silence in the library

ConGregate 2014: Official Athena's Daughters Launch Party & Panel

Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to head to Winston-Salem, N.C. for a brief stopover at ConGregate, a new sci-fi and fantasy convention put on by some of the same folks who have extensive experience running RavenCon, ConCarolinas, StellarCon and Dragon*Con.

Most of the conventions I've gone to have been out-of-state (as in, I drive anywhere from 6-10 hours to attend) so it was nice to attend one that was relatively close to home! My con experience started on Saturday.

In the morning, I sat in on a fitness panel with @WriterMaggie (on which @janinekspendlove was a panelist. Meanwhile, Maggie and I functioned as the resident peanut gallery, and heckled her in a kind and loving way.)

In the afternoon, we went to a second panel about "The Myth of Strong Women," where I finally got to meet AD and Wynde author Tricia Barr for the first time! She, Janine, and several other fabulous ladies (plus our male moderator, who was an excellent sport) led the room in a discussion on what it means to write engaging female characters. (Hint: treat them as complex people, not types.)  They also talked about why representing all kinds of women is important in fiction, even if those characters aren't physically strong with typically masculine qualities. (Although we absolutely respect women who can do amazing physical feats: a reference to this video of Kacy Catanzaro completing the full American Ninja Warrior course came up more than once.)

After that, it was time for the official Athena's Daughters launch party! Authors Gail Z. Martin, Janine, Maggie, Tera Fulbright, and Tricia were all in attendance. We had a lovely spread of food ordered for the party, including a sheet cake, and had an excellent turnout considering the size of our cozy convention! I'm happy so many people were able to attend the launch. There was a free raffle with books and assorted prizes from some of the authors in attendance. We ate, drank, and signed our little hearts out.

Here are Janine and Maggie, setting up our head table:


Our beautiful paperback -- complete with art cover by Tietjen Alvarez--next to another Silence anthology:

And the fabulous sheet cake, chosen by Tera:

The next day, Sunday, was our main programming panel on Athena's Daughters. Silence in the Library's CEO, Ron Garner, was our moderator. For an hour, Gail, Janine, Maggie, Tricia and I fielded questions about why we got involved with this project, why we thought an anthology "for women, by women" was important, and discussed why writing stories about female characters was individually powerful for each of us.

We also chatted about the amazing communal experience we'd had during the Kickstarter itself, being able to promote the anthology with a group of enthusiastic, talented women. We gave background on our individual works from the anthology, made callbacks to a few of the other crowdfunded campaigns, and brought up topics ranging from newly-genderflipped Star Wars characters to Jezebel to Joanna Russ. (I brought up Joanna Russ. I always bring up Joanna Russ. :)  )

Overall, it was an amazing con experience. I was so pleased to have been a part of it, and I can't wait to head back for ConGregate 2015 -- this time in High Point, NC. Next year's guests of honor will include Mike Stackpole, Timothy Zahn, Albin Johnson, and Scott Rorie. Hope to see some of you there, too!

In Memoriam: Aaron Allston

For those of you who haven't heard the sad news, author Aaron Allston passed away very suddenly last night. The cause of death was determined to be massive heart failure. I still don't have the words to describe Aaron's life and career as eloquently as he deserves. Bryan Young wrote a beautiful tribute over at Big Shiny Robot, as did Ron Garner, for Silence in the Library.

All I have to offer is an email I started drafting to him hours before I learned that he had died. Early this morning, I rewrote it. I think it's as fitting a way to say goodbye to a friend as any, so I'm going to post it here as a memorial.

Dear Aaron,  

Yesterday, I was writing you an email.  

You were on my list of people to personally thank re: Athena's Daughters. I'd glanced over the names and got excited when I saw yours on the spreadsheet. Because we hadn't seen each other since the workshop and I was looking forward to catching up. Maybe we'd chat about this year's Origins, or the short story you'd mentioned wanting to turn into a series. 

And now I'm sitting here thinking how insufficient a single email feels in the grand scheme of things, and how utterly, stupidly insane it is that you will never get to read it. I do owe you a thank you. You won't get to read this one, and it won't have a jaunty postscript on the end as I'd originally planned, but I'm going to write it anyway. Even though you hate it when people make a fuss. 

