The Qwillery ask BIBLIOTHECA FANTASTICA authors about the power of books

When we put together the fantasist anthology, Bibliotheca Fantastica, we asked ourselves, “What’s so magical about books, anyway?” David Sklar, Gord Sellar, Michael J. DeLuca, A.C. Wise,  Garry Kilworth, S.J. Hirons, Ray Vukcevich, Tina Connolly, and Andrew S. Fuller, answered that question for us, over at The Qwillery:

Books are time travel. They’re telepathy. They’re the seance, the ansible, the summoning ritual, the oracle, the visionary dream. Reading makes another person’s ideas our own, for better or worse, as different, far away or long ago as that other person might be. The connection isn’t perfect–what magic is? But what’s lost in the translation from one mind to the page and back into another’s leaves room for the creativity that makes the next book possible, and the next. If only we could read them all. – Michael J. DeLuca, author of “Other Palimpsests”

My favorite and most heartbreaking dreams are the ones where I’m in a library or old junk shop and I stumble on a book by a beloved author that I didn’t know existed. I know where this comes from–when I was little I was obsessed with the Wizard of Oz. I thought there was only one book, but then in my Scholastic flyer from school I boggled as I saw an advertisement for #2. In our local bookstore sometime later I found 3, and eventually all the L. Frank Baum ones through 14. Several years later I was in the Topeka library and the same thrilling shock ran through me as I found the ones by Ruth Plumly Thompson. Each of these moments is incised in my memory. The books themselves were magical, but the unexpected discovery that you could, in fact, go back to Oz (or Narnia, or Green Gables, or or or) was always the real magic. – Tina Connolly, author of “Paperheart”

We are matter that looks at and thinks about the universe and then tells stories. How that all works and why we should make up stories are deep mysteries, but that’s what we do, and while it might not really be magic, it is wonderful. As we change in the coming ages, if we survive, the way we tell those stories might change, too. When we augment those most complicated of things, our brains, new art forms will probably arise. At some deep level, though, I think it will still be narrative, because that’s who we are. We struggle to make sense of things and then we say stuff. Some of the most interesting things we say are collected in objects called “books.” – Ray Vukcevich, author of “The Go-Between”

Read the rest here.

SF Signal interviews Don Pizarro about BIBLIOTHECA FANTASTICA

SF Signal introduces their new interview with author and editor Don Pizarro by calling our latest anthology “the excellent Bibliotheca Fantastica (see their review). With questions that range from the concept of books as an idea to the thrills and dangers of the book-worlds our authors created, the interview explores a little bit of what an editor thinks after the book is put together…

HM: As I read the stories, I could sense an unwritten warning about the power of books. When it comes to books with magical properties, what’s more dangerous – the book or the reader?

DP: That’s a false dichotomy I think, and here’s why. Think about the phrase, “Guns don’t kill people….” There are three ways to finish it: (a) “people do,” (b) “bullets do,” or (c) “Actually no, guns do kill people.” However you answer it, if you take away any one of those elements (Let’s swap: (a) the reader, (b) the book’s content, (c) the book-as-object), there just isn’t as much danger as there is when all the elements are combined.

Combine them, and the danger is practically limitless!

Read the rest here.

Subscribe to Lakeside Circus now, and win free ebooks!


From now until November 15, anyone who subscribes to Year One of Lakeside Circus will be entered to win a complete ebook package from Dagan Books, including Cthulhurotica, IN SITU, FISH, Bibliotheca Fantastica, and Inedible Sins (in both epub and mobi formats).

This is on top of the discounted early subscriber rate – only $20 for a full year of short, strange, fiction! Each issue has nearly 50,000 words of all original stories and poems will be delivered to you every three months. No reprints. Not us. Not ever.

Best of all, for every 10 new subscriptions we get before November 15, we’ll give away another set of these ebooks. The more people who subscribe, the more chances you have to win – so please, help us get the word out.

To subscribe and be automatically entered to win, click on the button below:

Subscribe now!

