Sunday, June 23, 2013

Why You Should Contribute to The Midnight Diner's Indiegogo, Then Submit to Them

First, a little history. The Midnight Diner debuted as a faith-based speculative fiction anthology back in 2007. Its mission was this: to carve out a space in speculative fiction for writers of faith to tell the stories THEY wanted to tell, without being restricted by guidelines more concerned with "propriety" and not excellent story-telling. 

The first edition kickstarted several midlist author's careers - most notably J. Mark Bertrand, Mike Dellosso, Mike Duran, and Matt Mikalatos. I sold my first story to that edition - "Way Station" - and it earned Editor's Choice Awards in the "Jesus vs. Cthulhu" edition. (On a side a note, a heavily edited and slimmed down version of "Way Station" will be in the forthcoming collection.)

The second edition of The Diner featured another healthy list of midlist authors, Mike Duran again and this time Greg Mitchell, but The Diner also started to realize some of its true potential: a place for people with very different backgrounds to write speculative fiction dealing with different aspects of faith or belief, and it featured several names from the secular horror market: Dan Keohane, (whose contribution "The Box" was listed as an Honorable Mention in Ellen Datlow's Year's Best Horror), Bob Freeman, Kim Paffenroth, whose 2006 book Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero's Visions of Hell on Earth won the HWA's Bram Stoker Award and Jerry Gordon, who would go on to edit Dark Faith  with Maurice Broaddus.

The third edition, this time edited by the talented Michelle Pendergrass, continued this trend, featuring authors Ed Ederelac and Brian J. Hatcher, as well as Greg Mitchell once again. I was fortune enough to be featured with my story "Lonely Places" which will also be featured in the collection.

The fourth edition, which was to feature my story "The Gate and The Way" (it's been decided that because it will appear in my collection, we're gonna just let it have its debut there), fell into some trouble and waffled in limbo for awhile. However, The Diner is back, with a revamped staff, format and BUDGET, so The Diner will finally be what it's always aspired to be: a market paying quality semi-pro rates, with the intention of soon becoming a pro-rate paying publication. 

And you need to contribute to its Indiegogo campaign, right now. Why? Because first of all, I seriously think that crowd-sourcing may very well be the future for spec fic anthologies that pay decent rates. Ellen Datlow and Chizine's fundraiser for Fearful Symmetries was a resounding success. Now, Michelle Pendergrass may not carry the same clout as Ellen Datlow, but I can tell you this: she knows her fiction, both horror AND literary, and she knows GOOD fiction when she sees it. I listed all the writers in the first three editions that have launched careers of sorts, but all the other writers - maybe not recognizable names - are quality writers also.

And we need that.

Desperately.

We need an anthology series that pays well, is open to all kinds of speculative fiction and is willing to tap ALL SOURCES for good stories. This past summer, I sorta binged on classic horror anthologies, from the Karl Edward Wagner BEST IN HORROR series to Charles Grant's Shadows and Stuart David Schiff's Whispers. What distinguishes those anthologies from today's is their variety, and the writers - who told QUALITY stories - who came from all sorts of places.

I spent about five years reviewing, and in those five years, I saw TOO MANY themed anthologies, featuring a lot of the same names, over and over. If it gets the funding it needs, The Diner can offer a non-specific speculative anthology that, because of the way it's drawn from both the faith-driven market AND the secular market, will always feature a diverse TOC. And, let's not beat around the bush: the more it can offer to pay, the better those names will be.

So what you need to do is contribute to their campaign, and then submit when the time comes.

I know will...