Calling All Writers!

Big Sage Press would like to announce the creation of an annual science fiction short story anthology. As part of this project Big Sage is seeking new or established authors to submit individual and unique short fictional stories to fill it. To be considered for publication stories must be the whole and unique work of the submitting author; free of plagiarism of any kind and available for inclusion at the time of printing. Submissions should be in standard manuscript format, with as few errors or edits as is possible. Authors should only submit their best work as incomplete stories or manuscripts cannot be considered. Each story should be between 7,500 and 12,000 words not counting individual title and by line. Blue language and adult content should be intrinsic to the storyline and pertinent to character development and understanding, superfluous use of either may effect a manuscript’s chances for selection.

This year’s theme will be the struggle between personal liberty and power. Each story will take place between the years 3019 and 3055 on the now human colonized planet of Peitho. This is an earth-like planet with a similar atmosphere, slightly larger than earth; it completes its annual rotation around a G-type main sequence star every 728 days, its solar day consists of 32 hours and it has twin moons Amphion and Zethus. Culturally this planet is in transition; sometime at the end of the 38th century mankind colonized this planet seeking a new source of mineral resources and to escape the overcrowding on Mars. Once heralded as the “future of all mankind” the distance between Peitho and Earth, approximately 67 light years through the center of the Great Square of Pegasus from Pegasi 51 (118 from Sol) soon proved to be inconvenient and dangerous. When rich asteroid fields and habitable planets were later discovered in the Cygnus Zone, the flow of colonists and trade routs shifted and soon Peitho was all but forgotten. They have not lost the capacity for interstellar travel, however on a planet with such rich and wild frontiers very few think of visiting distant galaxies anymore.

The title of the anthology will be “Children of the Forgotten Sun”. It will be up to the individual author to flesh out the culture, technology, and lifestyles of the inhabitants of this planet. We are currently seeking fifteen to twenty short stories which will accompany the pre-selected works of our affiliates. Initial submissions should be made no later than March 31, 2022 with a perspective publication date of October / November that same year. Initial submissions should be sent to mollymiller@bigsage.press, and must be in .pdf format. No other files or formats will be opened or distributed to our panel of readers. Once selected a separate version of the manuscript may be requested.

The selection of a particular manuscript will be based upon the following standards:

·         Creativity and strength of author voice

·         Cohesion to theme and setting

·         A compelling tale which engages the reader and builds the anthology into one interconnected unit.

Submission for inclusion does not guarantee selection. This is not a contest and there is no prize offered to selected authors. Authors who are selected for inclusion will be entitled to an equal share of the profits on sales; publication of the anthology will be via Amazon’s print on demand services under the Big Sage Press imprint. Division of royalties will be made within two (2) business days of Amazon’s royalty payments to Big Sage Press. The anthology will be published in two formats; paperback and digital. Each author which is selected for inclusion will be required to produce a short form biography listing any other credits and titles which they would like highlighted. Author photos as well as cover art for any other works is highly encouraged. Selected authors will be expected to respond to Big Sage Press in a timely fashion in order to keep this project moving smoothly for all persons involved. By submitting to this anthology each writer is giving Big Sage Press permission to reprint and distribute their work as part of this anthology series. Each author retains individual ownership and rights to their own pieces.

We are looking forward to reading your submissions!

A Conversation with Scott McCullough

For a long time now, I have been wanting to get into the more creative side of writing here on my blog. For a newly launched site to be more corporate than fabled in its first handful of posts is acceptable, where as too many become a trend. The press sheet writing is certainly easier, a quick report on what is happening with Big Sage Press while I devote most of my time and attention to my own interests and fascinations. But it is also a particularly sneaky form of procrastination. So, let’s change that up, shall we? Shift the tone and force this space into its intended function.

