Monday, October 13, 2014

Cover Reveal: Tales from the Bully Box


I’m so excited to share this cover with you! I simply love what author and designer Sarah Tregay created for the latest Elephant’s Bookshelf Press anthology, Tales from the Bully Box, which launches our “Colors for Causes” series. Sarah also has a story in the anthology.

Bully Box, which was edited by the wonderful CatWoods, is a collection of anti-bullying stories for middle grade readers. As Cat writes, "I wanted to share the work of amazing authors who work hard to make this world a stronger, safer place for everyone regardless of where they come from or what they look like. In the process, I chose ordinary stories with ordinary characters, because bullying is an ordinary event that happens to ordinary people."

The result is an extraordinary collection.

The genesis of this project was a teenager who wanted to stop the bullying she experienced in her school in Minnesota. She created what is now called Building Relationships Against Violence Everywhere (BRAVE). Cat, who in many ways was the catalyst behind my establishing EBP, suggested we create an anti-bullying anthology for middle grade readers. I’d never heard of such a thing before, but one of the advantages of being a small publisher is we can – and I’d argue must – do things differently.

As many of you know, EBP is a for-profit publishing company, but we have the soul of a nonprofit organization. We endeavor to help developing writers achieve their goals of achieving publication and developing an audience. At the same time, we have found ourselves working with authors who want more than simply seeing their book published: they aim to make a difference. For example, the proceeds from our novel Battery Brothers by Steven Carman (who also has a story in this collection) will go to the Sunshine Foundation, which was the first wish-granting organization in the United States.

Bully Box is in production now and will be available through all the usual vehicles within a few weeks. In the meantime, feel free to share this cover and let people know what we’re doing. We aim to get this collection in schools and work with educators to help them fight back against bullying in their schools. I will discount prices for teachers who can share the books with their students. And a healthy portion of what EBP brings in from Bully Box will help organizations working in this field.

Our next anthology will be published in 2015. It also will have a cause at its heart, and I’m looking forward to sharing more about that soon.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Busy Days Ahead

School days, school days, break the golden rule days!

Yes, by now, school is back in session all over the U.S., and I think some Canadians have already taken their first snow day.

The fall is shoring up to be a very busy time for Elephant's Bookshelf Press, too. In the coming weeks we'll be revealing covers for the next two publications: Tales From the Bully Box, an anthology of anti-bullying stories targeting Middle Grade readers edited by Cat Woods, and the much anticipated Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand by R.S. Mellette. I can't tell you how excited I am about both of these books!

In the coming weeks, I'm also aiming to reinvigorate this blog, where we'll post interviews and profiles and news about some EBP writers and friends of EBP. For example, did you know that Stitching Snow, the debut novel by our book designer, R.C. Lewis will released from Disney Hyperion in mid-October? I've got my hard-cover copy on pre-order, and I hope you do too! And the next novel by Mindy McGinnis, In a Handful of Dust -- the companion novel to her fantastic debut, Not a Drop to Drink -- will be out in just a couple weeks.

And those are just the works that slide off my brain stem after a half cup of coffee on a Friday morning.

What hot debuts and releases are you looking forward to this fall?

Friday, August 08, 2014

Cover Reveal: Trefury: Mendi's Curse by Joyce Alton

Wow, has this year been a busy roller coaster or what? Between publishing and promoting Whispering Minds, Winter’s Regret, and Battery Brothers and preparing for the release of Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand in December, I’ve barely had any time to blog.

But ever since I established Elephant’s Bookshelf Press, I have been determined to use this blog not only to highlight EBP writers but also share with others information about the many talented writers I’ve gotten to know over the years, regardless of their relationship to EBP.

To frequenters of my other online writing home, AgentQuery Connect, Joyce Alton is known as Clippership. She’s the moderator of what is probably the most popular group on AQC, the Speculative Fiction Forum. In my opinion, she treats it like a full-time job, which as most of us writers know tends to take away from our own writing time.

Clip is preparing to release her latest work, Trefury: Mendi’s Curse, the first part of a trilogy, which will be released in September. I’m honored to share with you the cover of the book, a space fantasy in which Thssk, a cunning and dangerous six-thousand year-old norhendra, has unwittingly caused the near extinction of his people. To rescue a boy who is pursued by his enemies, Thssk must partner with a human named Cortnee Feyandihar who is skilled and fiercely loyal but reckless and unpredictable. Their partnership may be as unlikely to succeed as their quest, but it is their last best option to achieve their goals.

