• Sigrid Ellis

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    Sigrid Ellis is co-editor of the Hugo-nominated Queers Dig Time Lords and Chicks Dig Comics anthologies. She edits the best-selling Pretty Deadly from Image Comics. She is the flash-fiction editor of Queers Destroy Science Fiction, from Lightspeed Press. She edited the Hugo-nominated Apex Magazine for 2014. She lives with her partner, their two homeschooled children, her partner’s boyfriend, and a host of vertebrate and invertebrate pets in Saint Paul, MN.
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Apex Magazine issue 61 is live!

Issue 61 of Apex Magazine is live!

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Apex Magazine is a monthly science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazine featuring original, mind-bending short fiction from many of the top pros of the field. New issues are released the first Tuesday of every month.

Fiction
“Cape to Cairo” by Eden Robins”
“Soul of Soup Bones” by Crystal Lynn Hilbert
“The Salt Path” by Marissa Lingen
“The Faery Handbag” by Kelly Link (eBook/subscriber exclusive)
“Sineater — Excerpt” by Elizabeth Massie (eBook/subscriber exclusive)

Poetry
“Afterwards” by Alice Dryden
“Brighid” by Mary Soon Lee
“Harry of Five Points” by John M. Ford

Nonfiction
“Resolute: Notes from the Editor-in-Chief” by Sigrid Ellis
“Black Communities of the 30th Century: Racial Assimilation and Ahistoricity in Superhero Comics” by Osvaldo Oyloa
“Apex Author Interview with Eden Robins” by Andrea Johnson
“Apex Cover Artist Interview with Tory Hoke” by Loraine Sammy

Cover art by Tory Hoke.

You can read the issue free at the website, or you can subscribe here.

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The short bio; an art, not a science

Let’s say, Gentle Reader, that Apex Magazine has bought your poem or essay or short story. Or maybe it’s Strange Horizons, or Beneath Ceaseless Skies, or Tor.com. Someone liked your work! Enough to buy it! What do you need to do next?

Right after you call your grandma, text your best friend, and tell your partner to take you out for dinner, I mean.

Whoever has purchased your work will likely ask you for a bio, a short bio, or a bio paragraph. You know what these are. You’ve seen them in anthologies, in convention program guides. You probably haven’t given a great deal of thought as to how those things are made or who makes them.

Well, Gentle Reader, you make them. You write your own. Unless you have a publicist, you write your own author bio. Here, then, First-Sales-Author, are a few pointers on writing your short bio.

1. The purpose of the biographical paragraph is twofold. First, to establish your credentials and sell your other work. Second, to dispose the audience favorably towards you. It is not, despite the misleading name, to give a biography to the reader.

2. Your bio is written in the third person. Not “I live in Saint Paul, MN,” but “Sigrid lives in Saint Paul, MN.” Don’t write it in first person and presume that the editor will notice and fix it for you. Nope.

3. As to the first purpose, you want to do two contradictory things. You want to remind readers who you are by mentioning your most popular works and biggest awards. At the same time you want to draw attention to your newest or forthcoming work. These are often not the same thing. You may also want to mention facts unrelated to writing if they are relevant, such as your ten years with JPL if your story is about rocketry.

4. As to the second purpose, here you want to know your audience. Is your piece comedic? Then a slightly wry bio might be in order. Do all the bios of your favorite authors mention their pets? Possibly you could mention your cat. Does your story have a somewhat political tone? You might could mention your membership in the NRA or your volunteer work for Planned Parenthood. Personally speaking, I always mention my family structure because I stubbornly insist on raising awareness of queer, poly families. Could I employ that sentence to some other use? Sure. But I have a point to make and I will likely continue to make it. Ponder what you really, really want the reader to know about you. Mention that.

5. Make it short. Three-to-ten sentences. And you should only be hitting ten sentences if you have a lot of accomplishments.

Here is the bio paragraph I am currently using:

“Sigrid Ellis is editor-in-chief of Apex Magazine. She is co-editor of Queers Dig Time Lords and the Hugo-nominated Chicks Dig Comics anthologies. She is editor of the best-selling Pretty Deadly from Image Comics. She lives with her partner, their two homeschooled children, her partner’s boyfriend, and a host of vertebrate and invertebrate pets in Saint Paul, MN.”

Four sentences. Major works. Award nomination. Personal note. Did I leave off my single published short story credit? Yes. I am very proud of that work, but it’s a few years old. Moreover, I am working more now on editing, not writing. My editing credits are more relevant.

If you are writing the bio paragraph for your first sale, don’t despair. And, for the love of all that is holy, do not talk yourself down or apologise for anything. Just, no. No. Make the audience like you. Be charming. Here are examples of a first sale bio paragraph for imaginary people.

A. Daenerys Targaryen is a recent graduate of the University of California at San Diego. Dani is committed to social justice and works for immigration reform with various non-profits in the area. She lives in a housing co-op she helped establish, and dotes on her three iguanas. This is her first sale.

B. Cersei Lannister is a mother, homemaker, and community volunteer. She will happily tell you all about her children over a glass of wine. In addition to this story, Cersei has work forthcoming from Strange Horizons.

C. Varys Arana has lived on four continents but is pleased to call Washington, D.C., his home. He has been a professional activist, a political fundraiser, a private detective, and a translator of non-fiction. He hopes the publication of his poems will draw attention to the ongoing human rights crisis in Sudan.

