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Face to Face


Michele Dutcher

Face to Face

For the last five years, I’ve attended an annual October meet-up with editors and authors from different sci-fi/fantasy webzines. Our past meet-ups have occurred in: Cincinnati; Indianapolis; Cleveland; Pittsburg PA. This year it was held in Columbus Ohio.

We got the idea to do a face-to-face once a year from the editor at Aphelion webzine, who would invite everyone to come down to Atlanta GA in August for a Barbeque. From the look of the pictures back then, it appeared the guests were the ones being barbequed – as some were outside dressed down to their skivvies. However, the second week in October’s weather is usually brisk in mid-America, and it’s nice to be inside with interesting company, sitting on overstuffed chairs.

This year’s meeting was attended by: Sergio Palumbo – who has written stories for each of the three webzines represented; Lester Curtis – the Serials Editor from Aphelion; Gary Markette, the editor of Another Realm; Wesson - author at large; and yours truly, Michele Dutcher, Assistant Editor here at Quantum Muse. It’s rather fun doing a face-to-face with online associates because there is often no similarity between what you image a person looks like in your head, and what he actually looks like. Often they’re taller, shorter, louder, older, younger, or more disheveled than what one would expect from their persona online.

As is usual, we started out meeting for drinks at the top of the Hilton Hotel Columbus Downtown, in the Capital Club Lounge. We touched lightly on international political affairs, using Sergio Palumbo – who is a civil servant in Geneva Italy – as a resource. It’s interesting to get a different perspective of how Europe views America, and how they see themselves in the scheme of things. However, it didn’t take long before our discussion turned to literary questions. The editors in the group talked about the ‘white fangs flashing in the moonlight syndrome’ – where an author thinks a particular sentence or paragraph is a visionary phrase, but we – as editors and readers – have seen almost the same line dozens of times before. We talked about technology failures and software failures; adding graphic art to the stories published – perhaps even running sci-fi graphic novels on a syndication basis.

We talked about why we became editors/critics in the first place – my excuse was that I hated to be happily reading along and suddenly trip over bad grammar. Another Realm’s editor said he had simply wanted to encourage other authors to write and be published. We discussed how or webzines differed – our strengths and weaknesses, and everyone admired Quantum Muse’s system of critiquing.

We all noted what happens when a trusted member of a writing community attempts to radically change an established webzine. We talked about political correctness from an international viewpoint: for instance, what is okay to write about overseas that might be frowned upon here in the States. The authors present bounced new story ideas off the group and we came to a semi-conscientious that it’s often best to first get a short story published using your idea and then, if readers like it, expand the story to become a novella or a complete novel.

Sergio was kind enough to present us with small gifts from Italy and Switzerland in the form of chocolates and liquors. Eventually we decided to grab some dinner together so we walked around the corner to the TipTop bar and eatery on East Gay Street. As we entered, I noticed three people seated at the bar were having pot roast so I ordered the same after we were all seated at a table in a cozy corner of the dining section. The food and company were both excellent, especially on a chilly October evening.

Next year the meeting in October is penciled in for Dayton, Ohio, so – dear reader – consider this your personal invitation to join us then. I personally promise the beer will be cold, the food hot and the conversation lively.

2015-02-22 17:23:18
Wesson - I had fun the last time but Dayton might be out of my reach. I'll see what my schedule looks like when the date gets closer.

2015-02-10 09:11:54
micheledutcher - I'll start drumming up interest in August probably - it depends upon when Sergio goes on holiday from his job in Italy, but usually the 2nd week in October on a weeknight. Another Realm's editor is going to be the host - as his hometown is Dayton. Feel free to message me here at QMuse if you want to come and haven't heard anything about it. Hope 2 C U there!

2015-02-07 21:38:43
What a delightful and informative get-together! Wish I could have been there. Next year in Dayton Ohio, you say? Hmmm.... And many thanks for sharing your fascinating experience with us readers. -- Jean Goldstrom Whortleberry Press

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