The ReConStruction/NASFiC programming schedule is out!

There is some great programming, from steampunk to podcasting and all manner of things between. Behold! The ReConStruction/NASFiC program schedule is out! And paired with the daily membership rates, those folks who have waited to get their plans (and memberships) together can start to figure things out.

(And don’t forget, if you’re either already in town or coming into town a day early, Wednesday August 4th, come to the 7:30 Bull Spec #2 party at Quail Ridge Books!)

And there’s some fun things to talk about, dealer-room wise… next week! Guests; books; signings; meet and greets; magazines; free smells; …


Expanding the territory.

Well, issue #2 has a new store carrying Bull Spec, Barnes & Noble’s Durham “New Hope Commons” location. (For all locations, click here!) It’s way back and the bottom in the newsstand, to the left of “The Paris Review” and to the right of “F&SF”. And I’m making another pitch to Greenville and Burlington this week. Wish me luck!


Another UK shipping sale!

Well, putting together a UK shipment with a local reshipper, and this time I’m going to give folks a bit more time to get in on things. Until Monday morning EST (Update: extended to Wednesday, August 4th!), UK folks can order Bull Spec #1 and/or Bull Spec #2 and select “US Shipping”. I’m not ready to commit to better subscription shipping rates yet, but I think I’m getting closer. (Sorry Australia, I haven’t strong armed a friend/acquaintance into being a reshipper there, yet.)

Also: shipping is marginally less expensive for issue #2 than issue #1 (fewer pages) but I haven’t been able to update what passes for the order system to figure that out. If that matters to you, when ordering issue #2 in print: US folks, take $0.15 off of what you might think is a good gratuity; Canada take $0.35; World take $0.85.

-Sam


Truth in submissions; getting help; making progress; more stores.

OK. I do have some stories as old as November that I’ve been holding onto; I’m going to grow up “real soon now” and let those folks know one way or the other. Back when I opened, I expected a few submissions, and to publish one story a quarter, and threw out a guesstimate of responding within 30 days. I’m far, far from doing that; 60 days is probably closer to the median, 90 days not incredibly uncommon before I drop all the other things I need to do and keep things from rolling over to 100 for too many stories.

It’s a problem. It’s a problem because (among other more easily guessed reasons) one of the reasons I opened Bull Spec is because I wanted a market which treated writers like I wanted to be treated. And this is not at all what I had in mind.

So I’ve started accepting help. I’m not ready yet to get help on the submissions inbox (working on that) but I’ve got a shiny new reviews editor and the more I think about how great it’s going to be to “let go” of that side of things, the more I’m sure about the following: (after the break…)


Bull Spec is looking for a poetry editor. A speculative poetry editor. You’ll be given a budget in pages (2) and words (1000) and other than that, hopefully pretty free reign, layout included if you like. (Other than: (1) guidance against going too graphic in content, which, though I’ve gotten some very cool stories on that edge, is not for Bull Spec — This is a magazine I send to my parents, and which some of my friends read with their teenagers; (2) guidance in hopefully finding some balance where responsible in finding local poetry.) If there’s something special which pushes beyond those pages and/or words, we can probably work it out. I don’t think I can pay you other than a contributor’s copy of each issue for which you edit poetry. So yes, this is a volunteer position. I wish it weren’t. I could probably come up with something token, say $10 or $20 per issue, if that somehow made a difference.

Preference for this is someone local to the Raleigh-Durham area; so for now please only “apply” if that applies to you. If a week goes by and a candidate hasn’t bludgeoned me, I’ll expand that to Greenville-Greensboro, then Wilmington-Asheville, then … well, you get the idea.

I haven’t accepted any poetry for issue #3; as soon as this “position” is filled the poetry I have in my inbox goes to you. Issue #3’s poetry needs to be ready to print on 1 September.

To apply: send an e-mail to sam at bullspec dot com (that’s me!) with some examples of poetry you like, some examples of poetry you don’t like, and why.

(On that note: I need more poetry submissions. Please send some speculative poetry to poetry-submissions@bullspec.com — thanks! Short and sweet: $0.05/word for unpublished poetry, $5 minimum; contributor copy is free to US, $1 to elsewhere in North America, $5 elsewhere worldwide. Right now I have no guidance in terms of “don’t rhyme” or line limits; I’ll leave that to this future poetry editor to work out.)

OK. Let’s end this with fun, because I like fun. I finally made it to Foundation’s Edge today, so Bull Spec #2 should be on the shelves there tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, and of deliveries, I will be dropping some copies by the Barnes & Noble “New Hope” location in Durham tomorrow morning as well. Hopefully soon: Greenville and Burlington! Keep your fingers crossed…

And yes, there’s more! ReConStruction is nearly upon us! Oh me, oh my! Since I’m going to be chained to the dealer’s room, I decided to make it as fun as possible. So I’ve got a good spread of local speculative fiction, a few bits from elsewhere: Panverse is sending some goodies, Tachyon’s sending something fun, …) and some signings and meeting and greeting fun. It’s hard to schedule most of that stuff just yet, so we’ll work it out around the official con schedule when that’s set. The membership page has daily “at the gate” rate information (hint: Thursday and Sunday are cheap!) so make your plans!

And, yeah, don’t forget, the Wednesday evening before ReConStruction is issue #2’s launch party at Quail Ridge books! Be there or be toroid! (Sounds much more painful than simply being square, doesn’t it?)


Issue #3 original fiction is set.

Though it’s still 2 months away, issue #3’s original fiction is set: 5 stories, from Katherine Sparrow, David Steffen, Lavie Tidhar, Melinda Dansky, and Denali Hyatt.

