Call for Submissions - Short Story Anthology: Resistance Art Attack

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At Not a Pipe Publishing, we believe we must fight fascism with our voices while we still can. We can’t wait around to speak out against the horrors of the Trump administration after more lives have been lost. We need to be screaming right now!

After some brainstorming with writer Isaac Dye and our publisher, author Benjamin Gorman, and reflecting on the success of our anthology of stories by women writers, Strongly Worded Women, and our success raising money for The Alzheimer’s Association through our Writing Against the Darkness project as part of their The Longest Day fundraiser, we’ve decided to curate a collection of short stories around the theme of resistance to the disastrous and corrupt presidency of Donald Trump. As writers know, a novel can often take years, even decades, to craft and polish. While a short story is no less a product of careful skill and craft, we hope this anthology can be amalgamated on a much shorter timeframe and give writers an opportunity to use their gifts to speak truth to power through fiction (not “alternative facts” or “fake news” but the deeper truth that only fiction can provide). If you are a fiction writer, we would love to include your story.

Genre fiction is our brand, so if you want to try your hand at dystopian sci-fi and imagine a world where the horrors of a Trump presidency are allowed to metastasise, go for it! If you write fantasy and want to write an allegory for Trump in a world of monsters and magic, cast that spell. If you write paranormal and want to populate Trump’s America with ghosts and vampires and werewolves, we’d love it. For this anthology, we’ll accept stories that are more explicitly horror than we normally look for because, hell, horror is very appropriate for this theme. We will also make an exception and include poetry, so send that in, too. And if you write in some other genre, give us the western or romance or historical short story that fits the theme. We want to see what you can do. Please don’t send memoires, opinion pieces, or other non-fic; we love those, but they won’t fit in this anthology. 

Writers will be compensated based on sales. Our plan is to divide the proceeds of the anthology into equal parts for the authors with a share going to Raices, the Immigrant Defense Fund, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, and other groups doing valiant work to push back against the abuses of this administration. It’s another way for us to do good work by doing good work. But rest assured; compensating authors for their time and effort is always a priority to Not a Pipe Publishing. 

Lastly, we would love to include visual art in the anthology. If you are an artist who wants to contribute a black-and-white image for the interior or a color image for the cover, we would love to include it and will compensate you with a share of the proceeds just like the authors. Artists should be paid!

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When you have a short story or a piece of artwork you’re ready to submit, please send it to NotAPipePublishing@gmail.com and include Resist Trump Anthology in the subject line. SImultaneous submissions are allowed, and we will reprint previously printed works as long as you have the full rights, but we would require exclusive rights for three years if your piece is selected for publication. Wordcounts can range from micro-flash fiction to a maximum of 4000 words. We will accept stories and artwork until September 30th, with the intention of having an edited anthology available for purchase in time for the Iowa caucus in February of 2020. Yes, it’s a fast turn-around time, but the time is now. Please share this announcement with other writers and visual artists to make sure we get a broad representation of writers from different walks of life and around the world. 

Let’s fight fascism with our voices while we still can!




Cover Reveal for Sparks by Maren Anderson

It’s here! The cover for Sparks, Maren Anderson’s enthralling rural romance with a fantasy twist. Check it out! Spark will hit store shelves on July 29th, and you can pre-order it now!

cover by Gigi Little

cover by Gigi Little

Rosie wants to tear down the ancient cowshed on her ranch to make room for more horses, but it is unlucky to knock down a barn. Rosie thinks this is superstitious hogwash. That’s why she and her handsome new … friend … Patrick get drunk one night and knock the shed down with the tractor, unleashing something very dark and very angry.

Rosie is thrust into a world of magic she didn’t know existed. The cowsprite under the shed is deadly and won’t leave, the people she’s known for years have secret powers, and the effing trees have eyes. Rosie fights to regain control of her ranch, control of her heart, control of anything, while the answer might be the thing Rosie struggles with most.

"Sparks is a fresh and playful love story, told with wry, laugh out loud humor … Anderson uses a mischievous twist of magic to take her characters, and readers, on a cozy but exhilarating ride." 

