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Yesterday I found out I’d made the final ballot of this year’s World Fantasy Awards, to be presented in Saratoga Springs, NY, later this year. The World Fantasy Award has been described as one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and the Nebula Awards.

But The Ultra Thin Man is science fiction, you say!

Yeah. This isn’t about MY writing. This is about my small press, Fairwood Press. The award category is “Special Award: Nonprofessional.” (Note: not Unprofessional.) There’s also a “Special Award: Professional” category. Meaning, I don’t make a living off this venture, or pay certain pro rates to writers (although some of my writers’ books have made more money than some pro books out there, for the press and writer both). The full ballot is listed right here. What’s great is that I have a lot of friends on this list in other categories! Congrats (and good luck) to all of them.

This is an award in recognition for my work with Fairwood, which spans about 20 years, starting back in the Talebones magazine days. Back then, Fairwood was a basic umbrella company and I was throwing out some specialty chapbooks, such as the original edition of Ken Rand’s The 10% Solution. In 2000, I incorporated, and Fairwood Press, Inc. was born.  As of this year, there exists some 70 book titles, which includes the four new books coming out this summer.

For all of that time, with the exception of the earliest Talebones years, when we were producing some of those first Fairwood books, I’ve worn all the hats at Fairwood Press.  It’s a lot of work, and typically there’s not a lot of recognition. This is the first nod, award-wise, in 20 years, except for a short story in Talebones, “Still Life with Boobs” by Anne Harris, which was on the final Nebula Award ballot for best short story. But that was an award nomination for Anne.

I’m thrilled beyond belief, of course. Mind you, there are a lot of worthy names on that ballot for this category, and I would consider it a bit of an upset if I pulled it off and won the thing. But I wouldn’t mind, of course. The award trophy itself is . . . interesting! It’s a bust of H.P. Lovecraft, designed by cartoonist Gahan Wilson, all in honor of Lovecraft’s work and contributions to the world of fantasy. The downloadaward has a nickname, too: A “Howard,” Lovecraft’s first name. It’s not one of the best looking awards, but you know? Looking at it from my position now? It looks damn beautiful. I can think of an instance in November when it would look even more beautiful.

Now I must make plans to somehow get to the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs. A convention that’s been sold out for a while now. Where there’s a will . . .