I look forward to checking it out!


In the meantime, check out the cover and visit Joyce’s various homes around the Web.

Follow her on Twitter
Like her page on Facebook
Follow her blogYesternight's Voyage

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Author Q&A With Shawn Proctor

It's amazing how being busy can make you look like you're not doing anything. With 2014 came a beefed-up commitment to Elephant's Bookshelf Press, but as a result I had less time to work on the blog that in some ways is its public mouthpiece. So, while I have a minute (and if you don't mind my typing while I knosh on a sandwich), let me start to catch up with some of the posts I'd begun in 2013 and didn't get a chance to set loose upon the world.

First up: an interview with Shawn Proctor, whose story "Just a Perfect Day," appeared in Summer's Edge.

Elephant’s Bookshelf: Lots of us writers don’t like this question, but I’ll ask it anyway: what genre do you feel is the best fit for your writing?

Shawn Proctor: There’s big a shift toward a style that uses literary fiction’s craft and mixes it with genres like horror, science fiction, fantasy, and neo-pulp (think superhero stories.) That’s me in a nutshell… Now please let me out of the nutshell now before I suffocate!

EB: You’ve had several stories published over the years, including a few in 2013. Is “Just a Perfect Day” a fairly typical Shawn Proctor story or was this an example of you experimenting?

SP: In some ways typical, but in others it’s a departure. I visited Berlin in 2007 and loved the city, especially the weird mix of urban heaviness from the Cold War and the hopefulness of the future. Originally, I had conceived of this as a horror story, but it never wanted to be that. Ultimately, the romantic arc felt stronger and truer to this piece so I went with it and cut a huge overblown Lovecraftian ending.

All writing is an experiment—this was certainly one of my more risky ones.

EB: I have to say, I don’t think any first line of a story from the summer anthologies caught my attention like yours (“At sunset, they returned to shave each other’s pubic hair.”) Was that your original opening or did you shape that over time?

SP: I had it from the start, but needed to really figure out who the people were, why they were there. Writers are drawn to the taboo. We love to explore where we’re told not to go.

When I was a kid, pubic hair was not an acceptable term. It just unnerved my parents to hear it, and I could tell that it is something that people don’t want to talk about at all. Naturally, as a writer, I’m drawn to that. Tell me not to say it, not to talk about it, and I will completely fixate on the idea. But more than trying to shock, I wanted to pull you into this intimate scene where they are making themselves physically -- if not emotionally -- vulnerable. I hoped to take this shocking sentence and make you question why it shocks…after all, hair is just hair.

EB: The characters in your story are difficult to like, yet there was something compelling or at least curious about them that made me want to find out what was going to happen. In general, do you like the characters you discover in the stories you write, and does it matter to you whether you think they’re likeable people?

I tend to write about people who are flawed or broken, and this couple is in trouble from the start because they are blind. In one respect they are blind to understanding one another in a deeper way and blind to the city they choose for their honeymoon. The image I return to over and over again is a tunnel—they only see the bricks, not the tunnel, and when the train comes toward them they are helplessly unprepared.

So, to answer the question, I may not like them, but I love them. I identify with the blindness they have because I see it in others and see it in myself at times. It’s like, “Why didn’t I know that person was toxic for me?” Because we’re all trying to see the world as it is, but we have our own ideas and perspectives blinding us.

EB: I find that really interesting. What are you working on now?

SP: I’m always balancing two things: a novel-in-progress and new short stories. I was raised a short story writer, and I can’t let go of that fun of sitting around a campfire and telling scary stories. It’s in my blood. But I recognize that there is power in building a world and crafting a long narrative, like my novel Stand-In Heroes. It’s about two thirtysomethings who rekindle a friendship one night. Unfortunately, it happens to be the same night that someone murders the world’s only superhero. They each end up with half of his powers, which they have to learn to use before the killer finds them.

It’s a challenge to take a hybrid medium like comics and translate it into a non-visual medium like prose. I’ve only got 26 letters and a couple pouches of punctuation in my Utility Belt, and I have to leap off that building to fight crime. Some days I think I should sew myself a writing cape.


EB: While I look for some thread so you can get sewing, let me say thanks for sharing some time with us!