-Therese Oneill

NYT Bestselling author of Ungovernable


“...a story comprised of romance, folklore, and the paranormal which made me feel safe and scared… [Anderson] did a fabulous job of portraying life in the barn, the riding scenes, and the horse characters. Fun, intriguing story!”

-Brittney Joy

author of the Red Rock Ranch series

"Romance, monsters, and magic … for grownups? Yes, please!" 

-Karen Eisenbrey

author of Daughter of Magic and Wizard Girl

“An upbeat, witty paranormal – Anderson’s Sparks is deliciously addictive with touches of sizzling chemistry, zany twists, and quirky turns that simply leave you wanting more. Fast-paced and entertaining, Rosie and Patrick’s simmering romance, mixed with a little magical mayhem, heat up this romantic fantasy, creating a wonderfully amusing read. Clear your day because you won’t want to put this book down!”

-Heather S. Ransom

author of the Going Green trilogy

Pre-order your copy today!

Hardcover HERE

Trade Paperback HERE

Kindle Edition HERE



Cover Reveal for Wizard Girl by Karen Eisenbrey

It’s here! The cover for Wizard Girl, the sequel to Karen Eisenbrey’s acclaimed YA fantasy novel Daughter of Magic, can now be revealed. Check it out! Wizard Girl will hit store shelves on July 23rd.

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It’s been two years since the incident at the Governor’s Mansion. Luskell and her family are doing well in Eukard City. While an epidemic rages and a strangler stalks the streets of the city, Luskell trains and works as a healer, but she aspires to greater power. Though everyone knows girls can’t become wizards, she persuades Wizard Bardin to make her his apprentice. Luskell leaves the city on a quest for new magic and to explore mysteries that have more to do with love and desire. But the strangler follows her. She must gain the trust of old friends and an unexpected ally if she's going to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

“This story does a fabulous job of connecting growing up to learning: learning about love, about sexuality, about sacrifice, about power, about loss, and yes, about magic.”

-Benjamin Gorman, author of the novels Corporate High School and Don’t Read This Book

The hardcover and trade paperback editions will be available for pre-order soon, and you can pre-order the Kindle version HERE.

Welcome Emily Finestead to the Not a Pipe Publishing family!

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Not a Pipe Publishing is excited to announce the newest addition to our family, Emily Finestead, our new Editor and Marketing Assistant. Emily is a current graduate student at Emerson College in Boston, studying in their Publishing and Writing MA program. Prior to that, she graduated from Agnes Scott College in Georgia, and lived for two years in China as a Peace Corps volunteer. She’s been addicted to reading since she was able to hold a book on her own, and, to this day, still checks out more books from the library than she can possibly read. She’s looking forward to a summer full of books and editing with the wonderful folks at Not a Pipe. 

Cover Reveal and Pre-Order Announcement for LeeAnn McLennan's Emerge, the third installment in The Supernormal Legacy Trilogy!

It’s here! LeeAnn McLennan’s The Supernormal Legacy, Book III: Emerge is available for pre-order today! Check out this fantastic cover by Randy Kintz (ink) and Marcus Odoms (color):

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She has badass, monster-fighting superpowers. They may be the death of her.

When Olivia Woodson Brighthall set out to rescue Benjamin Hallowfield, she didn’t expect to get herself and her friends captured. She wakes up in the worst place imaginable, the lair of Mountain of Ash, where her traitorous cousin Emma introduces Olivia to the terrorist group’s leader, Isaac Milton. When Isaac can’t persuade Olivia to join Mountain of Ash, he discloses a plan to use her powers against her will to further his evil plan to destroy all normals.

Can Olivia emerge from her captivity, rescue her friends and Ben, and stop Mountain of Ash? Or will she be trapped in a nightmare of Isaac’s making?

Emerge opens in suspense and peril and never lets up. A thrilling and shocking conclusion to The Supernormal Legacy trilogy.”

