Last year, JordanCon started what I hope will be a timeless tradition: it asked members, past and present, to submit short stories for an anthology, with all proceeds going to the JordanCon charity of choice. This year, the tradition did continue with Become Legend: The JordanCon 2020 Anthology. This is a great way for writers to reach an audience of typically like-minded individuals.
Leading up to JordanCon (which is April 17th through the 19th), I want to highlight some of the amazing authors who have contributed to this year’s anthology.
First up is a returning author, P Andrew Floyd with his story entitled “Hipshot.”
Can you start by telling us a little about your story for this year’s anthology?
“Hipshot” takes place in an alternate America where just after the Civil War a giant meteorite struck the Dakota Territories, leaving pieces of itself all over the world. Old west metal smiths turned the pieces of that meteorite into weapons that can be used for various magical purposes. Though, mostly folk just use them to shoot each other. Hipshot is a “hexslinger” who just wants to get her cargo cross country to San Francisco. Unfortunately, the magic space rock had another side effect – it woke up long forgotten magical creatures from hibernation and she may just have to fight her way through a horde of orcs to finish her job.
Since this is your second year being featured in the anthology, can you tell us any helpful hints you learned last year that you applied to your story this year?
I got lucky. I had written this story before the anthology theme was announced and it ended up being a perfect fit. I actually tried to write another short to fit the theme and make it more personal to JordanCon, but I ended up shelving it about halfway through because it wasn’t working. It felt way too forced. So, I guess for me what I learned was I need to write to write and if I have something that fits a theme, great! If not, there’s always next time. But that’s just how I work personally.
You survived last year’s JordanCon Anthology signing sessions. And, you came back for a second helping. How was your experience attending JordanCon as an author?
It was definitely a roller coaster! (I love roller coasters, btw!) I had a lot of fun while at the same time being really nervous. There was a lot of me thinking, “No one’s gonna want my signature or talk about my story. Why would they?” And then being ecstatic when I was proven wrong, and then feeling nervous again when I worried they’d regret their decision, then realizing that’s silly because no one’s going to think that over an autograph. But I met a lot of cool people both in and out of the book and I got to do one of my favorite things: talk about my writing!
Last year, your story “Doorbuster” was jokingly called “suburban fantasy.” Is your addition this year similar, like within the same world or series? Or did you go a completely different route?
I went a totally different route, actually. I was inspired by a character from a Magimart Universe (Doorbuster) story, though. There was a woman who struck me as a modern day gunslinger. I had envisioned this spell casting maneuver for her that was basically like quick drawing guns, but instead of pulling out weapons, she would swipe her fingers across a foci hanging at her hips then fire off blasts of energy from “finger guns.” I thought it would look both awesome and hilarious. But I ended up deciding it didn’t fully fit the magic system I had created. So… I did what any sane writer would do and built up an entire new world around that concept. The world that was born from it ended up being very outside my wheelhouse, but I ran with it after deciding a challenge would be a good thing. With a few exceptions, I’ve never been a huge fan of Westerns. Also, I typically like writing light, humorous stories that focus on character over action. “Hipshot” is an alternate history Weird West with a serious tone and a decent amount of complex action sequences that were super frustrating to write and edit (I’ll have to raise a glass at Con to my editor, Venesa Giunta for dealing with me to get those perfected!). But despite all that, I’m extremely happy with the results.
When I was lucky enough to talk to you about the anthology last year you said, “…keep an eye out for me. I’ve gotten a taste of what it’s like to see my words in a printed book, and I’m not going to stop until it happens again and again.” It seems it became a prophecy! What other works have you been dabbling in this year?
Now, prophecy is totally in my wheelhouse! I’m so happy to be in the second anthology and that my words came true because of that. Though, the original meaning behind that statement was born from a bit of naïveté. I was always planning on submitting to anthology two, but my goal was to have something else in the works in between. I had been querying for maybe two months at that point and I was under the impression that if I were to get an agent I would know for sure yes or no by the end of the year. Like, I think I actually thought six months would be enough time to know if that was going to happen. Ha! Little did I know that publishing is THE slowest industry in existence. I am *still* querying over a year later and I am also waiting on multiple full and partial requests from agents. Since then, I did write “Hipshot,” but a lot of my 2019 revolved around my novel. Querying, but also editing. Early last year I won a contest called RevPit and got the chance to work with professional editor Jeni Chappelle to do several passes of my novel to help strengthen it for querying. I took the advice from that and made the best draft I could. Currently I’m working on a new Sci-Fi novel I’m excited about and brainstorming a few short stories that have been tickling the back of my head. And, hey, maybe one of those will be in Anthology 3!
Is there anything else you’d like to say to your readers?
If you missed last year’s anthology, you can read “Doorbuster” at my website here. I also have the first chapter from the novel I’ve been querying up. Also, also, still keep an eye out for me. Publishing may be slow, but I’m still doing the thing and I’ll at least be trying out for the anthology again next year!
Thanks P. Andrew Floyd for talking with me today! The JordanCon anthology can be pre-ordered from now until March 25th. After that, only a few copies will be available for purchase at the convention. Make sure to get yours ordered now! Find out more details at JordanCon’s website!