The Oilman’s Daughter gets a release date!

Steampunk, like Hansel, is so hot right now, and that’s a good thing because here at LHP we’ve got a soft spot for period pieces and settings like that. We also think we’re on the cusp of a new Renaissance in the genre of space opera. Let’s face it: when the SyFy channel has a bunch of new shows that fit nicely into the mold, and they’re all pretty good (or at least, look good from what we’ve seen in previews), you know that readers will once again start turning their minds toward the stars, and the ships that ply the lanes between them.

Local Hero Press is pleased to announce a new book release coming late next month: The Oilman’s Daughter, by Allison M. Dickson and Ian Thomas Healy. It’s an epic adventure mixing up the genres of steampunk and space opera in a fun and exciting way. Imagine a world where atomic power exists side by side with steam, but nobody ever developed the refinement process to turn crude oil into gasoline. In this world, steam-powered spaceships cruise around Earth orbit, fueled by coke-powered furnaces, while an atomic powered train runs along orbital rails between Houston, Texas and Paris, France. Young businessman Jonathan Orbital, heir to the fortune of the family who built the Circumferential Rail, meets a mysterious Frenchwoman who possesses a secret that could change the scope of the world’s economy nearly overnight. When she is kidnapped by the dashing space pirate Phinneas Greaves, captain of the cutter Ethershark, it launches a high-powered adventure ranging from the lava caves of the Moon to Nikola Tesla’s distant Lagrange Sargasso to the Dustbowl of the Midwest.

The Oilman’s Daughter releases September 29, 2015. Preorders will be available soon!

Concept character art by cover artist Chaz Kemp:

Cecilie-Sketch Jonathan-Gentleman

The Book Formerly Known as Tales of the Weird Wild West

We’ve freshened up and retitled Tales of the Weird Wild West in preparation for releasing it in print. The gorgeous new cover is by our intern Shannon, and we think she did a fabulous job with it! The new title, Muddy Creek Tales, brings it in line with our plan for the future. There’s no new material in this one, so if you already picked up TotWWW, you don’t need to get this one. On the other hand, if you haven’t looked it over yet, and you’ve got 99 cents, why not download a copy and read some of the most fun stories of the Weird Wild West you might find this side of the Pecos? If you’re a fan of Spider Robinson’s Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon stories or enjoyed the TV series Wild Wild West and The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., you’ll find this collection right up your alley. Available from all online retailers!

Muddy Creek front coverAmazon

Local Hero Press supports diversity

With Tom Doherty of TOR Books recently coming out in support of the so-called Sad Puppies, we at Local Hero Press feel it’s an appropriate time to clearly state our position. We support and encourage diversity in all forms among our authors and their content. We do not and will not discriminate against any authors based upon their gender identification, racial background, religious preference, country or planet of origin, belief system, sexual orientation, caste, disability or veteran status, or any other means by which certain groups intend to disenfranchise other groups. We only care about your writing. If we like it, and think it’s good enough for us to proudly put our name upon it as your publisher, then we are glad to have you with us.

The life of an acquisitions editor

Let’s publish an anthology. About Superheroes. We’ll call it “Caped.”

Step one. A call for Submissions.

This was my first time working on a book in capacity of an acquiring editor. Of course, I had a bit of an idea on what to expect, meaning we asked for short stories about Superheroes up to 5,000 words, so I expected short stories about Superheroes up to 5,000 words. What I didn’t expect… Alien stories. So many alien stories. Blue aliens, telekinetic aliens, and aliens that looked like humans and dressed up as superheroes -I actually liked the idea of that one, but unfortunately in the end there just wasn’t enough superhero for it to work for Caped.

Sending form rejections was new to me. I learned that I’ll likely never smile and rejoice as I hit send on an electronic mail file that will unintentionally slice the ego of a fellow writer… unless it’s the tenth alien submission of the day. If that’s the case, then I might just uncork a bottle of wine, forgo the formal rejection template, and reply with “bibbity bobbity NO NO NO.” But, seriously, it is hard to say no, because truth is most of the submissions I’ve read are close to having everything I need and want, but just miss that mark of an acceptance or a request for a revision. Most of the time it’s subject manner. Like the aliens. It’s just not enough superhero for Caped. Sometimes it’s writing, though overall the writing has mostly been where it needs to be or close. One thing I have noticed is an over abundance of back story. This often leads to long passages of narration that is either the bulk of the story, or irrelevant to what the reader needs to know for the story. This is short fiction, folks. We don’t need to know the protagonist’s entire life story and what their favorite cereal is. We only need to know their current situation and maybe a few fun back story facts carefully sprinkled throughout the present story if they are needed for the protagonist to solve or not solve whatever dilemma they are in. It’s a story, a mini-story, but still needs all the basic elements of a full length novel, just condensed. Give it a nice gentle set up, bring it to a stimulating climax, and slide into the ending.