I would like to start with a review of a piece of work I might not have picked up had it not been for the connections I am making now that Babylon’s Fallen Star has been released into the wild. I’m not a big comic book reader. At least not since middle school when I went through an X-Force phase and I could not read them fast enough, especially those which featured my favorite character Feral. She reminded me very much of The Jaguar comics by Impact which I had discovered in a forgotten book box at a yard sale and purchased the first eight in the series for twenty-five cents. I loved the stories and the detailed panels, loved falling into the adventures. But, eventually, my reading habits shifted as I grew and I for one reason or another left comic books behind.

At least I thought I had until I was introduced to the Doorkickers Digital Edition by writer Scott McCullough. Again, I felt myself falling into that adventure space, that separate world which comics and graphic novels create for us as we read. The story centers on a paranormal black ops team tasked with fighting the forces of evil and secretly preserving good. While members of the Doorkickers team possess extraordinary abilities, readers should be thinking more Zero Dark Thirty than Hogwarts when these heroes take us out on a mission. The dialogue is jargon based, as it should be for the sake of realism, which can be a bit of a first day of Spanish class experience for people like me who have not served in the military or used much professional radio protocol. But this isn’t any a negative. If anything, it’s just as exciting and creates as much of a draw as when characters in a book starts speaking Elvish or Klingon, and far less boring than that weird pigeon thing they did for Cloud Atlas. It creates the world around the reader, making it firm and real while beautiful fully colored panels convey the mood of the language perfectly.

While I’m not going to lie, I have a bit of a character crush on Stilon, the Doorkickers team’s resident mystic knight, I was also drawn right in by the female lead, Jinga. Tough, smart, and capable she can hold her own with other strong classic comic women like X Force’s Domino and – here is where my memory fails me. But somewhere in the back of my mind among the half-remembered Boys II Men lyrics and the skill to use a pogo ball, I recall a fantasy series put out by DC with a killer female warrior who never flinched from a fight or withheld her help from a friend. Her name may be lost to me, but the way I felt reading her stories lingers on. Doorkicker’s Jinga has her depth and strength. And a far more logical wardrobe.

I spent some time discussing the new Doorkickers edition which is preparing for launch with Scott, and I don’t want to take away from his own words about his piece here. I highly recommend following his account and even participating in his pre-launch as I believe these characters have so much more to say to us and so many more missions to take us on. You can also join Scott and myself, along with Ryan Williamson, Mark Sibley, and Joe Dolio on the podcast Writers Fix Problems this coming Saturday 7 EST / 4 PST. Here we talk about the different aspects of the creative and publishing process, and soon hope to host guests.

Molly: So… I guess my first question is how did you find your team that you worked with in order to bring Doorkickers to life?

Scott: When I decided to pull the trigger on Doorkickers: Panzer Demon, I just started asking artists I knew if they would like to be a part of it. Luckily, Ian Waryanto, whom I had known via the internet for a few years, was available and eager to work on something different for him. Shortly thereafter I found Farah Nurmaliza, our colorist and she was an amazing talent. It’s worth acknowledging that both of them live in Indonesia so that presented some challenges but nothing that would hold us back.

Doorkickers: Panzer Demon would never have seen the light of day if it hadn’t been for the innovation of crowd funding and the Comicsgate movement. These fans that have coalesced on Twitter and YouTube around the principals that comics book creators and publishers must respect their fans and customers are an inspiration and have really shown that the culture war can work for good. Comicsgate provided a built-in marketing system and potential consumer base that allows independent creators to get their foot in the door and be successful based on the merits of their product.

Molly: In your forward you state that Doorkickers was at first published as part of Space Goat Presents. Can you give me a little of a run down as to how that came about? Did you query them as a publisher or did you have someone help press introduce Doorkickers?

Scott: I really didn’t find my way into it via the normal process. While studying short fiction in college I had my sights set on breaking into writing comics. I’ve been a comic book fan since I was a kid so it seemed like a decent fit. Anyways while I never did really break in, I made several friends in the business that I kept in touch with over the years.

Following 9/11 I got back in the Army and that put a lot of my writing stuff on the back burner but after a few years I started writing again.  One of my old comic book friends had started his own publishing company and asked me if I had any ideas that would fit in a military comic and I pitched him Doorkickers.

