Posts filed under ‘News’

A new adventure for URB

To everybody who donated to our kickstarter, thank you so very much for your support! I’m very grateful. I’m not sure how to express how much hard work goes into making a book, and having concrete proof that people appreciate my efforts is tremendously heartening.

However, after looking carefully at the project, it was pretty clear that we weren’t going to reach our goal, and that I needed to do more to showcase how amazing our writers are and what great books these will be. I’ve been brainstorming with some of my more marketing-savvy friends, and have a ton of new ideas for ways to bring the attention to my writers that they deserve.

We’re going to retool a few things and relaunch the kickstarter on June 1st.


I’m also retooling Upper Rubber Boot somewhat. TL;DR: we’re becoming a not-for-profit. (This won’t affect my current writers, whose contracts will simply be assigned to the new entity.)

When I started Upper Rubber Boot in 2011, I thought that it would grow over time until it became a full-time job. I put some money out of every paycheck into the URB bank account to keep it afloat (and I’m still doing that), and I started small. I built up the business to what it is today—a small press that puts out a few good books every year, but, let’s be real, is not appreciably closer to supporting me than it was seven years ago. It has never turned a profit (the closest it came was 2015, the year we published Choose Wisely and How to Live on Other Planets, when we basically broke even). I’ve had all of the challenges of running what it turns out is a non-profit business, without any of the benefits of non-profit status.

      It’s become clear that turning URB into the kind of going concern that could replace my income as an administrative assistant would involve a level of investment of both time and money that I don’t have available to me, and would also require me to make more profitable decisions in terms of what I publish, instead of focusing on the short fiction and poetry that I love, but which is never going to sell bazillions of copies.

I’m lucky to have a fulfilling day job (at a hospital, where I run a clinical fellowship and the lives of four surgeons, and a bunch of other projects including the medical humanitarian work in East Africa and Haiti that I feel so privileged to get to be involved with) where I hope to stay for a long time, so the desire to write and publish full-time that I felt so keenly seven years ago has faded.

I’m finding that my priorities in life are shifting. Over a year ago, my best friend and one of the best humans I’ve ever known was diagnosed with cancer. I went back home to Nova Scotia to see her several times, and was able to say goodbye before she died in December. That experience, common as it is, has made me re-evaluate my life in view of what suddenly seems a more realistic mortality. I want to spend my limited time on work that matters. One of the amazing things about micropress publishing is that, because it’s not our main hustle, we can create a space where capitalism is incidental (though not, sadly, entirely escapable) and bring lovely, thoughtful, insightful, and/or challenging writing into the world, without much reference to how well it’ll sell. Doing that is going to be a little easier with not-for-profit status.

Thanks for being here with me. I’m so grateful for all of you.

Add comment 19 April 2018

#SolarpunkChat is back!

Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Christopher Wieland (the co-editors of Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation) will lead a twitter chat on “Kinship & Collective Action In Solarpunk” on Saturday, April 21st (Earth Day Eve!) at noon Eastern. Click the image to the right to enlarge and get times across the globe!     


Use the hashtag #SolarpunkChat and follow this month’s hosts @pheebs_w and @BeezyAl, plus moderator @upperrubberboot.

And remember, we’re still kickstarting Women Up To No Good! At a time when publishers still release all-male and nearly-all-male anthologies of short fiction, much to our (forgive the pun) horror, we’re providing a counterbalance with short, dark, feminist fiction by some of the best writers out there. Pledge now to pre-order and make these books a reality!

14 April 2018

Kickstarting Women Up To No Good!


Projects like the VIDA Count have demonstrated that women account for startlingly less than half of those published, and writers of marginalized sex and gender identities account for much less than their presence in the general population.

To help counteract that—and also because we thought it would be fun—we started the Women Up To No Good series, which focuses on “bad” women, and “good” women who just haven’t been caught yet.

There are other imbalances too, most notably race, and while we have no formal requirement for inclusion of writers of color, we strive for diversity in all of our anthologies.

Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good and Sharp & Sugar Tooth: Women Up To No Good are anthologies of writing by women and authors of marginalized sex and gender identities, about female protagonists whose knowledge or appetites are critical to their stories.

We’re raising money to be able to pay our authors professional rates, and to properly promote the anthologies so they get the attention they deserve. Our hope is to get the Women Up To No Good series on a solid enough footing that sales of the books will support all future anthologies.


Broad Knowledge authors

Sharp & Sugar Tooth authors

Check out our Kickstarter here.

