Guest Blog by Amelia Kibbie

Amelia Kibbie, Author of Fantasy, LBGT & Historical fiction

It’s my pleasure to welcome back my Running Wild Press colleague Amelia Kibbie, this time for a guest blog. This is a very opportune time for more than one reason. First: Running Wild Press is offering all of their published catalog at pennies above cost for paperback and 99 cents for eBooks from today, March 27, 2020 through May 1, 2020. Full details and recommended purchasing locations are here.

 Even more importantly, Amelia’s book Legendary is a story where kindness, love, and courage shine light through a time of fear and uncertainty. I loved it, and it’s a good book to read in these uncertain times.

 I first encountered Amelia’s writing in Running Wild Anthology of Stories Vol. 2, where I met and fell in love with her characters James and Arthur; their story continues in Legendary. Amelia tells how this story came to be.

Welcome, Amelia!

Legendary by Amelia Kibbie

 

“Legendary” is a book that almost didn’t happen.

It took a series of unexpected events to bring this novel to life. This is the story of my story.

I love to cruise writing websites to look for contests and calls for submissions, as many of us probably do. I saw a call for submissions for an LGBT romance anthology called Heart of Steel. The submission guidelines requested an LGBT romance featuring knights. As a lover of fantasy and someone who understands the importance of representation, I was ecstatic to write something for the anthology, and read the stories others had written.

I wanted to write something different, something unexpected. How could I include a knight without setting my story in medieval Europe or some kind of Lord of the Rings rip-off fantasy setting? The idea came to me that a character in the story might not be a literal knight, but could have a heart of steel regardless. What if someone in modern times found a suit of armor and put it on?

I thought about the kind of story that I needed to read as a young person. A story with LGBT protagonists who were realistic, not stereotypes. A story with a same-sex romance that ended happily. So happily it was cheesy, like a fairy tale. A legendary ending. Because LGBT characters deserve the chance to have such an ending, and readers need it in their minds and hearts as well, especially those struggling with their sexuality and how their families and society might react.

So, I wrote a story about two outcasts who find each other, and the legendary love that blossoms. James and Arthur are bullied by their peers for different reasons, and this cruelty increases tenfold when they are sent out of London with their classmates to avoid the Nazi Blitz. Arthur, empowered by the legends of King Arthur Pendragon, finds the courage to don the armor and stand up for James.

Authors often love the things they write, their darlings, I suppose — but there was something about this story that gripped me and wouldn’t let go. I rarely cry, but I cried as I wrote the ending, and simply talking about the story would get me emotional. Imagine how I felt when the story was rejected by the anthology.

I continued to submit it, even though it was an awkward length and a niche genre. Rejection, rejection, rejection. Then, I heard about Running Wild Press’s anthology of stories. Expecting a rejection, I sent them my story “Idylls of the King.” When it was accepted, I cried again. At last, James and Arthur’s story could reach readers.

I thought my heart would explode right out of my chest when, one day, I got an email from Lisa Kaestner, editor of Running Wild. She said, simply, that she’d like to see a novel based on the characters I created in “Idylls of the King.” I worked closely with her to develop an outline that she felt would produce a book that Running Wild would be interested in publishing. I brought readers forward in time to James and Arthur as young men in 1950s London as they struggled with prejudice and rough patches in their relationship as they travel cross country to solve the mystery of a close friend’s dying words. I included the original short story as a flashback. Three drafts and two beta readers later, I had a manuscript for Running Wild’s Benjamin White to edit. Long story short, my book was published in November of 2019.

I wanted to share my journey for a couple of reasons. First, if you are a writer, don’t give up after a few rejections. Often, you’ll hear stories about famous writers being rejected multiple times until finding success. Yet, there’s always some part of me when I read those stories that doesn’t believe them. But I’m here to tell you as a real person that you shouldn’t give up. Keep submitting! Keep querying!

Secondly, if you truly believe in representation in fiction for a marginalized community, it’s your duty to keep submitting until someone says yes. We need these stories in the hands of readers who come from these groups, especially young readers. Write the book that you needed in the past. You never know what kind of impact you may have on someone’s life.

