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Thread: In Mint Condition 2013: Impressions and Criticism

  1. #101
    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    have edited the first post, adding links to the reviews we have already posted

    waiting for more..............

    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
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  2. #102
    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    Default Tabula Rasa, by Hannah O'Connor

    As Dave pointed out, it reads like an excerpt from a novel rather than a story, and I will speak of it as such.

    I loved that piece immensely, and now as time has passed, I remember it with a fond, warm feeling. It's very much like a Hitchcock film: many things happen, all of them horrible, just horrible! happen to a pregnant woman, no less! - but you know that everything is going to be all right. There's no existential horror lurking behind, there's a cozy story of a gingerbread man (woman in this case) who is escaping one trap after another, and is the winner by definition.

    Even her moral dilemma is not a dilemma at all. She knows what she will do about it. She knows what choice she will make. It is not a story of a choice to take, anyway - it's a story of a protagonist who will make it. It's a classic, in its wholesomeness and optimism that shines through every line. There's a situation in the middle that belongs to worst imaginable ones in human existence

    Spoiler:
    when the protagonist seems to find refuge only to discover that she is in even worse danger, if possible


    but even then she doesn't lose heart. We root for her unconditionally, as we should. We love her and we want her to win. And she won't disappoint us.

    I don't know, maybe in the novel it will be different. Given the preposterous main premise, I am aftaid the protagonist doesn't know the whole truth - what she does know sounds cheap, and I expect some bigger revelations to appear in the novel. Maybe that puerile, blockbusterly, tabloidish explanation was only what she was allowed to "know". Maybe all of it, including her amazingly easy escapes, is only parts of plan that is really sinister and complex. Anyway. I love thinking about what there might be, how it might all turn out, what is the truth behind the myth cleverly fed to the woman... In a word, I love thinking about Tabula Rasa. It's so entertaining, and so overall satisfying; it's so good.

    I loved the was it was written, too. "Baby-man" immediately endeared both mother and the baby to me, who isn't especially fond of babies.

    The road seemed to wrap me in its arms like an old aunt I hadn’t seen in years”.

    The heat felt like an oven, and I was an overdone meatloaf”.

    A dark blur appeared on the road up ahead, one that was promisingly house-shaped.”

    Was he just crazy, or was I just refusing to see what was right in front of me?

    Also, the action is depicted with clarity that reminds of Crichton – the only author who didn’t annoy me while describing who ran where, seized and tied what around what. Normally, I only look through such parts, they are so hard for me (who has no inner eye) to follow and usually so irrelevant in their details that I skip most of them. Here, however, I can easily follow all actions, never losing interest. It is, really, as if I was there; no shit. Everything is clearly seen, heard and felt.

    I so wish the novel would come soon! But even if it doesn't, thank you for this story!

    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
    When one is in agreement with bears one is always correct. (mae)

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  3. #103
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    Thanks for the review, Jean. I always like reading your thoughts and perspectives on matters, whether they be books, movies, or just the world around us. It would be great if Hannah does manage to novel-ize this story, wouldn't it?

  4. #104
    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    the feeling is mutual!

    and yes, I hope Hannah will come here some time soon and tells us what her plans are! It might be an awesome novel - judging by those chapters

    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
    When one is in agreement with bears one is always correct. (mae)

    bears are back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. #105
    Honky Mahfah Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing's Avatar

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    First of all I'd like to apologize for never stopping by here. I saw this thread for the first time today and I'm astonished to read the reviews of my story (The Train Graveyard). It gave me goosebumps to read your comments

    The Train Graveyard deals with part of my childhood (even when I never lived in USA, those days in Argentina weren't that different from the ones you see in movies about being a child in the 60s, 70s or 80s) where I used to spend my free time outside, playing with friends, building houses on the trees and (of course) finding troubles from time to time. Few of the events were based on real ones (nope..I never killed anyone, but once I had to cover myself in a tree house avoiding rocks thrown by a group of as*holes) but the heart of the story is that moment that King mentions and some of you mentioned as "the loss of innocence". I think many lived that moment without noticing it but some (and I'll include myself in this group) do identify that breakpoint that pushes you to the ground and tells you "And now you're not a child anymore". And a child can't react as an adult, even when life is telling him he's no longer one. A child's reaction is all guts and heart. And that can be dangerous (as Jean said, "You can’t learn to fight fair if you’ve never learned to fight at all.").

    Fun fact: the train graveyard depicted doesn't exist BUT it's a combination of two places that do exist. One is a large empty field located less than one block from my parent's house where I spent thousands of afternoons when I was young, and the other is a train graveyard I saw every single day from a train I took to go to work, in a not-so-nice area of Buenos Aires.

    Again, I can't thank you enough for your words and comments! THANK YOU!

    And THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO HEATHER, who created the awesome illustration of the story. I still owe you an e-mail
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  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ari_Racing View Post
    First of all I'd like to apologize for never stopping by here. I saw this thread for the first time today and I'm astonished to read the reviews of my story (The Train Graveyard). It gave me goosebumps to read your comments


    Again, I can't thank you enough for your words and comments! THANK YOU!
    I'm not sure if you are specifically referring to my comments and review, but if so, you are most welcome. I found your story moving and affecting and in the "top tier" of the book's stories. And thank you for posting some additional background!

  7. #107
    Rebel Heather19 has much to be proud of Heather19 has much to be proud of Heather19 has much to be proud of Heather19 has much to be proud of Heather19 has much to be proud of Heather19 has much to be proud of Heather19 has much to be proud of Heather19 has much to be proud of Heather19 has much to be proud of Heather19's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ari_Racing View Post
    First of all I'd like to apologize for never stopping by here. I saw this thread for the first time today and I'm astonished to read the reviews of my story (The Train Graveyard). It gave me goosebumps to read your comments

    The Train Graveyard deals with part of my childhood (even when I never lived in USA, those days in Argentina weren't that different from the ones you see in movies about being a child in the 60s, 70s or 80s) where I used to spend my free time outside, playing with friends, building houses on the trees and (of course) finding troubles from time to time. Few of the events were based on real ones (nope..I never killed anyone, but once I had to cover myself in a tree house avoiding rocks thrown by a group of as*holes) but the heart of the story is that moment that King mentions and some of you mentioned as "the loss of innocence". I think many lived that moment without noticing it but some (and I'll include myself in this group) do identify that breakpoint that pushes you to the ground and tells you "And now you're not a child anymore". And a child can't react as an adult, even when life is telling him he's no longer one. A child's reaction is all guts and heart. And that can be dangerous (as Jean said, "You can’t learn to fight fair if you’ve never learned to fight at all.").

