Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When an editor goes rogue...BEWARE of UNDEAD PRESS...

When we stumbled across this, I'd like to say we were shocked. We weren't. As editors, we've heard horror stories (no pun) from writers and artists about the liberties that some editors choose to take with work that isn't their own.

While no one editor or publishing house is perfect (despite our best efforts, we've made spelling errors we haven't caught, it happens), but what happened to this writer is beyond rude. A complete rewriting of her story, snotty and insipid comments back via email, belittlement, and pettiness and threatening legal action when all she wanted was her story published like she wrote it, or the revised version pulled because she didn't approve it. He should have, in my humble opinion, started with something simple, like spellcheck since he misspelled the title incorrectly twice. But I lament...

Undead Press, Living Dead Press, and Open Casket Press are all the same editor....the aforementioned editor who crudely hacked apart a writers work. BE WARNED: submitting to these markets means THIS could happen to YOU. Mind you, this is all my opinion (because since I state its MY opinion, I don't have to worry about this...editor *coughs something much more derogatory* coming back and threatening legal action against me for my two cents on the whole thing.)

The editor has committed some seriously heinous offences (SEE Brian Keene's comments on the editor's series of books based on Romero's Living Dead characters without gaining permission from George himself).

Bottom line: editors like this give small publishing houses and print magazines a bad rap, and crush the dreams of a budding writer because of their own (again my opinion) inept ability to get published on their own.

Remember if/when you comment: make sure your comments are stated as your opinion. Don't give this individual any fuel to take legal action against you should he be so inclined.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Randomness of CAPITALIZATION, ellipsis, and crazy punctuation

It’s been awhile since we’ve posted a blog, and for that I apologize. Life has taken crazy turns, and while it’s taken us a long time, we’re expecting our first child-a daughter- any day now. That being said, onto the topic at hand.

As an editor, we see all types of literary faux pas’, so it’s easy as an editor to pick out the most horrible offenders of the bunch.  Okay, horrible is a strong word to use. But, there are moments when we want just want to play whack-a-mole to a writer’s fingertips before they finish typing their offending sentence.  I’m joking, well mostly, but here are the three (at least for the last two reading periods) common offenders that we wanted to address.

1.       Double Punctuation!?!? When I see a series of knitted exclamation points and question marks, I cringe. I know the intended effect: to create a sense of questionable shock and awe. The problem is, it doesn’t work. Not grammatically, not structurally.  It’s not the bane of the bad writer-far from it-but offenses like this might make the difference between getting published or passed up. Instead of telling the audience with a series of repetitive punctuation marks, SHOW us. Describe it. Context should tell us everything. Use lots of detail and put us in that place and time.

2.       Ellipsis…Meant to be used for a long pause with a double meaning…If your character is rambling on in thought and trails off…if you’re quoting from a passage, and you leave a beginning, middle, or end part of the quote off, it’s okay to use the three little dots (and only three….five, seven, or more are not needed here.) For example, Metallica’s album, “…and Justice for All.” The ellipsis preceding the album title are meant to represent the missing parts of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Again, not a total literary blasphemy, but still offensive and it makes for a very difficult read.

3.       The random CAPITALIZED word. I have nothing positive to SAY about randomly placing words and putting one or TWO of them in capital letters. I’m not talking about words or phrases meant to show emphasis, I’m simply stating just A random couple of words IN a paragraph that are  CAPITALIZED. It’s bad writing. There are ways to emphasize  specific words to show meaning, show impact. A scattering of capitalized words throws off the reader, and just makes for bad copy.

So next time your fingers are lingering over the period, wanting to press them several times in succession, or you REALLY, REALLY, want to show a point on a particular subject because you want the reader to feel, remember the simple rules from above!!!!???

 We now conclude this literary sarcasm and updates and return you to your regularly scheduled program…

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Singing our Praises...

When A.W. and I started on this adventure, we had one goal in mind: to publish the best we could find in dark speculative fiction-both in writing and art.

We've had a lot of fun and enjoyment out of it. It's hard to articulate just how excited and hopeful we get when we open a new reading period. I love reading new works from familiar authors, but we love getting submissions from first time authors as well. It's a great feeling to get a response back from a first time author who's received an acceptance, because that means we are accomplishing what we set out to do. In addition, its nice to get praises and kudos along the way, not to be a stroke to the old ego, but to remind us that we are in fact on track with our goals, and the public is happy with our efforts.

But we had to take this time to share a couple of 'woo-hoo' moments we had over the weekend.

First, Dark Opus Press had a stellar review for In Poe's Shadow! We are beyond thrilled to share the review with everyone. Please check out the following link to see what was said...

In addition, the next day we found out that Dark Opus Press's first maiden publishing effort of In Poe's Shadow, made a Top 20 Books of 2011 list! We are beyond thrilled! And we want to share that link as well..


.....So on those happy notes, we just want to remind everyone about the new anthology theme: Seven Deadly Sins. For info, guidelines, and deadlines, please check out our home page at http://www.betenoiremagazine.com/ for more updates!

Happy writing, and hope to read and look at more from you during our upcoming reading period!

J.L. Gifford
Assistant Editor