Monday, December 11, 2017

April Grey - Creator, Editor, Publisher and Author of Hell's Bells

Why I created the Hell’s Series of anthologies

If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of “The Elements of Style.” The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them while they are still happy. -Dorothy Parker

When meeting new writers, I remember the joy of holding that first anthology, and then later my first novel, in my hands.

Through a torturous route I became a writer, editor and hybrid author. My poetry in grade school and high school saw publication in school newsletters, and I even had a humorous piece in Columbia University’s Jester magazine (our answer to the Harvard Lampoon), but I was first and foremost a theater person. I was bit by the theater bug at the age of 14 and attended Neighborhood Playhouse’s Junior School here in New York City. My BA, MFA and Ph.D. (ABD) work was all in theater.

Throughout my 20’s and 30’sI did 70-hour weeks, 40 hours at law firms and another 30 hours Off-off B’way as a literary manager, associate artistic director and stage director. The hours OOB were long and the rewards great, though not monetary.

It was around the time I received my MFA (mid-1980’s) that I began to miss writing. I had always been an avid reader of fantasy, sf, horror, romance and mystery. How nice it would be to stay home in peace and quiet and create my own worlds without needing a theater, script or actors. I signed up for writing classes at the New School. By the end of 1989, I made my first sale, a flash fiction, to Pulphouse Magazine. It was never published due to Pulphouse’s demise. Dean Wesley Smith was kind enough to offer a kill fee. Though I didn’t accept it, I felt I had been well paid by his generous offer.

Life intervened and it would be another 12 years before I returned to writing. I had joined CUNY’s Ph.D. program, gotten married and had a child. My son was six when a fellow mom introduced me to the guilty pleasure of fanfic. That got the juices going, and soon I was taking classes online with Marta Randall at Gotham Writing workshop.

I discovered a new sort of pleasure there, almost better than being published, being part of a writing community.

Writing, like theatre and other arts, presents constant rejection and disappointment as the artist strives to better their work against steep odds. Yet that simply sharpens the thrill of when things do go well.

Editing other writer’s work, being a part of various workshops and professional organizations, brought me back to the same sense of family that I experienced in the theater. Nowadays, I edit more than write.

By creating the anthologies for the Hell’s Series, I get to work with my fellow writers and give back to my community while doing something I love.


April Grey's short stories are collected in The Fairy Cake Bakeshop and in I'll Love You Forever. She has edited the anthologies: Hell’s Bells: Wicked Tunes, Mad Musicians and Cursed Instruments; Hell's Garden: Mad, Bad and Ghostly Gardeners, Hell’s Grannies: Kickass Tales of the Crone and last year’s, Hell’s Kitties and Other Beastly Beasts. The first two books of her Cernunnos Series are at along with her other books. Please visit www.aprilgrey.blogspot and for her latest news and offerings.

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