    Fun fact: the train graveyard depicted doesn't exist BUT it's a combination of two places that do exist. One is a large empty field located less than one block from my parent's house where I spent thousands of afternoons when I was young, and the other is a train graveyard I saw every single day from a train I took to go to work, in a not-so-nice area of Buenos Aires.

    Again, I can't thank you enough for your words and comments! THANK YOU!

    And THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO HEATHER, who created the awesome illustration of the story. I still owe you an e-mail
    You're welcome Very interesting insight into the story. It's always interesting to me what spawns a story in someone.
    Only the gentle are ever really strong.

  8. #108
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    Ari, bears are so happy you have found this thread! Thank you for posting the backstory. I really really hope you and other authors - and readers - will share their opinions and impressions on the collection. So far there's been regrettably few reviews.


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  9. #109
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    Here is everything I have for IMC2013 so far, good and bad. Copying the text and pasting it here seemed to mess up some kind of format, but I'm too tired/lazy to clean it up, so here you go:

    SHIRLEY MARTIN - MY BOOKSHELF (http://shirley-mybookshelf.blogspot.com)
    My Thoughts:
    In the fashion of masters like Stephen King (whom the editor is an obvious fan of - see the advertisements interspersed within the book) and Alfred Hitchcock, In Mint Condition 2013 is an anthology of 16 short stories and poetry written with the effect of a horror story/dark literature complemented with a facing page of art.
    As a teen fan of Stephen King, I had enjoyed the odd horror/dark literature though I haven't read from that genre in many years. However, when approached with the offer to read In Mint Condition 2013 I was willing to revisit that fascination. The cover of this mass market paperback features a fine looking collection of books on shelves offset by a black crow perched upon a typewriter, surrounded by lit candles illuminating the scene which held promise of things to come. I have to admit it was this cover art which captured my attention from the first and I had to read this collection!!
    The short story The Receptionist is a piece of work that set my mind reeling in shock at the revelation of the truth behind the facade! And this was near the beginning. What further surprises were in store, I wondered.
    The Rule of Three...."I believe the stress must have overpowered his sanity,".... there's a lot of loss of sanity I'm thinking.
    Pumpkin....a twist on assisted fertilization of sorts. Will the mother be surprised!
    As horror stories go, a lot of them deal with death occurring in a most untimely and often grotesque manner. In Mint Condition 2013 is much the same, leaving not a lot to the imagination but not so graphic as to upset. Mature language and situations along with the content make this a book not for the faint of heart or sensitive readers. Think Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. Get your horror on! What was I thinking as a teen, I shake my head and wonder now. Wow.
    In Mint Condition 2013 is the premier publication for a new publisher, Ambannon Books. The sixteen short stories and poems were written by members of TheDarkTower.org, a Stephen King fan site on the internet. Copies of the book are available through the publisher at www.AmbannonBooks.com.


    THOMAS F. MONTELEONE (tfmbp@borderlandspress.com)
    “It’s hard to find writers who have the vision to go beyond the usual tired tropes, but Mint Condition: 2013 succeeds where so many others have not.”
    Thomas F. Monteleone, co-editor of the Borderlands anthology series

    INSOMNIA (stephenking.com.ar) - Ariel Bosi? - Translated from Spanish
    As features editor John Shannon in the introduction to this anthology, In Mint Condition 2013 arises from an invitation extended to TheDarkTower.org forum participants. They are called to submit poems and stories, and then select the best and publish them in book form. Thus is born In Mint Condition 2013, title meaning "in perfect condition", a collection of 13 short stories and 3 poems that, despite having been written by amateur writers, known for the quality and originality of most of them . Unpretentious but very well told stories, it is a great anthology, highly recommended for fans of horror, fantasy and science fiction

    We must highlight the great work of the editor , John Shannon , not only for the wide range of stories and poems, but for the excellent introduction which details the entire process of creating the book and appendices where detailed biographical data on each author and their autographs.Another point to note is the inclusion of the excellent illustrations accompanying each story. They were made by renowned artists such as Erik Wilson , Jill Bauman , Vincent Chong, David Boehmke , Les Edwards, Glenn Chadbourne , etc. . A treat .Before reviewing briefly ( and without giving many clues ) the stories that make up the book, it should be mentioned that none of the authors, all of whom are fans of Stephen King , has chosen the easy way to tell stories set in the universe of the author Maine . Just find any reference as a tribute . And that is welcome , writers presented have shown their art being original . And beyond some minor errors in the telling , the result has been more than positive.
    Now , let's see what they are about 13 stories that comprise the book :The Recepcionist (Bob Ireland) : Great story kicks off 2013 In Mint Condition . A young man is hired by a prestigious technology company and his first day of work starts . An attractive young secretary , a huge building and the feeling of belonging to a privileged elite are the ingredients of a story that will become claustrophobic and distressing as they move the pages.The Train Graveyard ( Ariel Bosi ) : Something that makes us proud . An account of our deputy editor Ariel Bosi was selected for this anthology . And many stand out as one of the highest points . No doubt it is. A story of two brothers told through time, with nostalgia , sadness and some terror. It is, in a way, also a tribute to some melancholy stories that Stephen King has given us , such as Stand By Me or The Last Rung on the Ladder .Seagrass Encounter ( David Swearingen ) : In an expedition of underwater exploration , a young man will find a barracuda. And from there , the tension grows in each paragraph. Another great story, where the atmosphere and ecological background that leaves us thinking stands .A Place on Pine Island ( Matthew Biddle) : A new home can be the beginning of a happy stage in life ... or arrival at a place where they made ​​the most absurd happen like that the protagonist of this story and your child occurs . Tip: If you always do what the locals say , especially in Pine Island.
    Pumpkin ( Krystle - Dwan M. Willing ) : A dark and disturbing story is that we are told in this story . All the details and sensations that are transmitted pregnancy masterfully narrated in the first person . Congratulations to the author .Excelsior (Jean Melkovsky ) : Maybe we're the only story to the anthology departs from more traditional horror to immerse themselves in fantasy. Much imagination and impossible to predict the end . Excellent .My First Book ( Jeannine Bulsara ) : Another of the highlights of the book. A child abuse story " narrated " and " drawn" as if he made ​​a niñaen a notebook. It leaves us uncomfortable , thinking and reflecting on an issue that transcends the most perverse of fiction to become an everyday reality . More original, impossible.The Rule of Three ( Thomas Cranham ) : The narrator of this story is dedicated to following in the shadows , a group of three friends, their nightly revels and his encounters with a mysterious girl . Notable development and unexpected end when the terror converge and a touch of dark fantasy .

