Publishers Pick picks Fantastic anthology

1515423301Publishers Pick for this week is once again featuring a Fantastic Books book. This week, it’s the anthology Fantasy for the Throne, edited by Judith K. Dial and Tom Easton.

Analog called the book “a little gem,” and True Review said “these are great, quick reads,” when we published it last September. Now the ebook is available, for one week only, at the low low price of $2.99 (a 63% off the standard ebook price, and an 80% discount off the trade paperback price).

Want something to read while you sit down for just a few minutes on the bus or in a waiting room? Here’s just the thing—Forty authors, forty stories, mostly under 2,000 words, mostly reprints. Grouped according to their themes—death, fairy tales, love, magic, and myth. You’ll also find the usual suspects—dragons, ghosts, gods, the undead, weres, and witches.

Just remember—one sitting, one read! Others are waiting!

Featuring stories by: E.C. Ambrose, Erik Bundy, Michael A. Burstein, Gregg Chamberlain, Ian Creasey, Lillian Csernica, Elaine Cunningham, Wendy S. Delmater, S.B. Divya, Sarina Dorie, Marianne J. Dyson, Christopher M. Easton, Julie Frost, Jude-Marie Green, Michael Haynes, Russell Hemmell, Liam Hogan, M.X. Kelly, Ahmed A. Khan, Daniel M. Kimmel, Geoffrey A. Landis, Amir Lane, Jim Lee, Gerri Leen, Edward M. Lerner, Bob Lock, Susan Murrie Macdonald, Sarah Micklem, Kurt Newton, Wendy Nikel, Stephen S. Power, Nicole Robb, Manuel Royal, Alex Shvartsman, Steven H Silver, Laurie Tom, Marie Vibbert, John Walters, Cynthia Ward, and Donna Glee Williams.

Also available this week at Publishers Pick are The Warlock in Spite of Himself by Christopher Stasheff, and Wishing on a Star by Jody Lynn Nye with Angelina Adams.

Galley Release: How to Argue the Constitution…

Galley Release: How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative: A Liberal’s Humorous Guide to Demystifying the Laws of our Nation

1515423972With illustrations by Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist Darrin Bell, criminal defense attorney and author Michael A. Ventrella helps Liberals better understand the Constitution to debunk Conservative conspiracy theories, misinterpretations… and outright lies.

Immigrants have no rights! The press is the enemy of the people! Unlimited guns are my birthright!

These are just a handful of arguments being shouted by vocal Conservatives in the age of Donald Trump… even though the Constitution of the United States—the very laws of our nation—says something quite different.

But if Liberals are going to counter these erroneous, angry, ill-informed positions with facts, they need to learn those laws themselves. And it’s amazing how many don’t know what they are.

To remedy this knowledge gap, criminal defense attorney, and unabashed Liberal Michael A. Ventrella has written How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative, a humorous, satirical look at the very document that defines our country.

As a practicing attorney for 30 years, Ventrella hopes readers will come away with a far better understanding of the Constitution, and use this critical knowledge to debunk Conservative conspiracy theories, misinterpretations, and outright lies being used to undermine the fabric of our country. And to correct their own misunderstandings of the Constitution.

As Ventrella says, the book is “a sort of Constitution for Dummies with jokes and arguments to raise the level of conversation and debate, where we discuss the actual laws of our nation and how they are applied, rather than engage in more heated arguments based on rumor, emotion, and a distortion of the facts. I also want you to have fun.”

How to Argue… will include cover art and more than 40 illustrations by 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Darrin Bell, creator of the syndicated comic strip Candorville.

Michael A. Ventrella’s other books include the forthcoming alternative Beatles anthology Across the Universe, which he is co-editing, Release the Virgins, which he edited for Fantastic Books in 2018, and Long Title: Looking for the Good Times; Examining the Monkees’ Songs, One by One.

Gray Rabbit Publications is honored to be publishing How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative, hopefully adding to this important, reasoned discussion… with a light touch.