So, Aaron – thank you.  

You approached writing not as a strange, unknowable force, but as a meticulous creative science. You taught me the value of structure and careful planning within a story, but you also weren't afraid to kill the darlings in favor of better options when these changes made the work stronger. When we first met, you made me get excited about my own creative work for the first time in years. 

You were a brilliant writer and peer reviewer. Your comments on my stories were insightful, often funny, and always thought-provoking. I can't count the number of times I heard the words maybe you ought to consider... in a workshop setting over the years. (And genuinely welcomed them.) On the flip side, although I may have reacted to a few of your editing suggestions with the kind of frowns and theatrical groans you'd usually get from a feature of Droopy Dog, you were usually right. 

More importantly, you were a generous, encouraging friend. The last time I saw you at the writer's workshop, I asked you to sign my newly-bought copy of “A Hero By Any Other Name.” Everyone had begun multitasking by signing books for the Time Traveled Tales Kickstarter. But I wasn't able to read your inscription until I got home a couple days later. 

I read it again last night, after I heard the news and got off the phone. The last sentence has always -- and will always -- make me cry. Looking forward to being in an anthology with you!

This letter is an awful substitute for conversation. But I just wanted to thank you for your friendship and for your faith. Today, I plotted out a new story in your absence, because I didn't know what else to do, and because it seemed like a fitting way to honor a lost friend. Selfishly, I wish I could ask you about the ending. Maybe we can talk edits after the next forty to seventy years have passed.

Clear skies, friend. We miss you. 


Athena's Daughters, Day 29: A Betsy Waddell Illustration, and Apollo's Daughters in Hardcover!


Day 29 of our Kickstarter, and we're just over $38,000! We are poised to hit almost all of the stretch goals we created for the entire campaign -- an amazing feat! Athena's Daughters has been featured on Jezebel, io9, themarysue, the Kickstarter home page, Big Shiny Robot, and so much more. We commissioned a brother anthology, Apollo's Daughters, and added five additional e-books, seventeen e-short stories, four audiobooks and one music album to the backer swag pile along the way. In our wildest dreams, we could not have imagined being so successful in such a short period of time. Believe me when I say again that we could not have done any of this without your support and generosity!

The artwork at the top of the post is for another short story by author Maggie Allen, "Land of the Lost," the e-version of which was given as a reward to the first 500 backers who pledged our anthology. It is set in the same universe as Maggie's work "Lunar Camp," which is featured in Athena's Daughters. Take a look at the young woman on the left. Remember her? Little Bee's all grown up!

Additionally, for those of you not already on the backers list, I wanted to let you know that Silence in the Library has decided to produce hardcover volumes of Apollo's Daughters! Demand was so great, and the goal so close, that we wanted to go ahead and open that up as an add-on option for all backers before reaching $38K/the end of the Kickstarter. And as of a few minutes ago, we've already surpassed that stretch goal anyway! EVERYBODY WINS!

Only 24 hours left to go in this campaign. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a backer or sharing about the project, you can do so right here. Let's send this Kickstarter off in the strongest way possible!

Athena's Daughters, Day 28: RAINN, A Radio Spot, A SITL Post, and More...

Well, at this point we've got about 50 hours to go in this Kickstarter's final days. We are over $34K, which is amazing, and we hope to knock off a couple more stretch goals before this campaign closes on Wednesday. Instead of leading the post with links, I wanted to take this time to remind you that a portion of all proceeds raised through this Kickstarter are going to be donated to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN.) When constructing this campaign, Silence in the Library felt - as did the authors - that it was important not just for our project to be funded, but for the anthology to give back to the community in a greater way. So, I can't wait to find out our final total for a number of reasons, and want to thank you all again for being so generous. :)

Meanwhile, one of our authors, Maggie Allen, gave a radio interview with local station WSJS (600AM) yesterday morning. She was able to speak about Athena's Daughters on several of their segments. While they don't have the archived version up yet, I'm confident a link will be posted on ustream within a few days.

