Category: An Editor Point of View

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review | Hero’s Best Friend: an Anthology of Animal Companions {edited by} Scott M. Sandridge

Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Tomorrow Comes Media and Seventh Star Press – whilst I participated on the blog tour in [2014] for this title, I was unable to read the stories for review until this year [2018]. I received a complimentary copy of “Hero’s Best Friend” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What originally drew me into wanting to read this lovely anthology:

Hero’s Best Friend

What I appreciate the most about this particular collection of stories is having each of them capture the essence of a genre-bending sphere of literary delight! They are representative of their actual genres, but they sound as though they give a bit more than what those branches of literature might usually encompass at the very same time! I love fiction that takes on new meanings and new depths, whether I am soaking into a book, a short story, or even whilst immersed into the latest Doctor Who episode I am discovering for the very first time! I find that the series is the epitome of ‘genre-bending’ and brilliance of execution on captivating a person’s attention at the jump-start beginning!

Sandridge and I share a common ground for appreciating animal companions, as his top three choices match my own, as I quite literally rented “Benji: the Hunted” from the rental shoppes so often they nearly gave me the VHS tapes for free! I say ‘nearly!’ as they never could seem to get permission from corporate to do so! Oy! I was simply captivated by Benji, for the same reasons I loved “The Adventures of Natty Gann” in which Natty’s companion is a wolf; “The Neverending Story” who as the wickedest dragon on the planet! (another film in common, he mentions this elsewhere on the tour!); the Mountain Family Robinson trilogy where Crest protected the family; previously I have mentioned my affection for “Pete’s Dragon”; and many others I am failing to draw to memory today! What I appreciate about Jack London is his ability to get your heart attached to a wolf in a way that is different than Natty Gann but is a bit similar to “Due South”; a tv series which features a deaf wolf who takes interest in protecting a Mountie!

From our beginnings of noting animal companions and animals in fiction, we differ a bit on our paths after childhood because I am suspecting the video games are not the ones I’d personally play myself! I’m always going to have half a step and foot on the family and children side of the ledger, not only because I’m a future foster-adoptive Mum, nor even because I’m an Auntie at present, but because I tend to like the innocence in stories for younger generations. I’d wrap myself into a family film far quicker than I would an intense video game! I am a gamer, a title I apparently acquired at three, as I’ve been playing games on the computer since I first started using one! Wayy back when Atari was all the rage and long before Nintendo or the ability to borrow my neighbourhood friend’s Sega Genesis so I could play with Sonic, the quirky hedgehog!

The best news of all, no matter how we gather our passions for animal companions, nor where we wander to find the companions that mean the world to their masters, we each have our own ‘coveted niche’ in the genres we appreciate reading and watching! And, I for one will always celebrate the uniqueness of our individual passions if we can sometimes draw a common thread towards each other and celebrate the love of story-telling which ignites a fever pitch passion for our imaginations!

-quoted from my Spotlight on behalf of Hero’s Best Friend

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review | Hero’s Best Friend: an Anthology of Animal Companions {edited by} Scott M. SandridgeHero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions
by (Editor) Scott M. Sandridge, Herika R. Raymer
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Direct from Publisher

How far would Gandalf have gotten without Shadowfax? Where would the Vault Dweller be without Dogmeat? And could the Beastmaster been the Beastmaster without his fuzzy allies? Animal companions are more than just sidekicks. Animals can be heroes, too!

Found within are twenty stories of heroic action that focuses on the furries and scalies who have long been the unsung heroes pulling their foolish human buddies out of the fire, and often at great sacrifice-from authors both established and new, including Frank Creed, S. H. Roddey, and Steven S. Long.

Whether you're a fan of Epic Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Science Fiction, or just animal stories in general, this is the anthology for you! So sit back, kick your feet up, and find out what it truly means to be the Hero's Best Friend.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1937929510

Also by this author: , Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, Gifts of the Magi

Series: Anthologies from Seventh Star Press


Also in this series: Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy, , A Chimerical World, Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions


Genres: Fantasy Fiction


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 12th February, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 472

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress)
Available Formats: Trade paperback & Ebook

Genres: Short Story | Fantasy | Animals in Fiction

Converse on Twitter: #HerosBestFriendAntho & #7thStar

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Stories inside: Hero’s Best Friend:

Joy Ward: “Toby and Steve Save the World”

Frank Creed: “Dusk”

Cassie Schau: “The Hunter’s Boy”

Steven Donahue: “Grit”

Jason Cordova: “Hill 142”

Herika R. Raymer: “Dook”

Essel Pratt: “Brothers”

Lisa Hawkridge: “Ezra’s Girl”