    You're The Best (Tim Martin): A good story with appropriate pace , but somewhat predictable. Anyway, to be concise and make great use of language can be read very well.Tabula Rasa (Hannah O'Connor) : Perhaps the weakest story of the anthology . Not because it is badly written or not wake interest , but because few pages trying to concentrate on so many issues , which would add to a long novel . Cloning, genetic experiments , secret government agencies , kidnappings and a psychopathic religious fanatic is too much for a story that loses his way and leaves us an open ending . Shame .Right to Life ( Mike Ziniti ) : Maybe the closest to science - fiction story 2013 In Mint Condition . Paradoxically, complex and thoughtful, requires a second reading for a closer look .On Monday , I Ate My Cat ( Jerome Smith) : A bit of black humor in this fiction half way between a story and a poem , in which the narrator literally does what the title says . Not for all tastes.Marvin 's Retirement (Ralph Mulleins ) : A great end to the anthology, with several illustrations of the great Glenn Chadbourne to give life to the story of Marvin , a character that is the mascot of the leading website Lilja 's Library , specializing in Stephen King and his work. A (but terrifying ) charming story for all who love libraries and rare books .In the book we also find the following poems : Mr. Scratch 's Murder Circus ( Jeremy Gooch ) , Brother ( Ryan Wood) and Darkness Rising ( Gabriel Ayala) . All three are very good, dark and full of visual imagery. A perfect finishing touch , along with artwork for a great book.In Mint Condition 2013 is an anthology by fans of the genres that we love , where the effort and dedication of everyone involved in the project to provide the best possible result shows. And they have succeeded.If you dare to read English and have the opportunity to acquire this book , make no mistake : they will enjoy great stories and a book " in perfect condition ""


    Kealan Patrick Burke (elderlemon2010@aol.com)
    "The only thing better than a superb collection of spinechilling stories, is a superb collection of spinechilling stories accompanied by equally unsettling illustrations, and in that regard, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better example than IN MINT CONDITION: 2013. In reading it, I have discovered writers and artists previously unknown to me who are now very high on my radar, and they should be just as high on yours."
    --Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker Award-Winning author of THE TURTLE BOY, and KIN.

    George White (TheDarkTower.org)
    “Finished most of the rest of the book this weekend, only have "Marvin's Retireemnt" to go. So:
    Brother: I thought I knew what this was going to be about based on the art (Grim Reaper in boat), but it wasn't ... I don't think. Maybe it was, I'm not sure. I don't undestand why the timeline wasn't sequential with his age as he grew up rather than being mixed up; I think that would have made more sense/read better sequentially as he grew to love and admire hs brother more and more. What I really think is missing is the ending, the goodbye, the final thank-you and homage, as I assume (based on the art) that the older brother died. It's as if there's a page, or at least a paragraph, missing.
    A Place on Pine Island: I liked this one, the only suggestion I would have made was to write the story in the first person vs the third person ... it was a little distracting reading "He" all the time.
    Pumpkin: Great story. I thought it odd that you ended up with two pregnancy stories with an Owen in them in the same short-story collection, though.
    Excelsior: Tried to read it a second time, no go. It's all the religious terms, turned me off completely right from the beginning.
    The Rule of Three: I've read Tom's stories before, so I knew what to expect as far as writing style and brit terminology. It took a bit at the beginning to understand that the story was being told from the POV of the Grim Reaper, and the storyline was a bit jumbled while trying to introduce that idea in the beginning bar scenes; I had to go back and reread a little. Other than that it really wasn't bad at all. Tom usually has a problem with run-ons and punctuation, glad to see you caught and corrected all of that (good editorial job). I liked the idea of an Angel of Death who cares, that was different.
    You're the Best: The art gave this one away, I knew the reveal as soon as I started reading so it was just a matter of getting there.
    Darkness Rising: As previously stated, I'm not a poetry guy so ....
    Tabula Rassa: Odd story. I wanted to know more about what exactly the visions by Aunt Viv were and how they related to either the group that was running the experiements (or if they did at all) or her. I didn't understand how that tied everything together. I thought for awhile that it was as setup ... the whole medivac thing happening near that house was planned, but it wasn't. I was looking for a greater tie-in between Hitler and something to bring it all together, but it never happened. At the end, when she came out of the closet I was thinking, "Take the gun and shoot him while he's asleep?" rather than just running and risk getting caught (like in all teh slasher movies), and then I was really expecting her to have the baby right there on the bedroom floor, look over at his dead body, and see him wearing a Star of David necklace or something like that. Which of course would have made her realize she was carrying Hitler's clone and tied the whole backstory together.
    Right to Life: I've read similiar stories/seen this movie before; I had a "Logan's Run" flashback. There was also another movie not that long ago called "The Island" with Ewan McGregor; not quite the same, but same idea, and I also a Doctor Who episode.
    On Monday I Ate My Cat: Loved it, great short story.
    Marvin's Retirement: While the storyline was predictable, it was well written. I really liked Glenn's artwork spaced throughout, it was spot-on as far as relation to the plot as it moved along and complemented it nicely; it was like reading an old horror comic book.”


