Thursday, August 02, 2012

Louisiana Inklings


 
My critique group calls itself the “Inklings,” or, specifically, the “Louisiana Inklings.”  We meet every Thursday at one of the St. Tammany library branches. I’ve been a member for several years and those who have hung with the group during that time have really developed into fine writers. There’s a lot of talent and a lot of diversity in the group.  We have poets, novelists, memoir writers, short story writers, and me, the weird one. (Well, there’s also, Mike, who is somewhat of a weird one too.)

On January 4th of 2012, I pitched an idea to the group. I’d be willing to edit a collection of the writings from members of the group and publish it through Razored Zen Press for the Kindle and Nook.  I suggested calling the resulting anthology, Louisiana Inklings: A Literary Sampler.  All submissions to the anthology were required to have gone through the critique group review at least once, and then would, or could at least, be subjected to further editing from me. There was a lot of enthusiasm for the project and over the next six months or so I collected a number of submissions. These went through varied levels of editing, and everyone was very cooperative, even though in some cases I asked for pretty major changes.

By mid-July I had all the pieces in place and began the final process of turning the thing into an ebook. After a few long days, including two that involved about ten hours each at the keyboard, the work was tested, retested, retested again, and ready for uploading. I started the upload July 29/30, and it went live on the 31st on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Today I’m making the official announcement of it here.  The cover, from a photograph by the incomparable Lana Gramlich, is below. 



I don’t know if I would have even thought of the idea if it weren’t for a fine writer named Del Stone, Jr.  Years ago, I was in an online writing group founded by Del, and he edited a group anthology in which I had a story called “Thief of Eyes.”  That anthology was a horror anthology called The Parasitorium: Terrors Within.  Although the idea to edit my own anthology probably first saw the gleam of life then, Louisiana Inklings is a very, very different kind of collection. It’s a literary/mainstream anthology. There are a couple of stories that might be considered genre fiction, none by me, but most of what we have are poems, memoirs, and stories that examine the real or realistic lives of human beings, in many cases people from southern Louisiana. There’s over 40,000 words of material.

For those of you who have read my stuff, I want to be clear that my pieces in this book are not genre fiction.  No “Finest Cut” or “Harvest of War” here.  In fact, they’re probably not much like anything you might have read from me before. One is a kind of pseudo-memoir, a mental trip back to the home I grew up in. Another is an essay about my son, and a third is a poem about someone who, one day, without any provocation that I could discern, decided to stick a sword in my back.

If you want to get a feel for what the collection is about, you can use the “Look Inside” feature at Amazon, or the “Read Instantly” feature at Barnes and Noble

I do hope you’ll check it out at least, because there are some talented and thoughtful people in this collection. I’m proud of them.

Take care.
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38 comments:

Keith said...

I love the cover. This sounds like something worth checking into. The best writers, while they may only write in one or two genres, read in as many as possible. Sounds like you've got a good variety here. I'll download a copy later today.

sage said...

What a neat idea and if the writing is anything like that cover photo, it'll be a great book.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's very cool! Gives the members a chance to showcase their work.

Ron Scheer said...

A very fine and generous enterprise. The cover is smashing. Since reading WALTZ INTO DARKNESS and watching post-Katrina documentaries and TREME on HBO, the subject of Louisiana has developed a discernible edge for me. I will give it a look for sure.

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

I love the cover and Louisiana writers. I'm heading over to Amazon now. Congrats! And how generous of you to do this for the Inklings.

Charles Gramlich said...

Keith, if you read more literary types of things you will probably enjoy it.

Sage, Lana takes a mean pic!

Alex, indeed. And it deserves to be showcased.

Ron, thanks, man. That's all I ask.

Jess, it was quite a bit of hard work, but also fun and a big educational experience for me.

Deka Black said...

Charles, congratulate Lana for me. because the photo of the cover is amazing!

Also, hope the anthology sells a lot. I love anthologies since i was a kid and devoured the ones with traditional legends of my country. Anthologies are like a box of assorted cookies. is really hard to not find something you like ;)

David J. West said...

Great cover shot by Lana, she sure has an eye.