S. H. Roddey: “Look What the Cat Dragged In.”

Steven S. Long: “The Wolf Sentinel”

Laura Anne Ewald: “Memorandum”

Cindy Koepp: “The Hat”

Ian Hunter: “Scarheid in the Glisting”

Steven Grassie: “The Masterless”

David Wright: “Wind of Change”

Renee Carter Hall: “The Emerald Mage”

Nick Bryan: “The Violet Curse”

Lillian Csernica & Kevin Andrew Murphy: “The Restless Armadillo”

Douglas J. Ogurek: “Stuck on the Squigglybounce”

Sheila Deeth: “Passage”

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

About (Editor) Scott M. Sandridge

Scott M. Sandridge Photo Credit: Stephen Zimmer, taken on a book convention floor.

Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, freedom fighter, and all-around trouble-maker. His latest works as an editor include the Seventh Star Press anthologies Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, and the two volumes of A Chimerical World, Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court.

Photo Credit: Stephen Zimmer, taken on a book convention floor

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2018 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Action & Adventure Fiction, An Editor Point of View, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Convention, Bookish Discussions, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender, Imaginarium, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Science Fiction, Seventh Star Press, Short Stories or Essays, Speculative Fiction, The Writers Life, Tomorrow Comes Media, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Writing Style & Voice

+Blog Book Tour+ Hero’s Best Friend: an Anthology of Animal Companions {edited by} Scott M. Sandridge, featuring an Editor Guest Post!

Posted Sunday, 22 June, 2014 by jorielov , , 6 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Heros Best Friend Anthology Blog Tour with Tomorrow Comes Media

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress), 12 February, 2014
Official Author WebsitesBlog | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads
Available Formats: Softcover Page Count: 472
Genres: Short Story | Fantasy  | Animals in Fiction

Converse on Twitter: #HerosBestFriendAntho & #7thStar

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

There are books which enter our lives and conscience heart well ahead of their actual publication date, and this particular anthology came into my view in late 2013. It was around the time of the first-ever Twitter party for the debut writerly convention Imaginarium in Louisville, Kentucky this coming September! I was quite charmed by the premise of the stories which would be lit alive inside its covers and I was quite eager to learn more about the collection as it came time to review it for a blog tour! Clearly confident in my ability to secure a tour spot, as sometimes when you believe in a book, you just have to go the extra mile! (as I have for Uncovering Cobbogoth and Portals, Passages, and Pathways!)

Imagine my gobsmacked horror to realise that the complimentary copy of Hero’s Best Friend went plumb amiss in the Post! Yes, dear hearts, somewhere out there between Kentucky and here, there is a copy floating through the mail system! You see, I had planned to compose my observational thoughts on the stories today! Never one to throw in the towel if life throws me lemons, I quickly contacted the editor Mr. Sandridge and conferred with him about an impromptu Guest Post in lieu of the planned review!

Sandridge came through for me and provided me with lovely insight into how animal companions and animals inside stories have enchanted him as much as they have myself! I am always delighted finding others who appreciate the same interests I have but to have such a stellar essay whipped up as quickly as he threw this one together is a blessing to a book blogger! I cannot thank him enough for giving me a way ‘back on the tour!’

Please take a moment to look over the information on the anthology’s contents before proceeding into his essay about the genre-bending inclusion of ‘animal companions!’

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Heroes Best Friend : Anthology by Seventh Star Press
Artwork Credit: Enggar Adirasa

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

May I take a moment to express my gratitude for the artwork by Enggar Adirasa! The front cover’s image simply draws you into wanting to seek the stories out inside this collection of shorts! Especially if you are an appreciator of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe motion picture! (I did not get as enraptured with the books!) I would love to hear your take on what alights in your mind as you look a bit at the cover and compose your thoughts in the comment threads below! I look forward to seeing what you share! It is still a bit of a mystery for me to know of which story this illustrative piece is referencing! And, I cannot wait to find out!

Anthology Synopsis: Hero’s Best Friend: an Anthology of Animal Companions

Scott M. Sandridge

How far would Gandalf have gotten without Shadowfax? Where would the Vault Dweller be without Dogmeat? And could the Beastmaster been the Beastmaster without his fuzzy allies? Animal companions are more than just sidekicks. Animals can be heroes, too!
Found within are twenty stories of heroic action that focuses on the furries and scalies who have long been the unsung heroes pulling their foolish human buddies out of the fire, and often at great sacrifice-from authors both established and new, including Frank Creed, S. H. Roddey, and Steven S. Long.

Whether you’re a fan of Epic Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Science Fiction, or just animal stories in general, this is the anthology for you!