-Karen Eisenbrey, author of Daughter of Magic

 

"Every comic book fan knows the eager anticipation for the next issue that will contain the superhero battle royale. McLennan delivers; Emerge has got everything you’re hoping for and more!”

-Benjamin Gorman, author of Corporate High School

 

“The epic finale to this superhero trilogy will leave you on the edge of your seat! LeeAnn McLennan shows us the true power of these heroes in the final chapter of The Supernormal Legacy.”

-Kate Ristau, author of Shadow Girl

 

Emerge is an explosive, fast-paced finale filled with terrifying creatures and the horror of torture and betrayal. I was blown away by the resolution that left me pondering the possibilities of ‘what if?’”

-Mikko Azul, author of The Staff of Fire and Bone

 

“Compelling, addictive, nerve-wracking, yet irresistibly fun … McLennan has created a fantastic closing for her trilogy and an absolute must-read for teens, reminding us all of the importance of family, the value of true friendship, and the power to be found when you believe in yourself!”

-Heather S. Ransom, author of Going Green

Pre-order your copy today!

Hardcover HERE

Trade Paperback HERE

Kindle Edition HERE

We have an official sponsor!

We’ve started putting together a team of writers (all writers are welcome) who will be participating in The Alzheimer’s Association’s annual fundraiser: The Longest Day. Many participants do things like run or walk on that day, but our group will be a new twist. We’re going to start writing at dawn on June 21st and write until sundown! (Breaks ARE allowed.) Please consider joining our team HERE.

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Good news! In addition to all the wonderful support we’ve received from The Alzheimer’s Association, we now have another great sponsor. The wonderful people at Egg Press, a very cool stationary company, have offered to donate supplies for the writers who are going to be gathering in one place to write that day. If you would like to join our team, Not a Pipe Publishing will pay the shipping to mail you one of their awesome Write_On cards as our thank you for participating until the donated supplies run out, so join our team today!

Check out these beautiful supplies for writers:

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Thank you to the folks at Egg Press! Writers, please consider joining our team, and everybody please sponsor these writers as we raise money to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and offer support to the families who are carring for loved ones suffering from this disease. We can all make a difference by writing against the darkness!

Tonya Lippert reads from "Misreadings" from STRONGLY WORDED WOMEN

Tonya Lippert reads from "Misreadings" from Strongly Worded Women: The Best of The Year of Publishing Women, an Anthology. The reading was held at Broadway Books in Portland, Oregon on 2/12/19.

Debby Dodds reads from "Beast" from Strongly Worded Women

Debby Dodds reads from "Beast" from Strongly Worded Women: The Best of The Year of Publishing Women, an Anthology. The reading was held at Broadway Books in Portland, Oregon on 2/12/19.

Sydney Culpepper reads from "Pack Mentality" from STRONGLY WORDED WOMEN

Sydney Culpepper reads from "Pack Mentality" from Strongly Worded Women: The Best of The Year of Publishing Women, an Anthology (an anthology she compiled and edited!). The reading was held at Broadway Books in Portland, Oregon on 2/12/19.

Cover Reveal and Pre-Order Announcement for Don't Read This Book!

It’s here! Benjamin Gorman’s next novel, Don’t Read This Book, is available for pre-order today! Check out this amazing cover by Rafael Andres!

Cover Art and Design by Rafael Andres

Cover Art and Design by Rafael Andres

Want to learn more about the book? Check out the description in he Kickstarter here. You can pre-order your copy, get yours and free one for your favorite local library, get a YA title for your favorite school library, and even go big and get the entire Not a Pipe Publishing library to date! The author, Benjamin Gorman, is offering to come to you … or to let you send him to Antarctica if you’re sick of him. Check out the Kickstarter and become a backer today!

Chloe Hagerman reads from "All Is Revealed" from Strongly Worded Women

Chloe Hagerman reads from "All Is Revealed" from Strongly Worded Women: The Best of The Year of Publishing Women, an Anthology. The reading was held at Broadway Books in Portland, Oregon on 2/12/19.

