Friday, January 30, 2015

2015 Changes at Mocha Memoirs Press

2015 brings new and exciting changes to Mocha Memoirs Press
Mocha Memoirs Press takes a new direction and expands its staff

Mocha Memoirs Press has been a proud publisher of speculative and romantic fiction for the last five years and with over twelve years of publishing experience behind them, MMP is looking forward to the year 2015. In anticipation of continuing to publish enduring stories from talented authors, Mocha Memoirs Press is expanding its core staff to better serve our readers and authors.

Nicole Kurtz, the founder and owner of Mocha Memoirs Press, remains its fearless leader and loudest cheerleader. However, some new and old champions have been added to the team:

  • Editor-in-Chief: Rie Sheridan Rose
  • Horror Editor: Eden Royce
  • Proofreader: Novellette Whyte 
  • Art Director: Nancy Schultz
  • Communications and Promotions Coordinator: Laurel Cremant
  • Newsletter Coordinator: Wynelda Deaver

Ms. Kurtz is excited about the new changes and happy to share the news:
"Mocha Memoirs Press is excited to announce our new Editor-in-Chief and our editorial staff. Our new direction and structure will assist in streamlining submission acquisition and provide support for our new direction in the new year."

Changes from the new team are already evident in the revitalization of the publisher's newsletter, blog and submission process. Although, there has been a slight expansion and restructuring of staff, the mission of Mocha Memoirs Press remains the same: 
"To provide an outlet for outstanding speculative and romance stories that often fall beneath the radar of traditional publishing houses, and to provide quality stories that invigorate the reader’s literary palette like a good, strong coffee. Like great coffee houses, Mocha Memoirs Press offers a variety of flavors."

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Year, New Journeys...

And, a happy new year to all.  Time for new year’s resolutions we won’t keep, but that hopefully keep us pointed in the right direction at least.  Time to assess the year before and see how far we’ve come and if last year’s leg of life’s journey has lived up to expectations.

It’s been a dark year, in many ways.  Wars that seem never to begin or end, blurring into an endless gray mist of dusty ruins and young faces flitting across our T.V. screens.  Drones fill the sky and body counts seldom even bother to reach us.  (Is this what Purgatory looks like?)  The war doesn’t seem limited to foreign shores anymore, though.  In our own cities, protests and riots explode out of senseless deaths that seem to echo the deaths of bygone eras.  Times and fears we vainly thought behind us now seem to rise anew in the dark shadow of a police force that seems to grow increasingly militarized and estranged from society.  Who is the enemy at home?  Look next door, or look in the mirror.  Maybe that’s your choice, or maybe that’s a choice that was made for you before you were born.

Fantasy, and popular belief are often based on the premise that everything happens for a reason.  That there’s some grand plan at work, though we can’t always see it, and everything will work out in the end.  Angels watch over us and the devils are always slain in the end.  That’s the rule.  Maybe that’s the real key difference between the fiction genres of fantasy and science fiction.  In fantasy, the outcome is generally assured.  Good must triumph over evil.  Science fiction however, acknowledges the randomness of the universe.  We’re not spirits clothed in fleshy raiment with roles to play in some divine tragedy, comedy or love story.  We’re apes who learned to talk and walk upright.  Who evolved from lowly vermin after a random meteor killed the dinosaurs.  I think a lot more people gravitate to fantasy, especially in troubled times like these, because it offers comfort through certainty.  Much as religion does.   Science fiction sometimes takes a darker path because it seeks the truth, and the truth, let’s face it, ‘aint  pretty.

Fantasy seems lately to be coming of age, though.  Case in point:  Stephen Sondheim’s bizarre musical “Into the Woods” a retake/mash-up of popular fairytales that replaces the happy ending with the ambiguity of open and uncertain futures.  No “happily ever after”; just hope for working it out day to day.  Like traditional fairytales, this stylish black comedic romp has morals couched in symbol and metaphor.  Dark, starkly vivid morals of sexual predation, infidelity, moral compromise and hard lessons learned at the cost of innocence.  A happy ending at one moment seems a certainty and is then snatched away by an apocalyptic catastrophe, like a fairytale 9/11.  Everybody blames everybody as answers are sought.  Chaos ensues and deaths occur without rhyme or reason; a fall here, a misstep there.  No justice or higher plan apparent; just random particles colliding.  Just as the lives and disparate missions of the characters collide throughout the play, one affecting the other quite by accident.  In the end, the only certainty is that everyone must work together against a common enemy in order to survive.  Justice?  No.  Just survival.  Happy ending?  Not really.  Cinderella finds the reality never lives up to the fantasy glimpsed at a distance.  She leaves her prince and opts for a normal life where she can discover who she is day by day, not where she can be the prince’s fantasy.  People pick up the pieces of shattered lives and begin anew, forsaking old dreams for new realities.  No certainties.  Just new beginnings.

A new take on old fairytales for our times.  Fitting, I think.  Life never hands us the guaranteed happy ending wrapped up in a shiny bow, no matter how hard or earnestly we work for it.  As Buddha put it, the enlightenment lies in the journey, not the destination.

And so, we forge ahead…

Monday, January 5, 2015

Airships Preparing For Take Off!

After months of preparation, the final boarding call has been sounded. The contacts have started, the crew is being finalized, and the Airships will soon be climbing into the skies.

We had over forty submissions (thirteen of them in the last two days!). They came from as far away as Romania, and as close as my downtown.

We had really great pirates, really bad pirates, and a few airships with no pirates.

There was a submission with cat pirates and a submission with squirrel-like aliens.

I had the pleasure of accepting a writer's first sale.

We had stories set on other worlds, and stories where the airship was almost a world unto itself.

It was difficult indeed to narrow things down. But I think you will be pleased with the results. I know I am.

It's time to bring the last provisions aboard. I'm assigning the crew to their quarters, and then we head to the skies! We will be heading your way the end of next month, so prepare a berth for us.

And chocolate..,all pirates love chocolate!