Pages

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Familius Christmas Anthology 2012 (+GIVEAWAY)

Forget Link Blitz! Let's hit up a Christmas giveaway before the holiday takes us by storm!

Kristy Stewart, co-author and editor of The Familius Christmas Anthology, is giving away FOUR FREE e-copies of the book to  commenters chosen at random. (It's just the month of giveaways on this blog, ain't it?) Just leave some form of contact information and what format you would like the book in (.mobi for Kindle and .epub for everything else).

Kristy is a brilliant everything and a dear friend of mine, so I'm excited to showcase her on the blog today! So without further adieu...


Tell me a little about yourself.

Probably the most interesting factoid about me, for this audience, is that I’m a freelance editor. Outside of that, I’m a new mom (my husband and I just had our first child last month), a graduate student (I just went back for my master's degree starting this semester), and a huge fan of meddling around in my kitchen. I was born and raised in Utah, but I’ve lived a couple other places: Wales (for a few months of study abroad) and a very isolated town in Texas (for several months of military training for my husband).

Random facts: I enjoy the word heinous, I played rugby as a flanker for a few semesters in college, I love the smell of chlorine, and I wear my Chaco sandals year round (swimming and playing water polo in high school spawned those last two).

When did you start writing?
I started very young. I still have little stapled books from when I was in first grade. One is about a unicorn and a squirrel who become friends and the other is about a blue-footed booby. Of course, being a naive animal enthusiast in the first grade, I didn’t realize how strange it was that I was writing about boobies.

Since then I’ve done a lot of writing, but a little while ago I decided that editing was more important to me, so I started focusing on that instead of trying to make time for both. I became interested in the idea of editing collections of short stories or other works. Although I’ve been told that editing collections isn’t the most financially rewarding career path, I love the idea of being able to see and arrange a group of pieces that all speak to the same theme.

Tell me about THE FAMILIUS CHRISTMAS ANTHOLOGY.
The Familius Christmas Anthology was a project I came to late in the process. My co-conspirator, Rick Walton, had several projects running for Familius, a relatively new press focusing on family-centered books. The Christmas anthology—which includes short stories, poems & songs, recipes, and activities—had a seasonal deadline, and with all the projects he had in the air, Rick wasn’t sure he could finish in time, so he sent out a call for a collaborator. I love Christmas, I’m rather fond of my family, I already have aspirations of putting together anthologies, and I know a thing or two about ebooks. (The anthology is available as an ebook-only special for this year. Future years might see it in print depending on demand. As for the ebook knowledge, I can do basic ebook formatting, and I’m learning more about it every day.) So I jumped on the project.

Originally the collection was supposed to be a compilation of classic incarnations of items in the four categories. However, when I looked at the material Rick had already collected, I decided that using recipes from the 1800s wasn’t going to appeal to a modern audience (stories from the 1800s and early 1900s, however, are still pretty entertaining). So I wrote up original recipes for all sorts of things and invented a few of the activities.

Did the anthology present any special challenges?
There were a few. The first was that testing Christmas recipes in September (and some in October) was a little strange, and I had to improvise on some of the ingredients. For example, crushed candy canes, which I use in my meringue Snowcap Cookies, were not happening. Instead I used those round peppermint breath mints (I think they were harder to crush, honestly). Also, finding people willing to drink hot chocolate when it’s 80+ degrees outside can be tricky.

The second tricky thing for me was that I needed to get it done in time to make any revisions or changes before I had my baby. You see, the book and the baby were due around the same time. However, “before my baby is born” is a really sucky deadline. Who knows when he’s going to decide to come? So when I started having really bad contractions three weeks early, I freaked out a little bit. But the little guy held off, and the only thing I had to do from the hospital was send in my author bio. (Hence, my author bio is about two sentences long, and I can't remember what I said.)

The last challenge was purely technical. Instead of setting up the ebook files in a way that felt natural for me, I needed to use tags that matched Familius’s in-house style because a designer was going to significantly enhance the text once I turned it in. But it wasn’t a particularly difficult thing to do. Christopher Robbins (Pater Familius, i.e., the head of the publisher) sent me a very helpful style guide.

Where do you plan to go from here?
As far as publishing goes? I’m not sure. I know what I want to do in many other aspects of life—raising my son, conquering grad school, and filling my client list with people I love working for—but I’m not sure of my path with publishing. I’d like to work with Familius again if the opportunity presented itself; working with them has been a relatively smooth process. I’ve also thought about working to put together more anthologies, only now that I’ve done a seasonal one, I think I’d move on to some other theme. Who knows?

What advice can you give to other writers?
Do what you love and own what you do. That applies to your writing as well as your publishing path. When authors claim they don’t have time to write, or they can’t handle X, Y, or Z about their publishing path (traditional or self), I get a touch annoyed. You may not have time, but it’s because you’ve chosen to value other things more than writing (and sometimes this is a very good thing). Own that choice and either love it or change it. If you can’t handle something, change or adjust your path. Just own it and love it. Don’t yield control of your choices to “your circumstances.” Acknowledging, owning, and loving your choices is empowering, and it makes everything easier.

4 comments:

  1. Yay Kristy! Congrats on the baby and the anthology!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Whoo hoo! Who doesn't like free?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fun anthology!
    And thanks for sharing with us!

    ReplyDelete
  4. with people I love working for—but I’m not sure of my path with publishing. I’d like to work with Familius again if the opportunity presented itself; working with them has been a relatively smooth process. I’ve also thought about working to put together more anthologies, only now that I’ve done a seasonal one, I think I’d move on to some other theme. Who knows? phd dissertation writing service

    ReplyDelete