Julia Figliotti reads from "Skin-Deep" from Strongly Worded Women

Julia Figliotti reads from "Skin-Deep" from Strongly Worded Women: The Best of The Year of Publishing Women, an Anthology. The reading was held at Broadway Books in Portland, Oregon on 2/12/19.

Trigger Warning: Some disturbing descriptions of an abusive relationship.

Announcement: New Project Managers Added to the Not a Pipe Publishing Team

We are so excited to announce that our family is growing. Due to the wild success of The Year Of Publishing Women and the attendant increased workload, we’ve added some marvelous project managers who will do the heavy lifting to carry some excellent manuscripts through the editing and marketing processes and deposit them as polished novels in the hands of readers. Please welcome Viveca Shearin, Kelleen Cummings, and the editor of Strongly Worded Women who is expanding her role, Sydney Culpepper! Meanwhile, our Co-Publisher Paige Gorman is transitioning to a role as the Submissions Editor. More details on that to follow. But first, please welcome Viveca, Kelleen, and Sydney!

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Viveca Shearin

Project Manager and Editor

Viveca is a freelance editor who joined Not a Pipe Publishing to work on a single novel and wowed us, so we asked her to join the Not a Pipe Publishing family as a project manager, and she accepted! She lives in Brooklyn, New York and is currently interning at a literary agency. When she's not working, Viveca can often be found with a big mug of tea (or coffee), her face buried in a good book or video game, and her beloved cat nearby for company.


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Kelleen Cummings

Project Manager and Editor

Kelleen Cummings is a Seattlite who loves the rain and her two cats. A recent graduate of Lewis & Clark College, she is putting her English degree to good use working with Not a Pipe and at an independent bookstore in the Seattle area. Though already constantly reading ARCs and the occasional actually published novel, Kelleen still makes time to craft, write poetry, and wander around the Olympic Sculpture Park. She definitely considers herself a creative-type as a writer, a dancer, and a crafter, but that doesn’t hinder her attention to detail while editing. She is interested in all genres, though she particularly adores historical fiction, romance, and social-justice oriented manuscripts.


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Sydney Culpepper

Project Manager and Editor

Sydney hails from Klamath Falls, OR, and is a recent graduate of Western Oregon University with an honors degree in linguistics and American Sign Language.  She’s been a reader and a writer nearly all her life, and she loves reading young adult fiction, especially fantasy and LGBTQ+ subgenres.  She self-published her first novel, Pagetown, as her senior project in high school, and is working on her next book.  Her other hobbies include Netflix, drawing, and petting her cat.

#TheYearOfPublishingWomen's Short Stories Series: Eyes by Heather S. Ransom

During 2018, Not a Pipe Publishing has accepted Kamila Shamsie's challenge to only publish women for one year. Beyond the eight (eight!) novels we'll be publishing, we'd also like to promote even more women's voices, so we're publishing short fiction here. We’ve also compiled an anthology of some of the best of these shorts stories, and you can now purchase a copy of Strongly Worded Women: The Best of the Year of Publishing Women: An Anthology.


[Trigger warning: body horror] "Eyes" is a truly disturbing and terrifying story. Ransom, author of the Going Green trilogy, once again proves her ability to create entirely unique stories and worlds. This story features a world in which our eyes die out from disease and must be replaced. How would this be managed? Who gets the eyes? Is there a hierarchy? This story provides merely a horrifying glimpse into this world, one of desperation and darkness. -Sydney Culpepper, Anthology Editor

Eyes

By Heather S. Ransom

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I eased the spoon down into the baby’s eye socket until the suction sound turned to a soft pop. Clipping the optical nerve, I started on the other eye. One down, one to go. I had to reposition the spoon when it didn’t slide in smoothly. Adjusting my grip on the handle, I pushed down harder this time, thinking that although it technically wasn’t a “spoon,” I could have eaten cereal with it.

“Put on some speed, Zif.” A foot tapped impatiently. Fen never could stand still.

“I’m on it. We should have broken in to do this last week.”

