A couple of months ago, I read an anthology called Fortune: Lost and Found. I was unfamiliar with all of the contributing authors, but became an instant fan of several. Kate Jonez, this anthology’s chief editor, graciously agreed to put together a guest post about this book, featuring several of the authors sharing the inspiration behind their stories.
First, here’s a look at the book:
Capital, cash, gold, lucre– money makes the world go round. But fortunes easily gained are often painfully lost. Since the very first king pressed his face onto the very first coin no single thing has led so many to ruin. Fortune, it seems, has a dark side and a wickedly evil sense of humor. Curses, plagues and misfortunes rain down on those who dare to tip the scales in their own favor. Fortune: Lost and Found edited by L.S. Murphy and Kate Jonez is a collection of tales about money and wealth and the potentially horrifying consequences of gaining or losing it.
Featuring stories from Brent Michael Kelley, Kurt Fawver, Christian A. Larsen, Phil Hickes, Wednesday Lee Friday, Garrett Cook, Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi, Andrew G. Dombalagian, Lydia Ondrusek, John Jasper Owens, Eric J. Guignard, Andrew M Stockton, and Cory J. Herndon.
Now I’ll turn things over to Kate:
Thank you for the opportunity to guest post on your blog. I am the chief editor/ publisher at Omnium Gatherum Media. We are a small press dedicated to providing unique dark fantasy fiction in print, ebook and audio formats. Although, we primarily publish novels and novellas I do enjoy publishing an occasional anthology. It’s a great way to sample a wide variety of writing styles, and to work with lots of great people. The Fortune: Lost and Found anthology was a pleasure to work on. We received many superb stories and I think you’ll be seeing lots more from these up and coming authors in years to come.
Last spring I contacted L.S. Murphy who submitted a fantastic story to a previous anthology (Detritus) and asked her if she would like to co-edit an anthology. L.S. came up with the idea of Fortune: Lost and Found.
L.S. Murphy explains where the idea for Fortune: Lost and Found came from:
The inspiration for the Fortune anthology stemmed from a conversation my husband and I had during a drive to the bookstore. Funny, we were talking greed during a need to fill our own consumerism. Okay, really my need for books, but that’s beside the point.
Greed comes in many forms. Most of us automatically think of greed as the equivalent of money, but there is so much more. Sometimes greed is the need for power and control as we’ve seen in the recent election. Sometimes it’s the desire to affect change in our lives. Others, it’s the craving to be more than what we are or more than what we appear to be. While greed is so often linked to financial stability, it is also something that sinks into our souls like an addiction. It eats away at us. It’s inside all of us at differing levels.
Kate had asked me to edit an anthology with her, and I sent her an email the next day with this theme. How do we all see greed? And what would happen if we found our fortunes or if we lost them? I couldn’t be more amazed by the wonderful stories that we read. Seeing the idea manifest itself into this collection was greedy on my part. And I loved it.”
As mentioned, the stories explore the theme of fortune in a wide variety of ways. I’ll let a few of the authors describe their inspiration:
Brent Kelley “A Friend in Paga”
You know how you’re driving along and you go over the railroad tracks by the bar a couple miles from your house? It’s weird how it’s a curve and a hill and an intersection and a railroad crossing all in one place, isn’t it? As you drive over it, if you pay attention, something bizarre pops into your mind. Not every time, of course. Sometimes you don’t have the right nets in the water, or maybe you just have more pressing things on your mind. Whatever. When it happens, it’s in that moment when your front tires are over the tracks and your back tires aren’t to them yet. Right there, in between the bump-bumps. And there it is: something strange. A little mutant idea that you put in a cage until you get home. It doesn’t want to come out then, but you entice it with day-old gravy and barbecue flavor sardines. It comes out. It smiles at you. It’s your friend now. That’s when you crack it on the head and pin it to your dissection tray. The next part can be messy, but you’ll know all about that strange little idea – inside, outside, top, bottom, and backwards. Then, on Mother’s Day morn when your month old baby wakes you up early, you can write about that idea with no trouble. Why, you’ll be ready to submit your short story by 11am! All you have to do then is get a hold of your buddy Brad and make sure it’s okay to use his name in your story. See ya at the railroad crossing, chums!
Kurt Fawver “The Bottom Line”
My inspiration for “The Bottom Line” was the financial crisis of 2008-2009, as the entire debacle underscored the shadowy nature of financial investment in our contemporary world. The idea that some of the most foundational pillars of our economy would intentionally hollow out the ground that supported them so that they could raise themselves and their fortunes higher was, even for someone as cynical as myself, unsettling. Not only that, but the incident also proved the old truism that evil, true evil, is often incredibly banal (a nation brought to its knees by solipsistic bankers? *snore*). So, from that starting point, I sketched out a story exploring characters that would be willing to sacrifice the well-being of the many for the spoils of the few (but under the guise of legitimate fiscal venture). I wondered “would someone be willing to sell an apocalypse?” and, even better, “would someone else be willing to buy it?” Once I connected these questions to our ongoing and increasing energy consumption — which haunts us from the future with its own specter of disaster — I realized an apocalypse created for financial gain was certainly something within the realm of reason. Zombies grew organically within the space of that narrative and soon I had a full story that focused on greed, the corruption of our capitalist institutions, and, inadvertently, the tension between the moral systems of objectivism and utilitarianism.