So sit back, kick your feet up, and find out what it truly means to be the Hero’s Best Friend.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, freedom fighter, and all-around trouble-maker. His latest works as an editor include the Seventh Star Press anthologies Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, and the two volumes of A Chimerical World, Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Stories inside: Hero’s Best Friend:

Joy Ward: “Toby and Steve Save the World”

Frank Creed: “Dusk”

Cassie Schau: “The Hunter’s Boy”

Steven Donahue: “Grit”

Jason Cordova: “Hill 142”

Herika R. Raymer: “Dook”

Essel Pratt: “Brothers”

Lisa Hawkridge: “Ezra’s Girl”

S. H. Roddey: “Look What the Cat Dragged In.”

Steven S. Long: “The Wolf Sentinel”

Laura Anne Ewald: “Memorandum”

Cindy Koepp: “The Hat”

Ian Hunter: “Scarheid in the Glisting”

Steven Grassie: “The Masterless”

David Wright: “Wind of Change”

Renee Carter Hall: “The Emerald Mage”

Nick Bryan: “The Violet Curse”

Lillian Csernica & Kevin Andrew Murphy: “The Restless Armadillo”

Douglas J. Ogurek: “Stuck on the Squigglybounce”

Sheila Deeth: “Passage”

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Animal Stories Span Genres

By Scott M. Sandridge

Growing up, I watched all the classic films of Lassie and Benji. Reading White Fang showed me that the best animal stories are the ones done from the animal’s point of view, and I later realized that they can be some of the most difficult stories to write. Cujo showed me that animals can make for great characters in Horror, and Lord of the Rings introduced me to Shadowfax. And who hasn’t seen Mad Max or The Beast Master?

The post-apocalyptic video game series, Fallout, expanded my view of the different genres that animal companions can be in. Fallout and Fallout 3 introduced me to the roughest, toughest, and most loyal companion you can have on your team: Dogmeat, a dog so tough he can take down a super mutant with his bare teeth (and can survive my very bad aim with grenades). Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas introduced me to robot dogs and cyborg dogs. They were pretty tough, too (but could never survive my bad aim with grenades, alas).

When I pitched my idea for an anthology about animal companions to Seventh Star Press, I knew the Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery genres would be well represented. Animal companions have been a classic mainstay in those genres for a long time. But by allowing the anthology to be open to all genres, I became pleasantly surprised at the submissions that arrived. In Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, not only will you find Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, and Contemporary, but also Science Fiction, Cyberpunk, and Bizarro. If Hero’s Best Friend proves anything, it’s that animal companion stories can span all genres and subgenres.

And why not? Our relationship to animals, and their relationship to us, tells us as much about the human condition as human-to-human relationships. Just as we see our real life pets as extended family members, in fiction (when the writer does it right) the animals we read about become just as real to us as the human characters. They make us laugh, make us cheer, and make us cry: just as much as, if not more than, the human characters do.

I’m honored to have been the editor of such an anthology, with a theme so dear to my heart. And I’m thankful that Seventh Star Press gave me the opportunity to have such an anthology available for all of you to enjoy.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What I appreciate the most about this particular collection of stories is having each of them capture the essence of a genre-bending sphere of literary delight! They are representative of their actual genres, but they sound as though they give a bit more than what those branches of literature might usually encompass at the very same time! I love fiction that takes on new meanings and new depths, whether I am soaking into a book, a short story, or even whilst immersed into the latest Doctor Who episode I am discovering for the very first time! I find that the series is the epitome of ‘genre-bending’ and brilliance of execution on captivating a person’s attention at the jump-start beginning!

Sandridge and I share a common ground for appreciating animal companions, as his top three choices match my own, as I quite literally rented “Benji: the Hunted” from the rental shoppes so often they nearly gave me the VHS tapes for free! I say ‘nearly!’ as they never could seem to get permission from corporate to do so! Oy! I was simply captivated by Benji, for the same reasons I loved “The Adventures of Natty Gann” in which Natty’s companion is a wolf; “The Neverending Story” who as the wickedest dragon on the planet! (another film in common, he mentions this elsewhere on the tour!); the Mountain Family Robinson trilogy where Crest protected the family; previously I have mentioned my affection for “Pete’s Dragon”; and many others I am failing to draw to memory today! What I appreciate about Jack London is his ability to get your heart attached to a wolf in a way that is different than Natty Gann but is a bit similar to “Due South”; a tv series which features a deaf wolf who takes interest in protecting a Mountie!

