That Feeling of Proud

You’ve had that feeling–accomplishing something that means something to you. It can be little things like passing on that scrumptious looking dessert to reaching lifetime goals. Our Robyn Stevens of Bedazzled Ink’s grant video fame is reaching another proud moment in her life. At the end of June, she will be vying for a spot on the US Olympic team as a racewalker. As her former coach and mentor, I’m quite proud of her dedication and strong-willed focus on her dream goal. Regardless of the final results, no one can take away that feeling of proud.

I’m a Farmville2 addict and rather proud of that! I have a great farm and if you look closely enough, has stories weaving throughout it . . . animals in lush pastures, homes with yards for kids or patios for outside leisure, and barnyards with free-range critters. I once got up in the middle of the night because I forgot to leave a water trough in one of the animal sections. Lately though, I’m finding myself clicking on another page I’m quite proud of. The Bedazzled Ink Publishing website. I’m just amazed at all the books and new authors we have cultivated over the years. As Publisher, I read all the submissions. I’m learning so much about the world and situations . . . of stories that need to be told. I can feel the “proud” of the authors as they captivate me in their tales. And I’m proud that I can help share these stories to the world for others to take pleasure in and learn from.

Although GusGus Press is the dream child of my managing editor gal Casey, I’m proud that I had the opportunity to give birth to it. It has been flooded with submissions from folks whose stories and poems don’t fit easily in the traditional publishing world. You can just feel the “this is my story and I’m proud to be me” throughout their work. This press has found a niche that I am very proud of.

Proud doesn’t have a size. It can be small accomplishments in daily living to life-changing actions. Proud doesn’t have a deadline. From first baby steps to the first earned wage to first day of retirement, you can be proud of yourself or for others during a lifetime. By publishing good books, I know for myself, nothing can beat that feeling of proud.

Claudia

The Rainbow Awards

At midnight Italy time on December 8th, Elisa–the mother of the Rainbow Awards–began posting the winners and runners up for each category, while people around the world were eagerly glued to their computers for the next several hours. What makes the Rainbow Awards so special is that they represent a wide cross-section of the LGBT community.
2015 was a record year of submissions for Bedazzled Ink–seventeen titles in eight categories. So here are our the Honorary Mentions, Finalists, Runners Up, and Winner. Congrats to all our authors. Every book is a winner in our eyes.

Honorary Mentions

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In the Stillness of Dawn by Laurie Salzler
We Came Alive in ’75 by Pat Deihl

Finalists

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Blowback by Bev Prescott
In My Neighborhood by Giovanna Capone

Runners Up

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allwelack-bbpBlindTrust-bbpeverything-bbpFestivalNurse-bbprabbits-bppgothic girl with a swordsurrender-bbpWhenItRaynes-bbpwishbonedraft-bbp

Best LGBT Cover
Everything by Carole Wolf, cover design by Ann McMan, Treehouse Studio

Best Lesbian Fantasy & Fantasy Romance
The Duchess of Manusk by Jordan Falconer

Best Lesbian Mystery/Thriller
The Surrender by Terias McKLay
Blind Trust by Jody Klaire

Best Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction
Everything by Carole Wolf
All We Lack by Sandra Moran

Best Lesbian Contemporary Romance
June Magee, RN, Festival Nurse by Ann McMan, Salem West, & Barrett

Best Lesbian Debut
Wishbone by Elaine Burnse
When It Raynes by CD Cain
The Surrender by Terias McKlay
The Paths of Marriage by Mala Kumar

Best Lesbian Book
Everything by Carole Wolf
Rabbits of the Apocalypse by Benny Lawrence
All We Lack by Sandra Moran

Winner

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Best Lesbian Sci-Fi/Futuristic
Rabbits of the Apocalypse by Benny Lawrence

A bittersweet moment was the announcement of The Sandra Moran Award for Best Lesbian Historical Fiction & Romance. We were hoping that Bright Lights of Summer by Sandra’s good friend Lynn Ames would win. It just missed with first Runner Up.

Three things . . .

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Three things . . . because, according to Sandra Moran, there are always three.

One . . . Sandra Moran’s career as an author was meteoric, yet her impact on the literary landscape was immediate. It’s hard to believe her first book, Letters Never Sent, was published just over two years ago in September 2013, although it made a limited appearance at the GCLS Conference in July 2013. The 2013 GCLS Conference was also Sandra’s first public appearance as an author. Letters Never Sent went on to be a finalist for The Publishing Triangle’s Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, a winner of two Rainbow Awards, and a winner of the GCLS Award for Dramatic/General Fiction and the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award. Not bad for a debut book. In those short two years, Sandra was a popular guest at book festivals, conferences, special events, and for giving presentations on her books, gender, and lesbian literature. She was an instructor for the GCLS Writing Academy and became an active member in the Kansas City LGBT community. She treated her Facebook followers to her inquisitive nature and quirky sense of humor and added words and new meanings to things to our personal lexicons. Who among us won’t think of Sandra the next time we see neon clothing or moon pies or pie charts or pork rinds or syllabi or blurry photos of cats?

Second . . . Sandra’s books are destined to withstand the test of time and we need to do what we can to ensure future readers and scholars know the remarkable person behind the remarkable prose. Librarians have long recognized that the concepts of graceful degradation and graceful obsolescence of digital materials are more the ideal than actual practice–acid-free paper still remains the best medium for information storage. Digital material will be forever ephemeral because it only takes one technological advancement in information storage that does not adequately address a graceful transition to lose generations of knowledge.

Third . . . A Gedenkschrift is a memorial publication that celebrates and honors the life and work of a well-respected person. As Sandra’s publisher, we can’t think of a better way to honor her memory than to capture her essence as an author and as a person in a permanent medium so she won’t be lost to readers and scholars in the future.