Fen snorted. “Three sets in seven months. Hope these last a little longer.”

Finally, another audible pop. A firm snip, then carefully, I dropped both eyes in the quick fix jar, and pulled a crimper out of my pocket.

“Hey, you can’t blame me for tossing that second set. Dealers who sell unmatched eyes should be put down.” I’d felt crazy. It was hard enough keeping check on one set of urges.

My life was tough, but it was mine. At least I hadn’t been born a stock baby. Shunted after harvesting. I glanced across the other babies available, hoping I’d made a good choice. I mean, it was impossible to tell. They all pretty much looked the same. I could deal with the urges, I was just hoping for a little more time. We all knew that stealing a new set from a private stock lab carried huge risks. Those designated as “permanently sighted” didn’t know how good they had it. They just put in a call and a new set was delivered to their door. They never had to harvest their own.

But I needed these eyes. I crimped the nerve endings with new adapters. A burnt, slightly metallic smell filled the air. That was a good sign.

“Any day.” The foot tapping started again.

I popped my bad eye out first. It hurt some, but I was used to it by now. And, once your sight started to go, the nerves didn’t work right anyway. The virus had infected it about a month ago, so it was pretty much already dead. I felt along the optic nerve to find the old inset point, cut just behind it, then crimped the new one in. I had sixty seconds to get the other one done. If both eyes weren’t connected by then, there’d be a possibility I’d see double for the span of this set. I’d known a guy who’d gone crazy, ripping his out before they even went bad because of double-vision headaches. What a waste.

I let the new eye dangle wet against my cheek. One more pop and crimp. This time completely by touch. That was the scary part of all this. I hated the blind times. They were suffocating.

Taking a deep breath, I gently pulled back my eye lids, one at a time, and softly pushed until the new eyes popped into place. Blinking, I waited for my sight to return.

“Well, how are they?” I heard Fen’s footsteps come toward me. “Pretty sweet. Cool green. Good choice on color.”
Suddenly a piercing wail filled the room. The baby! It was screaming now at the top of its lungs. It shouldn’t have done that. Stock babies didn’t make noise …unless …Fen and I looked at each other astonished.

“Oh my god, you hit the mother lode!” Fen yelled, over the top of the shrieking howl. “We’ve got to get out of here now! They’ll kill you to get those eyes!”

The baby came into focus. Black, gaping holes where its eyes had been. Its arms flew in random, jerking movements.

I just stood there. Everything seemed in slow motion. The realization of what was happening slowly washed over me. I looked up as Fen grabbed my arm.

“We have to go! Now!” Fen began to drag me across the room. Then a siren added its squealing, and I snapped into action.

I dove after Fen into a small air duct at the back of the room, scrambling for what seemed like forever until we rolled out into a waste pond behind the facility. Glancing back as we started to run for the trees, I saw officers with guns filing out of the building.

Fen’s breathing was jagged as we finally slowed to a jog, weaving through the thick brush. “Somebody’s going to be …in big trouble. Just think …they had an immune there and …didn’t even know it. They should have been …harvesting sooner.”

That’s when I felt it, so strong and burning. Overwhelming. There’s always urges with new eyes since they’re connected to the soul of the previous owner, of who they’ll become. Mother Teresa, Hitler, or some schmuck in between.

I looked at Fen. Rippling muscles. Smooth skin. My best friend. And I felt for the knife in my pocket.

The blade felt sweet sliding through Fen’s throat. No sound came from the open mouth. Wasted. Maybe I should’ve taken my new eyes out. Tossed them.

But they were immune. Not eyes that you’d give up.

Fen would’ve understood. A girl’s gotta make her own way in this world.


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Life as a middle school teacher for twenty-six years has allowed Heather an intimate look into the minds of thousands of young adults, most of whom are desperate to find their place in a society constantly changing around them. Many have found escape, ideas for facing challenges, or simply hope for a future where they can make a difference, through reading. So every year, Heather has her classes read. And they imagine together what their futures might hold, telling stories about advances in technology that could change their world.

