Announcing the 2015 Sisikiyou Prize

We are thrilled to announce that the second annual Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature is now open for submissions!

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Last year we had a great turnout, and we hope this year is even better. (To learn about last year’s winner and finalists, click here.) It’s wonderful to see so many fine writers tackling the issues of the environment and animal protection through great stories, novels, memoirs, and essays.

This year, we’re delighted to have Ann Pancake as our final judge. (If you haven’t read her amazing novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been, about mountaintop removal mining, get yourself a copy right now; this gorgeous, important novel is among the best of contemporary environmental literature.)

The 2015 prize winner will receive $1,000, a four-week residency at PLAYA, and an offer of publication from Ashland Creek Press. Visit the Siskiyou Prize website for complete details and to submit.

Also, please note that we will be closing for regular submissions as of March 15 in order to focus on prize submissions — so if you’d like to submit a non-prize entry, feel free to do so before the Ides of March. (Regular submissions will open again after the prize closes.)

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We look forward to reading your work!

 

Posted in Books, Eco-Fiction, Eco-literature, For authors, News from Ashland Creek Press, On animals, On nature, On publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Among Animals: An anthology that’s just getting started

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When we put out a call for submissions for our first planned anthology, Among Animals, we didn’t know what to expect. We had a vision for the types of stories we wanted, but we weren’t sure if there were enough writers out there who shared this vision.

Fortunately, we found many writers interested in exploring the human-animal connection. And we are very proud of the finished product.

We then wondered if there was an audience of readers who shared this vision? After all, we weren’t trying to sell a cute little collection of animal stories. This is, for many, a challenging collection to read. The stories deal with uncomfortable and, at times, very painful topics.

But now, a year later, I’m happy to say that Among Animals has indeed resonated with readers. The reviews alone have been very gratifying, and they continue to appear, in major publications such as Booklist to literary journals like The Chattahoochee Review.

Among the most recent reviews is this one from The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment, and Culture in Canada:

Among Animals is as provocative as it is urgent, and as accessible as it is emotional. This collection will be useful to animal studies specialists, posthumanist scholars, and ecocritics alike, as it attests to the multifarious systems within which humans co-exist with non-human others. The collection will serve readers with professed interests in the identity and subject formation of any social “other,” who is systematically and institutionally overlooked and undervalued, for the discourse that surrounds “the question of the animal” is by no means limited to the effects of a humanistic hierarchy on animals alone. And finally, beyond Among Animals’ tremendous theoretical and philosophical promise, the stories herein will leave an indelible impression on a compassionate readership that questions and challenges humans’ particularly privileged subject position in order to engender a more ethical framework for living not as entities separated from the world, but as sensitive and reciprocal elements of an inherently valuable, shared environment.”

And this from Sabotage Reviews:

“All of the stories were written with the laudable goal of legitimizing the need for recognition (and application) of the rights of animals in our interactions with them…This anthology reiterates [the human-animal] connection over and over again, in a myriad of ways, expanding that connection from the realm of pets, through domesticated livestock, until it encompasses all of the things that we call ‘nature,’ revealing (in a way that is wholly free from the saccharine flavor of sentiment) that we are and always have been part of the web of the world.”

And The Chattahoochee Review wrote:

“The sixteen talented writers who have produced Among Animals have produced more artistic possibilities than limitations in the tone and mood … very fine literary fiction.”

So, what next?

It’s time to begin looking forward to the next edition.

We recently opened the submission window and we welcome your stories.

But, before you do submit, please take a look the current anthology to get a feel for what we’re looking for. Click here to see where you can find the book — or, ask your local library to purchase a copy.

 

Posted in Ashland news, Eco-Fiction, News from Ashland Creek Press, On animals, The writing life | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tips for Authors: Reaching out to book bloggers

With traditional media cutting book editors and reviewers, “book bloggers” are becoming a popular and often very successful way for books to get noticed. While not all book bloggers are professional critics, they are all passionate readers, and if they have a good following on their blog (as well as social media), a good review could lead to great word of mouth for your book.

Because not all book bloggers read every type of book, be sure to look at their review policies before contacting them. And there are dozens and dozens of other book review bloggers out there, so while this list offers a start, it is far from comprehensive.

Also note that while most publishers reserve the majority of ARCs for major media, they do occasionally send out ARCs to book bloggers – so check with your publisher before contacting book bloggers to ensure that there’s no overlap.

