Kickstarter for STRANGE CALIFORNIA: A Speculative Fiction Anthology

I’m so excited I can’t see straight. The Kickstarter for the anthology STRANGE CALIFORNIA launched on Tuesday, and my first short story to ever be accepted for publication is slated to appear in it. The anthology, co-edited by Jaym Gates and J. Daniel Batt, features stories by some well-known speculative fiction authors that explore the “complex myths” of California. The artwork is going to be topnotch, with J. Daniel Batt creating some of the interior illustrations and Galen Dara the cover art.

My story Naranjas Inmortales blends some of the Old World with the new and is set in Southern California during a time when citrus was king and migrant farmworkers escaped danger at home only to find more of the same, if not worse, abroad.

I’m honored to be a part of this project. It seems fitting that my first publication would appear in a California-themed anthology.

Hop on over to the Strange California Anthology Kickstarter if you love reading the strange and unusual. Help us make this anthology a reality by sharing it with your friends and colleagues, too.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to pinch myself.

Thank you Jaym and Jason!




Strange California: Exploring the Weird World of the Golden State

A New Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthology Celebrating the Complicated Mythos of California is Now on Kickstarter

For questions, contact Jaym Gates,

9/11/2015 (SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA) Launching today on Kickstarter, Strange California is a new anthology that explores the complex mythologies of the Golden State. The anthology, edited by J. Daniel Batt and Jaym Gates from Falstaff Books, features a diversity of science fiction and fantasy stories that reflect the unique landscape of California. From Hollywood to Santa Cruz to Tahoe, California is a nexus that both attracts and burgeons the strange of our world. Strange California brings to life tales inspired by the complex mythologies of California.

After a year in development, this unique anthology has been launched on Kickstarter and offers over twenty-five original stories from award-winning authors including Chaz Brenchley, Tim Pratt, Laura Anne Gilman, Seanan McGuire, Christie Yant, and more. Strange California also features artwork from celebrated artist Galen Dara.

Strange California’s Kickstarter campaign was launched with the modest sum of $14,000, but relies on stretch goals that will allow the editors to add even more features to Strange California, such as a custom tea designed by the Tea Noir Company and a one-of-a-kind creature makeup based on one of the stories by creature-artist Nicole Chilelli, the winner of SyFy’s FaceOff.

The Kickstarter campaign offers unique rewards to Strange California backers, such as a special edition, unique artwork, a digital sketchbook, your name in the acknowledgements section in the book, as well as the opportunity to have a custom story written by the editors to be printed and personalized to your or the person of your choice.

Author Yonatan Zunger, in the introduction to Strange California, says, “Weirdness exists and is perceptible because it deforms our familiar reality. Strangeness, on the other hand, suggests a more lasting difference: that reality in the strange place has always been like that, and it is you who are out of place. This combination of distance from existing societies and the quest for (often commercial) dreams is far from isolated in California’s history; it could even to be said to be the modern state’s defining story. The history of California after 1849 is thus the story of one migrant group after another, each animated by the belief that this was the one place they could achieve their dreams.The outcome of this process is a society which is tremendously mixed in invisible ways: a place where everyone goes to the same grocery store, but a chance inquiry might reveal that your neighbor is a miniature train fanatic, or an Andean priest, or an ancient god washed up from the oceanic deeps and waiting tables while preparing for either a triumphant return to Olympus or a speaking role in a film, whichever comes first. A place where the polite way to behave is to treat that god just like anybody else; after all, you yourself might be a roboticist, a member of an ancient secret society, or both. Who’s to say you aren’t as fictional as they are?

“This anthology developed out of our love for the complexity and diversity of the state–features reflected in both the landscape and the people that inhabit them,” said Jaym Gates and J. Daniel Batt, the editors of Strange California. “California sprawls across a multitude of landscapes and has amassed a history full of the strange and unusual. There are secrets in the desert. Secrets in the cities. Strange and unusual happenings in the odd, dark places of the coastal state.”


Falstaff Books is a digital and print publishing company based in Charlotte, NC dedicated to bringing to life the best in fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, and dramatic literature. Falstaff Books exists to discover new voices and nurture them to success.


Jaym Gates is an editor, author, and public relations specialist. She has edited a number of anthologies, including Eclipse Phase: After the Fall, Genius Loci, War Stories, Broken Time Blues, and more, and is an editor at Falstaff Books. She grew up in the foothills of California, where things get strange indeed.

Daniel Batt is an editor, writer, and designer. He serves as the Creative and Editorial Director for the 100 Year Starship and is the founder and organizer of the annual Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Writing. His novels include Young Gods and Dreamside and his short fiction has appeared in Perihelion, Bastion, Bewildering Stories, A Story Goes On, and other periodicals. He’s most recently edited the science fiction anthology Visions of the Future published through Lifeboat Foundation. He lives in California, where he has had firsthand experience with its weirdness.


You can get in touch with us at regarding submissions, or if you have any questions about the anthology. You can also find us on Twitter at @JaymGates and @jdanielbatt.

Explore the Strange Land of California – visit the project on Kickstarter:


Name: Jaym Gates




A School Counselor’s Second Year

Has it really been a little over two years since my last post?

You’re probably wondering what happened that blogging plummeted to the bottom of my list of priorities. In short, LIFE. I transitioned into education shortly after receiving my M.Ed. and worked for a year as a cluster substitute at an alternative middle school in South Boston, while looking for a position as a school counselor.

Mid-way through that school year we (me and the staff) learned that Boston Public Schools had slated our school for closure. This school had served Boston’s most academically at-risk students for nearly fifteen years. Quite frankly it was a depressing process to live through as members of the community whose children benefited from the school’s individualized support came to voice their support of the program and fear of losing the school.

During that period of uncertainty a school counseling position opened up at the middle school where I’d completed my prepracticum, practicum, and internship. It was my dream job. I’d get to work close to home with a diverse student population and staff I knew, enjoying a school culture I’d grown to love during my time, there.

The hiring process was grueling. First having to handwrite an email response in Spanish to prove I could communicate with our Spanish-speaking families. Then walking into a room where eight familiar faces waited to interview me. Ay yay yay. Through the grace of God, I got the job.

I’m embarking on my second year, following my 250+ 6th grade students from last year into the 7th grade. I’ve never been so tired in all my life. But you wanna know what? I love every harried and challenging minute of it.

Here’s a peek at my new office…

Office is DONE! #schoolcounselor #7thgrade #middleschool #framingham

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