Brimstone pecking order

Seems that my posting, particularly of late, is causing a bit of confusion.

Before I continue, a disclaimer: I do not speak for Angela. She doesn’t read blogs, doesn’t socialise online, and disdains public commentary. Her stance is if something is important enough, the enquirer will contact her directly.

This blog has always been my independent opinion, and it does not express Angela’s views, nor does it constitute official statements on projects she or I are involved with.

Now, to clarify the Brimstone Press pecking order:

Shadowed Realms
Angela Challis is the publisher and editor. Shadowed Realms is her magazine.

Together, she and I co-founded Shadowed Realms in 2004, although I withdrew from editing after issue 2 (Nov 2004).

I do the graphic design and some of the production/web coding, as well as the majority of the PR work, media releases, etc.

Stories of mine have or will appear in Shadowed Realms, but they have gone through the slushpile and been chosen on merit. I submit under pseudonyms, although I publish under my own name. I do this because I like dark flash fiction and Shadowed Realms is a boutique market for this length and genre. I send longer stories to many other magazines, as can be evidenced by my bibliography.

Angela and I co-edited Shadow Box, although it is my project (i.e. I’m the lead editor). I will be editing the sequel, Black Box, solo next year.

Angela and I co-edited Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror: The Best of 2005. Angela will be editing the series solo from 2006.

Angela and Marty Young are co-editing Macabre: The New Era in Australian Horror. I have nothing to do with the project except for moral support.

Angela is editing Book of Shadows and Fading Twilight solo. Again, I’m moral support.

Angela is also involved in other projects, as I have been (such as Robots & Time with Robert N Stephenson and Tales from the Sunburnt Realm with Nigel Read).

I am the managing editor of HorrorScope, and work with my fellow editors Miranda, Andrew, Matt, Mark, Steph, and AD. Angela has no involvement in HorrorScope.

There is, understandably, a level of support that Angela and I offer each other in all of these projects, but this support does not go to interfering or stepping over decision-making project boundaries. We are two separate individuals with distinctly different ideas and approaches.

Naturally, I will blog and discuss projects that I’m particularly proud of or I find interesting. This does not mean I have any editorial input or control over these projects. I’m merely expressing an opinion.

Having clarified the above…

Whether you’re sceptical or need clarification on any aspect of a project I’m involved in, whether it be one already published or forthcoming, I suggest you contact me at for the answer.

All of the projects mentioned above have, or will, appear. Publishing is a slow business, particularly at the independent press level. Because a project is not name-dropped around the internet does not mean it will not appear. Again, if you would like clarification, Angela or I are happy to answer an email.

Given the amount of no-profit and charity project work Angela and I have done to promote speculative/dark fiction (Shadowed Realms, Shadow Box, HorrorScope) – clear ‘runs on the board’ – I’d ask that you at least pay us the respect of clarifying any concerns you may have directly.

When levelling criticisms, I ask that you look at your own input into the field, your own support of writers and editors, and to the degree you have gone to solve any criticisms, before airing them. If you have made no move to solve any complaints, or address them by contacting Angela or myself, then with all due respect, fuck off – you’re just shit stirring.

In reference to the debate concerning my previous post, from my point of view:

Angela made the decision about not sending ‘printed hard copies’ to overseas Year’s Best editors due to the financial burden. A number of Year’s best editors were notified when Shadowed Realms issues were released (with a link included in the notification). Rightly or wrongly, Angela believed this to be sufficient notice considering that Shadowed Realms is publishing free, easy to read (1000 words or less), well-presented fiction at SFWA/HWA professional rates.

Particularly with clarification from Ellen and Sean, I acknowledge that many Year’s Best editors prefer hard copies and all have different selection procedures. Bill & Michelle read online stories for Year’s Best Australian SF&F. Angela and I did the same with Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror: The Best of 2005 (as well as emailed reprint submissions). Other editors will/do not.

Shadow Box was sent to a couple of Year’s Best editors in the format it was published (electronic/PDF). This format, and the time of year it was published, caused hassles with the Aurealis awards team, so printed hard copies were not sent to the AA judges.

My previous post talking about ‘drawing a line’ decisions made by me was in reference to Shadow Box, not Shadowed Realms, although I can see where the confusion took place.

Many Shadowed Realms stories will be reprinted in Book of Shadows. My point about ‘dead butterflies’ was an artistic observation about submitting stories in manuscript format and comparing these directly with finished books and magazines. Really, I’m arguing on behalf of equal representation. A book or magazine presents fiction with care to presentation. So do webzines and e-books. I believe it is naive to think presentation does not have some (even a small) amount of influence on the reader.

As a writer myself, I take responsibility for my career. I send copies of all stories I want considered (published both locally and overseas) to the respective awards or anthologies. When in doubt, I ask the editor of a publication that has published a story of mine whether they are sending a copy of the book/magazine in. If not, I take action. Sometimes I do anyway.

This whole debacle has annoyed me. Angela (and I) try to maintain high standards in presentation, editing, promotion, author support, etc. with Shadowed Realms, and she does it with NO expectation of an income.

People have talked about common practices in Australian SF, and many have rushed in to criticise the only area where Angela could be attacked – not printing out hard copies of a magazine that is FREE TO READ, easily accessible, and where the relevant editors were notified.

If those people want to apply the standards of other venues to Shadowed Realms, then how about we apply ALL standards across the board? I’ve never seen lengthy blog commentary praising Shadowed Realms for going above and beyond – pro pay rate, story editing and presentation, or author support.