    Horror World (horrorworld.org) - TT Zuma (ttzuma@comcast.net)
    “In Mint Condition is a dark fiction anthology published with contributions from the members of the Stephen King website, TheDarkTower.org. There are thirteen short stories, three poems, and sixteen pieces of artwork to accompany the fiction between its 4” x 6 ¾” covers (small enough to slip into your back pocket, a rarity for horror anthologies these days). With the exception of a few of the artists, I wasn’t familiar with the names of any of the contributors. There is no apparent theme to the anthology, the back cover stating only that the major criterion for acceptance was that the stories be “the best of the best”. Judging from the introduction, its content, and the end notes, everyone involved gave their all to make this the “best of the best”, and it appears like they had a lot of fun putting this little book together.
    Like most anthologies, there is good and bad in, In Mint Condition, and if readers are prepared to overlook some of the misfiring, there is enough good to make, In Mint Condition an enjoyable read.
    My biggest problem with the anthology is the lack of editing. The introduction states that the majority of the editing duties were left to the contributors, that might not have been the wisest move. Many of these tales went on far too long and, as a result, their narratives became repetitive. There were also many instances of words repeated too often in the story (or even in the same paragraph) taking the reader out of the tale. Finally, while only a few readers might find this problematic, I thought there were way too many first person stories. In more skillful hands this might not have bothered me so much, but many of those narratives seemed to drone on and on, diluting any frights they might have built up.
    On the positive side, I thought the majority of these stories were enjoyable. While not all of them held up, the ones that did managed to provoke enough excitement to keep me more than attentive to the end. Highlights are listed below:
    The Receptionist by Bob Ireland: A chilling tale of a man who accepts a new job, only to discover that it requires much more of him than he could have dreamed.
    The Train Graveyard by Ariel Bosi: A coming of age story focusing on the story of two brothers, and how their reaction to bullying changed their lives.
    Seagrass Encounter by David Swearingen: A man versus Barracuda story with an ending I didn’t expect.
    The Rule of Three by Thomas Cranham: A uniquely plotted story about Death observing a young man and his two buddies as they encounter an evil wearing a short skirt and possessing a high libido. (This was my favorite tale in the anthology).
    Tabula Rasa by Hannah O’Conner: This story concerns a pregnant young woman who carries the clone of a man who is evil personified, and her desperate attempt to escape the scientist who keep her captive.
    Special mention also goes out to Jeannine Bulsara whose decidedly different presentation of her story about child sexual abuse not only got my attention, but left me feeling chilled.
    It seems lately that there is a glut of horror anthologies in the market. In Mint Condition tries very hard to distinguish itself from that pack with stories that are diverse, stimulating and enjoyable. While it doesn’t hit these goals all the time, it does do the job with the majority of them, and that’s remarkable considering that many of these writers appear to be novices.”


    Everyday Goddess (http://www.everydaygoddess.typepad.com/) - Liz (lizriz217@earthlink.net)
    FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS: “A delightfully dark collection of stories and artwork in a lovely little paperback. I tore through them and enjoyed the collection very much.”

    Liz is on page 59 of 345: “Really enjoying this beautiful little book of stories and art.”


    Books R Us (booksrusonline.com) - Eileen Burmester (info@booksrusonline.com)
    “When I received the book, I was intrigued by the cover as well as all of the artwork included. The book includes a collection of poems, short stories and nonfiction from talented authors that I really enjoyed. All of the material in the book was well written, fascinating, and included material that was horrifying, as well as inspirational. My favorite was "The Receptionist" by Bob Ireland because it was so creepy,and the ending was unexpected. So if you like short stories and poems this is the book for you. But I have to warn you that one of the stories included some profanity and the storyline was extremely dark and evil.”

    Spooklights (spooklights.blogspot.com) - M. Pepper Langlinais (visitors@pepperwords.com)
    “I am not familiar with TheDarkTower.org, had never heard of it until I was asked to review this anthology. If I'm understanding the introduction correctly, the stories in this book are culled from members of this online community that is devoted to Stephen King. I haven't bothered to go look at TheDarkTower.org or anything; I feel like books and stories should stand on their own and not have to lean on some pre-existing institution (unless, of course, it's a sequel or a parody or something).
    Okay, so . . . This little paperback (and I believe there is also a hardbound version) is the first foray into publishing by Ambannon Books. Or maybe they created the publisher solely to begin this line of anthologies? Unclear, but having worked in publishing for a decade before deciding to focus on my own writing—and I don't want to be mean or anything, just trying to give some advice here—invest in some people who can edit and proofread.I CANNOT emphasize that enough.There is nothing more distracting than trying to hack one's way through a story only to be stopped short repeatedly by bad editing and proofreading. And this anthology is rife with those kinds of problems. Basic things like italicizing the titles of books and knowing it should be "iPad" not "IPAD." Spacing issues, problems with where lines break. Please, please, please. If you want to be taken seriously as a publisher, you absolutely must be on top of these things.Also, this book has no ISBN? Again, a publisher should be putting ISBNs on its books. I don't understand why this one doesn't have one.As for the stories, I found many of them a tad clunky, particularly in terms of dialogue. Dialogue is, they say, one of the most difficult things to get right, and it's important to give every character a distinct voice. In most cases, I did not find that in these stories. Instead it seemed most of the writers were striving for a particular tone and the tales themselves suffered for having been stuffed into that predetermined style. The endings in many came off as predictable and forced rather than surprising.And then some of them just didn't make sense. In "The Receptionist," I couldn't understand why the main character was talking to the VP instead of HR about accepting a new job. And then the main character goes on to spill a ton of exposition into the VP's ear, stuff about his girlfriend being away on a mission trip to Ecuador. Even the title here doesn't play, since the receptionist is a fringe figure who only pops up at the end in an attempt to lace the tale with a trumped-up sense of terror that isn't there. Anyone with any sense sees from the start where the story is headed.While reading, I was often left to wonder at the details various authors chose to include . . . And exclude. "A Place on Pine Island" features a dog named Molly. We get no description of this dog, don't learn how the main character comes to adopt her (except being told it was a grudging attempt to irritate his ex who had refused to have children). A long, drawn-out story about the relationship with the ex, mind, but almost nothing about the dog. And then a last ditch effort to save the story by letting us know the main character met a girl at a bookstore and had three daughters. What? (And really, this story probably would have been better if told from the first person.)I think it's important for novice writers to remember they have to take the picture in their minds and put it in the minds of the readers. I had this problem when I started out, too. I'm a dialogue person and I have to really work at description. I have to actively ask myself, "Okay, what am I seeing? How can I make them see it too?" Maybe that's why these stories felt somewhat immature to me; they all seemed undercooked, kind of like the stuff I wrote years ago (and am glad never got published, though at the time I would have given anything to be featured in an anthology).As with any anthology, some of the stories are better than others. In fact, they seem to get better as you go along through the book. "Pumpkin" and "Excelsior" and "The Rule of Three" do better with tone and dialogue than some of the others. "On Monday I Ate My Cat" is appropriately horrific with just the right kind of details. I don't know how the editors decided what order to put things in, but you generally want to start and end strong. Else readers are likely to give up before getting to the good stuff. I nearly did.The artwork is as equally varied as the stories, but that's largely a matter of personal taste. So are stories, one could argue, though there are more technical merits to writing than drawing. I mean, a bad plot is a bad plot, and clunky dialogue is clunky dialogue, but who's to say what makes "good art"?I'd say on the whole the anthology shows potential, some of it having been lost in that editing/proofreading process. I know Ambannon is planning another for next year, and I'm hoping they'll take my advice in the spirit it is intended and up their game a bit. There's nothing shameful in telling an author, "We like this idea but there are some problems." A good writer knows how to take constructive criticism; bad ones often think they are infallible and their words should be untouchable. If an editor gets pushback from one of those kind, s/he should take it as a cue that the author is someone s/he probably doesn't want to work with anyway. Thank them for their submission and give a more worthy writer a shot.”


