Love Letters in an Abusive Relationship


The author's facial expression as his brain hurts
My brain hurts…

I suspect many other authors and publishers received a message from Amazon in their email this morning. The missive relates to Amazon’s ongoing battle with Hachette, considered one of the “big” book publishers.

Since finding themselves in a deadlock–which seems to stem from Amazon wanting to increase its cut from sales of Hachette books–the two companies have been very public in posting comments to each other. It has gotten quite messy, and since there isn’t enough transparency for us bystanders to make fully educated judgements it’s hard to say what is really going on. Or, what the outcome will be. The general consensus is, however, that the results of this struggle could shape the future of the publishing industry.

Further compounding issues is the fact that Amazon is reporting enormous losses. Their profitability plummeted despite increasing sales by 25% in the last year. This is a familiar pattern for the company, with poor performance in seven of the last nine quarters. It sounds like Amazon is heading into bad territory. Of course, they have investments in new products that could potentially pay off, and an overall worth of $147 billion to fall back on if things gets too rough.

How many authors or even publishers can make such a claim?

Instead of being a facetious question that is the actual crux of the entire issue. You see, Amazon is suggesting the dispute is over their retail pricing suggestions. More simply put: everyone follow their business model, one built on using products as loss leaders–hooks to lure consumers in for more profitable purchases–and outlasting besieged competitors. However, if the business model is not even working for Amazon with their vast resources to draw from, how can it work for the rest of us, and–worst of all–will it lead to Amazon’s failure?

Whether you are pro-Amazon or against, or indifferent, we are now at a place where things would not be good for all of us if they go under. I don’t want to see all those sales go away for the distributors and manufacturers, not to mention the independent sellers with listings on Amazon. All the shops and chains Amazon is accused of putting out of business will not magically come back if they disappear, and I shudder to think what will happen to the shipping industry. So, then, let’s take a look at making things work out. How do we engineer a good solution?

It does not start with hobbling content creators, considered in Amazon’s corporate plan one of their four pillars of success. They are trying to couch the discussion in terms of the price consumers pay for eBooks. That is generally a free market issue where people who charge too much will whither and die, or correct their course. None of this seems to have anything to do with Amazon wanting a steeper cut of the book sales, if Hachette’s claims are to be believed anyway.

Whatever the case, in the letter sent out today they criticize Hachette for hiding behind the authors and essentially disregard the authors as being a consideration in the amount of money being paid or received. Then, at the end of the letter they call on authors to take part and actively go against Hachette in an email campaign…making them a shield for Amazon. So, which is it? Should authors be in the middle of the debate or not?

Even more questionable is this: whether the debate is over the sales price, or the amount Amazon takes from the sales, either way boils down to authors receiving less money per sale. And: asking the authors to actively pursue this business model. If I ask you to remove your shoe so I can hit you with it…you will say no. Right? Or, at least tell me to go buy my own shoe to hit you with.

Listen, authors already make so little most of them have to rely on other sources of income, juggling a number of jobs and hats, and what little money they can make is often a matter of dispute with their publishers. You’re seriously going to appeal to authors’ sense of…what? Brand loyalty to Amazon to override their sense of self preservation?

Speaking of which, check the following from Publisher’s Lunch regarding Amazon vs. Hachette:

“In a recent survey of almost 5,300 buyers (completed July 19), Peter Hildick-Smith of the Codex Group reports finding high awareness of the dispute. Just over 39 percent of respondents indicated that they were aware of the standoff.
Among those book buyers aware of the dispute who have an opinion on that disagreement, 19 percent said they were buying fewer books from Amazon, while 4.4 percent said they were buying more books from the etailer.”

Brand loyalty aside, perhaps Amazon is counting on authors being so upset about failing to convince publishers to invest in their manuscripts that they will overlook the details of their argument. Rejection stings, after all, but then so do the details.

The letter Amazon sent out opens with a citation of technological changes in publishing, such as the innovation of the paperback in addition to hardcovers, changing price dynamics. Technology advances and changes have nothing to do with the current disagreement; the argument isn’t about killing Kindle or eBooks to preserve the sanctity of hard copies. That ship sailed and sank years ago.

If you know anything about what experts term “the race to the bottom” in digital content–which has impacted the music, film, video game, and pornography industries–you might grasp that maybe there is a struggle to maintain the perception that people should pay an amount that makes it possible to continue generating products.