How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative
by Michael A. Ventrella, illustrated by Darrin Bell
August 20, 2019
simultaneous case laminate hardcover and trade paperback publication
hardcover ISBN: 978-1-5154-2397-3. 164 pages, $24.99.
trade paperback ISBN: 978-1-5154-2377-5. 164 pages, $13.99.

Gray Rabbit is the non-fiction imprint of Gray Rabbit Publications, LLC, which also publishes speculative fiction under its Fantastic Books imprint. All Gray Rabbit and Fantastic Books titles are distributed via Ingram, and available through all online booksellers and by special order through physical bookstores. Review copies are available upon request.

A long Mensa day in New York City

I had a very good, very long day today.

It started with an early departure to meet up with a friend from upstate, Ziggy, who was in town to meet two Mensans from Italy who are visiting. The subway ride to Canal Street was as expected, and then I walked farther east in Chinatown than I can recall ever being, all the way to Monroe Street almost under the Manhattan Bridge (over which I’d traveled in the subway). I love walking through Chinatown, seeing all the familiar and strange fruits and vegetables for sale on sidewalk carts, the wonderful arrays of fish in the markets, the mysterious little herb shops.

I got to the café—apparently the first non-Chinese place on the block—and met two very nice people, Ivan and Victoria. We talked for a while, then walked through streets that I may not have ever visited, through Foley Square (the court buildings) and across Reade Street to Church, where we met up with Stuart for a nice lunch.

After lunch, we walked uptown to Canal and Broadway, and then hopped on the subway up to Herald Square, then walked across Fifth Avenue to The Compleat Strategist, a game store I haven’t visited in years (Ivan and Victoria wanted to see it). It’s a very cramped, very full store with a lot of games. Most of them, it seemed are the new type: very complex rules and set-up and game play. So it was interesting when a woman walked in to buy Parcheesi. The old and the new are both available.

Then I walked with Ivan and Victoria up to 42nd Street, past the library, and across 42nd to the Hudson River, where they boarded a Circle Line boat. I walked up another block to take in the view of the Intrepid, and to sit out on the pier looking at the Hudson River for a few minutes. Then I walked back to Times Square, and slowly made my way down to Madison Square Park. Spent a few minutes sitting and reading in the park, and then out to Greater New York Mensa’s monthly get-together at The Storehouse to participate in their trivia competition. We had ten people tonight (including Ivan and Victoria, and Jen, a new member at her first or second Mensa event): two full teams. My team, I was very pleased to see, came in first in the first two rounds, and again in the video round (14 of 15 right: it was 1970s’ movies and television shows, and the only one I couldn’t remember was the one Richard Pryor – Gene Wilder movie I hadn’t seen, Stir Crazy). I was shocked (shocked!) That we also came in first in the music round: I thought we did really poorly, but I guess the questions were tough for everyone. What it meant was that our team took first place for the night, while the other Mensa team managed third place, so it was a great night all around.

Then I had a leisurely walk down to Union Square to take the subway home. So, a nice day. I was out for 13 hours, walked five or six miles, met some wonderful people, saw some long-time friends, and came home to a damp box of books out on the step (thanks, UPS. You couldn’t read the note right next to the door bell, asking you to leave the box next door, out of the rain?). Fortunately, the books seem dry.

Now, I need to get some sleep!

Publishers Pick Special Offer

Publishers Pick for this week is once again featuring a Fantastic Books book. This week, Daniel M. Kimmel’s comic novel, Time On My Hands: My Misadventures in Time Travel.

1515400522The book earned rave reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Analog, Asimov’s, and True Review, when we published it two years ago. Now the ebook is available, for one week only, at the low low price of $2.99 (a 63% off the standard ebook price, and an 80% discount off the trade paperback price).

Time On My Hands investigates the myriad time travel troubles over which most science fiction readers have pondered, but it presents a fresh take on the time travel novel by adhering to the Aristotelian Unity of Time: it all takes place within a single day.

