MFA programs can be wonderful places for networking and collaboration. Today I’m delighted to welcome Marx Pyle who took full advantage of his time at Seton Hill to create a unique and exciting collaboration which resulted in the anthology, Dragons of a Different Tail. Below are Marx’s responses to my interview questions, followed by his contact info, bio and buy links.
First off, congratulations on the publication of the anthology, Dragons of a Different Tail. Can you tell me how you decided to do the anthology and chose the theme of dragons?
Thank you! I came up with the idea during my last term at Seton Hill University (SHU) while completing my MFA in Popular Fiction. I come from a film background, so I love that collaborative energy in film and wanted to bring that into fiction writing. I also love mashing genres, so I didn’t want to just have typical dragon stories. I wanted stories with either a very different take on what a dragon is or a setting we don’t normally see dragons in. For example, the story I co-wrote with my wife is set in the Wild West, except the gunslingers are riding dragons. All of the things we love about a good Western are in there, but we mix in dragons and other fantasy creatures.
You have a distinguished list of contributing writers, including master teacher and writer Timons Esaias. How did you go about selecting authors and stories for your anthology?
I first reached out to a mastermind group consisting of fellow students from my SHU graduating class (J.C., Victoria, Colten…). Then I reached out to some of my YouTube creator friends, like Jeff and Francis. I stumbled upon indie author J. Thorn, who was excited to add a post-apocalyptic dragon tale. Other authors are either from SHU, like my mentor Heidi Ruby Miller, or someone I met through other authors.
I told each author the rules, then asked them to give an elevator pitch. Some sent me multiple pitches, so I could pick my favorite. Once they got the green light, they started writing their story.
Many writers think about doing anthologies, but I know it must be a big job. Can you tell us what steps are involved and what kind of assistance you found you needed?
It is a lot of work! Whew, more than I honestly realized. I also added a few steps that I think made it stronger, but also made it more complicated.
I had to pitch to the authors and sell them on the idea. (A PowerPoint presentation may have been involved.) I also set this up with a royalty split, so it had more of a co-op like feel. Then I had to get the agreement written and signed. Then go through pitches. After that, most of the authors participated in critique groups. We had two critique rounds. I wanted to try this, because I believed it would make the stories stronger, and would make everyone feel more like they were a part of a team, rather than just submitting something for a random project. I’m obviously biased, but I think it worked well. I saw the already strong stories improve and friendships bloom between authors.
Then there are the other normal steps: working with a cover designer, formatting the book, editing, etc.. I did get editing assistance from my co-editors J.C. Mastro, Victoria L. Scott, and Anne C. Lynch. J.C. also helped me proof read the print copy. They were a huge help.
What are you doing to get the word out about your anthology, and where can readers obtain copies?
We are sending out review copies, scheduling interviews, and using social media. Slowly, but surely, we are getting the word out. The book is out at all of the major vendors. You can quickly find all of the major locations via this link https://books2read.com/dragonstail
Can you talk a bit about your background as a writer?
I’ve always wanted to write, and as a kid I dreamed of writing my own comic books. No comic books yet, but I have written films and web series. I graduated from film school over ten years ago, so most of my writing had been with scripts. I’ve also done nearly every job there is in film (script writer, director, producer, fight choreographer, boom operator, director of photography…), and those have been amazing creative experiences. However, I’ve always wanted to write novels, and the MFA program helped me develop my fiction writing skills.
What’s next for you writing and publishing-wise?
I’m currently releasing my urban fantasy series, Obsidian Monsters, on Kindle Vella. I then plan to release season one as a novel in 2022. I’ve also started writing a spin-off series from Obsidian Monsters. The chances are high that I’ll put together another anthology starting next year, but it’s too soon for any details on that. And, I plan on returning to my scriptwriting roots with some scripts next year. Probably a TV pilot and a film.
Anything else you’d like to add, or wish I’d asked that I didn’t?
Thank you for having me on your blog! I appreciate the support and your time.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/MrMarx
Bio – Marx Pyle is an author, screenwriter, filmmaker, podcaster, adjunct professor, and martial artist whose journey has been as complex as his characters and the worlds in which they live. His first degree was to save the world (Psychology), and the next to pay the bills (Computer Information Systems). His third degree (Film Production) helped him follow his storytelling dreams, but his final (Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction) allowed him to do so without budget constraints. In addition to urban fantasy, he dabbles in science fiction, fantasy, and horror because he can’t filter that “what if” voice in his head. Marx’s new urban fantasy/thriller, Obsidian Monsters was recently released. He enjoys relaxing at home with his supportive wife, their two cats, and albino rabbit who, while mostly cute and cuddly, occasionally seems to thrive on human flesh and blood. (We suspect she’s related to The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog).
Dragons of a Different Tail: 17 Unusual Dragon Tales – https://books2read.com/dragonstail
Obsidian Monsters – https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09DVKL17F