playing with fairy tales & reflections on what it means to edit

Last weekend while Kestryl and I were upstate at a cabin with our dogs on an afternoon stroll through town I found a book of postcards that were all vintage drawings of fairy tales!  It was a really fun little find and I’m now merrily decorating my home office with little fairy tale snippets to inspire the editing process and celebrate the new book that’s getting ready to be born!

One of my goals for September (and moving forward) is to start blogging more about Leather Ever After, this doesn’t in anyway mean the blogging about Roving Pack will slow down, quite the contrary I already have a couple of blogs in the works and I know as the official release is only weeks away there are so many different things I want to share with folks here.  That said, I also have this other book swiftly chugging away towards an early Winter 2013 release! Not only do I want to make Leather Ever After feel like some unloved fairy-tale step child ; ) that never gets blogged about, I’m actually really really excited about the book itself, I’m so grateful to Ravenous Romance for giving me the opportunity to put together such a fun book, and I’m really looking forward to sharing more with the community about its process of becoming, and want to be more intentional and explicit about sharing that in my blogging.

This weekend I made some massive and substantial progress on the anthology by finalizing my decisions (and notifying writers) about which stories would make it into the book!  I’ve been reading, and rereading, and rereading again every story that was submitted and so finally reaching the difficult conclusion of what fit for Leather Ever After feels like an incredible accomplishment.

I take my job as an editor incredibly seriously. Choosing the stories that will appear in a collection is never easy. The reality is not every story sent in can go into a book, not every story is a good fit but I never for an instant loose sight of the fact that behind that story is a writer who worked very hard and sent it off with fingers crossed hoping my book would be its home.  I see editing as a tremendous honor that people felt hailed enough by an anthology idea that they would spend hours, days, weeks and in some instances months focusing their creativity and writing a story that they then entrusted me to read.

It’s really exciting to me to witness the directions people went with the theme. The diverse perspectives on fairy tales that people took, and what this book is becoming is something I’m so excited about, and incredibly proud of.  Not every story I accepted is hot, not every story even has sex as a major focal point. One of the things I was really committed to was that this book would be Leather focused not erotic— which of course isn’t to say there aren’t some stories so hot and sexually charged your knees might threaten to give out as you read. Mostly though, when selecting stories I was most interested in the portrayal of power, and the ways in which the writers artistically wove their retelling to include kink while making substantial use of the fairy tale itself particularly in message and in symbolism, though I also had an eye for stories that turned an old story on its head in a way that I hadn’t anticipated.

Leather Ever After is a very different project than editing Kicked Out (my only other experience with curating an anthology).  Leather Ever After is significantly more playful, and the sort of space I’m holding as an editor both for my writers and the future readers feels less like holding and trying to stop the bleeding of a stabbed artery.  The most obvious difference this time around as an editor also is that this is not my first book, so I’m blessed to feel more solid and confident in what I’m doing. I feel like I have a solid community behind me from the very beginning, which is really vital to me as an editor. With Kicked Out I was learning as I went each step of the way, and building much of my community as I went. The process and end result (Kicked Out) is a book that I’m more proud of than just about anything else I’ve done in my life, but it feels good this time around, nearly four years later to have much of that community solidly in place.

Professionally on the heels of Kicked Out I’d been nervous about being so out as a pervert in my writing. Needless to say I got over that as the leather emerged as a key theme within my novel Roving Pack. I knew that when the opportunity to edit Leather Ever After was in front of me, that the time was right to do an explicitly kink focused book.  Leather has been a vital force in my life for over a decade. Now feels so right, and I feel so ready to be entrusted with the honor of editing and organizing a book like this.