Please note: if you have already subscribed, you are already entered in the giveaway. There’s nothing more for you to do but tell your friends! is giving away signed copies of BIBLIOTHECA FANTASTICA & we’re celebrating with a sale!

A book about books, full of enchanting, terrifying, and magical tales: sounds like the perfect gift for All Hallow’s Read! We have three copies of Bibliotheca Fantastica, edited by Don Pizarro and available now from Dagan Books, and one of them could be yours.

With 20 stories from writers like Tina Connolly, A.C. Wise, and Michael J. DeLuca, and a cover by Hugo Award-winning artist Galen Dara, this anthology is a lovely addition to any bibliophile’s bookshelf.

Comment in the post to enter!

And to celebrate, we’re putting our Amazon stock on sale:

Bibliotheca Fantastica is now $12.99 – but Amazon has it marked down further, to $11.69 (and it’s Prime eligible).

FISH is also 12.99, but marked down to $11.69 (and it’s Prime eligible).

Cthulhurotica, also $12.99 from now on, is currently only $11.55! (And also has FREE two-day shipping for Prime customers.)

We need to buy ISBNs. You want to improve your writing. We can help each other.

In the US, every version of every book published needs to have its own  International Standard Book Number (ISBN). The print version needs a different number than the ebook version, but more than that: the hardback and paperback versions have to have different numbers, and the ePub, mobi, and PDF versions of the digital edition have to have their own unique ISBNs, too.

One ISBN costs $125. That’s not very useful, is it? 10 ISBNs costs $250, which covers 2, maybe 3 titles. For $575 we can buy 100 ISBNs, a much more useful number. It can publish about 20 books, or our planned catalog for the next three years. That’s what we’d like to do.

Our publisher and editor, Carrie Cuinn, teaches online workshops on a variety of subjects related to writing and editing. Her next class, which begins Sunday, November 17, is on “Plotting the Short Story”. She’s going to put the proceeds of the class signups toward our ISBN purchase. From her website:

All workshops take place in my private online forum, so you can post questions, comments, and writing excerpts without worrying who will see it. Plus, since we have deadlines of a certain day, not a set class hour, you can be anywhere in the world and still participate!

We’ll cover how to fit a whole story into different lengths: flash (1000 and under), mid-length short story (about 4000 words), and longer short stories (up to 6500 words). What do you put in and what do you leave off the page? Fundamentals of storytelling, prepping (including outlining, character arcs, and plot twists) and editing (including how to recognize the different moments of your story so you can move them around) are also covered. Only $50 for 4 weeks. sign up here

Like her other classes, this one will be capped so it doesn’t get too big. Plus, once you’ve taken any of her workshops, you retain access to the forum, which has space for sharing critiques, a market directory, and more. You can also purchase enrollment for a friend if you don’t need one for yourself (be sure to note that when you fill out the form).

Thank you for your support.

(Because we’ve been asked, yes, you can simply donate a few dollars to our goal by clicking here; link goes to PayPal. But we’d rather give you something for your money, so please make sure to let us know who you are, and we’ll send along a special thank you.)

Learning from the Circus

I’ve been asked why we’re taking a little break here at Dagan Books. Are we tired of anthologies? Dislike novellas? Are we shuttering our doors for good?

No, no, and definitely not.

While it looks, on the outside, that we’re taking time off, behind the scenes, we’re busier than ever. Our staff is working very hard to support the team at Lakeside Circus while we put together and publish Issue One. We’re going over the novella submissions we got this year to make final decisions. We’re looking at the projects we thought were a good idea a couple of years ago, and deciding which ones to move forward with.

More than that, I’m changing the way we do business. It’s often difficult to make course corrections while you’re still in the middle of a thing, still swimming in that river, being carried away even while you know you’re supposed to be headed in the other direction. When I began Dagan Books in 2010, three years ago this month, it was to support a fun little anthology I didn’t think I could publish any other way. It wasn’t supposed to be this big thing, but over time, that’s exactly what it became.

