I will be editing THE YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY NOVELLAS for Prime Books ( The first volume will be released in 2015 and cover material published in 2014. The volume will be released in August 2015.

Novellas represent some of the finest work being done in the field today and are often available to readers on a limited basis. Due to their length, it is difficult to always include them in the established volumes now being published. This gives us a chance to further showcase outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy. We hope this is only the beginning of a long-running, successful series.

Generally, novellas are considered to be 17,500 to 40,000 words in length.

Guidelines: The work must be published during the calendar year of 2014. If serialized, the novella may have begun in the previous year and ended in current. Direct submissions to the editor as well as suggestions are greatly appreciated. PDF, Word doc, or RTF are preferred, ebook if needed to If a physical copy is submitted please send to the address below:

Deadline: January 15, 2015.

Paula Guran
87 S Meadowcroft Drive
Akron OH 44313-7266


Call for Submissions: The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2015 edited by Paula Guran

As the editor of the anthology series The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror (Prime Books) I am now reading for the 2015 edition which will include material published in 2014.

I am looking for stories of dark fantasy—they might be simply unsettling or perhaps eerie. Dark fantasy can be revelatory or baffling. It can be simply a story or a small glimpse of life seen “through a glass, darkly.” Or, in more literary terms (all of which are debatable) it might be any number of things: weird fiction (new or old), supernatural fiction, magical realism, surrealism, the fantastique, dark epic fantasy, or the ever-ambiguous horror fiction (which need not have a supernatural element but can crossover into other genres). And yes, dark SF is certainly part of the horror mix.

You can get an idea of what I am looking for from the first four volumes of the series; the fifth (covering 2013) will be published in July of this year. Or by reading the introduction to the first volume: What the Hell Do You Mean by Dark Fantasy and Horror?” or last year’s introduction: Instructions for Use.

This is a REPRINT anthology so I am only reading material published during the calendar year of 2014.

READERS: I appreciate your recommendations. Email

PUBLISHERS: I prefer email submissions of Word documents, RTF, or PDF rather than hard copies if available. It saves you the postage and I can keep track of things better this way. If you must send galleys, magazines, or books, see the address below. If your publication appears on the Web only, please make me aware of it. Send to:

WRITERS: Please ask the publisher of your collection or of periodicals and/or anthologies you appear in to send me copies of their publications. Please do not send me your individual story or stories unless I request such from you.

Please post and/or pass this on to others.

DEADLINE for 2013 materials: December 1, 2013. If your work/publication is being published in December, please try to get it to me in some form by that date. Overall: the earlier I get the material the better.

—Paula Guran

Mailing Address:
Paula Guran
87 S Meadowcroft Dr
Akron OH 44313-7266


Magic City: Recent Spells edited by Paula Guran

ISBN-13: 978-1607014270
480 pages | $16.95 | May 2014
(Preorder now: Amazon or

Bright lights, big city… magic spells, witchcraft, wizardry, fairies, devilry, and more. Urban living, at least in fantasy fiction, is full of both magical wonder and dark enchantment. Street kids may have supernatural beings to protect them or have such powers themselves. Brujeria may be part of your way of life. Crimes can be caused (and solved) with occult arts and even a losing sports team’s “curse” can be lifted with wizardry. And be careful of what cab you call—it might take you on a journey beyond belief! Some of the best stories of urban enchantment from the last few years gathered in one volume full of hex appeal and arcane arts.

Contents (authors in alphabetical order):
“Paranormal Romance,” Christopher Barzak
“The Slaughtered Lamb,” Elizabeth Bear
“The Land of Heart’s Desire,” Holly Black
“Seeing Eye,” Patricia Briggs
“De la Tierra,” Emma Bull
“Curses,” Jim Butcher
“Dog Boys,” Charles de Lint
“Snake Charmer,” Amanda Downum
“Street Wizard,” Simon R. Green
“-30-,” Caitlín R. Kiernan
“Stone Man,” Nancy Kress
“Pearlywhite” Mark Laidlaw & John Shirley
“In the Stacks,” Scott Lynch
“Spellcaster 2.0,” Jonathan Maberry
“Kabu Kabu,” Nnedi Okorafor
“Stray Magic,” Diana Peterfreund
“The Woman Who Walked with Dogs,” Mary Rosenblum”
“Wallamelon,” Nisi Shawl
“Grand Central Park,” Delia Sherman
“Words,” Angela Slatter
“Alchemy,” Lucy Sussex
“A Voice Like a Hole,” Catherynne M. Valente
“The Arcane Art of Misdirection,” Carrie Vaughn
“Thief of Precious Things,” A.C. Wise


The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2014 edited by Paula Guran


No matter your expectations, the dark is full of the unknown: grim futures, distorted pasts, invasions of the uncanny, paranormal fancies, weird dreams, unnerving nightmares, baffling enigmas, revelatory excursions, desperate adventures, spectral journeys, mundane terrors and supernatural visions. You may stumble into obsession or find redemption. Often disturbing, occasionally delightful, let The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror be your annual guide through the mysteries and wonders of dark fiction.

