the-storm-cloud-coverToday we wrap up our week-long interview with Pimp of the Internet Tony Mast.  We talk about the new short story anthology The Storm Cloud which just recently went on sale as well as the upcoming anthology, Built for Speed.  To top it all off, he also talks a little about some other St. Louis podcasters…

TONY: Built for Speed is the next anthology that we’re doing.  The Storm Cloud we just released.  It’s on sale now on our website. We are acting as publisher and distributor.  At least for this first edition.  We’re doing two editions.  The first is a preview or a fan edition, if you will.

To sell a book in a bookstore, you need the International Standard Book Number.  The ISBN.  It is a unique code that is built into the barcode identifying that book as that book.  It’s how bookstores track them, how major distributors track them.

That little number?  Costs a couple of bucks.

In the first printing, I took a page from a band that’s a favorite of mine, Marrillion.  They have done things in the past where they have pre-sold albums to offset the cost of making them, so they don’t have to go through a studio system to make their albums.

Their fans trust them.  The band’s been around for twenty-some years.

They pre-sell an album.  When it comes out, you get a deluxe edition of the album with your name printed in the liner notes.  That’s a cool, little thing.

The idea we had was to do something similar for The Storm Cloud.   Best way we found was to produce a preview copy.  We have a limited run of the first edition.  There’s only fifty printed for sale.

They are being sold at a little bit higher price than the final copies will be sold.  The difference is that anyone who buys one of the first fifty?  Their name will be printed on a thank-you page in the back of the second edition.  We’re giving people the opportunity to have their name in lights, to say that their name is in a book.

At the same time, they help us out.

After that, we purchase our ISBN and do our big print run and start getting our books in bookstores.  These sales?  They will help fund the rest of our book sales.  Those booksales will help fund Built for Speed.

Built for Speed is the next one.  We always had the intention of doing these over and over and over again.  The plan is that we’re going to continue to publish anthologies.  As many as we can for as long as we can.

Eventually, we may get to publishing other things, too.  It’s hard to say.  For now, we’re doing anthologies.

ARON: Other things?  Such as role playing games?

TONY: I don’t think we’ll do role playing games.  Novels definitely aren’t out of the question.  I would not discount the idea that we would publish novels.  I’m not sure about role playing games though.  I’m not sure if we’re equipped to do that.  Especially when there are people we know that actually are established as publishers of role playing games and it might actually benefit whoever was getting their game published to go through someone that’s an established RPG publisher.  I wouldn’t want to hold someone back… when they can use someone who’s already in.

Built for Speed?  We’re doing this the way that I want to do it.

We’ll have a single editor.  There’s only person that will edit this book.  I am the editor of this anthology.  It’s something I did with The SorrowThe Sorrow was the easiest and quickest experience I’ve had of the three previous anthologies.  And it was the first one.

It was the first, it was the quickest, and the easiest.  Which is a little bit weird.  Normally you learn things and things get quicker and easier.  By nature of the earlier books, it didn’t work out that way.

I wanted to get back to the basics.

In my mind the basics are you have an editor and that person is in charge.  There is no committee.  Any decisions about stories that will or will not be in this volume are mine.  Any changes, any edits?  All of that will be on my shoulders.  I am very cool with that.  That’s the way I like it.

This is the first anthology that I have worked on that I am not contributing to with my own work.  For me, it’s always a little weird to have my  own work in an anthology when my name is on it as an editor.  It feels a little self-serving.

ARON: The title of the book, Built for Speed, is the theme of the book?

TONY: Yes… when we decided on the theme, within five minutes I had three stories in my head.  That was the most painful part.  I know what I could write for this!  I had three different ideas in three different genres.  I could totally do any of them.  And I am not going to.

The caveat to that is I will probably write one of the stories.  It may end up in a PDF.  Or if we ever make the time to podcast these, it may be one extra story tagged onto the end of the podcast that’s not in the print version.

ARON: Sure, like a bonus.

TONY: At that point, it’s free.  It’s one more story.

ARON: When’s your submission deadline for this one?

TONY: June 30th.

ARON: And this is a paying gig?

TONY: Yep.  The Storm Cloud was a paying gig and Built for Speed is a paying gig.

ARON: Last question, sir, how do you keep your pimp hand so strong?

TONY: (Laughter) Pimp of the Internet.  That moniker was given to me by the Fear the Boot guys.  The story has gone around a couple of different ways on how I got that nickname.  Quite honestly it was because I know a lot of people.  I’m on the fringe of a lot.  Not always on the inside.  But I know a lot of people and a lot of people either know me or know of me.

I have a knack for positioning myself just to the right side of people who know a lot of other people.  I know them tangentially.

I hung out with the Fear the Boot guys quite a bit at Archon that first year.   We were lumped together because we were the podcasters. Everywhere we went, I knew somebody and was talking to people.

I enjoy talking.  Go figure, a podcaster who likes talking.

What’s interesting to me is that not everyone who’s a podcaster is an extrovert.  There are some that are painfully shy, that do not like talking to people, they do not like being in crowds.  That’s fascinating.

It’s interesting when you’re representing that group, but you’re not willing to talk to anyone.  And I think I was just the guy out there talking to people.

One of the things that Fear the Boot has in their dynamic is when they’re doing well they always have somebody who is that face.  Who is the guy that likes to get out there and meet people.  And talk to people.  And be the face of the podcast.

I think that’s a role that Luke Meyer filled very well.

I think that’s a role that Chad actually does very well because he enjoys talking to people.  He can be an ass sometimes.  But that’s just Chad.  He’s not a bad person.  He’s just Chad.  He likes interacting with people.  He likes being out there.

You need somebody like that if your going to have a public face and go to events.  You need somebody who can interact with the crowd.

At Archon I had no problem getting out there and interacting with the crowd, meeting people, shaking hands, talking to people, getting to know people, running off to a room-party, having a drink with somebody.  I’m having fun!  That’s my gig!  I like having fun!

But when it’s time to business, I do business.


The Storm Cloud features the works of Lucias Meyer (Podgecast), A. David Pinilla (Podgecast and Back Seat Producers), Anthony Kuenzel, Chris Hussey(Fear the Boot) and P. Anthony Mast(Back Seat Producers).

Five tales set in different worlds, different eras, but all the stories have storms raging through them.