From our beginnings of noting animal companions and animals in fiction, we differ a bit on our paths after childhood because I am suspecting the video games are not the ones I’d personally play myself! I’m always going to have half a step and foot on the family and children side of the ledger, not only because I’m a future foster-adoptive Mum, nor even because I’m an Auntie at present, but because I tend to like the innocence in stories for younger generations. I’d wrap myself into a family film far quicker than I would an intense video game! I am a gamer, a title I apparently acquired at three, as I’ve been playing games on the computer since I first started using one! Wayy back when Atari was all the rage and long before Nintendo or the ability to borrow my neighbourhood friend’s Sega Genesis so I could play with Sonic, the quirky hedgehog!

You’ll even note a new ‘tag’ on my Twitter profile which sums me up quite well: Vintage Gamer! By board, card, or video, I like a bit of a unique ‘vintage’ or ‘yesteryear’ spin to what I game! Not to say I don’t like an action-based game either, as let’s face it, I cannot deny I helped beat “Street Fighter” in sixth grade! I digress!

The best news of all, no matter how we gather our passions for animal companions, nor where we wander to find the companions that mean the world to their masters, we each have our own ‘coveted niche’ in the genres we appreciate reading and watching! And, I for one will always celebrate the uniqueness of our individual passions if we can sometimes draw a common thread towards each other and celebrate the love of story-telling which ignites a fever pitch passion for our imaginations!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour Stop, courtesy of Tomorrow Comes Media

Heros Best Friend Anthology Blog Tour with Tomorrow Comes Media

Virtual Road Map of the “Hero’s Best Friend” Blog Tour:

16 June: Guest Post of Scott M. Sandridge “Writers Are Born, Then Made” @ Beagle Book Space

16 June: Interview: S.H. Roddey (author of a short) @ Deal Sharing Aunt

17 June: Guest Post of Essel PrattSheila Deeth

18 June: Guest Post of Henrik R. Raymer @ Come Selahway With Me

18 June: Guest Post of Scott M. Sandridge “Animals & the Hero Archetype” @ On Cloud Eight-and-a-Half

19 June: Guest Post of Sheila Deeth @ Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

20 June: Guest Post of S.H. Roddey @ Beauty in Ruins

21 June: Guest Post of Scott M. Sandridge “Animal Stories Span Genres” @ Jorie Loves a Story

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comCheck out my upcoming bookish events to see what I will be hosting next for

Tomorrow Comes Media Tour Host

and mark your calendars!

I am going to be reading & reviewing “Hero’s Best Friend” 

as soon as I receive a copy of the anthology!

Stay tuned!

Watch my tweets!

And return back to this blog!

What draws you into reading anthologies in the fantasy realms?! What are some of your favourite fantasy-centered anthologies of short stories!? Are there any authors you were ‘introduced to’ via an anthology that you regularly read now!? Who are some of your favourite ‘animal companions’ in fiction and motion picture?! And, don’t forget to share your thoughts about the book cover art!

{SOURCES: Editor photograph, Editor Biography, Book Synopsis, Book Cover, and TCM Tour Host badge were provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and were used by permission. Jorie requested an Author Guest Post from Scott M. Sandridge by way of Mr. Sandridge, of which she received a reply. She wanted to remain on the tour when the book went amiss in the post, and he obliged her with this wicked post topic! Guest Post badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Sunday, 22 June, 2014 by jorielov in Action & Adventure Fiction, An Editor Point of View, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Convention, Bookish Discussions, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender, Imaginarium, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Science Fiction, Seventh Star Press, Short Stories or Essays, Speculative Fiction, The Writers Life, Tomorrow Comes Media, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Writing Style & Voice

_+ #atozchallenge _+ 26 Days | 26 Essays [epic journey] Today is Letter “A”. #Anthologies

Posted Tuesday, 1 April, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Day 1: Letter A of the A to Z ChallengeAn eruption of blog posts throughout the blogosphere are going *live!* in different intervals throughout April Fool’s Day, and this isn’t a prank nor a joke! This is a world-wide globally connected blogosphere challenge where each blogger who signs into the participant linky is quite literally confirming their express desire to blog straight [except on Sundays!] for *26 Days!* whilst writing *26!* most intriguing & thought-producing alphabet essays! Or, to be comically inspiring, randomly cheekily, and otherwise delightfully entertaining! The bloggers who have signed into the challenge are from all walks of blogosphere life: book bloggers united alongside lifestyle gurus; writers of all literary styles nudged up against travelogues; the gambit runs the full course of each and every theme, topic, subject, and genre you could possibly light your heart with joy to broach in a blog! And, the curious bit to the journey is where your posts lead you as much as where other blogger’s posts inspire you! It’s this fantastic community to celebrate the spirit within the blogosphere as much as the spirit of connection amongst the bloggers who might not have crossed paths with each other otherwise. After all, the road map for blogs is as wide and large as the actual world outside the nethersphere of websites, pixels, and memes! Walk with us whilst we discover a bit about ourselves, our blog, & each other!