Contents (in alphabetical order by author’s last name):

  • “Postcards from Abroad,” Peter Atkins (Rolling Darkness Revue 2013, Earthling Publications)
  • “The Creature Recants,” Dale Bailey (Clarkesworld, Issue 85, October 2013)
  • “The Good Husband,” Nathan Ballingrud (North American Lake Monsters, Small Beer Press)
  • “Termination Dust,” Laird Barron (Tales of Jack the Ripper, ed. Ross Lockhart, Word Horde)
  • “The Ghost Makers,” Elizabeth Bear (Fearsome Journeys, ed. Jonathan Strahan, Solaris)
  • “The Marginals,” Steve Duffy (The Moment of Panic, PSPublishing)
  • “A Collapse of Horses,” Brian Evenson (The American Reader, Feb/Mar 2013)
  • “A Lunar Labyrinth,” Neil Gaiman (Shadows of the New Sun: Stories in Honor of Gene Wolfe, eds. J. E. Mooney & Bill Fawcett, Tor)
  • “Pride,” Glen Hirshberg (Rolling Darkness Revue 2013, Earthling Publications)
  • “Let My Smile Be Your Umbrella,” Brian Hodge (Psycho-Mania!, ed. Stephen Jones, Robinson)
  • “The Soul in the Bell Jar,” K. J. Kabza (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Nov/Dec 2013)
  • “The Prayer of Ninety Cats,” Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean Online, Spring 2013)
  • “Dark Gardens,” Greg Kurzawa (Interzone # 248)
  • “A Little of the Night,” Tanith Lee (Clockwork Phoenix 4, ed. Mike Allen, Mythic Delirium)
  • “The Gruesome Affair of the Electric Blue Lightning,” Joe R. Lansdale (Beyond Rue Morgue: Further Tales of Edgar Allan Poe’s First Detective, ed. Paul Kane & Charles Prepole, Titan)
  • “Iseul’s Lexicon,” Yoon Ha Lee (Conservation of Shadows, Prime Books)
  • “The Plague” Ken Liu (Nature, 16 May 2013)
  • “The Slipway Gray,” Helen Marshall (Chilling Tales 2, ed. Michael Kelly, Edge Publications)
  • “To Die for Moonlight,” Sarah Monette (Apex Magazine, Issue #50)
  • “Event Horizon,” Sunny Moraine (Strange Horizons, 21 Oct 2013)
  • “The Legend of Troop 13,” Kit Reed (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jan 2013 / The Story Until Now: A Great Big Book of Stories, Wesleyan)
  • “Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell,” Brandon Sanderson (Dangerous Women, eds. George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, Tor)
  • “Phosphorous,” Veronica Schanoes, (Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy, eds. Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, Tor)
  • “Blue Amber,” David J. Schow (Impossible Monsters, ed. Kasey Lansdale, Subterranean Press)
  • “Rag and Bone,” Priya Sharma (, 10 April 2013)
  • “Our Lady of Ruins”, Sarah Singleton (The Dark 2, Dec 2013)
  • “Cuckoo,” Angela Slatter (A Killer Among Demons, ed. Craig Bezant, Dark Prints Press)
  • “Wheatfield with Crows,” Steve Rasnic Tem (Dark World: Ghost Stories, ed. Timothy Parker Russell, Tartarus Press)
  • “Moonstruck,” Karin Tidbeck (Shadows and Tall Trees, Vol. 5, ed. Mike Kelly, Undertow)
  • “The Dream Detective,” Lisa Tuttle (Lightspeed, Mar 2013)
  • “Fishwife,” Carrie Vaughn (Nightmare, Jun 2013
  • “Air, Water and the Grove,” Kaaron Warren (The Lowest Heaven, eds Anne C. Perry & Jared Shurin, Jurassic London)

Public Presence & Perception

EditorEditors, even nowadays, seldom have much of a public presence. Magazine editors and anthologists are somewhat better known than novel editors, and can more regularly be found on panels at genre conventions and the like.

