12 November 2019

Crime Travel -- How Did We Get Here?


It seems odd yet also right that the publication date for a time-travel crime anthology seems to be sneaking up on me. It feels like ages ago when I put out the call for stories for Crime Travel. (It was about a year and a half ago.) And it feels like I've been waiting for years for the publication date to approach (maybe I have ... because, you know, time travel). But now, suddenly, the launch date is less than a month away--how did that happen?--and I'm scrambling to write this blog.

If only I could go back and write this at a more leisurely pace ...

It's August 2013. I let my beloved dog Scout go a month ago, and now I'm writing a time-travel story involving a dog. I can't bring Scout back but maybe with this fictional dog ... My friend and former critique group partner C. Ellett Logan reads the story after it's done and tells me I don't need to join a bereavement support group. I've clearly worked it all out on the page.
Scout

Later that year: The story, now named "Alex's Choice," is rejected for the first time.

2014 - 2016: I keep fiddling with the story, keep sending it out, keep getting rejections. Time travel stories can be a tough sell.

July 2016: I send the story to Linda Landrigan of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. I expect she too will pass because the story doesn't feel right for the magazine, but I figure it can't hurt to try. Linda ultimately does turn the story down, but says she liked a lot about it and it made her cry. Yes! I made Linda cry. (I know. That shouldn't make me happy. (Sorry, Linda.) But getting that reaction from her is good.)

September 2017: I gripe with my friend Donna Andrews about this story that I can't sell, and she says, "Why don't you put together your own anthology?" She has the perfect name for it, too: Crime Travel. I think about this a lot. I have experience putting together anthologies. I've done a bunch with Donna and Marcia Talley (the Chesapeake Crimes series), as well as editing one of the Malice Domestic anthologies. But this would be the first one I'd do all on my own, including choosing the stories. I'm intrigued but worried about the time commitment. Ultimately, intrigue wins out ...

Thanks for the
support, Carla!

November 2017: I talk with Carla Coupe, the then number two person at Wildside Press (who is now blissfully retired) about this anthology idea, and she likes it. We spend the next few months ironing out details.

June 2018: I put out the call for stories. Scared I'll be overrun with submissions, I only share the story announcement with the Short Mystery Fiction Society, the Chesapeake Chapter of Sister in Crime (my home chapter), the Guppies Chapter of SinC, and with my fellow bloggers here at SleuthSayers. I mention in the call for stories that the royalties will be donated to a literacy charity yet to be chosen.

November 2018: The deadline has come, and I have 53 stories to choose from. I wonder what in the world I was smoking earlier that fall when I decided to not read the submissions as they came in and instead to wait until I had them all to start my review. I had pictured myself somehow reading them all in one blissful snowy weekend. Maybe that could happen if I were a speed reader or could actually time travel. Otherwise ...

December 31, 2018: I had hoped to have the acceptance decisions made by this date. Nope.

January 31, 2019: I had hoped to have the acceptance decisions made by this date. Nope. Instead I find myself struggling to read all the stories while getting my paid work done too.

February 19, 2019: Finally, the decisions have been made. Fourteen stories have been chosen for the anthology, and I'm including my own "Alex's Choice" too. (Hey, I didn't start this process for nothing.) I'm so excited for the authors whose stories were chosen because they're all really good. I'm sad for the authors whose stories I had to turn down. And I'm exhausted because it sounds like the hard part is done but I know the hard part is really just beginning.

Spring and summer 2019: Editing, editing, editing. Proofreading too.

Also spring 2019: Our charity is chosen. All royalties will be donated to 826DC, a Washington, DC, nonprofit designed to help children and teens improve their creative and expository writing skills, as well as help teachers inspire children to write.

Late August 2019: The publisher, John Betancourt, sends me the cover. I love it so much, it is ridiculously hard not to share it with the world immediately.

September 6, 2019: Kristopher Zgorksi hosts our cover reveal on his BOLO Books blog. Thank you, Kristopher!

Fall 2019: ARCs go out. I hear back from some of the recipients quickly, and they all have good things to say. Whew!