Heather grew up in a family that loved stories. Her mom told incredible, fanciful adventures where she, along with her brother and sister, lived in a pond with tadpoles, or traveled across the dusty hills as Native Americans, or howled at the moon with the coyotes. As her mom told these stories, Heather became the character. She felt the water moving through her gills as she swam with Wally Wadpole. She tasted the dust in her mouth while riding her horse, Many Moons, on the hunt to bring back food to her tribe. She heard the coyotes calling her to come play, long after the stories were over. Heather fell in love with a good story, one that immersed her in a world that felt so real she never wanted to leave. This is what she hopes to bring to her readers, to give them a world they want to return to over and over again.

Heather's first book, Going Green, a YA sci fi dystopia, was published by Not a Pipe Publishing in March or 2017. The second book in the Going Green trilogy, Greener, was released in September of 2018, and the final part of the trilogy, Back to Green, will be out in the end of 2019.

When not teaching or writing, Heather enjoys spending time with the man of her dreams, Marv, and their two absolutely amazing adult kids, Danielle and Marvin. Living in Grants Pass, Oregon, affords her the luxury of ample opportunities in the amazing outdoors, as well as helping out at their local businesses, a pizza pub and cigar shop.

Heather is an active member of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and the Willamette Writers Organization, as well as the National Association of Science Teachers. You can also find more information and reviews on her website, www.heathersransom.ink, and on Goodreads author page.

Strongly Worded Women: Cover Reveal and Pre-Order Announcement

It’s here! The cover reveal for Strongly Worded Women: The Best of the Year of Publishing Women: An Anthology:

Cover by Sydney Culpepper

Cover by Sydney Culpepper

Back in 2015, Not a Pipe Publishing announced we were accepting author Kamila Shamsie’s challenge to the publishing industry to only publish women authors in 2018. Now, after publishing eight novels by seven authors, they are capping off their Year of Publishing Women with an anthology of 18 short stories by women authors from across the country.

The anthology will be available online and in bookstores on November 20th so it can be available for Black Friday shoppers, but you can pre-order it now to make sure you get your copy!

Amazon:

Hardcover: HERE

Trade Paperback: HERE

Kindle: HERE

Barnes and Noble and Nook: HERE

Apple Books: HERE

Inclusion in the anthology has meant a lot to the writers. Tonya Lippert, author of “Misreadings,” says, “It means joining a community of writers. I feel joined to Not a PIpe Publishing and the other writers whose work will be part of the anthology. We all will be working to spread the word and get the collection of stories to readers. Our lives are now intertwined.” Taylor Buccello, author of “The Becoming,” says, "Ever since I was little, I've loved writing and dreamed of having my work published. It still feels surreal to be getting this opportunity, but I'm so glad to be part it (and to be alongside some amazing women, at that) and to have a taste at the published world." Laura Hazan, author of “The Breakout,” concurs. “Having this story published in the Year of Publishing Women anthology is like a crowning - I've finally made it, despite the critics, including the one in my own head.” Rosie Bueford, author of “Woman by the Window,” sees it as a part of something larger: “I have long admired the work and social activism/awareness of Not A Pipe Publishing company and its founders. To be included in this project has been equally humbling and inspiring. As a woman and a social work student, I am honored to be a part of a literary project designed to empower women in the industry and in our country during such a tumultuous time. ... I feel this project has done a beautiful thing to bring about mindful awareness of what is happening within ourselves and all around us.”