 

Thank you so much for sharing Legendary’s journey, Amelia. Readers, you can contact your local bookstore to order this wonderful book for delivery. (Amelia recommends M&M bookstore if you’re near Cedar Rapids.) You can also order it through Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. And you can connect with Amelia on her website, www.ameliakibbie.com, at her blog akibbie.wordpress.com, and through Twitter @ameliakibbie, Instagram @hollycat83 and facebook https://www.facebook.com/ameliakibbie.

My Publication News

I have exciting news – my next publication is coming out soon! My fiction is included in Running Wild Anthology of Stories Vol. 3, due on or around Sept. 15th, 2019. My contribution is a bit of flash fiction, “The One that Got Away,” which won an award at a recent Pennwriters Conference. It’s about a bunch of fisherman swapping stories and the tale that tops them all.

My story joins Aud Supplee’s “Monkey in the Middle.” I’ve read a lot of Aud’s fine fiction, but not this one and I’m excited to read it.

This collection is a follow-up to Running Wild Anthology of Stories Vol. 2 , which features two of my pieces. That collection is packed with excellent stories; you can read interviews with several of the authors (and others) on my site.

cover of Running Wild Anthology of Stories Vot. 2
Volume Two

I can’t wait to see what Volume 3 holds! Check back for updates and the cover reveal.

Meanwhile, I’ll be hard at work on my fantasy novel.

Desk of Gemma Brook

Our Anthology in Gift Bags for George Lopez’s Celebrity Golf Classic

I’m pleased to announce that my stories and all the rest of my colleagues’ in Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Stories Vol. 2 will be part of the gift bags given out at George Lopez’s Golf Classic.

 

I don’t usually follow golf, but the George Lopez Foundation raises awareness about kidney disease and organ donation, and works to help underprivileged children, adults and military families.

That’s a mission I can really get behind. I’m honored that my writing can play a small part in supporting this. Thank you to Lisa Kastner, our executive editor at Running Wild Press, for making this happen.

Here’s what Lisa has to say:

When a friend reached out to see if we’d be interested in supporting George Lopez’s Celebrity Golf Classic by being included in the gift bags, my answer was a resounding yes. As a child who grew up in the inner city of Camden New Jersey, I had been privy to situations in which children couldn’t have survived childhood trauma without the assistance of donors. Mr. Lopez’s Foundation creates a robust environment in which to save lives.

…The Mission of George Lopez’s Foundation is one that all of us at Running Wild Press believe in:

“… to create positive, permanent change for underprivileged children, adults and military families confronting challenges in education and health, as well as increasing community awareness about kidney disease and organ donation.” https://georgelopezfoundation.org/our-mission

Books to be included in the celebrity gift bags:

 “Frontal Matter: Glue Gone Wild” by Suzanne Samples – A fun, funny, and heartbreakingly real memoir of a woman’s fight against terminal brain cancer. The writing is honest, charming, and full of cuss words.

“Magic Forgotten” by Jack Hillman – For a man shut up in his house after being in a near fatal car accident, Dan is thrust into another world and must recruit helpers in his quest. 

“The Kidnapped” by Dwight L. Wilson – Dwight Wilson researched for more than a dozen years to ensure this brilliant historic fiction collection portrayed the very nuanced history of African Americans in the United States. 

“The Resistors” by Dwight L. Wilson (Available for retail sale July 4th) The follow up collection to “The Kidnapped” 

“Dark Corners” by Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett – “It’s pleasing to see such a diverse array characters be so presented in such a normal way. Each individual is not presented as a token, but rather just another human being…” — Wagatwe Wanjuki, feminist writer and activist 

“Writers Resist: The Anthology 2018” – Celebrating the online journal’s first year, includes the works of 73 contributors. 

“Running Wild Novella Anthology, Volume 1”  Stories that will make your imagination run wild.

“Running Wild Novella Anthology, Volume 2, Part 1” and Part 2 – Eclectic and dynamic collections of novellas. Trigger worthy.

“Jersey Diner” by Lisa Diane Kastner – One man’s fan is another man’s stalker

“Build Your Music Career from Scratch” Second Edition by Andrae Alexander – A practical guide for those trying to make it in the music industry.

“Running Wild Anthology of Short Stories, Volume 1”  

“Running Wild Anthology of Short Stories, Volume 2”

 

That’s a lot of fine books to fill up gift bags! If you’d like to know a bit more about some of these authors, check out my blogpost on Golden Globes gift baskets – many of the same writers were featured there as well.

