AshEdit—News About Books & Writers

April 19, 2018

TWENTY-EIGHT MINUTES into the FUTURE with Chrome Oxide

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 12:16 pm

Some writers are so ready for the next level that an editor just has to breathe on them and they make the leap. That’s the way I’d describe Chrome Oxide.

C&E crop (1)

Chrome Oxide and Elaine Ash in Los Angeles, 2018, celebrating his book deal with Superversive Press.

We met at a West Coast Writers Conference in 2017, produced by Tony Todaro. Chrome was sound engineering a panel I was moderating with sci-fi legend Jerry Pournelle, (the last conference Jerry ever did), along with Hugo winners Larry Niven, and Rob Sawyer.

2 Elaine Sawyer Niven Pournelle

A few months later, at a cocktail party hosted by the Taliesin-Nexus group, Chrome walked out of the crowd and asked me to help him polish a collection of short stories. I said, “Sure!” It was obvious that the material had been developed over years. Tremendous work had gone into the clever premises and jokes.

 In Chrome’s view, we would work on 82,000 words-worth of stories and then try to shop the collection. But it came clear in my mind, around the 40,000-word mark, that we had a sellable manuscript. Why wait? I felt Chrome was under-utilizing his writing contest wins and I coached him on how to bump up his bio. He thought I was overconfident, but went along with everything I suggested in his quiet and good-humored way.

 Six months later we readied a query to Superversive Press in Australia. I spent a lot of time getting it focused and boiling the pitch down to the fewest words necessary to sway a busy publisher. We fired it off and it caught Jason Rennie’s eye in a big way. Eleven days later we had a deal. Our major request was a 2018 release. We got it. Jon Eno came on as cover artist, and production ramped up immediately.

INTERVIEW

 Chrome Oxide Headshot

Elaine Ash: When did you start writing?

 Chrome Oxide: In November 2009 I was finally fed up with all the corruption I saw in both political parties. I started a blog, commenting on the insanity. I only ever had one reader, but she loved my humorous take on the world.

 EA: When did the short stories start?

 CO: When I read a novel that I hated. While I had read and liked previous stories by this author, I hated the book and the main character—hated it all so much I decided I could do better. I wrote a flash fiction piece and emailed it to an ex-girlfriend. Her response was that while I had talent, I needed skill. At her encouragement, I joined her writing group which provided excellent critiques. The best was from my ex-girlfriend who critiqued my stories, one word at a time.

 One of the first stories I wrote was “Cop For A Day.” I rewrote it too many times to count and submitted it to the Writers of the Future contest for the quarter ending September 2012. My story was selected as published finalist in their annual book, volume 29. It also qualified as a professional sale by the Science Fiction Writers Association. The following year, and after much editing and countless rewrites, “I Was A Teenage Redneck Zombie From Outer Space” also received an honorable mention.

 EA: Why is the Writers of the Future contest so important to sci-fi writers? Isn’t it sponsored by the Scientologists?

 CO: Scientology does NOT sponsor Writers of the Future.Writers of the Future is dedicated to encouraging beginning science fiction and fantasy writers. Before L. Ron Hubbard started Scientology, he supported himself by writing short stories for just about every genre magazine on the market from the 1930s –  1950s as well as novels. In his will, he funded a contest for aspiring writers. While there may be scientologists in the organization that keeps L. Ron’s books in print and the contest going, they are VERY careful to NEVER mention Scientology.

The contest is important because there is no cost to enter, the judges are professionals (some of the biggest names) in the field of science fiction and fantasy, and there are substantial payments to the winners of the quarterly and annual contest.

Cop4aDay

Artwork by Jon Eno “Cop for a Day”

 EA: How did you get to be in Forbidden Thoughts, the highly controversial anthology with a forward written by Milo, the gay scourge of politics?

 CO: Sheer luck and timing. I continued writing and collecting rejections until I sent a story called “Graduation Day” to a couple of friends in late 2017. One of them told Jason Rennie, the editor of Superversive Press, about it and I was invited to submit. Two months later it got published alongside Larry Correia, Nick Cole, Brad Torgerson and Sarah Hoyt—these writers are famous and sell a ton. Now it’s available as an eBook, Print On Demand and audio book. I get regular royalties.

 EA: That must have given you a lot of confidence. What’s next?

 CO: Not as much confidence as you might think. At a writers’ group level, my material bombs regularly. It’s the buying public that seems to appreciate it more. When you [Elaine Ash] saw the merit in my collection, that was encouraging. Right now I’m finishing edits on the second draft of a high fantasy novel about a couple of California dopers into the music scene who travel to an alternative universe where magic works. It’s titled High Fantasy. The title is a double entendre.  My second short story collection will be started as soon as that’s finished and out being shopped.

 EA: How did the pen name Chrome Oxide come about?

 CO: I have always LOVED music. I attended a John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers reunion show at the Roxy in 1982. At that point I decided that I would record bands. I started investigating cassettes. Chromium dioxide was the most cost effective for the best quality sound at the time. When I built my web site I wanted a name that flowed, so I modified it to ‘Chrome Oxide.’

 EA: Thank you.

C&E3 Sharp

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10 Comments »

  1. Great news and very cool interview!

    jB

    Love is the answer…

    Comment by jonathan brown — April 19, 2018 @ 2:47 pm

  2. Hi Jonathan

    Thanks for your support.

    Chrome Oxide

    Comment by Chrome Oxide — April 20, 2018 @ 10:03 am

  3. Nice interview. I first came across Chrome’s fiction in the 2013 Writer’s of the Future volume (#29). I was so impressed with “Cop for a Day” that I’ve been looking forward to reading his cleverly sarcastic pokes at various elements of our current culture and the Establishment ever since. He needs to apply himself more intensely than ever and keep writing his unique view of our foibles and missteps. Reading his stories is like a breath of fresh air when compared to the cookie-cutter “social commentary” stories so prevalent in today’s short fiction markets. The SF field needs his unique voice more than ever these days. So thank you for bringing him to a wider audience with this interview.

    Comment by Dave Truesdale — April 20, 2018 @ 10:53 am

  4. Congratulations! Amazing news. Great interview. Thanks for sharing the story of your pen name, I always find that very interesting.

    Comment by Jennifer Milne — April 20, 2018 @ 11:03 am

  5. Jonathan, you are so correct. Love is the answer and you are leading the way. Hugs, Elaine

    Comment by ashedit — April 20, 2018 @ 11:06 am

  6. Hi Dave! Nice to meet you and what kind words for Chrome! I concur, and am honored that you would thank me for working to bring him a well-deserved wider audience.

    Comment by ashedit — April 20, 2018 @ 11:08 am

  7. Hi Jenni, nice to have you drop by and comment. Elaine

    Comment by ashedit — April 20, 2018 @ 11:09 am

  8. Congrats! About time someone recognised your special madness. 😉

    Comment by Reziac — April 20, 2018 @ 11:38 am

  9. Looking forward to a great read.

    Comment by James — April 22, 2018 @ 1:45 pm

  10. Hi James, Lovely to have you here. If you might be interested in a beta reviewer please let me know. Elaine

    Comment by ashedit — April 22, 2018 @ 2:04 pm


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