Because I can’t say to my son, “Hey buddy! I sold 25% more, but we lost so much I can’t pay the mortgage.” If seven out of nine times I check my money and find myself losing money, what then? Sure, I do follow Amazon’s model somewhat by offering books for a dollar or as a free download from time to time in order to generate interest. BUT. I also have to cover time spent on accounting, the time I spend on writing and editing, and that invested by the authors who publish with me, so I can’t offer everything at minimal pricing.

The profit margin on hardcopy books is not great, but they do cost more to produce which in turn involves higher cost for the consumer. Maybe eBooks don’t get printed and warehoused, but there does exist an investment on all sides of the equation: eBook conversion services cost, as do book designers, design software with eBook conversion software, the logistics people on the retail end, and the aforementioned editors and authors developing books.

If that last bit really isn’t worth anything shouldn’t we tell all the tech companies and pharmaceuticals to stop hiding behind “research and development” as an excuse for high costs? Are we really going to expect authors to ignore the years of work that go into their books and tell publishers to slash prices?

Or, should we acknowledge that Amazon really, really needs content to make their investment in Kindle–and the Kindle Unlimited program launched last month–pay off? At what cost are they providing content to consumers, though, in order to sell all those Kindles…and offset Amazon Prime memberships…

As somebody who has Kindle books available I of course want it to succeed, especially in light of Nook’s failure.
Yes, Alibaba is growing in a strong way, but if Amazon wants to brace against them for the long haul they need to strengthen their overall business model, not sell everyone on business models that don’t work for them–or even Amazon itself. Hey, if we insist realtors slash prices then everyone could live in a mansion. Okay, that’s silly, but it is not silly to think Amazon will turn around and demand to renegotiate every deal they have with publishers if Hachette caves to their demands.

In the meantime, we have volleys of letters, blog posts, and emails from both Hachette and Amazon. Until now I have been thinking Amazon’s preemptive strikes in public–such as their bribe to authors by offering to create a fund for them–were effective at least. Hachette’s latest offensive will hit the pages of the New York Post tomorrow, and with signatures from 900 authors, including some of the biggest industry, it seems the tide has turned. Especially with Amazon’s vice president calling twice in the past two weeks in attempts to personally put an end to this…and failing.

What follows is the letter Amazon hopes will improve their luck, in its entirety. What is your opinion? Please let me know in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

* * *

Dear KDP Author,

Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book. This was a time when movie tickets cost 10 or 20 cents, and books cost $2.50. The new paperback cost 25 cents – it was ten times cheaper. Readers loved the paperback and millions of copies were sold in just the first year.

With it being so inexpensive and with so many more people able to afford to buy and read books, you would think the literary establishment of the day would have celebrated the invention of the paperback, yes? Nope. Instead, they dug in and circled the wagons. They believed low cost paperbacks would destroy literary culture and harm the industry (not to mention their own bank accounts). Many bookstores refused to stock them, and the early paperback publishers had to use unconventional methods of distribution – places like newsstands and drugstores. The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new paperback format, if “publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them.” Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion.

Well… history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Fast forward to today, and it’s the e-book’s turn to be opposed by the literary establishment. Amazon and Hachette – a big US publisher and part of a $10 billion media conglomerate – are in the middle of a business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market – e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive.

Perhaps channeling Orwell’s decades old suggestion, Hachette has already been caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise e-book prices. So far those parties have paid $166 million in penalties and restitution. Colluding with its competitors to raise prices wasn’t only illegal, it was also highly disrespectful to Hachette’s readers.

The fact is many established incumbents in the industry have taken the position that lower e-book prices will “devalue books” and hurt “Arts and Letters.” They’re wrong. Just as paperbacks did not destroy book culture despite being ten times cheaper, neither will e-books. On the contrary, paperbacks ended up rejuvenating the book industry and making it stronger. The same will happen with e-books.

Many inside the echo-chamber of the industry often draw the box too small. They think books only compete against books. But in reality, books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive.

Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We’ve quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that’s 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger.

But when a thing has been done a certain way for a long time, resisting change can be a reflexive instinct, and the powerful interests of the status quo are hard to move. It was never in George Orwell’s interest to suppress paperback books – he was wrong about that.