I am blogger #552 out of 2155!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comOne quick tour around Jorie Loves A Story, and the new visitor willParajunkee Designs notice that I am a bookish girl bent on literary excursions which encourage my spirit as much as they challenge my perspective of what I have learnt thus far in my life. Literature by definition is a self-guided and self-evolving process of gaining knowledge through books and ruminations of those who walked before us, imparting their words and tangible thoughts to the page. I truly do “blog books!” and I am most esteemed to say “I <3 Fiction” as the badge to the right expresses quite definitively! Yet, how does a book blogger translate the rhythmic murmurings of her wandering compass when there isn’t a fixed point of entry or landing point? How to encase within a blog challenge to relate what motivates her and what excites her beyond the girth of what is deemed plausible!?

I tend to move like a dancer through genres, as what motivates me is the inertia of magnetism that draws my eye, heart, and mind into a particular setting, time period, locale, and character sketching… that vortex of suspension in-between first finding a book that whets your fancy and drinking in the words that will either leave you blissfully entranced or ruminative about where the writer was intending to take you.

– quoted from my Introduction Post

For you see I truly am passionate about the art of discovering new authors and the legacies of their words left to the world to find them. There is an electric pulse to seeking out a bookish tome of joy, especially if your heart holds within it a heavy attachment to wordsmiths and world-builders whose narratives jump you straight out of your chair and into the heart of their stories. Where time itself is eclipsed by the overwhelmingly familiar experience your about to engrave inside you through sensory registers you were given. To soak into a character’s shoes to the brink of attaching a piece of them to your DNA and vice versa. We take bits and bobbles of light along with us for where we tread next along the labyrinth pathways of literature. Wanderlust abounds because it only takes the impetus of a notion of seeing a title, an author’s name, a book’s cover-art or the premise winking at you from off the shelf to whet your palette of interest towards reading its story.

Each book which settles itself into my mind’s eye whereupon it fixated itself and has become a part of me, will be rendering a new chapter of my collective memory. A story of which has etched itself a remnant piece of my journey as I continue to make an onwards advance towards my next literary find. The books featured here are the ones that left me with a hitching in my chest, a murmuring in my soul, and a thankfulness in my heart. Books like these are to become the cherished friends that sit upon a bookshelf ready for a second conversation and visit.

– quoted from my Introduction Post

Story-tellers of whom engage with their audience in such a clever way as to give them a sampling of a taste of their collective work OR even a breath of an introduction to enliven the imagination of their readership is one step I’ve taken towards embracing the world of “A N T H O L O G I E S“!! And, yes dear hearts, today’s Letter A which I cheekily enscribed as a reference “Day1 is 1APR (Not a Foolish Day!) A is for?” whilst announcing today’s post via Twitter is a winking nudge towards the fact I posted ‘two’ new posts today which curate the essence of the “Letter A”. The first of which is “ANDRA Watkins” on behalf of her debut novel “To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis and the second of which is the post your reading right now!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA N T H O L O G I E S are little dirths and dots of curiously broaching short stories! They give us a nibblement of an idea, whisk us away into this alternative realm and properly deposit us back to whence we started long before we were ready to make our exit! I had always become curious about anthologies but as to where to alight my hat within its vast vault of choice was beyond daunting! My first notion was to sink into the mystery genre before approaching the science fiction & fantasy genre anthologies! My thinking was based upon my enjoyment of the Agatha Christie omnibus editions of her stories! You could gather a heap of Christie inside of a hardback volume of joy, let me tell you! It was Christie who inspired my heart towards having murder & suspense on my brain as a youngster because I was forever engaged on bated breath to see ‘who’ was guilty and of ‘whom’ would catch the nefarious deviant criminals! You might be surprised to realise then, my first ‘A N T H O L O G I E S exposure’ came on behalf of: Regency Christmas novellas & novella collections of inspirational romances from Barbour Publishing! At least, this is where my memory alights as being the first time I realised I was reading an anthological collection of short stories! I am in love with the aspect of creating a dramatically splendid experience out of the smallness of space in which ‘shorts’ are notorious to be inhabited. My personal writings in fiction are too akin to breadth and depth of expression to suit the needs of a proper short story, but its the joy I have pulsing through me as I endeavour to read the works of others which captivates the fullness of my attention!

The Chronicles of Ave
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Whilst being a book blogger, I am finding the wide sea of anthologies mingling around the bookish sphere of choice isn’t quite as difficult to unearth as I once feared! In fact, oft-times I am finding anthologies are starting to become quite the choice of publishers to either offer as a review option or they place them on a blog tour to help introduce the timid anthology readers like me take a small step towards embracing their mirth! I say ‘timid’ here as a way of expressing that because I struggle to get the words to fit within a confine word count limit, I sometimes notice my mind ‘over-thinks’ itself to death whilst I read! Instead of simply appreciating the experience of the story, my ferret of a head is trying to augment how the writer elected to make the choices she or he did to keep the story alive yet without the girth of a novel to anchor its dimension. In this, I find anthologies extraordinary!