    The Musings Of A Book Addict (themusingsofabookaddict.com) - Sandra Stiles (skstiles612@yahoo.com)
    FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS “I was contacted by email and asked if I would be willing to read and review an anthology. I happen to like anthologies so I had no problem saying yes. This book is definitely different from most books. The book is full of poetry and short stories that lean to the dark side of literature. I enjoyed each story, some more than others. One of my favorites was "A Place in Pine Island". This was the story of a man's run in with an alligator. "Mr. Scratch's Murder Circus was a poem that reminded me of the freak side-shows at carnivals. A lot of them dealt with the topic of death. Call me a morbid person if you want but I enjoy reading things like this. Each author was chosen from several people who had submitted their stories or poems. After choosing the stories to be placed in the book, artists were found to illustrate each entry. The book is full of both talented writers and artists.You can find out more here. The stories are so good that I read the entire book in a couple of hours. I just couldn't put it down. I will tell you the stories are for the more mature reader and there is some graphic language. I would definitely read another anthology written any of these sixteen authors.”

    Jean Melkovsky (TheDarkTower.org)
    “Mr.Scratch's Murder Circus, by Jeremy Gooch: The man whose poem opens the collection is very well known around here. I personally consider him one of our three best poets (the other two being Frunobulax, who has been absent for so long there's hardly any hope for his return, and Jon, who, as I dearly hope, has submitted something for IMC 2014), and our first Poet of the Month.
    I know there are people around who are better at literary criticism than me, and I hope they will post soon; I'll only say a few words.
    The poem is captivating and rich in imagery, cruelly apt in its painting a world where nobody is innocent. The "discordant harmony" reigns between the "wicked" and "ghouls" on the outside, and "the damned and cursed" inside: everybody wins the same lot where souls are readliy traded, and no-one escapes.
    The same "discordant harmony" is shaping the stanzas: Jeremy chose to rhyme only the even lines (while I know very well he can rhyme everything he wants, inside out and upside down, thus his technical skill allows him to chose exactly how and what he wants to rhyme) and the flow of the verse acquires the very degree of discordancy that allows it to stay within harmony; likewise, he associates incompatible things, which brings everything together into a deliciously disturbing whole.”

    “The Receptionist, by Bob Ireland: I am very happy that this story is the first in our book, for a number of reasons. The first is, of course, that the story is excellent; another, maybe more important, is that it is emphatically traditional. It is written in the good old style of classic horror stories, old-fashioned in the best sense of the word. It starts at the beginning, gives the premise and the background of the main character, develops and ends to the reader’s total satisfaction.
    The background I mentioned might seem excessive, but it is not. We need to be lulled into this sense of normalcy, with a perfect main character nothing special should be expected of. This part is very subtle because it, simultaneously, is pleasantly archaic in its straightforwardness; gives some false cues; and, finally, gives the main character a story that is just so out of the ordinary (i.e. the girlfriend’s history) that its ordinarity doesn’t sound overdone, doesn’t feel like it’s there on purpose, in order to further oppose it to some future extraordinary events. And, on the other hand, there’s a dose of that, too: the only other characters whose names we hear are Mr.Jones and Mr.Smith!
    Then, when the extraordinary happens, it’s just of the creepy, every-day-life kind that lets us totally relate to the character and his tribulations. It starts as almost comic, something we’ve all been through at some time or other; and then escalates.
    I loved the writing too. The narrative itself is perfectly natural, and abounds in such gems as:
    “Half the pond was covered with a flotilla of lily pads with spikes of miniature white flowers peering up like those in¬sects with eyes on their antennae.”
    “She told Dick he would be working out of the South Pod, the one to the left. Dick wasn’t sure if she meant her left or his left.”
    “a panoramic view of the Complex and the other buildi— er … Pods”
    the only other person we really meet has no last name at all. She is referred to either as the receptionist, or Sally, How May I Help You (what her badge reads).
    Altogether, the story is amazing. I am also happy that our first official reviewer said that it was her favorite in the book:
    (books r us link)
    Congratulations, Bob!”

    “The Train Graveyard: I apologize in advance if I am miles off from what the author intended. The below is my view that may be very different from that of the others, because I am going to speak from within a very different cultural context.The Train Graveyard is easily one of the most depressing stories I’ve read in years. The worst about it is that it’s written very well, totally achieving what King called “a hole in the page”: I, a 49-old bear who’s never lived in a small American town, read it in a big old Russian city in the middle of winter, and felt as if that American small-town teenagers’ summer, with its smells and tastes and texture, was right around me.The more horrifying the story was.I’ll spoilerize the rest of the review, because I am going to talk about the content, not the form.
    So, here are those boys… the definition of good boys. Like all kids in post-war American literature (with the exception of those written by Sai King), they sound to me about three years younger than they are: respectively 12 and 9, and I would have given them 9 and 6; but, then again, they are good boys. The kind who never swear or bully, or (God forbid) smoke, are afraid of spiders and terrified of rats, say things like “Mom will be angry at me,” who don’t sound like they’ve ever fought, who can’t get a scratch unless their mother panics and “screams bloody murder”… The protagonist talks to his peers in words like “I’m sorry” and “I’d gladly”and as many “thanks” as if he was talking to his elderly aunts, using impeccably full sentences; and his younger brother starts crying “immediately” - as soon as he is hit.These boys have always been protected, sheltered from everything that might hurt. The elder is as protective towards his brother as the kind, sympathetic world has always been to him (among many examples, he feels uncomfortable when his little brother not only sees pictures of nude women, but hears of them).No wonder the protagonist clings so desperately to the only part of his life he can call his own. It’s a need to have something in his life where he is free, a piece of universe that would be only his, and shared only with those he chooses himself.And then other boys, less relentlessly good, come and want a piece of his would-be paradize. And the brothers have never really been confronted, never met with any adversity, and when they finally do, it immediately grows out of all proportion (only experience can teach to measure the scale of things, and they have had none), like their whole world is going to crash around them, and they react accordingly. The boys who’ve never learned to stand up to anybody or anything can only give inadequate response. They never learned to play it rough, so they play it mean.The revenge of the weak is always terrible. You can’t learn to fight fair if you’ve never learned to fight at all. Very sad story.”