Still on the fence about pledging? The SITL official blog broke it down best in this morning's post:

"There are only a few hours left to get Athena’s Daughters -- featuring engaging speculative fiction stories by women about women -- alongside the companion anthology Apollo’s Daughters -- featuring female-centric stories written by some of the best male speculative fiction authors in the business -- for just $10 in eBook format, $45 in trade paperback, and $60 in hardcover form. You’ll also get an additional 5 eBooks, 16 electronic short stories, 2 audio books, and 1 music album at no added cost."

Seven e-books, seventeen e-short stories, two audio books, and one music album, all for the sweet price of $5. How on earth can you go wrong?

I only have two days left to say this -- sing it if you know the words -- if you like what you read, back us or share about the project here!

Athena's Daughters, Day 27: New Story Art, and an Alma Alexander Preview

2013 copyright Autumn Frederickson, for "Athena's Daughters."
2013 copyright Autumn Frederickson, for "Athena's Daughters."

Three days left in this Kickstarter campaign! We are almost at $33K and still climbing, which is amazing and still kind of unbelievable to me. Thank you all so much for your support and your generosity!

Linked above is some new interior art for you to preview. The plucky girl in that picture is Bee, 13-year-old protagonist of Maggie Allen's story "Lunar Camp." Look at her! How could you not be curious about this girl's adventures on the moon?

I also have another story teaser for you, this time from stretch goal author Alma Alexander. About her story for the anthology, "Vision," Alma writes:

Vision is a story like an onion, and you keep on peeling layers until you come to the heart and the core of it, or is it like a pearl, a pieceof grit which works its way into an oyster and allows layers of nacreto be wrapped around it until the grain of sand is changed intosomething rare and precious? A girl becomes a historical footnote,then a character in a fairy tale or a folk legend, and ends up as agoddess - or is it that the immortal goddess steps off the pedestaland becomes a protagonist in a story, and then someone hiding inobituaries of a generation ago, and then a Real Live Girl? Which waydoes life run? From the future, or into the past? You decide...

Reminder: you've only got three days left to be part of this journey. A $5 pledge will get you ten e-books of original short stories and novels, digital artwork, music albums, four audiobooks, and much more!

If you've ever wanted to own a collection of engaging action stories about awesome female characters -- featuring some of the best SF/F authors in the business, as well as promising new writers -- this is your chance!

Back us, or share about the project here:

Athena's Daughters, Day 24: E.J. Lawrence, More Podcasting, and a Tricia Barr Novel Preview

Six days left in our Kickstarter campaign, and we are thisclose to breaking $31K! Thank you so much for continuing to share about our project! With luck and faith, we hope to break through a few more stretch goals before the week is over. Now, onto the link roundup:

Athena's Daughters author E.J. Lawrence did a guest post for the Silence in the Library blog this morning. In it, she talks about how her early love of science fiction eventually spurred her to a career in science. She also talks about the symbiotic relationship between the two, and the ways in which female figures in both fields can be positive role models for young girls and women:

"...And though female figures within the scientific community do help to drive young girls into the scientific fields...I believe that female figures within science fiction also serve [as role models] in that capacity. Perhaps more so, because in science fiction and fantasy for that matter you get to live out those ‘what ifs’ far sooner than we can make them happen for real, but those ‘what ifs’ drive us towards getting there that much faster."

Well said, EJ! Her full blog post is here on SITL's website.

Athena's Daughters also got a plug on DJ Grandpa's Crib a few days ago. Janine Spendlove appeared on the podcast to talk about the anthology and strong women in the episode "Thor's Hammer, Part 2." You can stream it live or download it via iTunes at the link!

I'm also excited to announce that AD author Tricia Barr released her first novel, Wynde, this week! Her story for our anthology is a direct tie-in to this novel. The latter is best classified as "military science fiction with a fantastical twist that features heroines Vespa and Gemini." Which just makes me squee. I can't wait to read it! You can find out more about Wynde or purchase it here at FANgirl Blog.

To everyone who has backed or shared about Athena's Daughters so far: thank you! We are blown away by your continued generosity and support. But the campaign's not over yet! If you're reading this and feel compelled to get on board while you've still got the chance, the link -- as always -- is right here.

