"Dream big. Then believe in yourself. If you believe in the dream long enough, and in yourself hard enough, you can achieve your dream. I think where most people get screwed up is not believing in themselves. It's also never too late to achieve that dream. So it didn't happen in your twenties, so life got in the way, so what? I think success is even sweeter in your forties and your fifties, maybe because you took your time getting there." Stacey Turner
Stacey Turner is my Woman In Horror today! This young lady really deserves to be a Woman In Horror. Not only is she a great author in her own right, but she is a superb Editor, and is the Owner of Angelic Knight Press where she has to coordinate everything to get the job done.
When Quinn Cullen and I started up Angelic Knight Press, we had no idea it would go as far as it has. Stacey was the first person we hired. She was our Editor, but in short order, she took over the reins.
Of all her stories, Stacey is most proud of Born Of Darkness in The Fading Light anthology. I must admit that her tale is superb! Of course, I loved all her tales in the Satan's Toybox series.
I had a little game where I would write stories with Stacey's name in them and have her attacked by the creatures she feared the most. Hey, why not? The scarecrows, clowns, and spiders were my favorites. Bad Blaze. However, we are still friends.
A few Q&A from last years Woman In Horror Post:
1. Enter our first anthology: Satan’s Toybox: Demonic Dolls. Wow! Did we ever get some fantastic authors involved with this great tome! I know I was happy when this great book came out. How about you? (Blaze)
I was overjoyed. It was great to have my name on this book as editor. Even though, I now know I made a few mistakes. The authors we worked with were great and I still count all of them as friends. It still sells well, so we must have done several things right. (Stacey)
2. A novel was next from one of the sweetest ladies I know, Cindy Keen Reynders. I pretty much begged her to go with us with her great witch series, and she did! What a wonderful day for all of us. Her second book in the series is out now, and she will be doing a third. I was fortunate enough to do the final edits on her first novel, and if I’m not mistaken, I found four or five minor things. Unbelievable! You had to be feeling better by now.
I was much more comfortable in my role as editor when we released Cindy’s book. You’re absolutely right; she’s a great author and a doll to work with. There are a couple more books in the series and I look forward to editing them.
3. Satan’s Toybox: Toy Soldiers was next up, and the rug was pulled out from under you. Although I had already made you the Operating Owner, and we had the great services of Rebecca Treadway as our Artistic Director, assistant editor and other duties, I fell out of the picture for a while due to an operation my ten year old son needed, and then I was in and out of the VA like a damned yo-yo. The ball was in your court. What did you do to compensate for my absence?
Worked harder. Lol. Actually, we have a great team at AKP and everyone pulls their weight and then some. I couldn’t have done it without Rebecca backing me up.
4. Okay. You re-organized and turned Angelic Knight Press into a force to be recognized by the publishing industry. Tell us a little about what you did.
I hired Danielle as our acquisitions editor to free up a little more of my time. We also started going to conferences to meet and network with other authors, editors, and publishers. Some of those friendships and alliances have made a big difference to us. We also got our name out there which is never a bad idea.
5. The team is in place. You have done a great job! What’s next on the agenda?
Really, more of the same. We continue to be committed to putting out the very best books we can. I do have plans for a new, bigger website with advertising space, our own store, and more interaction with our authors. And then there’s always more marketing and networking. That means a vendor table at World Horror Convention in New Orleans. Danielle is in charge of our vendor table and does a fantastic job. We all wear many hats. Rebecca does cover art, proofreading, formatting and countless other details. You always have my back with sage advice, and networking/marketing efforts. AKP really couldn’t exist without each and every team member.
6. Alrighty. We all know you are an editor and handle the business matters and such for the Press. But, you are also an author, and authors want to write and all this business stuff certainly takes up a lot of your time. So what do you do?
Well, my efforts as an author have really fallen by the way side. I don’t seem to carve out much time for it, but I’m hoping to change that some this year. I’ve had one story published so far this year and a few others subbed. I keep telling myself I need to make it a priority.
7. What are your biggest accomplishments to date as far as being an author goes? What are you most proud of?
I’m really most proud of my story in Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous. It garnered some favorable attention from reviewers and the feedback from readers was great. I’m sharing the Table of Contents in the book with some very heavy hitters in the horror world, so it’s quite a compliment. I’m thinking of expanding the story into a novel as readers have asked.