    Jeremy Gooch (TheDarkTower.org)
    “[Jean Melkovsky’s] piece was my favorite of the book. Once others have had the time to get through it, I will expand on my reasons and ideas about it. For now, I will say that your story seemed to marry the themes of 1984 and A Brave New World within a story thar harkens back to Shirley Jackson's The Lottery. That said, the denouement was both a perfect resolution, and completely unexpected. In short, it was the perfect ending. The reader is provided with enough information to completely understand the climax, yet deprived of just enough to want to immediately read it again with foreknowledge of the ending.”

    Elissa Redmond (TheDarkTower.org)
    “Finished the book the other day.Kudos to Shannon et el for pulling this off. I think everyone did a really good job - I was entertained, intrigued, and creeped out. And even laughed a few times. Some of the artwork was spectacular. I want the original artwork of "The Rule of Three" WowI especially like Pumpkin - The story was unique and very well written. The artwork perfectly conveyed the same emotions I felt while reading the story.A few others stand out as also very well written - "Seagrass Encounter," "Right to Life" and "A Place on Pine Island" in particular. And a few others stand out as being very original and unique - "Excelsior!" and "On Monday I Ate My Cat..." to name a few. Loved Terrys Bio and Jeromes acknowledgement - very funnyI also thought the layout - the order in which the poems, stories and artwork appear - was spot on. Flowed very nicely. BUT I didnt like the bios and acks being in the back of the book. Lot of page flipping. Maybe next time the bio should be either before or after the story / poem.Thats my off the cuff "critique" but I think everyone involved deserves a pat on the back. Even though I found some stories better than others I was entertained by ALL of them and really enjoyed the book.”

    Hannah O’Connor (TheDarkTower.org)
    “I've read Mr. Scratch's Murder Circus (I don't have the book with me right now, so apologies if I have the title slightly off), The Receptionist, and Train Graveyard so far. I liked them all. I thought there was maybe just a little bit too much back story with the receptionist, but loved the ending and the concept. Once I read Jean's review about how the backstory overload was necessary to lull the reader into a sense of false security, it didn't bother me anymore. I really liked Train Graveyard. It was sad and poignant - and really captured that "coming of age" moment. Well done, Ari.”

    Heather Armata (TheDarkTower.org)
    Finished the book earlier today. Great little collection. There were a few standout stories for me. Tabula Rasa - My absolute favorite in the collection. I loved how it just plopped you right down in the middle of things. It starts off with action and just sends you a ride with the main character, going from a bad situation to a worse one. You start to fight for her to win, only to be thrown a curve ball and maybe you hesitate on your decision. In the end I was still routing for her. And I am dying to know what happens next. The Receptionist - It almost reminded me of an episode of the Twilight Zone. You think it's going in one direction only to take a twist and go off somewhere you never thought of. Really enjoyed it. The Train Graveyard - It had that summer childhood loss of innocence feel to it, which I love. Brothers - Honestly I'm not a huge fan of poems, but this one really struck a cord with me.

    David Swearingen (TheDarkTower.org)
    “I finished the entire anthology this week. A very good collection! I'm a little OCD when it comes to collecting and reading, and I read a LOT of anthologies (horror, sci-fi, speculative, pulp/weird) and to keep track of everything I use a spreadsheet for anthologies and short stories. Author/editor, title, main characters, plot summary, and of course a star rating from 1 to 4. It's a pretty massive spreadsheet, but it helps me keep track of what I've read and what I've liked, loved, or hated.Of the 15 stories/poems I rated in In Mint Condition, I tagged 5 with 4 stars and 5 with 3 stars. That's pretty damn good for any anthology!My comments on the "4 star" stories are below. I don't want to ruffle any feathers so I'm not going to specify any of the others (except for one 3-star story that just must be commented on.) Sure, a few of the pieces did nothing for me, but all that is subjective and what I didn't care for might be someone else's favorite.So, here goes, in order of appearance. My "best of the best" as it were.The Train Graveyard: Stories about childhood and loss of innocence always strike a nerve with me. King does this well of course (The Body, It, "The Last Rung on the Ladder," etc.). I don't have a brother close in age but I do have a sister who is 2 years younger than me and I was always protective of her. This was a very affecting story. The last line was the clincher, but even without that it would be a 4 star story. Thanks, Ari.Excelsior!: Hmmm. There's not too much I can say without spoiling it for those who have not read it. Let's just say that the subject matter is one that is near and dear to my heart, and the reveal caught me off guard. The story really made me smile. I read it like three times in a row just to get the warm fuzzies and to relish in the craft of the writing. A gem of a tale nestled in amongst the horror or more disturbing stories. A breath of fresh air. Great job, Jean. My First Book. Such a simple little story but it packs a wollop. The horror is hinted at, edged up to sideways by the author, but not blasted in your face. The nuance is what really makes this story work. The last line says oh so much without really saying anything explicit. The reader is left to his/her own conjecture of exactly what this little girl's home life is, and it is powerful. Excellent job of writing something with depth, using just a child's limited perspective and grasp of language. Kudos, Jeannine.The Rule of Three. Most of the stories in the book focus on just one person (mine included). Nothing wrong with that of course, sometimes a short story can only handle one main character. Here, the author fleshes out no less than 5. Sure, we're not talking about novel-level characterization, but you've got the three mates, the girl, and the narrator who is a character as well. These did not feel like cardboard characters and the plot was interesting. I did have a couple of quibbles but I was so impressed with the author's ability to make this story work (and keep me interested!) that 4 stars it is. Way to go Thomas.On Monday, I ate my cat. I believe this one has been mentioned by quite a few others, and I can see why. It's just so unnervingly weird (and funny!) that it was a joy to read. Very clever, Jerome.Ok, the one that didn't quite make the 4-star cut that I want to comment on is Tabula Rasa. I liked it a lot. But what I'm hoping is that the author is somehow planning on continuing the story as a novel. The story is a perfect case of "right in the middle" as in I want to know more! I want to know the backstory of the experiment, and more about the Agent and the doctor, and the protagonist. And I certainly want to know "what happens next"! What about the baby? Was the farmhouse guy's vision accurate? Stuff like that. Any author who can leave me wanting more has done a very good job. Give me more, Hannah!
    I think it best to stop there. If I didn't mention your story that didn't mean I didn't like it. There were other very good ones in there.”