The first anthology which crossed my path was “Chronicles of Ave: Volume 1” by Stephen Zimmer, published by Indie publisher Seventh Star Press. This collection of which fronts a curious dragon in flight on the cover illustrative plate is a map of sorts for a new visitor of the Ave world to become acquainted with key characters and uncover little nuisances of where the larger tome of the book series “Fires of Eden” will take the reader. Zimmer expands fully to encase certain elements of where a previously published portion of Ave might have been edited for length or content, but within his Chronicles he can re-examine, re-define, and re-explore those moments of Ave which deserve to have their light shined on their own.

He parlays his fervent passion for research by interspersing what he uncovers into the tapestry by which Ave is threaded against! It’s a world that encompasses as many distinctively unique cultures, traditions, spirituality’s, and languages as our own living counterpart, and yet, it has something to give back to us as well!

It’s quite apparent at first reading that Ave is a world that you can gently enter into but its a world that draws a breath of dedication with each glance! The further you walk inside Ave, the more you want to know, the more you want to experience, and the more your drawn to wonder about the extensive scope of the stories that prompted this collection of shorts, which marks a transition through a lesser notation of them in the serial installments already known! Bits and bobbles of undercurrent histories stitched into the under threads, that give a larger impression of the story on a whole! OR, at least this is what I imagine to be true!

– quoted from my review of “Chronicles of Ave: Volume 1” by Stephen Zimmer

Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy edited by Michael Knost
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Second out of the gate in my newly minted exploration of anthologies was the incomparable “Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy” edited by Michael Knost. I felt as though I was sitting down with the collected writers who gathered to inspire other writers’ within their genres and outside them with the encouragement needed to boldly dare to pursue their craft! Writers sometimes forget that the one bit that is most important is the totality of belief in their imagination and their writing. Writers need to remember to ‘own their work’ and refute disbelief whilst pushing ahead when odds stack against them like ricochet hail at the tail end of a severe storm! Negative electrons are everywhere in life, but if we refuse to accept defeat we will always walk out the other end with a level of grace and knowledge of how to proceed forward on a better leaf than the prior! The anthologies which attract me to read are not limited to fiction, as I have always had a piqué curiosity of the writer’s craft.

And, it’s within this boiling and brewing of ideas where I gather my energy for the story about to transfer out of my mind’s vortex and unto the written page! To take a thread of an idea, nurture it into being and then, allowing the freedom of the idea to transition and transmorph into its full-bodied existence of what its meant to be is a writer’s realised dream. Nibblements of ruminations sprinkled throughout a lifetime of experience and adventure start to ink out into our imagination. Transcending both time and memory, as pieces of ourselves are wrangled into the lifeblood of our characters! Being a writer is akin to being a nurturer of ideas and of ideals. We take our observations from our living realities, and pour our heart into our works attempting to yield a story that others might find palatable. I say ‘might’ find as I am one writer who writes the stories which flow through her rather than write a story which is hinged to a specific audience or topic. We (writers) all hope that the momentum and passion we have for an idea will garnish itself a foothold in a reader’s queue. Perhaps even, enlighten their outlook or perception, but moreso than naught, to give them a hearty piece of narrative which leaves them pensively grateful for the idea which started the words to fill the page!

– quoted from my review of “Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy” edited by Michael Knost

I was transfixed and inspired as you can see by the inertia of what was being revealed inside this anthology! What made my heart flutter the most are the topics & subjects explored by the writers who contributed to the anthology were giving advice across the literary divides! The advice was not limited strictly to science fiction and fantasy, although in some instances they were given direct instances of how to write a story in this particular world of vision; but any writer could eek out the lessons of the writer’s craft itself. Enabling all writers to feel a bit more motivated and uplifted for the time spent inside its pages!

Is editing an anthology more difficult than writing a book? If so, why? And, how did you coordinate the sections of Writers Workshop on Science Fiction and Fantasy in such a way that the previous writer melded into the next’s topic?

Knost responds: Each has its own difficulty, and each has its own strengths. As an editor, I am tasked as a conductor, seeking to keep the whole in a harmonic state, which sometimes can be nearly impossible. Where the writer is concerned about his or her solo, the editor is concerned about the entire piece. Just as each song is different, so is each anthology or collection, and because of that, each is structured by going with one’s heart. As for WWOSFF, I assigned the particular element of the craft of which I wanted each writer to focus. And I planned the layout while in the assignment stages, which evolved somewhat.