In the book, Professor Price tells the story of how he came to be in possession of a time travel device (which he may or may not have invented), and how he found his future hiding in his past. But the discovery of time travel will necessitate far more than just building a really cool machine: it’ll take the efforts of many people to figure out how to talk about time travel, the requirements necessary to be an ethical time traveler, and just whose office it is when my yesterday becomes your tomorrow without the courtesy of a knock on the door.

Also available this week at Publishers Pick are Mike Resnick’s Birthright and Red Tide by Larry Niven with Brad Torgersen and Matthew J. Harrington.


I was recently interviewed by Benjamin Fang for the Queens Ledger about the upcoming Maspeth Book Festival. The interview is now available at In general, it’s a good one, though I wound up being miscredited with “a” short story sale. But overall, I don’t think I came off sounding too pompous, so I’ll call it a win.

Trying to sound better

Just gave a brief phone interview in connection with the upcoming Maspeth Book Festival. Talked about writing and the creative process, and as I was talking, I was thinking that I either sounded incredibly mature or incredibly pompous, and wasn’t sure I liked either one of those descriptions. But since the interview was for a local paper, hopefully he’ll use very few of my words, and I won’t sound so bad.

Numbers Day!

Yesterday I calculated and completed my annual tax filings (and got them in the mail today). And though, like everyone else, I’m disappointed by the result, there’s something appealing about doing my taxes. It’s a feeling I get three days a year: royalty calculation day in January, tax day in April, and royalty calculation day in July. In general, I’m a words person: writing, editing, designing, publishing… but those three days a year, I’m a numbers person. And though I don’t have any desire to become a full-time accountant, I do enjoy those days of playing with numbers: lining them up, combining them, seeing how the results come out as they should. And—at least for royalties—it’s always gratifying to be able to pay all the authors, artists, and editors on time and still see that the company is solvent and growing (however slowly). Now, back to the letters.

Convention Weekend

heliosphere_logo_wptheme5I’ve been a little busy this week, so I’m a bit late mentioning that this weekend is another convention weekend. I’ll be at Heliosphere April 5th to 7th. As usual, I’ll be spending most of my time in the dealers’ room (open Friday from 4 to 8pm, Saturday from 11am to 6pm, and Sunday from 11am to 3pm). I’ve also got three panels (well, two panels and one other thing):

Friday, 3:30-4:45pm in Ballroom 5: “What would immortals care about?” with April Grey, Lorraine Schein, and Hildy Silverman.

Saturday, 9:00-10:00pm in Ballroom 6: Books N Brews (akin to a typical convention’s kaffeeklatsch)

Sunday, 10:00-11:15am in Ballroom 4: “Useless Superpowers” with Charlie Boatner, Christopher Burke, Andre Lieven, and Gordon Linzner.

Hope to see a bunch of you up in Tarrytown!

Another sale!

It’s an embarrassment of… well, not exactly “riches,” but…

I just signed and returned a contract for another short-short story. This time, to the British science journal Nature, for their one-piece-of-fiction per issue “Futures” section. The story is called “It’s all my fault, or, the beanstalk sucks,” and I’m thrilled to have stories in inventory at two separate magazines at the same time!

Now I have to find some time to write some more….

I’m a writer again!

There comes a time, some indeterminate length of time, after my last contracted story appears in print, when I start to feel like a fraud if I say “I’m a writer.” It’s a cross between guilt over not having written more, and envy of those who do write and sell regularly (though I know I’m working hard as an editor and publisher; can’t do everything at the same time).

I don’t imagine many of my writer friends can relate to this, because they all seem to be writing far more frequently, with far greater productivity, than I. (A lot of what would be my writing time is spent editing and publishing the works of others. Nevertheless…)

However, I don’t have that feeling today! I signed and returned a contract to Analog for my newest appearance in that magazine. If my count is correct, it will be my 12th story and 15th paid appearance in that venerable bastion of science fiction. It’s another of my short-shorts—titled “Bulkheads Make the Best Neighbors”—so nothing deep or involved (so I’m not going to tell you about it, because that would take longer than just reading the whole thing when it appears).

Don’t yet know which issue it will be in, but until it does, I’m once again an active, professional writer… and it feels good!

#analogsf #shortfiction #amwriting