We are reaching out to everyone whose life has been impacted by Sandra to send us personal recollections on Sandra as a person, a writer, a teacher, and a mentor; plus essays on how her books and writing influenced you as a writer, impacted you as a reader, the place her books occupy in the literary world, and the importance of her research and presentations on lesbian literature. The length of a contribution can be as long as it takes for you to say what you want to say and each contributor will receive a copy of the book. The proceeds will go to the organization that receives the most votes from the contributors.

Introducing GusGus . . . Press

Since 2015 has been the year of change for Bedazzled Ink, I thought it would be the perfect time to indulge in a dream I’ve had since college. I’ve always loved books produced by small presses–chapbooks, poetry books, broadsides–many printed and bound by the publishers themselves with the quality ranging from saddle-stapled mimeograph pages with construction paper covers to exquisite volumes printed on small hand presses and sewn into cloth-bound covers–also hand made–and the thick rough paper softly feathered around untrimmed edges. These books are labors of love for publishers who are often non profit just to keep afloat. But these publishers are dedicated to collecting prose and poetry that is overlooked by a world that emphasizes a book’s worth by its commercial power.

There’s something basic and honest about work that’s selected for its beauty, its wildness, its uniqueness, its rebellion, its way of challenging, conquering, and constructing how we put words on paper. It’s a celebration of small literary forms.

Since Bedazzled Ink’s namesake, a horse named Infinitely Bedazzled, gave birth to Dazz’s Lil’ Gossip (GusGus) this year, I decided it only fitting to name a press devoted to small literary forms after Dazz’s offspring.

gusgustpGusGus Press will be the home of Bedazzled Ink’s books of poetry, anthologies, and short works of fiction and nonfiction prose. So visit the Author Guidelines to see what we’re looking for. As a part of our grand opening, we’re putting together an anthology for Halloween 2016 called Haunting Muses. Check out the Submission Guidelines for more information.

We’re excited to see where this little press takes us as we continue to grow and change as a publisher.

C.A. Casey

gusgusanddazz

Change Is In the Air

Like most businesses, Bedazzled Ink has a mission statement and long term goals. One of these goals was to get a major national book distributor so we can reach as large a readership as possible for our books. The good news is, we succeeded in this goal and have signed with Independent Publishers Group (IPG). IPG is the original and second largest independent book distributor in the United States and accepts only 2% of the publishers who apply for distribution. So we’re thrilled that they selected us.

We’ve had a procedure in place for ten years that’s worked well for us, but for IPG to sell as many books as possible, we have to adapt to some of their procedures. So in a sense, we’re about to experience a sudden growth spurt and, like many publishers, need some upfront capital to see us through the initial transition. Luckily there are a few grants available for companies to compete for. Right now Chase Bank is giving away twenty $100,000 grants and any qualified company has a chance to apply for it. This grant will not only allow us to transition smoothly to IPG, it’ll allow us to take on more editors, proofreaders, office workers, etc. and to increase marketing and promotion of our books . . . not to mention publish more books!

So we tossed our feathered hat into the ring and spent three weeks carefully crafting answers to their questions and now we just need 250 votes by June 19th to go on to the next step. If we don’t get the votes, our application will not be considered. Now there are rules for voting. You can only vote once and any repeated votes will not count. Also we have be careful in how we ask for votes. We can’t offer any incentives or giveaways or do anything to solicit votes. We can pay for promotion via Facebook to let people know that we’re doing this and where to vote.

So, if you’ve already voted, thank you. If you shared our link, thank you a thousand times over. If you haven’t vote, it’s easy and you don’t have to fill anything in, just be logged onto Facebook and push a “Vote Now” button.

Here’s the link:

https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/b/16753

Thanks in advance and make sure you check out our latest books.

claudia-gusgusGusGus and Dazz are unhappy because they can’t vote

A Treasure Trove

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I was trawling Google for a good explanation of a mundane editing issue and stumbled upon a treasure trove of wonders. The Paris Review has posted nearly all of their interviews of authors from the 1950s to the present for us to not only read but to absorb and to revel in. Just select a decade and become lost in the words of all those authors whose work we admire and respect and aspire to be like as writers.

William Faulkner is asked about his contemporaries in a 1956 interview and says,

“All of us failed to match our dream of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.”

Dorothy Parker, never one to resist a witty retort, offers this analysis,

“Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.”

James Baldwin talks about the major turning point in his life with,

“After my best friend jumped off the bridge, I knew that I was next. So—Paris. With forty dollars and a one-way ticket.”

Ursula K. Le Guin  shows her feistiness about her work being shoved into a confining box.

“I don’t think science fiction is a very good name for it, but it’s the name that we’ve got. It is different from other kinds of writing, I suppose, so it deserves a name of its own. But where I can get prickly and combative is if I’m just called a sci-fi writer. I’m not. I’m a novelist and poet. Don’t shove me into your damn pigeonhole, where I don’t fit, because I’m all over.”

Eudora Welty talks about making changes to galleys with,

“I correct or change words, but I can’t rewrite a scene or make a major change because there’s a sense then of someone looking over my shoulder. It’s necessary, anyway, to trust that moment when you were sure at last you had done all you could, done your best for that time. When it’s finally in print, you’re delivered—you don’t ever have to look at it again. It’s too late to worry about its failings. I’ll have to apply any lessons this book has taught me toward writing the next one.”

It would be wonderful to have the time to just start in the 1950s and read every single interview to the present. But for now it’s nice to know they’re all available and can be visited in those spare moments of being able to kick back in a comfy chair with cup of tea and a cat on the lap and sift through this treasure trove of great authors’ lives and works as told in their own words.

~~Casey