Heather S. Ransom, author of “Eyes” and the novels Going Green and Greener, thinks of this anthology as a mechanism to mentor young women. “Today, more than ever, girls desperate to find their place in a society constantly changing around them need a wide variety of incredible females as role models. Strong, confident, inspiring women to show them that their future can be anything they choose, if they are willing to work for it. … I believe that young women today need strong female voices to guide them on their journey not only of survival but of self-discovery, appreciation, acceptance, and love.” For Lizzy Carney, author of “Mother Nature … Mother Nurture,” it’s far more personal. “Love for my mom is etched in my heart…putting words on a page was an action of describing that love. Just when I thought I would give up my pen for knitting needles, the opportunity of submitting Mother Nature Mother Nurture was literally handed to me. On a whim. I pushed send. Ma was a woman of grit and grace.  She loved to read and pitied those without an imagination. Having a piece of her story included in the Year of Publishing Women Short Story Anthology surrounded by stories written by women is incredible. Ma would be happy surrounded by creative women’s words. She made me promise I would keep writing. I will forget about knitting and keep my promise. Being included in this project, and having my story of Ma and her journey with Alzheimer’s published, is an amazing honor.”

LeeAnn Mclennan, author of “Zombie Apocalypse Rescue Agency” and The Supernormal Legacy trilogy, says, “I’m honored to be a part of Not a Pipe’s Year of Publishing Women short story project. The project celebrates women authors crafting the stories they want to write about the world they inhabit. It’s our chance provide even more evidence of the quality of writing women bring to the page. “ Karen Eisenbrey, author of “Crane’s Fire” and the novels Daughter of Magic and The Gospel According to St. Rage, shares McLennan’s view about quality and also highlights the community building. "The Year of Publishing Women has released a wide variety of great novels and short stories into the world, but it has been about so much more than that: it has brought together authors to learn from and support each other, and to amplify each other's voices." Maren Anderson, author of “Getting Pregnant on the Back of a Motorcycle” and the novels Closing the Store and Fuzzy Logic, agrees. “It's awesome to be bound together (literally) with so many talented women.”

We’re having a launch party at Another Read Through in Portland on November 30th from 7:00 to 8:00. Come hear many of these talented authors read from their stories, and get your copy signed.


#TheYearOfPublishingWomen's Short Stories Series: "Mother Nature…Mother Nurture" by Lizzy Carney

During 2018, Not a Pipe Publishing has accepted Kamila Shamsie's challenge to only publish women for one year. Beyond the eight (eight!) novels we'll be publishing, we'd also like to promote even more women's voices, so we'll be publishing short fiction here. If you would like to submit, check out the information HERE. The deadline for submitting to the anthology has passed, but you can still submit and maybe have your story published this year!


I don't believe I have the words to accurately describe this beautiful piece. This memoir is an homage to the author's mother, and the imagery and poeticism of the writing evoke such strong and yet delicate emotions in the reader. I can tell this will be a story I will return to again and again to revisit the pure emotion and heart I experienced when reading. -Sydney Culpepper, Anthology Editor



Mother Nature…Mother Nurture

by Lizzy Carney

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I am losing my mother in pieces. She is like an autumn tree:  beautiful, colorful, yet dying. The breeze of Alzheimer’s whispers through the branches while her memory drops off with the leaves.

One day when her tree is finally bare, I will hold a memory of her blooming strength. She weathered the storms and provided me with shelter.  I will be strong and remain hopeful because of her. For now, I will hope for spring to come, so together we may see the blossoms and green growth of love.

On a September drive through the Oregon wine country, Mom asked me, “What will we see once the leaves have all fallen?” She answered her own question. “Skeleton trees?”

I gather what is falling: her stories, her looks, her insights, and her love. Nature’s beauty is my rake. I rake these moments we share, embracing them as simple gifts of beauty.

Another day she smiles and says, “Oh, the little fast birds are here.” I look up to the fuchsia hanging in the window and see the swift messengers of love and joy. Hummingbirds never seem to stop, never glide. I will them to linger. I will life to linger, to be savored, so that we can take our time and drink the nectar. I know that hummingbirds symbolize immortality, bravery, joy, and perseverance. I wonder if their flight of infinity would journey into our house and allow me to have my mom a little longer. These tiny creatures delight her with their fleeting visits and provide me with a sense of peace, knowing that I will never stop savoring the nectar of my mom’s sweetness.