  10. #110
    Honky Mahfah Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing has much to be proud of Ari_Racing's Avatar

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    No, the review in INSOMNIA MAG. isn't mine. I'd never review my own story...
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  11. #111
    Servant of Gan Robert Fulman is a splendid one to behold Robert Fulman is a splendid one to behold Robert Fulman is a splendid one to behold Robert Fulman is a splendid one to behold Robert Fulman is a splendid one to behold Robert Fulman is a splendid one to behold Robert Fulman is a splendid one to behold

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon View Post
    INSOMNIA (stephenking.com.ar) - Ariel Bosi? - Translated from Spanish
    Right to Life ( Mike Ziniti ) : Maybe the closest to science - fiction story 2013 In Mint Condition . Paradoxically, complex and thoughtful, requires a second reading for a closer look .
    Good enough for me. I tried to make the story "paradoxically complex". On the one hand, I wrote it as a metphor. On the other hand, at one point in the story the main character literally presses a button labeled "Meta-4".

  12. #112
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    The one I thought was funny is the person who didn't like (or even read, if I interpret it correctly) Excelsior! b/c he thought it was too religious.

    Talk about missing the boat!

  13. #113
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    If they didnt get to the end, they don't deserve such a fantastic denouement.
    Sloth Love Chunk

  14. #114
    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by divemaster View Post
    The one I thought was funny is the person who didn't like (or even read, if I interpret it correctly) Excelsior! b/c he thought it was too religious.

    Talk about missing the boat!
    Quote Originally Posted by BROWNINGS CHILDE View Post
    If they didnt get to the end, they don't deserve such a fantastic denouement.
    thank you my dear friends!!! I too laughed at that, but couldn't help feeling a little sorry that I went too heavy on the "religious" staff at the beginning, maybe it really seemed too dry and put the impatient readers off

    Shannon: thanks a lot for the compendium! when I said "regrettably little", I mainly meant our own opinions and impressions, here. I still hope for more reviews from within this community!

    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
    When one is in agreement with bears one is always correct. (mae)

    bears are back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. #115
    The Decoy Hannah has a spectacular aura about Hannah has a spectacular aura about Hannah has a spectacular aura about Hannah's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean View Post
    As Dave pointed out, it reads like an excerpt from a novel rather than a story, and I will speak of it as such.

    I loved that piece immensely, and now as time has passed, I remember it with a fond, warm feeling. It's very much like a Hitchcock film: many things happen, all of them horrible, just horrible! happen to a pregnant woman, no less! - but you know that everything is going to be all right. There's no existential horror lurking behind, there's a cozy story of a gingerbread man (woman in this case) who is escaping one trap after another, and is the winner by definition.

    Even her moral dilemma is not a dilemma at all. She knows what she will do about it. She knows what choice she will make. It is not a story of a choice to take, anyway - it's a story of a protagonist who will make it. It's a classic, in its wholesomeness and optimism that shines through every line. There's a situation in the middle that belongs to worst imaginable ones in human existence

    Spoiler:
    when the protagonist seems to find refuge only to discover that she is in even worse danger, if possible


    but even then she doesn't lose heart. We root for her unconditionally, as we should. We love her and we want her to win. And she won't disappoint us.

    I don't know, maybe in the novel it will be different. Given the preposterous main premise, I am aftaid the protagonist doesn't know the whole truth - what she does know sounds cheap, and I expect some bigger revelations to appear in the novel. Maybe that puerile, blockbusterly, tabloidish explanation was only what she was allowed to "know". Maybe all of it, including her amazingly easy escapes, is only parts of plan that is really sinister and complex. Anyway. I love thinking about what there might be, how it might all turn out, what is the truth behind the myth cleverly fed to the woman... In a word, I love thinking about Tabula Rasa. It's so entertaining, and so overall satisfying; it's so good.

    I loved the was it was written, too. "Baby-man" immediately endeared both mother and the baby to me, who isn't especially fond of babies.

    The road seemed to wrap me in its arms like an old aunt I hadn’t seen in years”.

    The heat felt like an oven, and I was an overdone meatloaf”.

    A dark blur appeared on the road up ahead, one that was promisingly house-shaped.”

    Was he just crazy, or was I just refusing to see what was right in front of me?

    Also, the action is depicted with clarity that reminds of Crichton – the only author who didn’t annoy me while describing who ran where, seized and tied what around what. Normally, I only look through such parts, they are so hard for me (who has no inner eye) to follow and usually so irrelevant in their details that I skip most of them. Here, however, I can easily follow all actions, never losing interest. It is, really, as if I was there; no shit. Everything is clearly seen, heard and felt.

    I so wish the novel would come soon! But even if it doesn't, thank you for this story!
    Thank you! Thank you! What wonderful feedback and a great critique. I love that you've caught on to how ridiculous the main premise was and called me out on it. It WAS ridiculous! My writing tends to be very much not horror, and I wanted to write something horrific and kind of sad. And I kind of went into the territory of tabloid. And i loved writing it. it was so fun.

    I like that the action sequences were not difficult for you, Jean, because I HATE writing action stuff. I just want to skip over all of that to the talking and the character's inner thoughts and such. So I am glad that something I strongly dislike writing didn't come off as badly written.

    As for a novel idea, the idea I had would be centered on the adult baby-man. So, if I ever do get off my ass and write it I will post in here!
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  16. #116
    Don't. Get. Married. Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon's Avatar

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    So, I had a Lettered Omnibus Edition planned that would have combined IMC 2013, 2014, and 2015 into one huge leatherbound book, signed by all of the contributors. Included in the traycase/display case/shelf would have included a oversized artwork portfolio produced by Artisan State:

    https://www.artisanstate.com/

    as well as "reading copies" of the three books, in hardcover. Now, that being said ...