From that pitch came the 10-page short Doorkickers: Objective Breezy Dream. It originally appeared in a Space Goat anthology book but more recently I put a remastered version in my first Doorkickers graphic novel as a 10 page back-up.

Molly: Also… one thing that I really loved reading this was the Oden being a classification of demonic entity as opposed to being a singular character…. what beautiful strange brew did you pull that concept from?

Scott: Well as I have spent a while in the service of Uncle Sam I have learned that all branches of the government love both acronyms and the classification of all sorts of things. So this made it an easy choice. But it also stands to reason that while in these stories we only see a small slice of what’s going on, there is a whole world out there to explore. I think that as writers we all strive to find little details that we can plant to both world-building but also as things we can revisit in later tales.

Molly: Also in Panzer Demon your character Stilon is vaporized, but he’s present in Objective Breezy Dream (OBD)… did I, in fact, read the two backwards of each other or is there some yet to be revealed quality Stilon possesses that allows regenerations?

Scott: This is an easy one. OBD comes first chronologically. During the pre-campaign I gave out the original version of OBD as a freebie pdf so most of the folks who got in on Panzer Demon from the beginning had already read that one prior to receiving the physical book. But, you are right, Stilon was vaporized in the last scene but let me assure you there is more to that character than you might expect.

Molly: What are your plans going forward for Doorkickers? Will there be others? Will you be working with the same team of colorists and artists or will this be a new venture?

Scott: The next book Doorkickers: Bad Medicine is currently in the works. I will be reteaming with Doug Franchin, the artist from OBD, for the next book. We will also have Farah and Eric Weathers returning as the colorist and letter respectively.  

It will be a 46 page story that will find the Doorkickers investigating a situation deep in the Amazon but ultimately they will find their way to Sao Paolo. We will be taking the supernatural action to the next level and if you would like to sign up at our pre-launch page you will get an email that will alert you to when we go live and if you sign up and then back the campaign you will get a free poster, book mark, sticker, and access to a discounted tier for your trouble. You can find the pre-launch page via Indiegogo here:

Doorkickers: Bad Medicine

New Big Sage Press Event – Livestream Event with Scott McCullough of Writers Fix Problems. 7/31/21 4pm PST (7 EST)

Big Sage Press is excited to announce that Molly Miller will be joining other great writers on a livestream event this Saturday to discuss writing, culture, publication, and more. The event is being hosted by Scott McCullough, author of the graphic novel Doorkickers and host of Writers Fix Problems. She will be joining Joe Dolio author of the Tactical Wisdom series and blog, Mark Sibley author of Mongol Moon, and Ryan Williamson author of The Widow’s Son and other works. This event will begin Saturday, July 31st, at 4 pm Pacific Standard Time / 7 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Keep checking back as this page will be updated to provide the link to the event when that information becomes available. Feel free to invite your friends and followers to join the audience using Big Sage Press’ gather-up hashtag: #Brushpoppers.

UPDATE: This livestream will be available on YouTube. Click Here to join us.

Honor Where Honor is More Than Due.

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for Big Sage Press; from the launch of Babylon’s Fallen Star with all its snafus and successes, to setting up our online living space here at our WordPress site and over on Goodreads, it seems as if there were a million moving parts that needed immediate attention. But now that the waters have somewhat calmed it is time – if not well past time – to reflect on the vast scale of the project at hand and to give thanks to those who have been a large part of the process of both publishing a first novel and opening a micro-publishing house.

While there are so many people who have lent emotional support to the foundation of the Sungrazer series, it is only appropriate that a hearty thanks is given to the names inscribed on the Babylon’s Fallen Star dedication page. First on that list and in my heart, is my husband, Michael. While not a very public person, Mike has been my biggest fan from the very first moment he learned that I am compelled by whatever spirit of constitution or temperament to write down the stories that play out in my head. From reading through hand scribbled manuscripts to listening to me flesh out characters and plot lines, he has been my first and most treasured audience. If writing a novel is a lifetime achievement, his has been a twenty-three year long investment where the only returns until this moment has been the knowledge of where the bodies of all the manuscripts I didn’t select for my first novel are buried.