– quoted from my interview of Michael Knost whilst featuring the anthology during Seventh Star Press Week.

Moments in Millenia edited by Penny Freeman
Artwork Credit: Dale Pease (of Walking Stick Books) http://walkingstickbooks.com

On 8th April, I will be posting my first book review on behalf of Indie publisher Xchyler Publishing, which is “Moments in Millennia” a fantasy anthology of futuristic fantasy set against the continuum of time and space! I found Xchyler Press through a tweet posted by Marian Allen, which led me to the discovery of “A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk” by Scott E. Tarbet. Whilst browsing the catalogue of choices on their website this particular A N T H O L O G Y stood out to me. I was intrigued by the concept of allowing each writer the freedom to answer the thesis of thought in their own methodology of choice.

I had the honour of interviewing Ms. Penny Freeman

who is the Editor of the A N T H O L O G Y.

We had an excellent exchangement of conversation surrounding its creation:

In regards to book trailers, I was quite impressed with the motion picture quality of “Moments in Millennia” where the undercurrent score and cut-away sequences where the broadcast is nearly being cut-off draws the reader into the scene. The vortex of how ‘time’ itself draws a circle around the necessity of ‘now’. Of being in a position to react and effectively impact the state of ‘what is happening right this instant’. How as an editor did you draw a stitching of continuity inside the anthology, where stories were brought together whilst giving freedom to the writers to explore the premise in their own vision?

Freeman responds: The continuity is a product of several different factors. The first, of course, is the theme we set. When we come up with something we think might spark the imagination (in this case, back to the future), we announce it as part of our writing competition. Writers will often ask us exactly what we mean by that. Our answer is always the same: what does that mean to you?

This particular project was interesting to me in that so many of the entries (and ultimately the winners) focused on dark scenarios. Going in, I rather expected some fun fantasy romps, and I think the fact that we didn’t have anything of that nature reflects society’s outlook as a whole. We seem to be a rather cheerless bunch at the moment.

The next influence is our judging algorithm. Because each individual judge has their own likes and dislikes, the stories that suit their aesthetic will rank higher, so that tends to influence the overall outcome. Finally, the editorial process itself plays a significant role. We look at the entries as first drafts, and then we work with the authors to polish their work. Because the same content editor works with every author, that influence is felt within each story.

For instance, I like stories to get inside people’s heads and ask questions: how do situations and events affect the characters emotionally; what are the ramifications of an event? My mantra: dig deeper! Another editor may have wanted more emphasis on technical details or more “atmosphere”. The editor’s own “what does this mean to you” comes into bear and becomes that consistent thread that runs through everything.

Thank you for giving me such a beautiful insight into the production of  “Moments in Milliennia”, as the scope of the project is as multi-dimensional as I had forethought it might have been! I do agree with you on the ‘dark undertones’ throughout the anthology itself, as I was quite curious when I first picked it up to read on how each writer surprised me in turn by giving me a revelation inside their story I had not expected to find after having read their individual premises. I believe its going to the heart of what you revealed yourself: there is an undercurrent in our society for focusing more on the dark than the light; even if those of us who are reading fantasy have a penchant for seeking out the light at each possible turn! For without the Light, where then do we find the Hope!? Yet. Despite this, the anthology gave me numerous sociological implications to ponder about and for that, I give the writers credit for taking up the bold challenge of answering your submission call in a way which will stand out to the readers who pick up the anthology!

– quoted from my Interview with Interview with Penny Freeman

Likewise, I am quite eager to find A N T H O L O G Y which will help introduce me to Steampunk, as I am approaching it from a historical fiction reader’s point-of-view as I described in this Question to Mr. Tarbet:

Being that you’re a history enthusiast, I noticed that you inserted 12 historically known characters into your story. Do you feel you’re creating a new niche in steampunk which might be considered historical steam? Where those who appreciate historical fiction might find themselves crossing over to reading your stories due to the nature of how much history you’ve woven into the background?

Tarbet responds: Nice term, that: historical steam. I like it. It captures A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk very well in its “something for everyone” essence. And by ‘everyone’ I mean ME. I believe that an author worth reading will be writing something that they would want to read themselves. For me that means having way more than one element to any story. Mine always have at least two of three, sometimes more. A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk has Steampunk, Shakespeare, and alternative history. I would want to read it. It tickles me pink that other people find it a satisfying blend as well.