    I have 52 copies of the hardcover edition of In Mint Condition: 2013 sitting boxed up in the corner of my bedroom. What the hell should I do with them?

  17. #117
    Demon of the Prim stkmw02 is a splendid one to behold stkmw02 is a splendid one to behold stkmw02 is a splendid one to behold stkmw02 is a splendid one to behold stkmw02 is a splendid one to behold stkmw02 is a splendid one to behold stkmw02 is a splendid one to behold

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    I selfishly ask that you keep them and consider future editions of IMC... obviously a 2014 is out of the question, but is it terrible of me to think that perhaps another edition will happen? OR even a "2014" printed in another year? ORR perhaps a different subtitle all together to remove the time sensitivity of the title? ORRR let me be your business partner to complete it??

    Again. Selfishly.

  18. #118
    Rabid Billybumbler Cook has a brilliant future Cook has a brilliant future Cook has a brilliant future Cook has a brilliant future Cook has a brilliant future Cook has a brilliant future Cook has a brilliant future Cook has a brilliant future Cook has a brilliant future Cook has a brilliant future Cook has a brilliant future Cook's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon View Post

    I have 52 copies of the hardcover edition of In Mint Condition: 2013 sitting boxed up in the corner of my bedroom. What the hell should I do with them?

    Hmm..... Sell them auction style on eBay with a plug for DT.org


    “The battle between good and evil is endlessly fascinating because we are participants every day.” - Stephen King

  19. #119
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    Every time I read the stuff in this thread I get inspired for a few minutes about possibility of writing my own short stories... then I remember I suck at writing.

    But at least I can live vicariously through you guys! ...
    The World Is Yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Girlystevedave View Post
    I'm just nodding my head the whole time thinking "ok, stop now, please."

  20. #120
    California Dreamin' Ricky has a brilliant future Ricky has a brilliant future Ricky has a brilliant future Ricky has a brilliant future Ricky has a brilliant future Ricky has a brilliant future Ricky has a brilliant future Ricky has a brilliant future Ricky has a brilliant future Ricky has a brilliant future Ricky has a brilliant future Ricky's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by fernandito View Post
    Every time I read the stuff in this thread I get inspired for a few minutes about possibility of writing my own short stories... then I remember I suck at writing.
    Practice, practice, practice!

    YOU'RE GONNA WRITE AND YOU'RE GONNA LIKE IT.
    "Young girls are coming to the canyon / And in the mornings I can see them walking."

  21. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by stkmw02 View Post
    I selfishly ask that you keep them and consider future editions of IMC... obviously a 2014 is out of the question, but is it terrible of me to think that perhaps another edition will happen? OR even a "2014" printed in another year? ORR perhaps a different subtitle all together to remove the time sensitivity of the title? ORRR let me be your business partner to complete it??

    Again. Selfishly.
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  22. #122
    Millionth Post Club divemaster has much to be proud of divemaster has much to be proud of divemaster has much to be proud of divemaster has much to be proud of divemaster has much to be proud of divemaster has much to be proud of divemaster has much to be proud of divemaster has much to be proud of divemaster has much to be proud of divemaster's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon View Post
    So, I had a Lettered Omnibus Edition planned that would have combined IMC 2013, 2014, and 2015 into one huge leatherbound book, signed by all of the contributors. Included in the traycase/display case/shelf would have included a oversized artwork portfolio produced by Artisan State:

    https://www.artisanstate.com/

    as well as "reading copies" of the three books, in hardcover. Now, that being said ...

    I have 52 copies of the hardcover edition of In Mint Condition: 2013 sitting boxed up in the corner of my bedroom. What the hell should I do with them?
    I'm not sure about the hardcover edition, but I've e-mailed you twice b/c I'm interested in buying additional copies of the paperback if you have any overstock. Have not received a response. I realize you have a lot going on, so if you want to sell some more of your books, please e-mail me. I might be persuaded to purchase a hardback.

  23. #123
    Don't. Get. Married. Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon has a reputation beyond repute Shannon's Avatar

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    Firstly, as of right now this second, I'm not publishing anymore books. I loved every single aspect of the process, from the Call for Submissions to seeking out and hand-picking artists, to editing, to designing, to typesetting, to picking out the bindings and sizes and endsheets and colors and paper weights, everything. I loved all of it. But the money just isn't there. Not only did we lose money on IMC2013, but we lost a lot of money. I expected the reviewers to get us word of mouth and sell books. For printing, packaging, and shipping off paperbacks to the reviewers, it cost us about fifteen hundred dollars. You know how many sales we got from reviewers? ZERO. And when I say ZERO, I mean zero. Absolutely zero. I had planned on the second printings of paperbacks selling out, but there was so little interest that we didn't even go to print. If a second printing of paperbacks had sold out, then we would have broke even.

    With IMC2014, I was going to cut out the reviewers all together. Save some money. We only donated $500 (I think) to last year's Haven Foundation Fundraising instead of $1,000 to save even more money. We got Darrell Schweitzer and Tim Lebbon and I was going to push push push their names as best I can. And then, of course, things happened and couldn't produce the book this year, which in turn made a third of the artists and authors and a huge chunk of the customers want to leave.

    Unless you're selling hundreds of books a month and/or you price your books/limited editions/signed editions at a MUCH MUCH MUCH higher percentage than what you're producing them for, it is my experience that publishing is a losing battle. A fun, losing battle, but a losing battle all the same.

    Anyway, onto the question at hand. I can't sell/release them because it's not fair to the people that purchased the hardcovers that had a limitation of 100 numbered copies and so many PE/PC/CC copies. And since I'm not planning on publishing anymore, I can't use them for the Lettered edition setup ... But at the same time, I don't really want the boxes sitting in the corner. And I don't want to burn them or throw them out. Uggghhh!!!

    Hey divey, I haven't used the ambannonbooks email in a while (I posted a note on the main page with my current Yahoo address), is that where you emailed me? I think I still have five or ten or so paperbacks available and a few PC hardcovers. You can email me at sgaisserindiego@yahoo.com

    Thanks!

  24. #124
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    You could make them library editions and donate them to interested libraries.

    BTW are they bound?
    1N73LL1G3NC3 15 7H3 4B1L17Y 70 4D4PT 70 CH4NG3.
    -573PH3N H4WK1NG

  25. #125
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    I have PMed you...

    and the only part I'll reiterate here publicly is that IMC is something too good to let go. I don't believe I'm the only person who feels that way.

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