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Enter Castle Gate Press

Next year Castle Gate will start publishing novels set in the “real world” with a touch of the fantastic.
| Sep 13, 2013 | No comments |

castledoorReaders, have you ever wished you could find more fantastic fiction out there?  In my lifetime we experienced a huge dry period:  I read Tolkien and Lewis, and then for years found nothing more. As a young adult, I re-read The Lord of the Rings a hundred times — every time I got sick.

Secular fantasy books tended to scare me silly, and the worldview felt so unstable. So I only tried a few. Eventually I found some Christian fantasy writers: Stephen Lawhead, Kathy Tyers, and then the guys who wrote Left Behind. But for me, there wasn’t enough available.

One reason has been that the Christian publishers  found success courting romance readers. They built a solid readership using Christian bookstores. But the fantasy readers couldn’t find much  there and stopped going (if they ever went in the first place). So, generally speaking, fantasy titles published and put into Christian bookstores flopped. The Christian publishers couldn’t figure out how to find the readers, people like you and me, and as a result they steered clear of fantasy by and large.

Now some indie presses have risen up, bypassing bookstores altogether and selling paper books and ebooks over the Internet. Marcher Lord Press was the first to focus on Christian fantasy, followed soon after by Splashdown Books and now occasionally some others like OakTara and Port  Yonder. There’s a whole selection of books for us fantasy fans. Woo hoo!

But you may find there’s something largely missing from the selection. The books containing just a touch of the fantastic still have trouble finding a publisher.

Enter Castle Gate Press, the new publishing venture from Suzanne Hartmann and me (Phyllis Wheeler). We intend to fill that void and will start publishing books next year. Castle Gate will start publishing books next year, specializing in novels set in the “real world” with a touch of the fantastic.

That fantastic touch can come from time travel, results of science experiments, supernatural elements, a bit of fantasy – we’re not limiting the possibilities. Suzanne and I like to write books like these, but we expect to publish books written by others.   We will start accepting manuscripts in January at our website, CastleGatePress.com.

The first thing we’re doing is getting our blog at CastleGatePress.com up and running. Mondays and Wednesdays are reserved for advice for writers on marketing and craft, but Friday will soon feature flash fiction to entertain our readers.  Flash fiction is a very short story, quick to read but hard to write!

Suzanne is a homeschool mom who edits and who also writes  Fast Track Thrillers, a book series about a homeschooling mom with super powers from cell stimulation. The protagonist, Joanne, is a special agent who learns to love NASCAR. She finds herself in all kinds of pickles as she tries to keep from blowing her cover.

I’ve been learning the novel-writing craft for several years now and also do some editing.  I’m a book publisher already, of a popular homeschool computer curriculum at MotherboardBooks.com.

We both live in or near St. Louis, Missouri, in America’s heartland.

Suzanne and I love editing, and we’ve been given this vision of helping other writers get published. Our company will operate something like a co-op, with volunteers asked to help in a variety of ways. Our authors will be asked to cross-promote each others’ material. Stay tuned for more information!

Here’s a parting question for you Christian fantasy readers.  Do you like to read secular fantasy fiction? Why or why not?

To keep in touch with Castle Gate Press, sign up for emailed blog posts at CastleGatePress.com. We’re also posting fun and useful stuff on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/CastleGatePress.  Get ready for flash fiction, coming your way on Fridays very soon!  And you can find out more about each of us at Suzanne-Hartmann.Blogspot.com and PhyllisWheeler.com.

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notleia
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notleia

I wonder if they have opportunities for copyeditors as well as authors. I need to justify my English major by making money from it.

Galadriel
Guest

Tell me about it.

Lauren
Guest
Lauren

Me too 🙂

Paul Lee
Member

I’m glad that I ended up in communications/media instead of English or humanities. Not that I expect to be able to make much money, either. There doesn’t seem to be very much of that to go around, in all the many projects on the Internet. It’s terribly difficult to get any takers even on dedicated micro-services platforms, even if you’re offering to work for dirt and peanut shells. Kickstarter only works for certain kinds of endeavors, and I think there’s probably a lot of luck involved in it.

I guess the American dream turned out to be a lie. At least we can always complain about it on our free blogs. 😉

Kaleb
Guest
Kaleb

Real world with a touch of the fantastic. Interesting. I think mine all have more than a touch, unfortunately. I’ll keep checking back, though.

David Bergsland
Guest

Your description of your reading experiences back in the day really hit home. I’ve always wanted fantasy books with a strong tie to reality. The miraculous is wonderful stuff. I moved on into Clancy, Thor, Flynn, Brown, Baldacci, and others who gave a speculative look into the near future. But they quickly became too raunchy. Cussler, De Brul, and others get far too much into new age and anti-religious speculations. So, my goal has been to write near future speculations from the point of view of spirit-filled characters dealing with an increasingly sinful and lawless world. My WIP is a fantasy dealing with those issues, for example.

I pray the Lord will show you the strait and narrow path toward your calling.

Phyllis Wheeler
Guest

@notleia, we have opportunities for volunteer editors, a great opportunity for you to build your editing resume!

Matthew Steiner
Guest

Would you include alternate history as “real world”? I have an idea for a story series that takes place in the mid-1800’s.

Phyllis Wheeler
Guest

@Matthew, I am sure we will be happy to take a look at your proposal.

Kessie Carroll
Member

What books have you written/edited? Any Amazon links? 🙂

I write urban fantasy–people with magic/superpowers running around in the real world. In this case, Phoenix, AZ. And it’s YA. Not sure if that’d fit your guidelines, but it’s what I want to read!

Do you mind listing some titles of books similar to what you’re looking for? My books are similar to Dresden (though not so dark), or Hounded, or Harry Potter if Harry mostly ran around London instead of Hogwarts. Except with fast cars.

Phyllis Wheeler
Guest

@Kessie, here’s a link to Suzanne’s book: http://www.amazon.com/Peril-Suzanne-Hartmann/dp/1602903069 What you are describing sounds very promising. YA is great.

Paul Lee
Member

Do you like to read secular fantasy fiction? Why or why not?

I spent my teen years reading almost exclusively secular fantasy, most of which I found at the public library. I didn’t think about the Christian book industry much back then. I knew there were Christian publishers, and I knew they produced Christian fiction. Back then, the phrase “Christian fantasy” might have evoked the thought of the allegorical stories in my late elementary English curiculum at my Christian school.

So, instead of answering why I read secular fantasy, I can only ask, why not? Secular fantasy is readily available for free, and it has produced some very epic stories alongside its decent share of trash.

D. M. Dutcher
Member

It’s always great to see a new publisher arise. Best of luck on the business.

What books would you see as examples of “a touch of the fantastic” in Christian or secular fiction? I’m not sure what you mean, whether you want more of a literary magical realist book (Jill Domschott’s Anna and the Dragon comes to mind for a Christian example) or romance/mystery/historical with some spec genre elements?

I read secular fiction because I grew up on tales of the fantastic. I read it less now because I like Christian spec fic better, and a lot of the modern secular SF worlds aren’t the kind of place I want to live in even when presented as a good thing.Ever since the 60s-70s new wave there’s been a rush by the avant-garde to be as transgressive as possible, and I think it’s worn on me.

Phyllis Wheeler
Guest

@DM, actually, we are just looking for great manuscripts. They could feature literary magical realism or romance/historical with speculative elements, all of the above. Hope you’ll have something to show us!

Galadriel
Guest

I have some secular authors I adore–Neil Gaiman, Terry Prachett, Jasper Fforde–but concerns about explaining certain elements to certain people keep me on the fence more than I’d like.

Phyllis Wheeler
Guest

@Galadriel, you have a funny way of putting that!