(My apologies to GRRM and Game of Thrones … )

Think, therefore, about what you want to say. Think about how you want to be recognized and remembered. Don’t apologise. Don’t talk yourself down. Don’t equivocate. And keep it short! Let your work speak for you.

Let the work speak. That is, after all, what you want readers to remember.

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Awards eligibility

Hello, all!

It’s time to remind people of what works I have done that are eligible for awards for 2013. In addition, please, please go look at the 2014 Awards Eligibility post John Scalzi is hosting. It is full of talented people and great work, much of which I had forgotten was published in the last year.

I have one work this year, Queers Dig Time Lords, co-edited with Michael Damian Thomas, from Mad Norwegian Press.

If you liked the book, and are considering nominating it for various things, it is eligible in Best Related Work or the equivalent.

Thank you. And do go check out the Scalzi post. It’s well worth the time.

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Station identification January 2014

Hello, you have reached the blog of Sigrid Ellis.

I can most easily be reached via Twitter. @sigridellis

I have a Tumblr, where I regularly reblog items. This Tumblr has its own Twitter account, for those who do not have a Tumblr of their own but want to follow along. @SigridsTumblr

I edit Apex Magazine. New issues come out on the first Tuesday of each month.

My other writing and editing credits can be found here.

I am on Snapchat, and use it a LOT. If you are a person to whom I feel comfortable sending blurry photos of my dirty dishes, my kids, and snow, I will likely add you.

Yes, I am on Google+, but I never use it.

Yes, I am on Facebook. I never log on to it except to manage pages for books I am editing. I will never see a message you send to me there. I. Will. Never. See. It. My Facebook page says to not contact me via Facebook. Email me instead. Please.

My email is firstnamelastname, at Google’s email , dot com. To email me regarding any Apex Magazine related issues, use apex.sigrid [at] gmail [dot] com.

Hello!

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Dear Yuletide author!

Hello Mystery Yuletide Author!

First off, honestly, I will be happy with whatever you come up with. Yuletide is a gift, a mutual gift of time and talent and good faith and good will. I am happy that you, Mystery Writer, are participating.

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Here are my requests as written on Yuletide:

Hawkeye (comics)
Kate Bishop
Snarky, fun, gen or light romance. PLEASE do not write Clint and Kate romantically or sexually involved with each other. “The dog won’t die and they won’t fuck,” Matt said. Let’s keep it that way.
Hijinks are good! Complicated is good! Weary know-it-alls who are in over their heads are GREAT!

Push (2009)
Cassie Holmes
Anything with the broader world and characters. OCs are fine and dandy, and include any of the other characters you like. A heist would be great! Something fun and action-filled.

Vikings (TV)
Lagertha
I am pining for Lagertha’s shieldmaiden days! PINING. Historical accuracy is a PLUS. The story of a raid of a battle from Lagertha’s pov? Or maybe she is being mentored by an older shieldmaiden? Something about training? Maybe her decision to quit?

Arthurian Mythology
Lancelot du Lac
AUs are WELCOME. Time-displaced creative re-tellings WELCOME. Crossovers WELCOME.
What I love most about Lance is the moments of decision. He made some bad ones, but so did everyone else. How did those bad decisions come to be? Why did they make sense for him?

Lord Peter Wimsey — Dorothy L. Sayers
Harriet Vane
Peter Wimsey
Crossovers with other period-appropriate fictions are WELCOME. (Downton Abbey, I am looking at YOU.)
Case-fic is what I want. A glorious, glorious casefic. Either before or after Peter and Harriet are married, either is great.

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In general, I like romantic relationships to complicated and angsty. I like solid, dependable friendships. I like gen, femslash, het, and am neutral on slash. I like women being complicatedly awesome — flawed and strong and failing and succeeding at things. Human.

I like people being human beings, with all the dazzling accomplishment and petty failure that can bring.

If you have questions about what I might like or not, find likeadeuce and ask her.

Thanks again for writing for me! I really appreciate it.

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More Queers Dig Time Lords news and reviews!

Michael was interviewed for a Radio Free Skaro podcast!

Kasterborous reviews Queers Dig Time Lords!

Queers Dig Time Lords at Combom!

And, finally, the bit I am somewhat abashedly excited about, Outer Alliance has posted the podcast of the QDTL panel at Wiscon. This features Michael, me, Amal El-Mohtar, Na’amen Tilahun, Brit Mandelo, Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Julia Rios. Amal listened to it yesterday, and Tweeted her reactions. The Storify is here.

I recommend reading the Storify first. :grins:

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Queers Dig Time Lords LAUNCH

Today is the OFFICIAL launch day of Queers Dig Time Lords!

This essay collection, edited by Michael Damian Thomas and myself, is a valuable counter to the patently ridiculous claims that queer folks have no place in Doctor Who. We are here, we have always been here, and without us, frankly, we would very likely not have new episodes of Doctor Who on the television today.

In this book are essays touching, tetchy, and triumphant. In this book are people spread thirty years and three continents apart, united by love of an idea. In this book are people who cannot agree on a single thing about the show they love, yet love it fiercely all the same.

You can get Queers Dig Time Lords at the usual online retailer suspects. Give it a shot. Come join our celebration. The party is far from over.

Queers at IndieBound
Queers at Barnes and Noble
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