And despite what some would have you believe, authors are not united on this issue. When the Authors Guild recently wrote on this, they titled their post: “Amazon-Hachette Debate Yields Diverse Opinions Among Authors” (the comments to this post are worth a read). A petition started by another group of authors and aimed at Hachette, titled “Stop Fighting Low Prices and Fair Wages,” garnered over 7,600 signatures. And there are myriad articles and posts, by authors and readers alike, supporting us in our effort to keep prices low and build a healthy reading culture. Author David Gaughran’s recent interview is another piece worth reading.

We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute between large companies. Some have suggested that we “just talk.” We tried that. Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store. Since then Amazon has made three separate offers to Hachette to take authors out of the middle. We first suggested that we (Amazon and Hachette) jointly make author royalties whole during the term of the dispute. Then we suggested that authors receive 100% of all sales of their titles until this dispute is resolved. Then we suggested that we would return to normal business operations if Amazon and Hachette’s normal share of revenue went to a literacy charity. But Hachette, and their parent company Lagardere, have quickly and repeatedly dismissed these offers even though e-books represent 1% of their revenues and they could easily agree to do so. They believe they get leverage from keeping their authors in the middle.

We will never give up our fight for reasonable e-book prices. We know making books more affordable is good for book culture. We’d like your help. Please email Hachette and copy us.

Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch:

Copy us at:

Please consider including these points:

– We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive.
– Lowering e-book prices will help – not hurt – the reading culture, just like paperbacks did.
– Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle.
– Especially if you’re an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue.

Thanks for your support.

The Amazon Books Team

P.S. You can also find this letter at

The Troublesome Amputee Giveaway!

amputeecoverThe Goodreads giveaway for a signed copy of The Troublesome Amputee launches today, and is open through September 25th! Sign up for a chance to win…after all it’s a free book shipped anywhere in the world. Maybe today will be your lucky day? While you are at it don’t forget my fiction collection Discouraging at Best is still available as a giveaway on Goodreads at

About The Troublesome Amputee

Bram Stoker Award Finalist
2 nominations for the Dwarf Stars Award
2 nominations for the Rhysling Award

From the introduction by Michael A. Arnzen: Welcome to one of the meatiest collections of grizzly, grotey, bizarro poetry you’ll come across. In other words, “the good stuff.” The stuff you like to read. The guilty pleasure stuff that’s hard to come by. Not the stuff you used to read from your lovers or childhood heroes, or the stuff you were made to read by your teachers or parents. The stuff you genuinely like to spend time with, musing and mulling and mashing. The stuff that makes you guffaw with laughter and want to read out loud to other unsuspecting people.

What they are saying about The Troublesome Amputee:

“There are few books like this one. Even within the new and growing Bizarro movement Lawson has released a book full literary razorblades in the form of poetry. Lawson’s work shines through the whole spectrum, including funny, sad, morbid, disgusting and meaningful poems. Libraries looking offer a unique book of poetry that spits in the face of conventional, sugary sweet, or pretentious ‘literary’ poetry, that expresses a dissident voice of gloom should put this book in the shelf. Recommended.”
Monster Librarian

“Reflective and, at times, philosophical. Lawson’s use of language is accomplished and often very evocative.”

“Mr. Lawson makes a good case for himself as a poet. He comes on like Catholicism, Palahniuk, and Lovecraft on bad acid. Sometimes rambling away on a titular theme, but occasionally spouting a bit of profundity. To say he’s focused on the macabre, the moribund, and the painful is understating where Lawson’s coming from…if you can get past the ‘disturbed’ nature of the first third of this collection and want to read some humorously nasty gems I can recommend The Troublesome Amputee.”

“Lawson proves he’s a poet to reckon with…The Troublesome Amputee not only confirmed John Edward Lawson as a triple threat (editor, poet, writer of fiction), but shows why he’s among the leading pioneers of the Bizarro genre.”
Midwest Book Review

“I believe I am now a Lawson convert. The Troublesome Amputee has opened my eyes to new possibilities in poetry, and I am eager to seek out more of his work. Lawson has a way of getting under my skin with his words, making them memorable long after the pages have closed. That said, I wouldn’t recommend reading many of the poems in one sitting; there are so many ideas and images that come so quickly that I needed time in between readings to process things properly. Too much is bound lead to some sort of mental or emotional overload.”
Somebody Dies

“Lawson is genuinely one of the best horror poets writing today.”
The Swallow’s Tail

“Did somebody say ‘crazy poetry’? I am actually running out at 5 p.m. today and finding myself a copy of John Edward Lawson’s The Troublesome Amputee. I can think of few things sweeter than going up to a be-turtlenecked struggling poet, giving the sullen fellow a copy of this book, and saying, ‘Nice angst there, Raven, but your poems don’t have nearly enough werewolves.'”