Athena's Daughters, Day 23: Nobel Laureate Dr. John Mather, Christopher Ruz, A Podcast Appearance and More!

Hello, all! Remember yesterday's post when I told you I had some big news about our brother anthology, Apollo's Daughters? Well, I will officially spill the beans. You may recall that astronaut and former space shuttle commander Pamela Melroy is writing the forward for Athena's Daughters. So I'm happy to announce that we're bringing in another NASA veteran to write the introduction for our brother anthology -- astrophysicist and 2006 Nobel Laureate Dr. John Mather!

John Mather

John Mather

Dr. John C. Mather is a Senior Astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, MD. He is also a Senior Project Scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope.

Dr. Mather was the Principal Investigator for the Far Infrared Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) on the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE). He and the COBE team showed that the cosmic microwave background radiation has a blackbody spectrum within 50 parts per million (ppm), confirming the Big Bang theory to extraordinary accuracy.

As winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physics, chosen by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Dr. Mather shares the prize with George F. Smoot of the University of California for their work using the COBE satellite to measure the heat radiation from the Big Bang.

They proved the Big Bang Theory. How cool is that?! We are so glad and so lucky to have Dr. Mather on board with this project. In more Apollo's Daughters news, it now has its own Goodreads thread. Feel free to drop by and give the guys a shout! Christopher Ruz just posted a teaser there about the story he's working on for the anthology:

"I'm working on a project close to my heart, a near-future detective noir centered around a returned Australian soldier who finds herself working as a peacekeeper in her own country."

My reaction while reading about Christopher's story.
My reaction while reading about Christopher's story.

Athena's Daughters was recently given another press boost through Janine Spendlove's appearance on the Veteran Empire podcast. Veteran Empire's mission is to promote veterans and give them more exposure as they focus on "creative arts, business, and unique skill sets." Also featured in this episode is graphic designer/Marine Sean Riordan. You can listen to it here.

SEVEN DAYS. That's how long you have to become part of the Athena's Daughters journey. Whether you're reading this blog for the first time or the twelfth, please consider backing us or sharing news of the project with your friends and family.

We could not have done all of this without you, but we still have so many more awesome stretch goals and goodies waiting to be unlocked. Help us grab a few more of them this week!

Athena's Daughters, Day 22: Our Facebook Group, An Audio Clip, the Rewards Rundown, and More...

Our digital cover.

Our digital cover.

Hello, all! Hope you are enjoying the last few hours of 2013. I know I am - what a year it's been! The Kickstarter is hovering steady at $29K right now, and we've still got eight days to go until the campaign ends!

Have you checked out our Facebook or our Goodreads groups? There, some of our Athena's Daughters authors have started great discussions with our backers and other bloggers about why we wrote for this anthology, and what strong women mean to us, among other things! Come see what all the fuss is about!

Also, live for all you audiophiles, here's an excerpt from a reading of Danielle Ackley-McPhail's story, "Looking Back."

I've also got an updated list of stretch goals for you all. Let's hope we can knock down a few more of these! Personally, I want an Apollo's Daughters hardback!

At the $31,000 level, we will replace the graphic design cover of the print version of Apollo's Daughters with an original art cover created by artist Joe Corroney, and colored by Brian Miller

Joe has been providing Lucasfilm with official Star Wars artwork for books, games, trading cards, comic books, posters and magazines since 1997. Other comic books he's illustrated include True Blood, GI Joe, Fallen Angel, 24: Nightfall, Doctor WHO, Angel and Spike Vs. Dracula for IDW Publishing, Farscape for BOOM! Studios, Buckaroo Banzai, Kolchak The Night Stalker and The Phantom for Moonstone Books and Crimson Dynamo for Marvel Comics. Currently, he's illustrating for IDW's new Star Trek and X-Files comic books. He's also developing his creator owned comic book series, Death Avenger and continuing to create new Star Wars artwork for Lucasfilm.
Brian Miller, founder of Hi-Fi Color Design, has provided art for Marvel, DC Comics, Disney, and many others, and has worked with Joe on all of his current and recent artwork.