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A few tips for contacting book bloggers:

  • Always check out their reviews to make sure your book is a good fit
  • Make sure the blogger has an audience—look for a large number of followers (in the hundreds, at least); look for comments that show that the blog has an active community of readers; check its Facebook page and Twitter feed to make sure it has a good number of followers
  • If the blogger does giveaways, this is a good way to get more potential readers interested; you may be able to ask the blogger to donate his/her review copy, or you may need to send two books (consider giving away e-books as well)
  • If the blog features author articles or interviews, offer to do a guest post or a Q&A; this will give you excellent additional exposure
  • Always remember to offer a bio, an author photo, and a book cover image
  • Try to coordinate posts/reviews with events you’ll be doing, for additional exposure
  • Go beyond book-review blogs to blogs on topics that relate to your book (for example, if your book involves travel, find a travel blog and pitch a guest post; the blogger may also be happy to review the book if it’s a place he/she has visited)
  • When the review/article/interview appears, share it far and wide, in emails to friends and family as well as social media—word of mouth is the single best way to find new readers!

And check out this mini Q&A with book blogger Serena Agusto-Cox of Savvy Verse & Wit, which is included in Everyday Book Marketing, for a book blogger’s point of view.

Posted in For authors, On publishing, On reading, On writing, The writing life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Environmentalism and fishing: Strange bedfellows

I’m struck by the number of books that equate fishing (particularly fly fishing) with “being one with the environment.”

Personally, I find this idea to be a total crock.

Yes, I’ve fished.  And fishing was a great excuse to get out into nature.

But I vividly remember as a child when I caught a rock bass and was then expected to cut it up for dinner. I wanted to put that fish back in the water. But that wasn’t how it worked.

You fish. You catch the fish. You eat the fish.

And because I so hated killing that rock bass, that became the last time I did fish.

I understand the whole “man vs. fish” dynamic. It is exciting on some level.

But it’s not exactly a fair fight. And it’s not environmental.

If you needed fish to survive, then it makes sense.

But if you use fishing as your excuse to leave home to go out into the great outdoors, perhaps you should pack some food instead. Go for a hike. Go birdwatching. Or just stand at the shore and identify the fish that swim past.

Why do human activities so often get benchmarked against what we take from nature?

Is nature a theme park? Or is nature something else? Something better?

If you’re a writer and you want to write about fishing, perhaps you can consider some of these issues? As a press, we want to see writing that pushes the envelope on what environmental should be and can be. That’s a major reason why we founded The Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature.

Posted in Books, Eco-Fiction, Eco-literature, For authors, On animals, On writing, Siskiyou Prize, The writing life | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Another vegan cheese tasting…

Our samplings of vegan cheeses continues! The good news is that is a wonderful journey, and I’ve loved almost every cheese I’ve tried so far. (Check out our last vegan cheese tasting if you missed it.)

Alas, not one of the cheeses from our previous tasting is yet available here in Ashland (we’re working on this). Fortunately, the amazing Miyoko’s Kitchen delivers. In the online store, you can order a “collection” of plant-based cheeses or mix and match. We ordered one of the collections, which included Aged English Smoked Farmhouse, Aged English Sharp Farmhouse, and High Sierra Rustic Alpine.

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The cheeses arrived within two days via FedEx, in a large box packed with ice packs. (Note: Because Miyoko’s is based in the Bay Area, shipping is considerably cheaper if you live on the West Coast than across the country. Wherever you live, though, it’s worth it.)

Each cheese is beautifully packaged, and they traveled very well.

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We first sampled the High Sierra Rustic Alpine, described as a “semi-hard, nutty round with sweet overtones and a creamy buttery finish.” It’s all of these things, and delicious. It is supposed to melt well, too, as this cheese “can also be used for fondue or mixed in a risotto.” But it is also terrific on crackers or a nice baguette.

Next we sampled the Aged English Smoked Farmhouse, which closely resembles smoked gouda — not quite as firm, but every bit as yummy. And, finally, the Aged English Sharp Farmhouse, pictured below, is a bit firmer and sharper, and while it’s great spread on crackers and bread, this one would be wonderful sliced thin for sandwiches.

cheeseThe cheeses from Miyoko’s range in price from $10 to $12 for each 6-oz box, plus shipping, and they have a 60-day shelf life. (And some of the cheeses, like the sharp farmhouse, will continue to age and ripen in the fridge, deepening in flavor and texture.)

Check out Miyoko’s Kitchen for more info on these cheeses, and many more (next on our list: all of the double-cream cheeses, and the Country Style Herbes de Provence). Of course, all of these plant-based cheeses are vegan, organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO. If you see something you want to try, order it fast, before it sells out; featured cheeses will change periodically.

Also: check out the Miyoko’s Kitchen blog for recipes and news, and for the adventurous: make them yourself with Miyoko Schinner’s book, Artisan Vegan Cheese.

 

 

 

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