolling. If "Spark" is there, I will be so happy.

Here's my tentative list for my antho:

"The Kite of Stars (L’Aquilone du Estrellas)" - Very special since it opened doors for me internationally with Strange Horizons and The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror antho.

"Terminos" - part of Rabid Transit: Menagerie, nominated for a Spectrum Award, and according to Jeffrey Ford: "There was a good deal of interest in your story "Terminos" when we were reading for the Fountain Award" (given annually by the Speculative Literature Foundation). I didn't even know that my story was being considered (and am frankly stunned that it was read by people like Gwenda Bond, Carol Emshwiller, James Patrick Kelly, Mary Anne Mohanra, and of course, Jeff.

"Six from Downtown" - my latest story, with horror and my usual stuff.

"Saturdays with Fray Villalobos" - will appear first (I hope!) in Cecilia Brainard's food themed antho, Escabeche for the Soul.

"The Maiden & The Crocodile" - recently appeared in Story Philippines.

"Dragon Eyes"- will appear in Vin Simbulan's antho A Time for Dragons.

"How Rosang Taba Won A Race" - previously unpublished. Or I may use instead the children's literature version, "Rosang Taba". We'll see.

"Gumamela" - first published as "Hindi Ako Gumamela (I am not Fringed Hibiscus)" in ab ovo.

"Into the Morning" - unpublished spider characters story.

"Four-Letter Words" - first published in Manual magazine.

"Yuletide Notes" - unpublished.

"The Middle Prince" - unpublished.

"Hollow Girl: A Romance" - first published in Latitude: Writing from the Philippines and Scotland, and as graphic fiction in Siglo: Passion (illustrated by Jeremy Arambulo).

+ one more story, yet to be completed, whatever it is. Maybe horror, I don't know.

There. That covers my short fiction from 2003 to current. It includes all my best attempts at speculative fiction plus some prizewinners.

Meanwhile, in the "bite off more than I can chew" section, I've more or less agreed to write a modern fantasy novella (around 30-35k words) before June 15th. I know, I know, madness indeed. The horrible thing is that, as of this moment, I have no idea what it is about (except that I call it "spec chick"). Can I do it? Sheesh. I really don't know, but you know me, I will try anyway.

Bahala na.

And now... off to watch X-men 3! Don't disappoint the comic geek in me, Dark Phoenix!


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