At $32,000, every backer at the $5 level or more will get a free digital download of Janine K. Spendlove's War of the Seasons short stories "World Spins Madly On" and "Fire and Rain."

At $34,000, backers at the $5 level and up will get a free digital download of Vicki Johnson-Steger's short story e-book, "When Dragons Fly."

When we reach $35,000, we'll begin adding stories to the Apollo's Daughters anthology! Starting with authors Joshua Palmatier and Donald J. Bingle.

Joshua Palmatier started writing science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories in the eighth grade, when the teacher assigned a one page Twilight Zone-ish short story. He wrote a story about Atlantis. He got an A. Joshua has never stopped writing since, mainly focusing on novels, including his popular Throne of Amenkor series.
Donald J. Bingle is an oft-published author in the science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller, romance, steampunk, and comedy genres. His novels include: Net Impact (spy thriller), GREENSWORD (darkly comedic eco-thriller), and Forced Conversion (near-future military scifi). Many of his three dozen short stories are available in hard copy and for Kindle and Nook, including his Writer on Demand short story collections: Tales of Gamers and Gaming; Tales of Humorous Horror; Tales out of Time; and Grim, Fair e- Tales.

At the $38,000 level, we will produce a limited hardcover edition of Apollo’s Daughters. The hardcover edition will be a run limited to this Kickstarter only. Backers will be able to order it as an add-on even after the Kickstarter ends, just in case we make this goal just under the wire.

Last, but not least, I have some very exciting news concerning Apollo's Daughters, our brother anthology. But I can't tell you what it is until tomorrow. Would you like a hint?

picard slow clap.gif

A) It concerns the subject of the show from which this GIF is taken. B) It's physics AND Nobel-laureate-related (aka, AWESOME.) I'll write more about this mysterious development - and reveal who the Apollo introductory writer is - in tomorrow's blog post!

At this point, you've got seven more days to share about or back our awesome project. So what the heck are you waiting for?

Athena's Daughters, Day 20: Rewards Rundown, ALL the Stretch Goals, and More Links

Day 20 of our Kickstarter! We are closing in on the home stretch! Let's do a quick Rewards Rundown, for those of you who may have forgotten. All backers at the $5 level and up are now receiving:

4 novels
3 short story bundles
4 short stories
2 audio books
1 music album
1 illustration of Athena (digital, and a physical 5×7 for people with books.)

Plus, we added 8 additional stories to the Athena's Daughters anthology, gained a brother anthology, Apollo’s Daughters, and will be producing a limited-run hardcover edition of both books!

Also, an updated list of upcoming stretch goals:

At the $30,000 level, every backer at the $5 and up will receive a free digital download of the eBook for T.S. Rhodes‘ novel Scarlett Sails.

At the $31,000 level, the graphic design cover for the paperback of Apollo’s Daughters will be replaced with an original art cover by artist Joe Corroney. Joe has been providing Lucasfilm with official Star Wars artwork for books, games, trading cards, comic books, posters and magazines since 1997. Other comic books he’s illustrated include True Blood, GI Joe, Fallen Angel, 24: Nightfall, Doctor WHO, Angel and Spike Vs. Dracula for IDW Publishing, Farscape for BOOM! Studios, Buckaroo Banzai, Kolchak The Night Stalker and The Phantom for Moonstone Books and Crimson Dynamo for Marvel Comics. Currently, he’s illustrating for IDW’s new Star Trek and X-Files comic books. He’s also developing his creator owned comic book series, Death Avenger and continuing to create new Star Wars artwork for Lucasfilm.

At $29K right now, I think this next batch of stretch goals is well within our reach!

Meanwhile, Caylie Sadin at Nerdy-but-Flirty was kind enough to link us this week, saying a lot of lovely things about our Kickstarter:

The book itself seems really awesome, but add to it that it’s all women? Oh yes, sign me up. FEMINISM, good writing, and new sci/fi fantasy stories!

Thanks, Caylie! We appreciate the shout-out!

Is this your first time on this blog? Or the fiftieth? Share or donate to our Kickstarter right here: