MacAllister Stone, Head Editor of Coyote Wild, Interviewed

Word to the wires, I’m interviewing more folks.

This one keeps herself busy, and never got back to me with the second round of questions. Still, I’ll post the questions I asked into the silence anyway, just so you can wonder if she will ever answer these questions.

You do know Coyote Wild Magazine, right?

I cornered the head editor, MacAllister Stone, and managed to squeeze two questions out of her before the slush fell on her head and crushed her.

J M McD) Please, introduce yourself to the world. Who are you, and why are you in charge of Coyote Wild Magazine, and why did you choose to start your lovely publication?

Mac)I’m MacAllister Stone, I run a large website for writers, absolutewrite.com, and the attached forums.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t remember not being able to read — I’ve been reading nearly as long as I’ve been able to talk. I’ve been a fan of speculative fiction since, as a precocious kid, I found a box of old SF paperbacks that someone had left on the swap shelf in my dad’s auto-shop.

A couple of years ago, a friend I’d been beta-reading for sent me a story that an editor I really respect had asked to look at, if and when she ever finished it. I adored the story. I also lamented that I couldn’t find enough of those stories I really really love to read. I was reading a number of online ‘zines at the time, and subscribing to another half-dozen print publications – and they were all good…but the stories that really got to me and stuck with me? They seemed few and far between.

So that sort of percolated on the back of my mind for a while, and in the meantime, I got more involved with Absolute Write, and more involved with my own writing. I attended Viable Paradise X, ( http://www.sff.net/paradise/ ) and went to my first Worldcon ( http://www.worldcon.org/ ) in Los Angeles. Somewhere in that stretch of time a friend of mine, Lori Basiewicz, said, in one of those late night chat conversations you have when you’re both a bit punchy from too much work to do, “We need to start an ezine.” ( Lori’s blog: http://loribasiewicz.blogspot.com/ )

Lori has since moved on to other writing and publishing pursuits, but we’d never have made it through that first year without her.

Essentially, we had a some simple goals: We wanted to publish good stories and poetry and nonfiction. We wanted to pay writers, even if we weren’t paying a lot, we wanted to pay for those words. Mostly, we wanted to find more of the stuff we really, really love to read.

J M McD) Tell me about the kind of stories you wish you had gotten the chance to publish, but missed. What are some of the favorite stories of yours that someone else got, first?

Oh…that’s a really hard question! There are so many fabulous short stories out there, that weren’t ever submitted to me. And there’ve been a couple of stories that WERE submitted to me, that I thought were really too good for a penny-a-word market, so I sent them away to submit to pro markets before they signed a contract with Coyote Wild.

Three cases come to mind, though. We planned and researched contracts and how to run an ezine for over a year, before we did our first issue of Coyote. And the ‘zine has been online for over a year, at this point. For that whole two and a half years, in the back of my mind, I was considering a Coyote-themed anthology, because…well…y’know…not that anyone is banging down my door to put together an anthology…but it could happen, right? Then I’m at a little con last year, in the dealer room, and what do I see? Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling have done a Coyote themed anthology: Coyote Road
( http://www.amazon.com/Coyote-Road-Ellen-Datlow/dp/0670061948 )

So I bought it, of course.

Even worse? It’s really, really good. ( There’s a good review here: http://www.greenmanreview.com/book/book_datlow_windling_coyoteroad.html )

Then, last summer, I was visiting with a writer who has a poem in the February Coyote Wild (Triumph XVIII: Maya – Shweta Narayan http://coyotewildmag.com/2008/february/maya_narayan.html ) and she mentioned a story she thought I might like to see. The more we talked about it, the more excited I got. Then she mentioned that Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling were looking at it, but if they didn’t buy it, she’d send it my way.

They bought it. Damn their eyes. They scooped me AGAIN. Shweta’s story will be in their Beastly Bride anthology. I still haven’t even gotten to read it.

The third story I immediately think of is a story that I DID get to buy (mostly, I suspect because Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling never got to see it, Muahahahahahahah!) Barbara Gordon’s smart and lyrical The King of Elfland’s Stepdaughter (http://coyotewildmag.com/spring_2007/content/gordon_elfland.html ) in the second issue of CW.

Here’s the thing, I’m still a reader, first and foremost. So the question is sort of moot, as long as those stories are getting published so that I get to read them.

I sent her some followup questions, and they were never answered, alas.

Here they are, in all their unanswered glory. Perhaps, she will enter the comments thread and finish this, despite how time has smashed her ability to meet my Saturday deadline on this interview!

JMMCD) What do you think are the big differences in the organization of an on-line magazine versus a print magazine, and why did you choose the on-line format?

JMMCD) Speaking of great stories, you’ve been able to attract some top talent from day one. Elizabeth Bear appeared in your inaugural issue. James D MacDonald and Debra Doyle are in one of your recent issues. Did you do any extra work to spread the word, in the beginning, or did they just miraculously find you?

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5 thoughts on “MacAllister Stone, Head Editor of Coyote Wild, Interviewed

  1. And I’m back, belatedly, to answer those last two questions. *g*JMMCD) What do you think are the big differences in the organization of an on-line magazine versus a print magazine, and why did you choose the on-line format?You know, I love print. I grew up reading most of the print SF magazines, and still subscribe to six or eight different SF/F publications. Print brings a unique set of challenges with it, though – production and distribution, especially.The big consideration for me was how I could make the stories most widely available, and how I could keep them free. I’m really excited about short fiction on the internet – the potential to reach lots of new readers with every issue is something that a print mag can’t really hope to compete with.Too, when you start thinking about an electronic medium for text, you quickly realize what an exciting time this is . . . it’s a revolution in text akin to Gutenberg’s printing press, and that’s something I never expected to be privileged to witness. JMMCD) Speaking of great stories, you’ve been able to attract some top talent from day one. Elizabeth Bear appeared in your inaugural issue. James D MacDonald and Debra Doyle are in one of your recent issues. Did you do any extra work to spread the word, in the beginning, or did they just miraculously find you? We did our first issue as an invitational – the writers I contacted were simply wonderful, and we were very, very fortunate in the terrific stories we received. We knew we wanted to set the bar high, and those writers helped us do that.

  2. My first and probably best advice would be to go for it. It’s been tremendously rewarding and educational, both. In addition, my advice would be to read everything that you can get your hands on in the field you’re interested in publishing. Running even a tiny little ezine can be more challenging and informative than you’d imagine, on so many levels. Managing slush, tracking contracts, knowing what else is being published in the field, staying on schedule, and coordinating the people you’ll need to help you . . . all those things add up to an time and labor intensive experience unlike anything else you’ve likely ever tried. Certainly, that’s how it’s been for me.

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