Yet, here we are with websites and blogs and social media “presence”… more and more. As far as I know, Ellen Datlow was the first short form editor to have her own website… but then again she also was fiction editor for the first major professional print magazine, OMNI, to go online. Unless it was Jonathan Strahan, who went online in 1999, but more as a critic/reviewer at the time than an editor. (Although he had edited two Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy volumes.) And, yeah, before I was any sort of editor, what was then “DarkEcho’s Horror Web” went live (at in mid-December of 1995. (I think I was thrilled to find links to maybe fifty horror authors at the time.)

But among current relatively well-known short form SF/F editors you still will find no websites for folks like Asimov’s editor Sheila Williams, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction‘s Gordon Van Gelder, or the grandmaster of anthologists (and other editing) Gardner Dozois.

[Quick! No checking encyclopedias or even Amazon... Name the the editor of first "year's best" science fiction series. Hint: The Best Science Fiction Stories, published in 1949. Quick! What was and who edited the The first notable paperback anthology (1943)?]

But those who edit even the most famous novelists? Quick! Name Neil Gaiman’s editor! No cheating/googling (agents and avid readers of Publishers Marketplace should not play the game). Hint: She also edits Tim Powers, Neal Stephenson, Terry Pratchett, and, before their deaths, Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov…and I don’t know who else you might immediately recognize. How about George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series editor? Who acquired Jim Butcher’s first Dresden books? You won’t even find Wikipedia articles on them.

And even if you know some editorial names, few people really know what editors (of different varieties) do. Writers write… not an easy task, even though the public seems to think writing is not only easy, but consistently lucrative.

(I’ll pause while you writers pick yourselves up after rolling-on-the-floor laughter.)

Anyway, there’s at least some conception of writing. But editing?

I’ll leave it as a mystery for now… but I will supply the answers to the questions I inserted above:

  • Editor(s) of first “year’s best” science fiction series: Everett F. Bleiler T.E. Dikty and E.F.
  • First notable paperback anthology? The Pocket Book of Science-Fiction, edited by Donald A Wollheim
  • Editor, Gaiman, etc.: Jennifer Brehl
  • Editor, GRRM: Ann Groell
  • Editor, first Dresden books: Jennifer Heddle

Día de Muertos/Day of the Dead In the News

  • Wall Street Journal: No Bones About It: Day of the Dead Is Finding New Life: Popularity Rises of a Mexican Holiday Honoring the Departed
  • USAToday: Day of the Dead celebrations alive and well
  • LA Times: In Latin America, Day of the Dead is a time for celebrating life
  • Washington Post: Elegant ‘Skeleton Lady’ spreads her allure as Mexico marks Day of the Dead
  • SFGate: Day of the Dead is about the magic of remembrance
  • Forbes: Day Of The Dead Brings Life To Eastern European Cemeteries
  • Seattle Times: The ‘Day of the Dead’ comes alive in Peru
  • SF Examiner: Growing San Francisco Day of the Dead celebration has some worried, others excited

31 Days of Halloween: Day Thirty-one

magic-halloweenThis morning, on NPR, the ever-erudite Neil Gaiman answered when asked if—like his Sandman character Morpheus—he directed people’s dreams:

We all do that, every writer … one of the titles of the Sandman—and it’s a title that I stole from Lou Reed, who died so recently, from a song—is the Prince of Stories. And I think any writer worth his or her salt gets to be the Prince of Stories, gets to be the Princess of Stories.

We get to direct people; we get to give them waking dreams. We get to take them places, do magical things to their heads, and, with any luck, send them back to the day that they came from slightly changed, and not the person that they were when we got our hands on them and said, “I want to tell you a story.”

I have no ability to make people dream. If anyone can work magic it is you writers (and artists and musicians and other creators) and I’m privileged to be a part of sometimes being able to point out, convey, deliver your magic to readers. And that’s what Halloween is about, really: possibility, transformation… magic.

Happy Halloween.


31 Days of Halloween: Day Thirty

2-HallowsSomeone asked me why I wasn’t recommending more Halloween reading material in these October posts. The real answer is: fear. There are so many great authors out there, if I start trying to make a list or name individual names, I’ll surely forget someone. (And there already are plenty of recommended lists of Dead Authors out there to choose from.)

And I realized a great deal (not all) of my one-and-only “day job” is recommending dark fiction and writers who write it. I do it all the time.

Sure, I’ve been trying to get attention this year for a Halloween anthology of eighteen original short fiction I edited. I endorse those stories!

5-various-darkThen there was the treasury of thirty Halloween stories (aptly named Halloween) from 2011.

Forty-eight recommended stories and counting…

I also edit an annual Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror series, so—just as obviously—I like the thirty-five stories last year that I personally felt were among the best of the year, thirty-two the year before, thirty-one stories from 2010, and the thirty-nine stories published in 2009. There’s another 137 recommendations!