– quoted from my Interview with Scott E. Tarbet

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comWithin the hours leading up the A to Z Challenge, I was presented with a chance to host a blog tour for an inspirational devotional from the perspective of a woman whoCats Are Part of His Kingdom, Too Virtual Blog Tour hosted by Editing Through the Seasons has rescued cats and observed lessons of life etch out of her time in their role as caregiver. I always knew the animals who become our companions hold a very special place in our hearts as much as in the corner-most spot of our spirits. They endear us to grounding ourselves into the pureness of love, acceptance, and friendship. The world is oft-times a jaded askewed place to inhabit and with the companions of those whose innocence block out the shade, we find ourselves softened and affirmed by their grace.

Parajunkee DesignsI wanted to take part in this tour because I have always enjoyed snippets of inspiring stories shared through the Chicken Soup for the Soul series such as “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times: 101 Daily Devotions to Inspire & Support You in Times of Need” by Susan M. Heim & Karen C. Talcott of which I mentioned in my review of “The Prayer Box” by Lisa Wingate. I want to wander through the pages of more non-fiction titles as time progresses forward here on Jorie Loves A Story. There is such a beautiful gift in knowing the world of A N T H O L O G I E S is not limited to a specific definition of context. They are merely a representation of a collection of stories and writers uniting together for a common purpose. Sometimes they are not even stories in the traditional sense. They can transmorph into life lessons, antidotes of memory, and affirmations of how to strive towards a well-balanced life within the light of tomorrow’s dawn.

Anthologies are lightning inside the ether,
one spark of imaginary bliss,
can ignite a fever pitch for quantitative consumption!
– Jorie, of Jorie Loves A Story

I am happy to share with you the book covers of three Seventh Star Press A N T H O L O G I E S I am most anxious to see hit the book blogosphere by storm! Their press releases on the Seventh Star Press blog are directed on their titles. I am hopeful to take part in their virtual tours and I look forward to your return visit on the 8th of April for “Moments in Millennia” as well as watching my Bookish Events page or my Twitter feeds to see when the forthcoming A N T H O L O G I E S on tour will alight here! When you click over to read about the stories contained inside them you will realise why I am as excited about them as I am!

Fantasy Anthologies by Seventh Star Press
Artwork Credit by: Enggar Adirasa
{: Hero’s Best Friend :}
{: Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court,
and A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court
:}

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA bit of an extra surprise for those A to Z Challengers

who patiently awaited my “Letter A”:

Moments in Millennia : A Fantasy Anthology Book Trailer by Xchyler Publishing

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThank you for joining me on DAY 1 | A to Z Challenge!

I am a girl named Jorie who loves a story!
I am a bookish library girl on a quest for literary enlightenment!
I am predominately self-taught and library educated!
I am Mademoiselle Jorie!
Thank you for joining me on this journey!

This marks my first post for the:

A to Z Challenge

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

And, might I add as an observation on Day 1? 

Bless A to Z Challenge for giving me a way to explore my writerly muse! I want to take a moment to *wave!* a bit to my new visitors from the following countries:

United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Greece, India, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, France, & Switzerland! I thank you for dropping by either yesterday on my 1st Blogoversary OR today my first A to Z Challenge!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Would you lament the same as I do?! The brilliance of the revolution of anthologies is to give us a bit of a teaser of a taste of a writer’s style? What do you appreciate the most from reading anthologies!? And, like me, do you ever notice your being pulled towards one author moreso than another!? Do you follow-up your readings of the ‘shorts’ by expanding your knowledge in seeking out full-length novels by the writer who you were hungrily consuming in the collection!? Which writers are most beloved to you right now were originally discovered in an anthology? And, which anthologies do you gravitate to purchase, borrow from the library, or simply sit in a coffeehouse attached to a wicked sweet Indie bookshoppe and peruse!?

{SOURCES: A to Z Challenge Participant & Letter A Badge provided by the A to Z Challenge site for bloggers to use on their individual posts & blogs to help promote the challenge to others.”I Blog Books” badges by Parajunkee Designs is a free resource provided for book bloggers. Cats Are Part of His Kingdom Too devotional tour provided by Editing Through the Seasons and used with permission. Book covers provided by Tomorrow Comes Media & Xchyler Publishing for promotion and review on Jorie Loves A Story; used with permission. The book trailer by Xchyler Publishing had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Tuesday, 1 April, 2014 by jorielov in A to Z Challenge, An Editor Point of View, Anthology Collection of Stories, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, British Literature, Classical Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Cosy Mystery, Editing Through The Seasons, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Light vs Dark, MidSummer's Night Dream, Multi-Author Serial Fiction, Passionate Researcher, Romance Fiction, Science Fiction, Seventh Star Press, Silver Hair Sleuths, Steampunk, the Regency era, The Writers Life, William Shakespeare, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Advice & Tips, Writing Style & Voice, Xchyler Publishing