Christian Larsen “The Plagiarist’s Wireless”
I don’t know if it’s true for most writers, but I’m a frustrated musician. Several of the guys I played with in high school have gone on to bigger and better things, musically, especially Rob Kleiner, who has a gold record for co-writing “What Part of Forever” recorded by Cee Lo Green for the Eclipse soundtrack. I guess writing “The Plagiarist’s Wireless” was my way of rediscovering the magic of being a music fan. The fictional band, Wolves N’ Sparrows, is based on Guns N’ Roses and Steppenwolf, two of my favorite bands since high school. I had Wolves N’ Sparrows built in my head, right down to the band members names, before I had the idea for the story. The title “The Plagiarist’s Wireless” came next, and last, the story idea, which was really a question: “what if there were a device that let us listen to the past, as if everything were being secretly recorded?” Richard Nixon would be proud.
Phil Hickes “Down the Pan”
My story was partially inspired by Charles Hawtrey’s character in Carry On Screaming, who was called ‘Dan Dan the lavatory man’ and worked in a subterranean Victorian toilet. I like stories with unlikely protagonists and unusual settings. Working in a public toilet must give one an unusual view of life and I thought it would be fun to explore. The rest I made up as I went along, though when I think about it afterwards, there’s more than a touch of Neil Gaiman, too. Not so much in the writing style, as I would never be so bold as to claim parity with such a lauded writer, but in the conceit of a parallel, unseen society living below London streets.
Wednesday Lee Friday “Trabajando Alegre”
This story has a strong socio-political basis. If it’s decided that any group of people is less worthy of basic rights or opportunities than another, it opens the door to all manner of horror. For me, horror is about exploring our physical and emotional limitations, and about the tenuous nature of safety, morality, and family. Paolo is a good man with the best intentions—and you know what they say about the road to hell and good intentions. Most of us have rationalized a deed that falls outside of our own idea of morality. Usually, the consequences are limited to a small amount of guilt that dissipates over time. Paolo is not so lucky. When man’s inhumanity to man intersects with desperation, bad things happen to vulnerable people.
Andrew Dombalagian “The Second Vault”
My inspiration for “The Second Vault” stems from the central character, Elizabeth Nightcroft. I wrote this story to establish an origin for Elizabeth, who appears in several of my stories both published and pending. One night I found myself wondering why Al Capone’s vault was empty when opened in the ’80s, and I started thinking, “Maybe it was Elizabeth Nightcroft’s doing.”
Lydia Ondrusek and John Jasper Owens “The Best Laid Plans”
The Best Laid Plans” started with a question: What if someone tried to sell a home security system to a witch? With an only slightly sulphurous puff, Bekka Zorba was born. Everything else about the story grew organically, its fairy tale touches and hunger motif developing as it travelled back and forth between us. We told each other a broken story, sharing the parts we each knew ‘till it was whole.
Eric Guignard “Hungry”:
I started developing the idea for “Hungry” about a year and a half ago. It was just a concept that formed in my mind based on the slow deterioration of the financial market that had been going on for several years. The financial company I worked for in 2007 went out of business and I‘ve still never recovered. I’ve watched the effect also on my friends and peers due to corporate mergers, bankruptcies, and even criminal activity such as embezzlement and insider trading. A thought grew in my mind that if the greed of the world could physically manifest itself, that creature would never stop growing. I sat down at my keyboard and out came the tale of Greg and the creature, “Greed.”
Andrew Stockton “Twisted Words”
I wanted the overall ambience of the story to be set in a modern world but with an underlying sense of the Gothic. The story has two main facets, which were the main inspirations behind the story: a central character’s desire for success and wealth, and the events of a distant past significantly impacting that character’s life today. The idea of the handwritten manuscript came very early on and was the seed that the events developed around, though to be honest when Anthony Kerslake met Marco Caldera at the start of the story, I had only a vague idea of the impact this meeting would have.
LS Murphy lives the Greater St. Louis area where watches Cardinals baseball, reads every book she can find, and weaves tales for young adults and adults. Her debut YA novel Reaper will be released in January 2013. She can be found at http://lsmurphy.com. Follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LSMurphy
Kate Jonez writes dark fantasy fiction. Her novel Candy House will be available June 2013 from Evil Jester Press. You can find out more about her fiction and research at her blog: http://katejonez.com She is also the chief editor at Omnium Gatherum: http://omniumgatherumedia.com
The anthology is available on Amazon, in print and Kindle format:
What are your thoughts on fortunes, greed and corruption? Do you have a story waiting to be told?
Thanks for reading.
Tags: Andrew Dombalagian, Andrew Stockton, Brent Kelley, Christian Larsen, Dark Fiction, Eric Guignard, Financial Crisis, Fortune: Lost and Found, John Jasper Owens, Kate Jonez, Kurt Fawver, L.S. Murphy, Lydia Ondruskek, Omnium Gatherum Media, Phil Hickes, Short Story Anthologies, Stories of Corruption, Stories of Greed, Story Ideas, Story Inspiration, Wednesday Lee Friday