In addition…

If you like twenty-first century literary zombies… Zombies: The Recent Dead… or if you want something more gruesomely zomboid: Extreme Zombies.

Twenty-first century Vampires? Vampires: The Recent Undead…or how about (what could be more seasonal?) ghosts: Ghosts: Recent Hauntings.

Recent post-apocalyptic fiction? After the End: Recent Apocalypses New Lovecraftian? New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird. How about supernatural detective stories from the last decade? Weird Detectives: Recent Investigations.

And then there are witches: Witches: Wicked, Wild & Wonderful—not all “dark,” but certainly appropriate for the season. I’ve even covered Obsession: Tales of Irresistible Desire—damned dark.

Almost forgot The Mammoth Book of Angels and Demons. Not all dark stories, but more than half of the twenty-seven stories might be called “dark”.

Okay. I’m losing count myself, but that’s around 230-250 stories more stories. Something over 400 varying shades of darkness I’ve “recommended” in the last three years. I can’t count the authors…

So, there you go. Should keep you busy for awhile… and look for more in the coming year.


31 Days of Halloween: Day Twenty-Nine

Yesterday we looked at America’s favorite candy treats. But what candies do t-o-t’ers really consider as “tricks”? We are not talking pennies, pretzels, apples, raisins, or stale bags of plain popcorn here. Just candy. Personally, I hated Raisenets and Dum-Dums. Jeez, what a cheapskate! Couldn’t go for Tootsie-Pops? Even a plain ol’ sucker (with or without those loopy “safety sticks”) or three were better than Dum-Dums.

Huffington Post lists these nine “most-hated” Halloween treats, but included stuff that isn’t candy as #8 AND #9. (Comments mine.)

  1. Candy Corn – Yeah, not good. Seasonal but not really edible
  2. Mary Janes – I don’t even know what these are, so they have to be bad!
  3. Bit-o-Honey - Definitely not a favorite.
  4. Tootsie Rolls – Disagree! I liked Tootsie Rolls. The little waxy wrappers were a sure giveaway how many you’d eaten, but you had the same problem with Hersey Kisses except the foil was easier to roll into a teensy ball and wedge in a pocket. You were safe until Mom did the laundry.
  5. Good & Plenty – This is the oldest brand of candy still in the US and I think some boxes have been around since 1893. If I wanted licorice, I wanted licorice, not these pink-and-white candy-coated things.
  6. Smarties – Fie! I liked Smarties. Another wrapper-disposal problem, but these things taste pretty much like solid sugar. What kid doesn’t want that instant high?
  7. Whoppers – Huffpo, what’s up with that? Whoppers? LOVED ‘em. Still do. You don’t like Whoppers? Send them to me.

Okay, what about you? What candy tricks did you (or would you still) hate to have land in your bag of treats?


31 Days of Halloween: Day Twenty-eight

Okay, I really don’t get parents who think their children are going to go missing or be preyed upon on Halloween. Who sends a small child out alone to start with? Or even in a group without an adult or responsible teen (please note the adjective) at least quietly accompanying them? And if your neighborhood has trick-or-treat, it means more people are paying attention to (and watching out for) the youngsters than usual. As for poison, razor blades or needles in candy: all urban legends. Pedophiles? In some areas sex offenders are restricted from Halloween activities. The real dangers of Halloween include being hit by a car, the prevalence of candles and bonfires, and costumes (or accessories) that impair vision or cause tripping.

trickortrackerBut don’t listen to me. Evidently 15% of parents surveyed in 2011 told children’s advocacy group SafeKids that they fear their child will be abducted on Halloween.

Of course, there’s an app for that! Well, more than one, but the Trick or Tracker seems to really fill the bill. It allegedly “enables parents to monitor their child’s location at all times, both on Halloween and throughout the year, through their smartphone.” Recently updated , Trick Or Tracker now comes with “geo-fence technology…the home/school arrival notification technology Latchkey Kid, and other features built into the child’s phone. Through Trick Or Tracker, children can locate their parents or send a distress message, which sends the parent or other message recipient the child’s exact location through a daytime satellite map. The app additionally has a flashlight feature that shines a white light and can also shine in various glow-stick colors, making it a perfect safety light to guide trick-or-treaters on Halloween.”

Of course your kid has to have a smartphone. (Another dangerous distraction?)

Or does it even exist? I found this device written up or reported by several reputable sources. There are various videos and press releases. But checking out the website I found a nonfunctioning pages and no way to download the device.

Are we being tricked?