Announcing BAD ASS MOMS

Too often in fiction, I’ve found myself asking: Where are the moms?

Dead moms are a long-established trope in stories, especially in sci-fi/fantasy. Mothers are, culturally speaking, meant to be nurturing figures who protect and coddle, and one of the easiest ways to force a protagonist to strike out on their own adventure is to get rid of the safety net that is Mom. I’ll confess that, as a writer, I’ve fallen into the same trap more than once (in my defense, I’ve killed off an equal number of dads).

When you look at stories—and the way we talk about stories—there’s this sense that when a woman becomes a mother, she ceases to be the heroine of her own story. Instead, she’s relegated to a supporting role for her children, who are now meant to be the center of her life and the only reason for her existence. There are exceptions, as there are in everything, but overall, we’re left with the impression that once a woman becomes Mom, her tale ends. She fades away and, often, disappears altogether. Or, if she does remain, her destiny is disproportionately influenced by her children when compared to their impact on Dad.

Mother figures also rarely figure into fiction the way father figures do. It’s not often that the wise or experienced elder sought out by a young protagonist is a woman who has established a reputation for herself.

Here’s the thing, though: Moms aren’t defined solely by their offspring, any more than dads or other parental figures are. A heroine doesn’t stop being a heroine because a kid came into her life—she’s still a heroine, but now with a kid.

A little while back, sci-fi author Paige Daniels and I were talking about the whole dead-moms trope, which we come across a lot when reading submissions for our young adult anthology series, Brave New Girls. One of us, and I can’t remember which of us said it first, proposed pushing back against the trope with a new anthology that would simply be titled, Bad Ass Moms.

And so when my turn came to edit the annual Crazy 8 Press summer anthology, I knew exactly what I wanted the theme to be.

Paige was on board. So was the Crazy 8 Press crew. So here we are. In addition to the usual inmates of the Crazy 8 asylum, we’ve got a great slate of guest authors (including Paige, of course!). There was only one criterion for stories: that they be about a bad ass mother or mother figure.

What is a mom, anyway? To me, that’s no different from asking, “What is a person?” The possibilities are infinite, and our stories should reflect that.

We’ve got moms across the age and experience spectrum, from grandmas to new moms. We’ve got biological moms, adoptive moms, and mom figures. A mom who runs a space colony, a hard-boiled detective mom, a witch mom, a coach who’s a mom figure to her students… and much, much more.

Oh, and we’ve got a cover:

Art by Sean “MunkyWrench” Eddingfield, design by Streetlight Graphics.

And no, it’s not poorly cropped. Those words are intentionally too big for the frame. Just as the idea of a mom is too big for any box.

I’ll be kicking off a crowdfunding campaign in February to bring this vision to life, and I hope you’ll come out to support us! More to come on that as we draw closer to the campaign launch.

In the meanwhile, here’s our story lineup:

“Mama Bear” by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

“What We Bring with Us” by Derek Tyler Attico

“Pride Fight” by T. Eric Bakutis

“The Hardwicke Files: The Case of the Full Moon” by Russ Colchamiro

“Mr. EB’s Organic Sideshow” by Paige Daniels

[Title TBD] by Kathleen David

“Krysta, Warrior President” by Peter David

[Title TBD] by Mary Fan

[Title TBD] by Michael Jan Friedman

“Shoot Center” by Robert Greenberger

“The Devil You Know” by Glenn Hauman

“Shape Up, or Ship Out” by Heather Hutsell

“Jupiter Justice” by Kris Katzen

“Come In, Sit Down, Have a Bite!” by Paul Kupperberg

“The Art of Crafting Resistance” by Karissa Laurel

[Title TBD] by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

“Perfect Insanity” by TJ Perkins

“DuckBob in: Running Hot and Cold” by Aaron Rosenberg

“Hellbeans” by Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg

“The Songbird and Her Cage” by Joanna Schnurman

“Raising the Dead” by Hildy Silverman

[Title TBD] by Denise Sutton

Add Bad Ass Moms on Goodreads.

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