Second on this list is my sista from a different mista, Marcy Miller. Ever since we met rattling around the same posts on Twitter there has been an almost instantaneous friendship between us. I cannot count the number of long conversations we have had that seemed to all end in her gently nudging me towards the edge of the getting published pool. I started Babylon’s Fallen Star based off one of these nudges. Through building mutual trust and encouragement, Marcy finds the best qualities in the people around her and helps to open their hearts to the possibilities of leading with those qualities. You can find her collection of works over at her own site, marcyjmiller.com.

Next is my dear friend Glenn Calvin who filled the role of technical adviser. Glenn got to see the manuscript in its close to final form and offered not just a second set of eyes on errors I had gone blind to, but also helped me to make sure that while the fiction was speculative the details were accurate. Some of the major “load bearing” portions of the plot could not have been written without his input and expertise. Aside from his clear and meaningful notes, Glenn has especially touched my heart in cheering this project forward and celebrating every milestone in the process. Brushpoppers in the bunkhouse, Glenn is our cow boss.

The fourth name on the dedication list is Ben Ruppert of SapperSpy Designs LLC. I found Ben through the recommendation of his clients and I am absolutely convinced the man is a level 8 expert mage in all things media. Working with Ben has felt like hitting the big time even though my publishing company consists of me and for now, this one book. Ben was so very professional from the moment we started talking about exactly what I thought I wanted for my cover. He asked some very key questions and was so gracious about me nervously blowing up his inbox on Twitter as I handed my baby over for his interpretation. The cover that he came back with was not the one I had imagined  –  it was much better. Through our conversations he had lighted upon quite possibly the worst description I have ever given of one of the multiple threads in this story. From it he created at the Sarah and Bella cover which I am so proud of now. Again, weeks after the launch, I’m back knocking on his door asking for a project which, as it turned out, was a little outside his current scope of work. And still SapperSpy Designs delivered. I don’t think Ben will every really know just what a relief it was to be able to describe what I needed and to have better quality than I could have dreamed of delivered. If you have a project which could use his expert eye, he can be reached through his website sapperspydesign.com.

Finally, though nowhere near last in my heart, are the collection of fellow authors and readers who have welcomed Babylon’s Fallen Star with open arms. I am so thrilled to hear that people are excited to be getting their copy, and to read the reviews left by those of you who have already finished and are asking for more. I cannot thank enough authors like Mark Sibley of Mongol Moon and Braxton McCoy of The Glass Factory. Both of these incredible writers have been so kind in their inclusion of Babylon in their reading lists and to their followers. I am truly humbled by the amount of support and love I have received. I could not have asked for a better opening week.

I leave you now with my love and my heart felt gratitude.

–  Molly

Coming Soon

At this time all of our energy is being poured into keeping up with the launch of Babylon’s Fallen Star. In the future this will become the home for all the random bits of thought and information that go into crafting Big Sage Press stories. Content can range from poetry and archived blog posts from earlier projects, to recipes and event updates. Those of you who follow Molly on Twitter will be familiar with the wide range of her various rabbit trails and exactly how unexpected her content can be. We are looking forward to her first #AmWriting blogpost in the coming weeks as she moves back out of the role of executive and into the more comfortable seat of “author”.

Our current challenges include making sure a paperback copy of BFS is available through Barnes & Noble along side the Nook version. We are also on the hunt for a print partner who can provide us with a source of hardback copies which have been requested. Author copies have been ordered and are due to arrive soon. Several of these have been earmarked for different requests such as autographs and award entries. We look forward to having more information for our readers on this front soon.

There is here, however, a moment for sincere and deeply felt gratitude to our readers. From flagging discrepancies to supporting our launch, you have been the silent partners in helping make dreams come true. You have touched our hearts with your interest and support and we are looking forward to bringing you so much more.