“Lawson’s poetry inspires, sings, dissects, and screams, reflecting his unique insight to a world willing to indulge in self-amputation: harming itself in unexplained ways. Whimsical, strange, and unflinchingly true, Lawson’s work is always entertaining. Like coming home to unanswered screams, Lawson’s poems weave words into unforgettable songs of sweet darkness.”
—Linda Addison, Bram Stoker Award winning author of Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes

“I’m a big fan of John Edward Lawson’s work, and The Troublesome Amputee is by far his best poetry collection to date. It’s sometimes hilariously funny, sometimes deadly serious, but always morbid (often really morbid) and thought-provoking. Any horror fan—even those who aren’t into poetry—should check this one out.”
—Jeff Strand, author of Pressure and Casket for Sale (Only Used Once)

“With this blistering salvo of poetic gutshots Lawson has proven himself Bizarro’s true bard, its mad laureate. Switching from dark whimsy to retina-blast shock to political outrage without missing a beat, The Troublesome Amputee is a powerful collection of pitch-black verse.”
—Jeremy Robert Johnson, author of Angel Dust Apocalypse and Skullcrack City

Enter the Goodreads giveaway at

Grants For Canadian Writers

The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to equity and inclusion, and welcomes applications from diverse Aboriginal, cultural and regional communities, including people with disabilities.

Please refer to the complete Program Guidelines [PDF, 785.2 KB].

Program Description

The Grants for Professional Writers program covers subsistence, project and travel expenses. The Creative Writing Grants component gives Canadian authors (emerging, mid-career and established) time to write new literary works, including novels, short stories, poetry, children’s and young adults’ literature, graphic novels, exploratory writing and literary non-fiction.

Exploratory writing is writing that uses technology to present literature in an innovative manner and (or) explores forms of literature outside the conventions of the novel, short story or poem.


1 April: French-Language Grants

1 October: English-Language Grants

If one of these dates falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline moves to the next business day. Your completed application and all support material must be postmarked on or before the deadline date.

Grant Amount

Emerging Writers

Grants for emerging writers are intended for writers who have published one literary book with a professional publishing house or the minimum of past literary publications required, as detailed in the eligibility criteria. The grant amounts offered are from $3,000 to $12,000.

Mid-Career Writers

Mid-career writers must have published between two and five literary books (all genres included) with a professional publishing house. The grant amounts offered are from $3,000 to $25,000.

Established Writers

Established writers must have published at least six literary books (all genres included) with a professional publishing house. The grant amounts offered are from $3,000 to $25,000.


To apply to the Canada Council for the Arts, you must be a Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status, as defined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. You do not need to be living in Canada when you apply.

You must also meet the Canada Council’s definition of a professional artist, which is an artist who:

  • has specialized training in the artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions)
  • is recognized as a professional by his or her peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition), and
  • is committed to devoting more time to artistic activity, if possible financially.

To meet the definition of a professional creative writer, you must also have:

  • at least one literary book published by a professional publishing house, or
  • for fiction, a minimum of four texts of creative literary writing (e.g. short stories, excerpts from a novel) published on two separate occasions in literary magazines, recognized periodicals (including general interest magazines), or anthologies published by professional publishing houses, or
  • for poetry, a minimum of 10 published poems is required, or
  • for literary non-fiction, a minimum of 40 pages (10,000 words) of literary articles published in literary magazines, recognized periodicals or anthologies published by professional publishing houses.

Further Information

Suzanne Keeptwo
Program Officer
Writing and Publishing Section

1-800-263-5588 (toll free) or 613-566-4414  ext. 5482

TTY: 1-866-585-5559

The Hambridge Creative Residency Program

Application Deadlines:

  • Apply from December 1st through January 15th for the May through August residency period.
  • Apply from March 1st through April 15th for the September through December residency period.
  • Apply from August 1st through September 15th for the mid-February through April residency period.