8. I want to see your collection of horror short stories to be published. Heh, heh. When do you think that will happen?
Well, you can see it any day. I’ll happily send it to you. Lol. As for the public, that might have to wait several months. I’d like to write a few new stories to really round it out. But what I have so far has been edited by someone outside of our press (so there’s no question of it merely being vanity publishing).
9. Also, I know how much you wish to see Angelic Knight Press publish the works of Bram Stoker caliber authors and garner the respect of the rest of the publishing world. That is certainly happening now. This must certainly raise the bar for who gets accepted and who doesn’t when manuscripts are submitted. How tough is it for you to accept and reject submissions?
We are garnering more attention and we do have some very accomplished authors submitting, but our acquisitions policy remains the same. Danielle reads every sub, regardless of whether it’s a first time author or stoker winner. Those that make the grade, she contacts for full ms submission. If they hold up (the end makes sense, the suspense is carried throughout, etc.) she passes on to me. Sometimes, she’ll still pass one that she perhaps didn’t particularly care for, if she thinks I may be interested.
Then I may either decide to accept or reject, or I may pass it on to you, Rebecca or my son (who’s become an unofficial assistant to the acquisitions editor, kind of like an unpaid intern) for yet another opinion. We take into account originality, storytelling skill, and marketability. So everyone is on an even playing field.
I love writing acceptance letters. I hate writing rejections. Especially if it’s too someone I know personally. But it’s important that I don’t let relationships compromise integrity. I owe the author honesty. And it wouldn’t do us or them any good to publish a story that isn’t ready. I do try to give authors a personal rejection, if possible, with suggestions either on finding a different market, or making some changes.
10. Of course, I am privy to some of the great authors submitting some fabulous tomes to AKP, and would like so much to see some others writing under our banners. I don’t want to mention names or anything, but some great authors have submitted to AKP. We are certainly busy, are we not?
We are increasingly busy. Sometimes I have to chain myself to my desk to get things done. My husband laughs because I will answer work emails from anywhere. I even answered work emails while getting my last tattoo, much to the artist’s amusement.
11. Now we get to something that is a thorn in my side. That, young lady, is authors who think it is the responsibility of the publisher to do all the marketing and promotion. It pisses me off no end that a Press would spend a lot of money to put out a book, only to have an author do jack shit about doing anything on their own. What do you feel about this?
Well, I’ve developed a strict policy of not working with authors who aren’t on board with helping out in the publicity and marketing department. It’s a waste of their time and mine. We do as much as we can to market our books: I set up book blog tours when possible, we tweet, we Facebook, we list on Goodreads, we blog, we offer sneak previews, I pay for print ads in some magazines, and we also have formed alliances with other small presses and authors to help publicize our work, in return for helping publicize theirs. I also set up reviews and send out review copies. I’m constantly on the lookout for more marketing opportunities, but authors have to help as well. We’ve been pretty lucky in that regard, a lot of our authors work hard at promotion. And the others do whatever I ask of them.
12. Lighter stuff now. What do you think about Women In Horror Month?
I have some mixed feelings about it, actually. And before anyone starts sending me hate mail, let me explain. I do think there are some fabulous women writing horror, publishing horror, and editing horror. And yes, I do agree it’s still something of a man’s game. There’s still a bit of that boy’s club mentality in the field. But I’ve never been one to let that slow me down. I see it as a challenge and it makes me work that much harder. If you want respect and recognition, you have to earn it. And some of it is going to be hard won. That’s just life. No one said it would be fair.
I’m sure there are some great men writing romance, but you never hear about them either. Do they have a Men In Romance Month?
13. Having your choice, would you rather be the best publisher, best editor, or best author in the business? Am I a bastard, or what? You do all three right now.
That is a tough choice. Writing is my first love, and I would love to be a Stoker winning, best-selling author. But I also love editing. And being mentioned in the same breath with Ellen Datlow would also be a dream come true. I think of the publishing as more of a joint effort on the part of the whole team. I can’t choose. Lol.
14. Now I’m delving into a few personal items. Your children are grown and gone, just this last year. What kind of a switch is that for you after so many years of caring for your own family and extended members?
Well, I still have one chick left in the nest, though probably not for long. He should be shipping off to basic sometime this year. It has been a huge adjustment. If I hadn’t jumped back in to the professional world, I think I’d be a basket case. Having something that’s my own, and separate from my family really helps.