Thank you, Lisa, for making us all a part of this!

You can learn more about Running Wild Press at
Twitter: @runwildbooks, @lisadkastner
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/runningwildpress/

Happy Book Birthday!

A year ago today, my stories first appeared in print in Running Wild Press Anthology of Stories Volume 2!

 

Some exciting things have happened since then. My story, The Guest, about an unexpected visitation on a cold spring night, was chosen as one of RWP Readers’ Choice Best for 2018! It joins many excellent stories from “my” anthology and RWP’s novella anthologies.

And our anthology was featured with other RWP books in amazing swag bags given to Golden Globe celebrities.

Golden Globe Weekend Gift Bag

Meanwhile, I’ve been hard at work on my fantasy novel. If you look deeply into my author photo, you can catch a peek at early lines from my first draft.

All right, honestly, I haven’t been writing it with quill and ink, but I do write the first drafts longhand. I like the ease and physical contact of writing with pen and paper.

 

During this year, Running Wild Press has been busy with many awesome projects – just check out their twitter. Among their latest offerings are writing courses.

From RWP: we’re launching a fully online creative writing program.

Want to join a supportive, online writing community for feedback and encouragement? Take a Running Wild Press writing course.

These fully online courses will be taught in 4 to 8-week formats entirely online by experienced instructors from higher education institutions from around the country.

Three of these courses will be taught by my anthology colleagues Elan Barnehama, Nick Mazzuca, and Amelia Kibbie. I heartily vouch for their writing abilities, because their stories are honestly some of my favorites. Check out my interviews with them for more about them and their stories.

Elan Barnehama, Contemporary Fiction Writer
Nick Mazzuca, Author
Amelia Kibbie, Author of Fantasy, LBGT & Historical fiction

A fourth course will be taught by Dr. Lisa Montagne. I’m not acquainted Lisa, but if you’re interested in reading and writing poetry, have a look! You can check out all the courses here.

As for me, check back soon for more interviews with new authors, and of course I’ll keep you posted with any news!

 

Our Anthology Featured in Gift Baskets to 2019 Golden Globe Nominees and Presenters

You read that correctly: the Running Wild Anthology my stories are in will be given to nominees and presenters of the Golden Globes!

This awesome, jaw-dropping fact is due to the amazing work of Lisa Kastner, founder and executive editor of Running Wild Press. Our anthology (I cannot possibly call it mine when my stories are just two among so many wonderful tales) will join Suzanne Samples’ “Frontal Matter: Glue Gone Wild” and (if my eyes don’t deceive me) Running Wild Novella Anthology Vol. 2 pt. 1. And with them, many other gifts.

Have a look: is this not one spiffy gift basket??

Golden Globe Weekend Gift Bag

Now, let me be clear: these are not official Golden Globe bags. They are “Red Carpet Gift Bags honoring Golden Globe nominees,” to quote Hollywood Swag Bag, who will place these gifts in the celebrities’ rooms, working in conjunction with the hotel management. How amazing is that!

Here is a partial list of who will be receiving these excellent books among all the other cool gifts:
Glenn Close
Bradley Cooper
Lady Gaga
Benedict Cumberbatch
Hugh Grant
Elisabeth Moss
Emma Stone
Justin Hurwitz
Tina Fey

UPDATE: thanks to Lisa, here is the full list! 

I’m excited that not only my stories will end up in these talented hands, but also the stories from all my RWP Anthology colleagues I’ve interviewed plus many more from the Short Story Anthology, including Suzanne Mattaboni (who I got to meet at the Pennwriters conference) and Cindy Cavett and Laura Selinsky, (who I shared my first book signing with), and still more from Running Wild Novella Anthology Vol. 2 pt. 1.

Two of these authors have blogged about this rather incredible thing: Christa Miller, whose story The Kings of Babylon appears in Running Wild Novella Anthology Vol. 2 pt. 1and Julie Doherty, whose story Justice is in Running Wild Anthology of Stories Vol. 2I hope you’ll give their thoughtful posts a read.

And check out this newsletter from Running Wild Press:

In our third year of publishing, Running Wild Press has had an impressive year. Already nominated for several awards including the Pushcart Prize, the executive editor, Lisa Diane Kastner, is excited for two of the press’s books to be included in gift bags to 2019 Golden Globe nominees and presenters. The bags will be gifted to actors, actresses, and presenters for the 2019 Golden Globes the weekend of January 7, 2019.