1 April 2018

Congratulations to the 2018 Hugo Finalists

Congratulations to the 2018 Hugo finalists, especially URB authors Sarah Pinsker (Best Novella and Best Novelette finalist and contributor to the anthology How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens), Caroline M. Yoachim (Best Short Story finalist and contributor to the anthology Sharp & Sugar Tooth: Women Up To No Good), and Bogi Takács (Best Fan Writer finalist and contributor to the anthologies How to Live on Other Planets and Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation), and URB artist Likhain (Best Fan Artist finalist and cover artist of Sunvault)!

1 April 2018


Announcing a Monthly #SolarpunkChat:
3rd Saturday of Every Month


We’re delighted to announce that we’re co-organizing a new monthly Twitter chat with Reckoning Press! In broad strokes, a monthly conversation will consider the ideas of solarpunk, hopepunk, ecopunk, eco-futurism, eco-fiction, and climate fiction. Collectively, these terms refer to environmental science fiction, art, and activism that to varying degrees combine the green movement, renewable energy sources, intersectional social justice, and global climate justice movements, and the anti-capitalism and do-it-yourself ethic of the punk movement.

While critics, audiences, and creators have not yet settled on a single label for these works, and disagree on whether a label is even helpful when imagining better ways of being, we needed to choose a chat hashtag so people could find the conversation. Thus #SolarpunkChat was born!


First #SolarpunkChat:
Saturday, March 17th
Noon Eastern Standard Time


For the first #SolarpunkChat, on Saturday, March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day), Reckoning Magazine‘s Michael J. DeLuca and Sunvault contributor Brandon Crilly will lead a conversation on “Hopepunk And Resistance.” We’ll focus on speculative fiction and art as tools for imagining optimistic futures, and then discuss practical actions to help us get there.

Join us on Twitter at noon EST on March 17th by using the hashtag #SolarpunkChat and following this month’s hosts @michaeljdeluca and @B_Crilly, plus moderators from @upperrubberboot.

(The time conversions for that are 11am CST, 10am MST, 9am PST; 5pm GMT, 6pm CET & WAT, 7pm CAT, 9:30pm IST, 11pm WIB, midnight HKT, 1am JST, and 3am AEDT.)



In later months, we’ll continue to chat on the third Saturday of each month with other eco-focused special guests, like World Weaver Press, who are absorbed this month with planning for Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers (which includes Sunvault‘s Jaymee Goh, as well as Wendy Nikel, Julia K. Patt, Holly Schofield, and many others).

1 comment 5 March 2018

FG4 release day!

Yaaayyy we have a new book out, the gorgeous and remarkable Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 4, including chaps by Regina DiPerna, Ryan Teitman, and Paisley Rekdal. And! Look at these two great new reviews, one of FG4 and the other of Sunvault:


All three poets included in the series use prose and verse forms of poetry. But what they write about, the images and metaphors they use, are as individual as themselves and their themes. Kudos to the Floodgate series for bringing these collections together, providing examples of some of the beautiful poetry being written.

—Glynn Young, “The Floodgate Poetry Series: Three Chapbooks,” tweetspeak, 27 February 2018


The selection of short stories is as eclectic and diverse as the authors, drawing from multiple styles and languages. . . . The true genius of this work lies in its essence as a community project, as a labor of love by writers, artists and editors.

—Paul Daniel Ash, “Book Review: “Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation,” Hunger Mountain, 27 February 2018.




27 February 2018

Locus reviewed Sunvault!

The best story here is Lavie Tidhar’s “The Road to the Sea”, an autumnal but mutedly lyrical look at a society struggling to survive and put itself back together after most of the world as we know it has been destroyed by catastrophic climate change. Also good is “A Catalogue of Sunlight at the End of the World,” by A.C. Wise, another autumnal story about the people, mostly older folk, who choose to remain behind on an Earth with a rapidly shrinking habitable zone, while their children set off in generation ships to seek refuge out among the stars. . . . So, a number of strong stories and some good reading here, but there’s no real reason why the majority of the stories couldn’t have been published in an ecological/climate change anthology rather than a specifically solarpunk one.

—Gardner Dozois, “Gardner Dozois Reviews Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation, edited by Phoebe Wagner & Brontë Christopher Wieland,” Locus, 2 January 2018.