We rest on her bed with eyes wide and focused out the window and on the sky. The clouds drift. Mom comments that the sun is warm and melting the clouds. She asks what I see… I say I see a cloud passing as a caterpillar. “No,” she says, “it is God reaching out to us.” We are quiet as the view changes. She pities the person without imagination. The sky’s stage provides for an ensemble of characters: herds of wild animals stampede across the horizon. Musical instruments silently blow to the west. Stout kings float by followed by soaring chubby cherubs. “The clouds are heavy,” she remarks. “It will rain and they will be lighter.” I feel her love and bask in the slow motion of the moment. The clouds are dark and threatening. Mom dozes; I keep my eye on the clouds, waiting for one to pass and offer me a silver lining. I will be patient.

“How many sunsets have we watched together?” Mom asks me. Before I can respond, she muses that “the sky is a Van Gogh painting, only more beautiful.” She holds my hand while we wait and watch colors transform the sky into impressionistic images.  Sunset … a day’s end, bringing breathtaking moments of change in us, entwined with nature.

The sun is setting on my mother.  The hues and tones of her life dim quietly as the dusk of the disease sets in on her memories.  I cling to the colors of our time now. I embrace the brush strokes of the afterglow and realize that twilight is approaching and then will come darkness.

Magically, clouds part for the moon. The fuzziness of the veiled moon has cleared and so a bright glow streams down upon us as our night light.  We watch the moon rise while the stars decorate the sky. We talk as if we are young girls on a sleepover.

Mom wonders if Ireland has a moon. She did not see it when we were there last. I assure her Ireland has a moon and it is the same one we are viewing this night. We tease about shooting for the moon and that if we miss, we will hit a star. Together we count and wish and wonder.

One day I will look at the world for both of us: capturing the beauty in my heart, wishing on the giggling stars, watching the sun playing “sneak and peek.” My heart is broken as I lose my mother in pieces, watching the woman who was my mother disappearing leaf by leaf. It is broken open with love. I smile, stirring up memories of the joys we share overseeing the birds, sunsets and the night skies together, embracing Mother Nature. Smiling for the many joys we have had together.

Grief changes us forever. There is never ‘normal’ again. But my sorrowful and changed spirit will remember that I carry within me the beauty of my mother. She will be with me always, and I will be healed by the memories of ordinary and extraordinary moments we shared with nature. Mom will always nurture me. The moon will trade places with the sun and in my darkness I know morning will come.

I recall Carl Sandburg’s line, “The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to.” My mother’s moon and I will be having many conversations.


Lizzy Carney.jpg


Writer, educator, reader, gardener, and traveler describe Lizzy Carney’s interests and pursuits. Her journey is a lifelong learning expedition and she has discovered the value of detours.

Ms. Carney holds a Master of Arts in Education from Antioch University and a Bachelor of Education in Special Education from Gonzaga University.
For seventeen years, she had the opportunity to teach special education students at the elementary, middle and high school levels and mainstream middle school Language Arts and Social Studies. As an adjunct professor at Antioch University, her teaching focused in mentoring adults studying to earn a special education endorsement or complete their Master’s degrees. Additionally, through the Heritage Institute, she offered classes designed to assist teachers to use children’s picture books to enhance instruction in writing and the content areas.
Currently, she is the full time caregiver to her elderly father.


Ms. Carney is a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and The Willamette Writers. She belongs to two critique groups and attends regional writer conferences. She enjoys writing in a variety of genres. Her essay “Death Stalks My Mother” was published as part of the anthology Upon Arrival of Illness: Coming to Terms with the Dark Companion (Savage Press 2012). Presently, she is working on picture book manuscripts and a book for Alzheimer’s caregivers. The working title is: Beyond Pee, Poop and Pills. The Life of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver.

Author Mikko Azul reads from The Staff of Fire and Bone

Author Mikko Azul reads from her epic high fantasy novel The Staff of Fire and Bone at the words and Pictures Festival in Vancouver, Washington. The picture quality is terrible, but you can hear her clearly. Get your copy of The Staff of Fire and Bone here: http://www.notapipepublishing.com/artists/#/the-staff-of-fire-and-bone/