The amazing Jean Marie Ward interviewed me back in May, while we were both at Balticon, about what I do for buzzymag, the editing process, and all the different hats I wear. She’s fantastic to work with, and I’m proud to be a part of buzzymag, and to work with her.

An interview with Elektra Hammond

You can watch the interview or read the transcript at buzzymag.

I am now an affiliate member of Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA). That is all.

Balticon is this weekend, at the Habitrail Hunt Valley Inn, in Hunt Valley, Maryland. I’ve got some panels to do, the Dark Quest launch to help out with on Sunday night, and I’ll be helping with the Phoenix in 2014 NasFic bid table (and the Saturday night party!) and the Masquerade. I also hope to be at the Fortress Publications meet-and-greet Friday night.

Here’s my schedule (this is subject to change–I’m pulling the panels off the published schedule on the website):

FRIDAY, 24 May
3pm (1 hour, 50 minutes)
Salon D
Steampunk Mini-Hat Workshop
[Presenters: Lisa Ashton, Nancy Frey, Gaia Eirich, Elektra Hammond, Ron Robinson, Kate Szkotnicki, Jeanette Holloman]

Project Tracking for Editors
[Panelists: Trisha J. Wooldridge (M), Lesley Conner, Michael A. Ventrella, Brian Koscienski, Neal Levin, Elektra Hammond]
How to make sure all the ducks line up in a row when working on a project. Editors share war stories and recommendations on how to get organized, stay organized, and how to deal with the unexpected

Salon B
An Inside Look at Editing
[Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail (M), Lesley Conner, Elektra Hammond, Neal Levin, Damien Walters-Grintalis]
What does an editor do anyway? A look at the different types of editors and the roles they play in the publishing process. Copy Editors, Line Editors, Project Editors, Acquisition Editors, Managing Editors

—no scheduled panels—

SUNDAY, 26 May
Salon D
Using SF&F to Protest War and Conflict
[Panelists: Elektra Hammond (M), Marttin Berman-Gorvine, T. C. McCarthy, Joy Ward, Jack Campbell (John Hemry)]
How has our war torn era shaped fantasy and SF literature? How have authors used fiction to express their concerns, help readers see the horror of war, and show their support for peace?

Salon B
Standard Submission Guidelines
[Panelists: Christine Norris (M), Patrick Thomas, Elektra Hammond, Eric V. Hardenbrook, Brian Koscienski]
What are these anyway? Why are things done a certain way? How come they are different from publisher to publisher?

7pm (2 hours)
Frankie & Vinnie’s
The Dark Quest Books Mega-Launch
Dark Quest Books launches their Spring 2013 titles with guest editors and authors: Danielle Ackley-McPhail (“The Eternal Cycle”), Danny Birt, Jack Campbell (“The Lost Fleet series”), Myke Cole, Judi Fleming, Charles E. Gannon, Elektra Hammond, Eric V. Hardenbrook, C.J. Henderson (“Teddy London”), Mike McPhail, Bernie Mojzes, Christine Norris, KT Pinto, James Daniel Ross (“Radiation Angels”), Alex Shvartsman, Maria V. Snyder, Jim Stratton, Patrick Thomas (“Murphy’s Lore”, Robert E. Waters, and John C. Wright (“Chronicles of Chaos”), Jeff Young

MONDAY, 27 May
Salon B
Editing Anthologies
[Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail (M), Bob Greenberger, Elektra Hammond, Richard Allen Leider, Darrell Schweitzer]
Want to edit an anthology? Pick the panel’s brains about what kind of work goes into the process and what challenges to expect along the way. Learn about the different types of anthologies, submission methods, organization, and promoting the finished product.

Over at buzzymag, there’s a new review of Galactic Creatures, the first anthology published under the Sparkito Press imprint of Dark Quest Books. Kudos to C.J. Henderson, Alex Shvartsman, John French, and Bernie Mojzes, whose stories were specifically praised.
Cover of Galactic Creatures~art by Pyracantha

Cover of Galactic Creatures~art by Pyracantha

I am pleased and proud to announce Galactic Creatures, a new science fiction anthology to be published by Sparkito Press, featuring a gorgeous cover by Pyracantha.

Cover of Galactic Creatures~art by Pyracantha

Cover of Galactic Creatures~art by Pyracantha

There will be a book launch event at Balticon, Memorial Day weekend, on Sunday the 27th from 7pm to 9pm, in the Garden Room, along with several other Dark Quest titles. Many of the contributors will be present, as will the cover artist and the collection editor (me).

Here is the table of contents. Start anticipating how much you’ll enjoy reading these terrific stories!

Dragon Child by Leona Wisoker
Lawn Care by C.J. Henderson
Slow and Steady by John L. French
The Dragon Ships of Tycho by Alex Shvartsman
The Scrapper and the Saint Bernard by Scott W. Baker
The Geas Ingenerate by Don Sakers
The Sky Above the Sky by Brian Koscienski & Chris Pisano
Heart of a Lion by James Daniel Ross
Kudzu: A Prologue by Bernie Mojzes
Broken in the Place of Dragons by Rosemary Edghill
Crossing Roads by Patrick Thomas

The year 2012 actually started the way a new year is supposed to–with champagne, and music, and friends. Of course, it was a bit of a slow start–I’m still limping from the toe surgery I had on the 28th, and I don’t get my stitches out until the 3rd. I’ve been sitting down a lot.