Buy Sunvault now:

Amazon | IndieBound | Powell’s | or:

Buy paperback (978-1-937794-75-0):

Buy ebook (978-1-937794-76-7):

Go to: About | Goodreads | Reviews
Release date: 29 August 2017

3 January 2018

Small Press Week Round-up 2017

Oh my, have we had a week! When I founded Small Press Week last year, I didn’t expect it to catch on so big, so soon. Last year, participants included Alice James Press, Book Smugglers, Brick Mantel, Canadian Scholars, Carolina Wren, Comma, Dead Ink, Forest Avenue, Gold Line, Guardbridge, Headmistress, Hix Eros, ink & locket, Kamaria, Linen, Ninja Book Box, Open Books, Propriometrics, Red Hen, Sarabande, Shade Mountain, Steerforth, World Weaver, and Yali Books. This year, we’ve had even more!

Below, a small sample of the richness:


Sunday November 19 (#SPWtips)


Monday November 20 (#SPWpast)


Tuesday November 21 (#SPWpresent)


Wednesday November 22 (#SPWfuture)


Thursday November 23 (#SPWzoom)


Friday November 24 (#SPWreads)


Saturday November 25 (#SPWshop)

25 November 2017

Announcing the table of contents for Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good

Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good, a feminist anthology of dark fiction and darker knowledge, is forthcoming in spring 2018. We’re delighted to announce the table of contents:

  • Charlotte Ashley, “She Falls”
  • R. S. Benedict, “Clara Vox”
  • Megan Chaudhuri, “First mouse model of Innsmouth Fish-man Syndrome draft 2 USE THIS VERSION – edits by MK.doc”
  • Autumn Christian, “Flowers for Dogman”
  • Vida Cruz, “Blushing Blue”
  • Christina Dalcher, “Vox”
  • Sarina Dorie, “The Visitations of Seraphim by Biblical Scholar Father Anthony Maguire”
  • L. Timmel Duchamp, “The Forbidden Words of Margaret A.”
  • A. T. Greenblatt, “Five Meters Ahead, Two Centuries Away”
  • Claudine Griggs, “The Cold Waters of Europa”
  • Audrey R. Hollis, “Your Life Will Look Perfect From Afar”
  • Joanna Michal Hoyt, “Taking It Back”
  • Rebecca Jones-Howe, “Election Season”
  • Ezzy G. Languzzi, “Viva La Muñeca”
  • Maggie Maxwell, “Like I Need a Hole in the Head”
  • Rati Mehrotra, “Make Pretty”
  • Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría, “Liquid Glass” (trans. Lawrence Schimel)
  • Premee Mohamed, “Below the Kirk, Below the Hill”
  • Julie Nováková, “Frankenstein Sonata”
  • Wendy Nikel, “Maidens of the Sea”
  • Aimee Ogden, “Matched Set”
  • Therese Pieczynski, “Three Days, Two Nights”
  • Laura E. Price, “Mary in the Looking Glass”
  • Clarice Radrick, “The Red”
  • Estíbaliz Espinosa, “:: 23 commuter line chromosomes ::”
  • Tabitha Sin, “The Donor”
  • Angela Slatter, “The Song of Sighs”
  • D.A. Xiaolin Spires, “Sunbasker”
  • Priya Sridhar, “Tidal Bloom”
  • Julie Steinbacher, “Blood Sausage”
  • Sonya Taaffe, “Like Milkweed”
  • Liz Ulin, “Profanity”
  • Marie Vibbert, “Infinite Boyfriends”
  • Mingzhao Xu, “Think, Baby Turtle”
  • Xin Niu Zhang, “The Ladies in the Moon”

Look for your opportunity to pre-order this anthology during our Kickstarter next month—and stay tuned for the cover reveal in a couple of weeks here and at Christi Craig’s book blog!

12 September 2017

Q&A with Sunvault editors

Hi y’all. We’ve been pretty busy with preparations for Sunvault‘s release this coming Tuesday, and with reading and selecting stories for our next two anthologies (Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good and Sharp & Sugar Tooth: Women Up To No Good, which we’ll be kickstarting in the next two months).

We were tremendously excited to get a review of Sunvault from Publishers Weekly, and just yesterday a Q&A of the editors, Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Christopher Wieland, went up at Christi Craig’s blog. We were especially taken with this comment from Wagner:

I hope readers feel encouraged to become engaged, that it isn’t hopeless. We have a hard road ahead when it comes to climate change and social justice. This summer has seen America pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and I’m still sick over the domestic terrorism in Charlottesville. It does not feel like a hopeful time. I hope the stories, poems, and art in Sunvault will encourage small and large actions, encourage resistance, and bring joy. It’s hard not to smile when I look at Likhain’s bright cover.

—Phoebe Wagner in Christi Craig’s “Q&A with the Editors of Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation,” 23 August 2017.

Sunvault can be pre-ordered here:

. . . or see the dropdown of indie (US & Canadian) bookstores here!

24 August 2017

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