Hambidge is closed from mid-December to mid-February.

Hambidge utilizes SlideRoom for residency applications which requires signing up and creating a password. You will be able to save incomplete applications and return to them later.  Below is a summary of the information requested on the application.  Hambidge will only accept on-line applications.

Note: All new applicants will automatically be considered for the NEA Fellowship which provides a $700 stipend and removes residency fees for two weeks. This is offered to the nine top scoring candidates. Many other Distinguished Fellowships are available. Click here for a full list.

Click here for the on-line application.

Application materials include:

Applicant Statement/Proposal
A one-page statement/proposal which addresses the concept and direction of presented work, stage of career and why Hambidge is important to your project.

A 300-word Bio which includes a brief description of education, training, achievements and honors.

Resume/Summary of Professional Activities & Achievements
This one-page summary should include educational background, teaching, publications, exhibitions, awards, honors and other pertinent experience.

Work Examples
These should be recent and representative of the best work according to the applicant’s medium and discipline. First time applicants and returning Fellows applying after 5 years should submit work examples as described below. These will be reviewed by the peer panels. Recent Fellows are asked to submit one group of examples to update our files.

  • Visual Arts and Ceramics – Ten high resolution images of your work. Any detail images must be included in that number. Image format: jpg, gif or png; up to 5 MB each. If your work includes video, sound, or performance, you may include video or sound files within your total of ten items. Audio format: mp3; up to 30 MB each; Video format: flv, wmv, mov or mp4; up to 61 MB each.
  • Writing - Up to 30 pages of a novel, play, short story or other written work. Please include a synopsis if necessary. Poets submit 5 to 8 poems or appropriate excerpts from longer works. Please put your name on each page of your submission and pages numbers on multi-page entries. For writers who work in languages other than English, submit both original language examples and English translations. Document format: pdf; up to 10 MB each.
  • Musical Composition and Performance – Submit no more than 3 separate works. Audio format: mp3; up to 30 MB each.
  • Dance, Choreoraphy, Performance Art, Film and Video – Submit no more than 4 separate works. Video format: flv, wmv, mov or mp4; up to 61 MB each.
  • Design (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Environmental Design) - Submit no more than three project/design examples, up to 4 general images of each and no more than four additional, detail images of each. Image format: jpg, gif or png; up to 5 MB each.
  • Natural, Environmental, or Social Sciences – Provide curriculum vitae and abstracts from recent works along with descriptions of your areas of research. Document format: pdf; up to 10 MB each.

$30 Application Fee
The last stage of the on-line application will require payment via credit or debit card.

Also, on the application, you will need to supply your first, second and third choice dates for your residency, making the variation in those dates as wide as possible. Residencies may vary from 2 to 8 weeks. Arrival is on Tuesdays and departure on Sundays. Eight-week residencies will only be scheduled in late fall, winter and early spring. The maximum length of residencies awarded for mid-May, through mid-August is four weeks. Applications for one week residencies are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Collaborators must submit individual applications, but may choose to share studio/living space.

Hambidge no longer requires letters of recommendation as part of the application materials.

NEA Creative Writing Fellowships

The NEA Literature Fellowships program offers $25,000 grants in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) and poetry to published creative writers that enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement.

The NEA Literature Fellowships program operates on a two-year cycle with fellowships in prose and poetry available in alternating years. For FY 2015, which is covered by these guidelines, fellowships in poetry are available.

You may apply only once each year.

Please see the archive of the February 5th  guidelines workshop webinar.

If you have questions about your application, please contact the Literature staff at 202/682-5034 or e-mail

Kindle Unlimited: The Horrible

The Horrible book coverI was not aware of the Kindle Unlimited launch two weeks ago, but I certainly am now that my sales figures are starting to trickle in. If you are not yet familiar with Kindle Unlimited the concept is essentially “Netflix for books”–something a few other companies have also attempted in the last 6 months. For $9.99 residents of the USA can read an unlimited amount of Kindle books with over 600,000 titles to choose from, including thousands of Audible audio books.

