Juliana Rew & The Rhapsody of the Spheres.

Juliana Rew & The Rhapsody of the Spheres.

By Angelique Fawns

Since opening its doors more than a decade ago, Third Flatiron has been producing award-winning anthologies and providing a unique voice in the speculative world. Their last collection, After the Gold Rush had numerous top ten finishers in this year’s Critters Awards, and many stories on the Tangent Online Recommended Reading List. (Including my story, “The Last of the Gen Xers.”)

Juliana Rew, a writer herself, has recently released a new short story collection Twelve All in Dread: The Twelfth Witch and Other Stories. An imaginative group of medieval-inspired tales, you can sample it on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BQFVDQT9

I’m very excited to hear Third Flatiron is producing another anthology called The Rhapsody of the Spheres, which will be open to subs the latter part of May. Doesn’t the title get your imagination working in overdrive? What does it even mean? 

Hint: Read the interview below to find out more.

Beautiful woman in party dress, against disco mirror ball

AF: Tell me about your inspiration for your latest anthology idea, “The Rhapsody of the Spheres.”

JR: The fascinating subject of the evolution of the “music of the spheres” philosophy (aka musica universalis) and movements of heavenly bodies dates as far back as ancient Greece. The word “rhapsody” usually refers to an outpouring of ecstatic expression or an epic poem. 


AF: There has been a lot of chatter in my writing groups trying to figure out what this theme means. Can you clarify?

JR: We see this as a broad speculative fiction theme about things that give us joy or meaning. Settings could include explorations of space (the final frontier?), climate change, or aurora borealis, or a future disco, while topics could include nature, humanism, or the science of love. We open for short SF/F/H stories (around 3,000 words) from May 19 through June 1, 2023.


AF:  Can you give us some hints as to what kind of stories are most likely to be successful? 

JR:  We love music and pop culture (Mrs. Davis, are you listening?). In the area of horror, Paganini (the Devil’s violinist) springs to mind. We like some short humor and satire (maybe explain to us what the cat and the fiddle poem means?)


AF: Have you already secured some “invite-only” stories for this anthology? Tell us more!

JR: We’re happy to announce we will have a story by J. Dianne Dotson, and some other well-known writers have expressed an interest. We always welcome new writers too.


AF: Your last two anthologies have been highly successful with the critics, including Tangent Online and Critters. To what do you attribute that success?

JR: We seek opportunities to enter our authors into awards such as Nebula, Hugo, Shirley Jackson, etc. and do our best to solicit reviews. Most importantly, we are grateful that our authors have helped generate interest in our anthologies via reader polls.


AF:  How has Third Flatiron Publishing evolved since you launched?

JR: We began publishing in 2012 as a Colorado/UK family enterprise and gradually worked our way up to being able to pay pro rates (per SFWA’s definition). We’ve always been small, with a half dozen first readers. I’m always looking for “voice talent”—people willing to read one of our stories for our podcast. 


AF:  You’ve recently released a new short story collection yourself. Please tell us more about Twelve All in Dread: The Twelfth Witch and Other Stories.

JR: The Twelfth Witch refers to a young witch in graduate school who’s looking for a job. Reviewers have called the collection “fun.” This pleases me, because no matter how hard I try to write grimdark, it always takes a positive or humorous turn.


AF: In your opinion, what are the best resource for writers looking to enhance their craft? Any seminars, books, or cons you suggest?

JR: I think attending conventions such as the World Fantasy Convention or the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) or more local events is a great way to meet people, and they often include presentations on writing and the business of being a writer. Online, Jane Friedman’s blog gives wonderful advice. Writing Excuses is a favorite podcast. Of course, Wulf Moon offers a stupendous workshop that turns out top-flight authors. Lastly, if you can manage it, joining a critique group like critters.org is an awesome way to sharpen your skills.


AF:  What is in the future for Juliana Rew & Third Flatiron?

JR: I studied AI in my graduate computer science courses, and have followed recent developments with relish. I’m hoping to finish another SF/Fantasy novel that will add to my growing cast of AI characters. Thanks to Ken Liu for inspiration. And, of course, editing another anthology is not out of the question, if I can just think up another theme…


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