Again hearkening back to “the kind of story I opened Bull Spec to publish” (a happy, lucky theme for me) is Katherine Sparrow’s 4600-word “Like Parchment in the Fire.” A very hard to categorize story, the author offered that it “has a radical alternative history vibe.” Definitely. A story which brings 17th century Britain’s “True Levelers” to life and contrasts and interweaves their struggles with the activities of the 1960s radicals of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District in a softly slipstream way which I was very, very happy to have in my hands indeed.

The second story I accepted for this issue comes from David Steffen. With the year-long graphic story having as its theme and focus time travel, I’ve turned down several pretty good and/or interesting time travel stories as just being too overlapping. David, whose fiction appears in Pseudopod, Brain Harvest, the Oz-themed dark fantasy anthology Shadows of the Emerald City, and has written some excellent non-fiction for Fantasy Magazine, sent me the 1300-word “Turning Back the Clock” and it… well, you’ll have to wait. It’s cool.

Really completing things from a non-local perspective is Lavie Tidhar’s 1800-word  story “The Story of Listener and Yu-En”. It is a beautiful little story with a core of goodness I could not resist. Another one which is hard to categorize for me other than “speculative fiction”.

The last two stories come from local authors Melinda Thielbar and Denali Hyatt. Melinda’s 2200-word story “You’re Almost Here” is an amazing second-person rip through the near future which I simply cannot wait for folks to read; Denali’s 1800-word “Cityscape” is a beautifully well-imagined story of a far-flung planet in the distant future. It’s to be her first publication and I hope it’s the first of many.

So. 5 stories, 11700 original words. I might pick up a reprint still for this issue, but that mostly depends on whether I get one I really love, and how many and how long the excerpts, interviews, reviews, and other features are. Some of the interviews are set, others are pending, I’ll keep folks updated! This issue is looking like 68 pages already…


Another round of fun things.

First off: I know I have some queries to answer and stories to read. (I also have some stores to invoice and need to figure out how to deposit checks made out to “Bull Spec.” Those are good problems to have, though!) But here’s a quick 3-step of fun:

  1. The audio download for the WUNC “The State of Things” show on Bull Spec and local speculative fiction is available here. So if you missed it, check it out! It was fun, John Kessel was amazing, Richard Dansky had some great answers, and contributors Natania Barron and Paul Celmer wrote some excellent flash fiction for the show along with everybody adding some pretty interesting comments on writing along the way.
  2. I received confirmation that indeed there will be a Bull Spec dealer table at the upcoming ReConStruction/NASFiC convention in Raleigh, August 5-8. Also they just announced there is a Guest of Honor Dinner on the Thursday, which I shouldn’t mention as seats are limited and I haven’t booked yet, but hey, this post is for fun things and that should be fun.
  3. I posted a batch of photos having to do with receiving, mailing, and delivering Bull Spec #2. So, yeah, fun stuff.

Tune into WUNC’s "The State of Things" on Wednesday July 21!

Fans of Bull Spec or whomever else, tune into WUNC‘s “The State of Things” on Wednesday, July 21st at noon! Guests will include Bull Spec’s Samuel Montgomery-Blinn, NCSU professor and award-winning author John Kessel, game designer and author Richard Dansky, and maybe more. Don’t miss it! We’ll be talking speculative fiction, NASFiC/ReConStruction, …


An absolute mess of updates. (Bull Spec #2 PDF is available!)

Not much time so:

  1. A whole bunch of Bull Spec #2 mailings just went out
  2. Bull Spec #2 is in stock at: Sci-Fi Genre; Barnes and Noble of Southpoint; Ultimate Comics Prime; Chapel Hill Comics; Internationalist Books; Flyleaf Books; The Regulator Bookshop; Barnes and Noble of Cary; and Quail Ridge Books. I didn’t make it to Foundation’s Edge or All Fun & Games yet; a handy helper is taking copies to Storyteller’s for me
  3. Bull Spec #2 PDF is available for download
  4. Acceptances! to Denali Hyatt and Preston Grassmann

I know I have a bunch of stories to read. I’ll go back to my cave now. And I know I need to get some other payment systems plugged in (Amazon, Google, etc.) Again, the cave. And I know I need to get proper e-book versions put together. And get the story podcast started. And put the interview videos online. Yeah. The cave thing. Off I go now. Somebody send some snacks. And a postcard.


BULL SPEC #2 Launch Party: Wednesday 4 August at 7:30 PM at Quail Ridge Books

The “summer issue” of Bull Spec is here! To celebrate making it to a second issue and to kick things off, we’re going to get together at Quail Ridge Books on Wednesday, August 4th at 7:30 PM for readings and discussion and perhaps even a bit of a roundtable “program.” Local story contributors Gwendolyn Clare and Paul Celmer will be there to give folks a taste of their stories in the issue; NCSU professor and award-winning author John Kessel might say a few words about speculative fiction or his recent stories and books; other local writers and contributors will be on hand, so far at least Natania Barron will reprise her role in issue #1’s launch party; and hopefully some of the “early arrivals” for ReConStructionSF will make it a darned fine evening for meeting and greeting writers and readers of speculative fiction in the Triangle area and beyond.

So come on out: once again, there will be snacks! And invite and bring your friends! We had a great time at Durham’s The Regulator Bookshop for issue #1, and with this one I’m dipping my toes out of county to spread the Bull Spec fun around a bit. Thanks very much to Rene and Nancy at Quail Ridge for their support and interest in hosting.

To help out: spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event and maybe do a little flyering if you’re up for it. (UPDATE: new flyer.)


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