2011 saw a lot more editing work come my way, as well as my first published story. Of course, more editing work means that I’m writing less to keep up with the editing. I need to find a better balance. The year also saw a shift in the balance between the sci-fi/fantasy and cat show worlds. BlueBlaze produced two litters of maine coon kittens (now all sold), and is now showing a havana queen, but on the whole I spent more of my available [weekend] time at conventions or book-related events rather than cat-oriented events. This shift has made me a happier person, and I plan to continue it. I have some [cat show] judging assignments coming up in the next year, and I look forward to them [particularly spending Valentine’s week in Malta], but I am severely curtailing my exhibition-only weekends in favor of sci-fi conventions, book fairs, and steampunk events.

Thanks to my GP sending me back to Physical Therapy, I finally started exercising, and I was doing close to an hour of cardio at a stretch prior to having my toe sliced open. I’m still trying to figure out how to do something, but I fear I need to wait until the stitches come out before either the exercise bike or the treadmill is an option.

In 2012, I want to:
Write more. And get better about putting aside time for it. To help achieve this, I’ve signed up for Jonathan Maberry’s Novel in Nine Months class, starting in mid-January. It’s about an hour-and-a-half drive each way, but only meets physically once a month, and I’ve heard very good things about it. Hopefully that will be the push I need.

Edit more. And perhaps more effectively. I’ve decided it’s time for a refresher–I’m planning on the EFA Advanced Copyediting class, which I haven’t taken yet. In the past I’ve found the online EFA classes to be extremely worthwhile and well worth the cost. The class runs six weeks and starts in late February–I’ll assess at the beginning of the month if I can manage it while taking Jonathan’s class.

Get more organized. I’ve started this, but I need to keep up with it, and refine it. I’m freelancing in enough different directions I need to be certain nothing falls through the cracks. I’m starting to think I need a virtual corkboard–or maybe a real one.

Get back into shape. This is somewhat contingent on the healing of the toe, but I had a pretty good start on it before the surgery slowed me down.

Lose the last blasted fifty pounds. Related to the above getting in shape. I’m tired of being overweight. It’s a bit tricky trying to diet when traveling, but I’ve done it before. I just need to wrap my head around it again. Exercising will help, I think.

De-clutter. Especially the extraneous paperwork. Some of this is part of various ongoing projects to scan and dump old stuff, and some of it is just dumping old stuff that we’ll never look at again anyway. There’s a lot of paperwork that we have no room for, and I’m tired of having it in the way.

Read my way through some of the backlog. And sift through some of the books and donate them. I could read from now until doomsday, and I’d never get through them all . . . it’s time to be merciless and cull the backlog again.

Clean out and organize the craft stuff/sewing stuff/needlework stuff in the guest room so guests will fit in there. ’nuff said

I think that will keep me busy until next year.

Grim Tides is the sixth book is T.A. Pratt’s Marla Mason series, and he’ll be serializing it (free!) online starting on January 2nd. I finished copyediting it last week, but all I’m willing to give away is that it contains old friends and new, lots of ass-kicking and magic, and that it is entertaining as hell. I loved it and I’m sure you will, too. I can’t wait until everyone else gets to read it, so I can talk about it with someone.

Tim funded his writing of Grim Tides via a successful Kickstarter campaign–it’s not too late to donate and join in the fun!

I fedexed a box today. It represented the last book I’ll work on from the Virginia Edition–the special re-publication of everything Robert A. Heinlein ever wrote, plus assorted correspondence and tributes. It’s an incredible project, one I’m terribly proud to have worked on, and I’m sorry it’s over. This was volume 46 of 46, and there are no more to proofread.

This book was Requiem edited by Yoji Kondo–an expanded version of the book previously published in 1992 by Tor. It contains a few choice stories plus several speeches given by Heinlein, then moves on to tributes and remembrances, from admirers and friends, a veritable who’s who in space exploration, science fiction and literature.

The personal stories, some of them by those who have also passed, had me in tears. This is a fabulous tribute to a man who made an incredible contribute to more than just the field of science fiction, and a fitting conclusion to the Virginia Edition. If (like me) you can’t afford to subscribe to the Virginia Edition, you can pick up a copy of the Tor edition of Requiem, which is still readily available.

Brenda Cooper is featured today on John Scalzi’s Whatever. Her new novel, Mayan December, is the subject of The Big Idea. Brenda’s Mayan-infused steampunk story “Speaker for the Mayans” appears in the anthology In an Iron Cage: The Magic of Steampunk edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Elektra Hammond, and Neal Levin.

I’m guest blogging today about the copyediting process over at The Literary Handyman.

Check it out and say “hi”.