Revise and resubmit. Rule number one -don’t panic! You have plenty of time. We have decided that there was something special about your story. It may have aliens, but at the end it was still more superhero than alien. Good. It’s likely that there are a couple plot holes or something that’s just not quite jiving, but the premise of the story and/or characters of the story is too interesting to reject… yet. So, here’s another chance. Again, time. I’ve learned that writers rush this process. They revise and resubmit too fast. Just breathe. Read the story, get a couple beta readers, and pay attention to the similar comments they make. Polish it up and send it back. We already know we liked your story, so as long as we get the resubmit before the submission deadline, we are going to highly consider it.

Acceptance. Yay! The stories I say yes to are the ones that grab me on page one and make me forget I have a Facebook account or that I need to go find some chocolate. They are generally well written and get me invested in either the plot or the main character right away. I don’t have to wait a couple pages to figure out what’s going on, because it’s all laid out for me step by step. It’s the author’s world and they have me by the hand, walking me through, guiding me, answering some of my questions the moment I think to ask them and leaving others to pull me deeper into the story. In general, I have found that I know early on when I’m reading a submission I’m going to accept. And my favorite part of this Caped endeavor, what I want to do more than anything else, is read a story that makes me say, “yes.”

Caped is taking form one accepted submission at a time and it’s been a learning experience already. I’m eager to see the final product in its paper and glue form. I love holding the book in my hands and the idea of our accepted authors receiving their copies and eagerly flipping through the pages to see their published stories.

–Alicia

Welcome to our new intern!

We are pleased to welcome the newest (temporary) member of our staff, our summer intern Shannon! We first discussed the possibility of an internship back in 2014 and now we have someone who could do all our photocopying for us, if we only had a need for such a thing. Instead, we’re going to put her to work right away reading some submissions for CAPED as well as learning the ropes when it comes to producing ebooks and print books (because there are several projects on the short-term horizon and we need to get as much work out of her before she jets off to exotic foreign lands for next semester!).

Welcome, Shannon!


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Audiobook news!

People have been inquiring about the availability of Local Hero Press audiobooks. Although we do not have them for sale separately, we are pleased to share with you how you can listen to any Local Hero Press publication.

To do this, you need an epub version of any LHP book, available from Smashwords and Google Play Books (get the app here). It is also helpful to have Google Drive (get it here).

Heres what you do:
1. Purchase a Smashwords edition ebook and download the epub version.
2. Upload the epub file to your Google Drive.
3. In Google Play Books, go to Settings and enable “Enable PDF uploading”.
4. From Google Drive, download the epub file into Books.
5. Listen and enjoy! We’ve tested it and it works great!

If you’re still having trouble, we used this post from Google Support to make things clear.

Submissions now open for Caped anthology!

Local Hero Press is pleased to announce we are now accepting submissions for an anthology of original superhero fiction short stories, called Caped. Here is what we’re seeking:

  • Original superhero fiction stories that get into more depth about being a superhero than basic secret origin tales or superhero-versus-supervillain. Who are these people who have strange and wonderful powers and choose to use them for great justice? What makes them tick? Your characters should be original creations. We cannot consider work utilizing licensed characters.
  • Genre: Superhero
  • Style: Open to all/most styles
  • Subjects: Open to all/most subjects
  • Length: Up to 5000 words
  • Payment: $0.01 per word, rounded up to nearest $5.00 USD, paid via PayPal upon final acceptance of the contract by all parties.
  • Type of submissions accepted: Electronic only, see below for precise requirements
  • Reprints? No
  • Multiple Submissions? No
  • Simultaneous Submissions? Yes
  • Submissions close: August 31, 2015. This may be extended if required.
  • Response time: 4 weeks or sooner.
  • Publication date: December 1, 2015 or later if submissions period is extended.

Potential Authors:

You are submitting your work to Local Hero Press for publication in ebook and print format. We request exclusive worldwide rights for a period of six months from date of publication, followed by non-exclusive worldwide rights for a period of five years that renews every year afterward automatically unless cancelled by you or Local Hero Press. We will make no major alterations to your work, although we reserve the right to make minor copy-editing changes, subject to your approval prior to publication. If we determine we want to publish your work, a conditional offer will be made and you will receive a contract.

Submission Requirements:

Failure to follow these requirements pretty much guarantees we will reject your work. Email your submission as an attached .doc, .rtf, or .odt (our preferred format) to submissions@localheropress.com. Put in the subject line: CAPED Submission: (Story Title) by (Your Name). Give us a short summary of your story in the email body (no more than two or three sentences), and a short summary of who you are (previous publishing credits, etc.). Include your word count in the email.

Your manuscript should follow standard formatting protocol. We prefer Times New Roman and hate Papyrus. Please ensure your story is free from typos, spelling and grammatical errors. If you have questions, contact us at submissions@localheropress.com.

Good luck and we’re looking forward to seeing what you have for us!