“When we were informed that both ‘Frontal Matter: Glue Gone Wild’ and ‘Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Volume 2’ would be included in the gift bags, I couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Lisa Diane Kastner, Founder and Executive Editor of Running Wild Press. “This is the perfect tribute to our authors, our readers, and the stories of 2018 as well as a gorgeous beginning to 2019.”

Lisa founded Running Wild Press with the vision to bring great stories and great writing that do not fit neatly in a box to readers worldwide.

“In 2018, we published nine books with stories ranging from personal narratives to cross-genre fiction and non-fiction,” said Lisa. “These two books represent a great compilation of our narratives.”

Never one to shy from an opportunity to feature talents who don’t necessarily fit in mainstream media, we chatted with Lisa about the press, the Golden Globes, and anything else we could fit in.

How Did You Get Into The Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards Gift Bags?
A dear friend reached out to me and mentioned that there was an opportunity to be included. There are only a handful of companies authorized to provide gift baskets for events such as the Golden Globes, the Emmys, the Grammys, the Oscars, and SAG Awards. I figured, heck, can’t hurt to have a chat. That chat resulted in our stories being included in 50 gift bags for both Golden Globe nominees and presenters as well as SAG Award nominees and presenters. We couldn’t be more excited. Only a select few are invited to be included in these baskets so this truly is an honor.

Who Among the Recipients Are You Most Excited to Meet?
Admittedly, I doubt that I’ll personally meet any of the celebrities or nominees during the weekend of the Golden Globes or the Screen Actors Guild Awards, but I am incredibly excited to have the likes of Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Spike Lee, Constance Wu, Charlize Theron, and Lin-Manuel Miranda read these amazing stories.

I have admired Bradley Cooper’s rise and strategic choices for years. Lady Gaga continues to broaden and expand her repertoire. Her ability to tap into her own meager beginnings in “A Star Is Born” was truly breathtaking. Spike Lee’s true gift to bring forth real life situations and demonstrate their relevance to today’s society is beyond phenomenal. Constance Wu and the rest of the cast of “Crazy Rich Asians” not only brought theatrical houses down but showed the world how a Rom-Con should be done. And Lin-Manuel’s gifts for storytelling – no matter the form (Have you seen his Twitter account? Oy!) continues to inspire. I could go on and on. Needless to say, we’re proud to have these stories in such amazingly talented artists’ hands.

What Inspired You to Start Running Wild Press?
I had spent over a decade studying the art of storytelling from New York Times Bestsellers, such as Jonathan Maberry, Alexander Chee, Porochista Khakpour, Da Chen, Pulitzer Prize nominees such as Luis Alberto Urrea, National Book Award winners such as Julia Glass, Ha Jin, and PEN Award winners such as Percival Everett. I studied fiction, non-fiction, memoir, journalism, screenplay writing. Each experience and interaction brought greater knowledge and understanding.

I ran several writers workshops including Running Wild Writers Community out of Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia. I often found writers whose writing was on-point – truly magical stories with great writing; the pieces simply needed a little tweaking. I gave the authors feedback and recommended that they send the pieces out for publication. I checked with each one and was often shocked when they said they couldn’t find home for their work. When I asked why, they informed me that the publications said the author’s writing was wonderful but didn’t quite fit. The more I heard this, the clearer it was that tons of great stories with great writing simply don’t fit into the mainstream media. So, I created Running Wild Press for great stories and great writing that don’t fit neatly in a box to find worldwide audiences. I’ve been humbled by the public’s enthusiastic response to our stories. We’ve been nominated for several “Best of” collections, the Pushcart Prize, and several more honors that are currently in the works.

To find out more about Lisa and Running Wild Press, go to runningwildpress.com 

Previous articles about Lisa Diane Kastner and Running Wild Press include:
Small Town Gal blog: Editor Profile – Lisa Diane Kastner 
JMWW blog: Running Wild: An Interview With Lisa Diane Kastner By Curt Smith
Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
The Speculative Fiction Cantina 
Books Chatter blog
Littsburgh 
Additional audio interviews are available on Soundcloud

As for me, Gemma – I’m still gobsmacked by this whole thing! Thank you, Lisa and congrats to all the talented people involved!

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