November 2019: Contributor Eleanor Cawood Jones arranges our launch party. Thank you, Ellie! It will be on ...

Sunday, December 8, 2019: This is our official publication date, our launch party date, and it's Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day. The trifecta! (Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day is a real holiday. You can look it up!)

The launch party will run from 1 - 3 p.m. at Barnes and Noble in Fairfax, Virginia (12193 Fair Lakes Promenade Dr, Fairfax, VA 22033). The following authors are scheduled to be at the launch event (and some of them might even dress up in the time period of their story): James Blakey, me (Barb Goffman), Eleanor Cawood Jones, Adam Meyer, Art Taylor, and Cathy Wiley.

Maybe with the help of time travel
the rest of the authors will make the launch
The rest of the authors with stories in the book, who alas can't make it to the launch, are: Melissa H. Blaine, Michael Bracken, Anna Castle, David Dean, Brendan DuBois, John M. Floyd, Heidi Hunter, Barbara Monajem, and Korina Moss. So pleased to have four fellow SleuthSayers involved.

And now, with only two hours until this blog is to be posted at midnight November 12th, I feel grateful for all the people who have had a hand in making the dream of this book come true, as well as for the people who will buy this book and enjoy these stories.

If you like time travel and if you like crime stories, I truly think you will love this anthology. It is already available for pre-order directly from the publisher in hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook. It's been a long time coming for "Alex's Choice," the story I wrote six years ago in Scout's honor. I hope when you read it you'll agree that it has been worth the wait.

17 comments:

Tonette Joyce said...

YOu never made me sorry to have ever left Virginia than reading about the launch, although truth be told, I probably would not have been writing anywhere near as much (or even know you and so many others), had I not moved to places where I needed my writing skills honed, if only to remain sane.
I wish all of you all the best and though I have not read your story to make me cry, this post made me laugh.

janice law said...

Congratulations and best of luck with the anthology. I suspect few writers appreciate how much work goes into the preparation of any book- never mind an anthology- after the manuscripts leave their typewriters.

Paul D. Marks said...

Congratulations on the new anthology, Barb!

joshpac said...

Nice piece, Barb! I'm looking forward to the launch party — just wish I had a time machine, so I could go to it today!

John Floyd said...

Great column, Barb. Looking forward to seeing this book! (Wish I could make the signing--have a great time!)

Barb Goffman said...

I'm happy I made you laugh, Tonette. Any reaction is a good reaction. I'm sorry you can't make the launch.

Thanks, Janice and Paul, for reading and commenting.

Josh, a time machine would be good. Though as you'll see from some of the stories, sometimes a machine isn't necessary. Looking forward to seeing you at the launch!

John, I'm so sorry you can't make it to the launch party, but of course I understand it would be a bit of a hike for you. I hope you love the book when you get it.


R.T. Lawton said...

Barb, your anthology has a nice lineup of authors. It sounds like a great project and a good charity. Good for you. I only wish I wrote sci-fi.

Barb Goffman said...

Thanks, R.T. But I should add that while a couple of the stories maybe have a sci-fi feel, other than the time-travel aspect, these are all solid crime stories. I think you easily could write one that would fit in.

Steve Liskow said...

Some of my favorite stories are time travel tales, but I've never tried actually writing one. This post may inspire me to try (So I'll blame you if it doesn't work ;-).

Another congratulations and good luck on the launch.

Barb Goffman said...

Steve, thanks. And I'm happy to take the blame--though I bet it won't be necessary.

Adam Meyer said...

Great post, Barb! So pleased to be part of Crime Travel and looking forward to the launch

Eve Fisher said...

Congratulations, and I can hardly wait to read the anthology!

Barb Goffman said...

Thanks, Adam and Eve!

Leigh Lundin said...

Oh! I love time travel stories. I'm so jealous! It's amazing how TT tales straddle genres. Well done, Barb!

Barb said...

Thanks, Leigh!

Penny said...

Congrats, Barb!

Barb said...

Thanks, Penny!