When you’re running a small press out of your kitchen on your own dime, without getting paid, without really knowing what you’re doing, it’s a gigantic thing.

I asked for advice from people I thought knew better than me (and often, they did). I got a lot of advice from people I didn’t know well, but who seemed sincere. Some of it was good. Some of it was terrible. I was pushed to grow faster, take on projects with people I didn’t know, didn’t like, changed what we publish, change who we publish… everyone had an opinion, and the last year or so, it’s been obvious that we’d lost something along the way. At some point this summer, I sat down with the people who’d been there with me from the beginning, and realized:

This isn’t what I wanted. I wasn’t excited about this work anymore. I started to dread opening my email, looking at our accounting spreadsheets, talking with nearly anyone about what we were planning to publish. I hit the point where most people, I think, would have quit.

But there was a project I was still excited about. Lakeside Circus. A quarterly magazine of very short literary speculative fiction. The kind of work that I read, when I get to read for my own enjoyment. The type of story I write, when I can find time to write. Even SF/F poetry, because when it’s done well, I love it.

So I took a few months, gathered up new readers, and starting putting together the magazine from scratch. I used everything I’d learned from Dagan Books, working as a freelance editor, a writer, an office administrator, and we did things differently. New, more author-friendly contracts. Clearer deadlines. Pay rates we could afford to offer. Faster response rate on submissions. Payment on publication, or in advance. Better business practices, all across the board.

And it worked. We put together an amazing magazine of almost 50,000 words, in only a few months! Contracts have been sent, subscriptions set up, authors are already starting to get paid, and the magazine will be out in advance for reviewers (something we were never able to do for Dagan’s anthologies). Our finances and tasks are documented; it’s a better business, run by a version of me who knows what she’s doing, instead of the me from three years ago who just had an idea and wasn’t sure of how to make it happen.

Over the next few months, we’re going to be migrating these best practices back over to Dagan Books. Authors will get the new contracts and new payment schedules, projects will be done in advance for reviewers, and we’ll use the new accounting/office workflows to keep everything open and on time. We’re going back to the strange, beautiful, often-literary, speculative fiction I love. We’re going back to the vision that I have for Dagan Books, instead of what everything else thought we should be.

In the meantime, please do check out Lakeside Circus. You can find us on the web at, on Twitter and Facebook, and even Pinterest. You can submit work to us (read our guidelines here) and subscribe, too.

If you subscribe now, you can get our first year for only $20. Even better, if you purchase your subscription before November 15, our first issue will be delivered a week early. Before anyone else can buy the magazine or begin to read us online, you’ll have an entire quarter’s worth of short stories, flash fiction, and poetry, including work by:

Dean Francis Alfar, C.S.E. Cooney, Trevor Shikaze, Ada Hoffmann, Mike Allen, Alan Baxter, Lucas Ahlsen, Cate Gardner, Jill Corddry, Rachael Acks, Conor Powers-Smith, Andrew S. Williams, Lisa Bradley, John P. Murphy, Dan Campbell, Gitte Christensen, Megan Arkenberg, Rich Larson, Jon Arthur Kitson, David Sklar, Andrew Gilstrap, Sarah Hendrix, F.J. Bergmann, Virginia M. Mohlere, Michael Haynes, John Skylar, H.L. Fullerton, Sofia Samatar, Eric Rosenfield, Jamie Lackey,  Hermine Robinson, Deborah Walker, Vajra Chandrasekera, David Steffen, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Bryan Thao Worra, and more!

Read more and subscribe here.

Thank you for your support over the years. I hope you’ll stick around for what we’re going to be next.

– Carrie Cuinn, Publisher

We are closed to submissions until 2014

We are closing to unsolicited submissions for the rest of 2013. We have enough projects in progress, both here and at our forthcoming magazine, Lakeside Circus, that we can’t put out anything new until next year. Because of that, we don’t feel comfortable accepting new material when we don’t currently have space in our schedule to put it into production.

When we have space in our schedule again, we’ll reopen to unsolicited submissions.

Thank you.

Carrie Cuinn, Publisher