15. You must miss your children and grandchild a lot.
I do! The title of Best Grandmother would trump any of those other “Best” titles, for me at least. I’m extremely fortunate to be able to travel and see them frequently. I just got back from California this week, where I tried to stock up on grandson kisses and hugs. My children are also some of my best friends, so I miss them even more than I thought possible. But we are close and I hear from them all the time. Thank goodness for texting and Skype.
16. Now, this is huge, and it involves both of us. You have an Autistic son, who is on his own now. I have an Autistic daughter who is five and an Autistic granddaughter who is eighteen. I have written about Autism in some of my tales. Satan’s Toybox: Toy Soldiers is one. My online novel Ghost No More is another. In my online novel, I refer to Autistic children and adults as the Chosen Ones. This is an End Times tale, and the balance is in the hands of these people. I have not stated this before, but I will do it here: I have been labeled with the Autism tag. I hate labels. Yes, I didn’t walk until I was two, and I was a mediocre student until I got into the fourth grade. From that point on, due to a caring, understanding teacher, I was always at the very top of my class. I have two Ph. D’s in Mathematical Physics and Theoretical Physics. Just try and tell me I’m not every bit as good as anyone else. Your son, my daughter, and my granddaughter might just be superior humans. Don’t look down on us, folks. Maybe, just maybe, you need us more than we need you. I know you love your son without bounds, Stacey. And you most certainly should. I merely wish to state here that I am a kindred spirit to your feelings, your joys, and your hopes. Your son will do just fine. He is loved, and he is special. He too is a Chosen One.
Thankfully, we’ve found a placement for him we are very happy with. He’s close, about 45 minutes away. He lives in a house with six other individuals with special needs and some fantastic staff members. He works at a local work program where they run a thrift shop and do recycling and paper shredding. It was a tough transition, but he seems to be doing well and has several friends among his housemates and staff. And we see him very often. He is doing well.
I like your theory. Mine has always been that differently abled folks are old souls who are sent to Earth to teach us a lesson. I know that my son has taught me about unconditional love, unconditional acceptance, and to take joy in the small things. Lessons I might not have learned without having had him in my life. It’s made his sister and brothers much more compassionate and caring individuals as well. We are all blessed to have him in our lives.
17. I believe I’ve covered pretty much everything, Stacey. It has been a real pleasure having you answer some deep and personal questions. I feel honesty is the best way to go. Always! Whatever else you wish to add here, feel free to do so. I’m off my bandwagon. This is your show now. Finish with a bang!
I think you pretty much covered everything. Thank you for having me and asking such wonderful questions. I feel like you really got me to expose all my secrets, as uninteresting as they might have been!
I love hearing from readers, so feel free, everyone, to contact me.
This is Stacey's Facebook bio:
Stacey Turner lives way out in the country in West Central Illinois with her husband, semi-adult children, and 6 cats. She is the mother of three biological children (whom she assumes are going to one day leave the nest) and several assorted others that have "adopted" her along the way. She is the proudest grandmother in the world.
Most of her time is taken up with CEO and editing duties at Angelic Knight Press, but she does find time to review books & interview authors, write a blog about her absolutely ridiculous family and write fiction. She can be found at What passes for sane on a crazy day, See Spot Read, Twitter, Facebook & Indie Horror.
She also enjoys fishing, haunted houses, Mexican food & margaritas, and the ocean. She hates being interrupted in the middle of writing. She is very passionate about Autism research and the rights of people with disabilities.
She does not like scarecrows, creepy dolls, birds (of any sort), snakes, clowns or garden gnomes. She does like comments, new friends, scary movies and good books.
Okay, my friends, this is why Stacey Turner is definitely a Woman In Horror!
Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous by Rollo, Gord, Turner, Stacey, Mather, Lee and Erdelac, Edward M. (Aug 30, 2012)
Satan's Toybox: Toy Soldiers by McKinney, Jason, Jason McKinney, Lisamarie Lamb and Armand Rosamilia (Jan 5, 2012)
Satan's ToyBox: Terrifying Teddies (Satan's ToyBox Anthology) by Williams, J.G., Hickes, Phil, Lamb, Lisamarie and Millard, Adam (Oct 21, 2012)