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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Oct 8, 2021

Mark interviews Carol Van Natta about the collaborative author PETS IN SPACE series.

Prior to the main content, Mark shares a personal update, recent comments, and shares an audio clip of Will Dages from Findaway Voices, this episode's sponsor.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

In their conversation, Mark and Carol discuss:

  • How, back in high school, Carol and a bunch of her friends wrote a great deal of fan fiction
  • Pitching her first co-written book to publishers, and then experimenting with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)
  • The different series novels that Carol has written and released
  • The origin of the Pets in Space anthology series and the charity it raises funds for
  • "Pigs in Space" from the Muppet Show and how the anthology is meant to be a fun one that doesn't take itself too seriously
  • Each release of the anthology being limited so that the rights can go back to all the individual authors
  • Carol being in numerous editions, then becoming the editor of Pets in Space 6
  • The curation involved in creating the anthology
  • Cross promotion opportunities for the 11 authors involved in this project
  • How the giant anthology (Approximately 400,000 words) is only produced in eBook and not print (mostly for logistical reasons)
  • The pros and cons of the anthology only being available for a limited time
  • Writing with music, and the "Pets in Space" playlist
  • Susan Smith's song that she wrote and produced
  • How writers interested in being considered for this anthology series can reach out to Carol
  • The fact that other writers are not competition for one another
  • Advice Carol would give her younger self: Outlining is a good thing
  • And more...


After the interview, Mark reflects on how easy misunderstandings can happen over different groups in the author and publishing communities using words to mean different products (such as "anthology") and the power of author collaborations.

Links of Interest:


Carol Van Natta is a USA TODAY bestselling and award-winning science fiction and fantasy author. Series include the Central Galactic Concordance space opera series that starts with Last Ship Off Polaris-G, Overload Flux, and Minder Rising, and the Ice Age Shifters® paranormal romance series that starts with Shifter Mate Magic and Shift of Destiny. She is also the editor of the Pets in Space 6 science fiction romance anthology. She shares her Fort Collins, CO home with just the right number of mad-scientist cat


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0