Limiting the customer base by not making the program available worldwide concerned me, at first, but allowing my titles to compete with 600,000 others instead of 6 million others has had an interesting effect:

horribleamazon2With no effort at all–without realizing it was even happening!–my poetry collection The Horrible has suddenly jumped up in the African American Poetry rankings, topped only by The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou and the latest from Nikki Giovanni. Despite having the best search engine around poetry is a tough sell on Amazon because, unlike fiction and nonfiction categories, you can’t list your books by subject matter, just by time period or ethnicity/gender. I can only surmise, then, that Kindle Unlimited is responsible for these recent sales figures.

So, if you already decided to pay $9.99 a month give my work a look since it won’t cost you anything. The same is true of reading The Horrible through Amazon’s Kindle Lending Library. Let us not forget there is still the option of, you know, just purchasing the book outright…perhaps such suggestions are too old fashioned, though. Will free samples from my poetry collection help you make your decision? If that is what it takes here are two for you:

Went Horribly Wrong

It takes a special
kind of good Samaritan
to sneak extra helpings
of flesh machines into
the bodies of the healthy,
bequeathing by knife point.
A Robin Hood of black
market organs, returning
his refrigerated surplus
to the masses, benign.

# # #

Carbon Dating Service

She finds me frozen in time
and sets me alight with her words,
freeing me and torturing me by turns,
distilling my blood to rock-candy bites.
She traces this sin-drenched confection
along her lips, leaving them charred
with the sticky-sweet trace of my scars.
This incomplete attempt at redemption
freeing me, and torturing me by turns.
She finds me frozen in time…

# # #

You can find The Horrible in Kindle format at

DogCon Countdown: Lucy Snyder

Author Lucy Snyder
Author Lucy Snyder

Will you be in the western Pennsylvania area this coming weekend, July 25-27? If so come to Confluence, Pittsburgh’s literary conference of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Confluence has been kind enough to host DogCon 3 (the annual gathering of Raw Dog Screaming Press) this year. This will give you a chance to meet author Lucy Snyder!

Here is her schedule at Confluence:

  • Friday 6 pm Happiness in Horror
  • Friday 7 pm The Games We Play
  • Friday 8 pm RDSP Rapid Fire Reading
  • Friday 9 pm SOFT APOCALYPSES launch party
  • Saturday 12 pm SF as Games; Games as SF
  • Saturday 4 pm Collaboration
  • Saturday 10 pm Erotica: Writing, reading in more than 50 shades of grey
  • Sunday 12 pm Writing and the Day Job
  • Sunday 1 pm Truly Creative: Financial realities of the writing life
  • Sunday 2 pm The Amazon’s Right Breast: Women in Combat

About Lucy Snyder

Lucy A. Snyder is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the novels Spellbent,Shotgun Sorceress, Switchblade Goddess, and the collections Sparks and Shadows,Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. Her writing has appeared in Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Hellbound Hearts, Doctor Who Short Trips: Destination Prague, Chiaroscuro, GUD, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Lucy was born in South Carolina but grew up in San Angelo, Texas. She currently lives in Worthington, Ohio with her husband and occasional co-author Gary A. Braunbeck.

Lucy has a BS in biology and an MA in journalism and is a graduate of the 1995 Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop; her classmates included authors Kelly Link and Nalo Hopkinson.

She has worked as a computer systems specialist, science writer, biology tutor, researcher, software reviewer, radio news editor, and bassoon instructor. In her past life as an editor, she published Dark Planet and selected poetry and software reviews for HMS Beagle. She currently produces a column for Horror World on science and technology for writers and coordinates the writing workshops at the annual Context conference.

If genres were wall-building nations, Lucy’s stories would be forging passports, jumping fences, swimming rivers and dodging bullets. You can learn more about her at

About Soft Apocalypses

Lucy A. Snyder proves once again that she is fearless in mapping every corner of the literary landscape. Not content to be confined to any single region, she guides readers through dark realms of fantasy into the churning industry of steampunk, from the dizzying heights of science fiction down to the most desolate depths of horror.

The strength of the tales that make up this quiet cataclysm—for example “Magdala Amygdala,” winner of the 2013 Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction—do not compete. Instead they overlap to create a vista of ethical armageddons at once thorny and hopeful. Snyder’s irresistible prose and stunning eye for detail bind together a collection that defies expectation but delivers deep satisfaction.


The man your librarian warned you about…


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