Greg said...

congrats on the anthology! sounds like a lot of work, and it also sounds like an excellent collection.

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka, she does great pics. I've used several of hers now for covers.

David J., absolutely. She chose me, didn't she! :)

greg, I think it really is.

Rachel V. Olivier said...

Oh, that sounds really good! I wanna check it out.

Heather said...

Everything in this post is super cool! The group, the idea for the book, editing and publishing it. Wonderful!

Charles Gramlich said...

Rachel, some great stuff, without the gore and violence one usually finds in a Gramlich type work.

Heather, thankee.

Shauna Roberts said...

Bought it!

I'm astounded how many people are in your critique group. Usually a critique group with more than five or six people is unwieldy.

My sf/f crit group here in Cali has tried to put together a themed anthology a couple of times and is about to try again with our third theme. The reasons our anthologies never seem to get off the ground are (1) members have different goals (name in print vs. making money) and (2) each person has a vision of the anthology that can't be reconciled with some of the other members' visions.

Thus, I'd be very interested if you did some posts on producing an anthology. I'd be inerested in everything from getting agreement on the anthology itself to the nuts and bolts of putting together something for publication involving many people (which I have done before, but I'd be happy to learn new tips).

Congratulations to you and your crit group members!

Vesper said...

Charles, the weird one, what a beautiful idea... and the cover too... so elegant...
So, I went to Kindle and I just bought it! :-)

Charles Gramlich said...

Shauna, good ideas for posts. I will do that and give some info on how it happened for us. thanks for picking it up.

Vesper, thanks,I hope you enjoy. I'm definitely the weird one in the group.

cloudia charters said...

Cool! Yes, the cover is great. Lana's work?


Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral
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> < } } ( ° >

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, yes, she's already won some awards with this one.

X. Dell said...

That sounds like a good idea. It kinda reminds me of the album projects we used to do back in the '80s--just without the internal critique and editing. But the dialogue between acts was there.

Just the name "Inklings" gives your group an identity. Who knows? Maybe one day you'll be mentioned in the same breath as, say, the Algonquin Round Table.

laughingwolf said...

grats to all!

will look into it asap...

laughingwolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laughingwolf said...

damn double post by blogger, so i removed one...

Erik Donald France said...

Splendid idea. Rock it, Inklings~!

Erik Donald France said...

p.s. yes that is one beautiful cover, too.

Rick said...

What a cool idea and I love the cover! Where do you get the time? Wait, I know- you've given up sleep.

The Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like a wonderful collection! And that's a beautiful cover photograph.

Congratulations.

Charles Gramlich said...

X-Dell, One of the members is a big fan of C. S. Lewis and when he set up the listserv for us he used that name, so we fell into the practice.

Laughingwolf, and thanks from all. :)

Erik, thanks, man. Lana has the eye.

Rick, the overall project took several months. Fortunately I'm not working this summer, so that gives me some time, although it's been taken up unfortunately with doctors quite a bit.

Golden Eagle, thanks. Much appreciate, my friend.

Travis Cody said...

The cover is fantastic.

Charles Gramlich said...

Travis Cody, yes indeed!

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, a terrific photograph on an eye-catching cover and I'm sure the contents inside are equally good. I'll definitely check out Louisiana Inklings.

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, thankee. I appreciate it.

eric1313 said...

Beautiful cover and great concept, an experience shared with dear friends. Hard to get any better than that.

Ciara said...

That sounds like such a cool project. I'm working on my first self-published work. It is time consuming the first time.

Charles Gramlich said...

eric1313, thanks, man.

Ciara, it was quite a lot of work, but I hope it will all be worth it. Thanks for visiting.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Well, this sounds just excellent.

Charles Gramlich said...

Patti, I was very happy with how it came out. Lots of talented folks in the group.

Merisi said...

I often discovered new writers through anthologies like yours. I cannot see myself switching to electronic books, though.

Lana's cover picture is great! I can feel the heat rising.

Charles Gramlich said...

Merisi, I sometimes find myself reading more ebooks. it all depends on how much traveling I'm doing. The Kindle is so convenient for that.