January 24th, 2010


Janet Fox (1940–2009)

Janet Fox was a writer/editor, who was well-known for--among other things--publishing Scavenger's Newsletter (market zine) and running the Killer Frog contests; the winners were published in an anthology with titles like A Clockwork Frog and As Fine As Killer Frog Hair.  (I had stories in those two.  I also had some humor pieces and an interview published in Scavenger's Newsletter.)  And I interviewed her for other publications.  See below for an excerpt:
Interview: Janet Fox
by Joy V. Smith

Janet Fox writes fantasy, horror, and as she says, weird fiction. She
edited and published Scavenger's Newsletter, a market bulletin, and
Scavenger's Scrapbook, the twice a year round-up, ran the annual Killer Frog
contest and published the anthology of winners, with such titles as Killer
Frog 101
, Frogenstein, and A Frog Croaks at Midnight, and was an
instructor for Writer's Digest School for several years.
As Alex McDonough, she wrote five books in the Scorpio series, which
features the adventures of an alien and a Jewish girl from the 14th Century
as they travel through time together: Scorpio Rising, Scorpio Descending,
Dragon's Blood, Dragon's Eye, and Dragon's Claw.
Her horror and fantasy short stories and poems have been published in such
magazines as The Twilight Zone Magazine, Year's Best Horror Stories, Marion
Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine
, Weird Tales, The Year's Best Fantasy
, and Space and Time.  Recently Paul Ganley and Wildside Press
published her hardcover story collection A Witch's Dozen.
JVS: How long has it been now since you stopped publishing Scavenger's
?  What have you been doing since then.
JF: I released the last issue, Jan03, at the end of Dec02 and since then
I've been resting up mostly.  SCAV had a 19 year run with no missed issues,
and I thought it was time for a vacation from monthly deadlines.  I do miss
Scavenger's, but I felt that it had run its course as a print publication. 
Most people have now turned to the internet for their market news.  [but] I still hope
to get the final antho out, whether it be in print or online.  Maybe I'll have to
title it Last Amphibious Visions!
JVS: I love the title!  Are you doing more writing?  As much as you'd hoped you'd be doing?
JF:  I've done no writing.  But I'm willing to give it some more time.
JVS: You had hoped to sell some reprints also.  You've certainly succeeded! 
Would you tell me how that came about?
JF:  A Witch's Dozen had been in the pipeline for awhile.  Paul Ganley got
it all together and with the help of Wildside Press, released the book in
January of this year.  It's a very impressive package and contains some of
my best stories.  I met Paul Ganley at World Horrorcon which was in Kansas
City this year.  I signed a few copies and had a great time.  I met many of
my former SCAV subscribers and editors who had provided me with market news.
JVS: I love the colors on the Witch's Dozen cover.  Is the illustration from
a particular story?
JF: I love the cover, too. I'm not sure if it reflects a certain story, but
several of my sword and sorcery tales would fit.
JVS: Do you have a favorite story in this collection?  Jessica Amanda
Salmonson, editor of Tales by Moonlight, certainly praised "Witches".
JF: I don't know that I have one favorite out of all the stories in the
book, but "The Skins You Love to Touch" ranks right up there.  As I
remember, when I conceived of the idea for it, I asked myself whether it was
too dark an outlook--then I just thought "nah" and went on to write the
JVS: "A Witch in Time" and "Small Magic' are certainly intriguing titles. 
"Screaming to Get Out" and "The Skins You Love to Touch" sound more like
horror.  What kind of variety will a reader find in this collection?
JF: As was said above, I write what I call weird fiction.  I don't care for
gore for its own sake, but I certainly don't shy away from gory doings if I
feel the story calls for it.  A comic book version was done of "The Skins
You Love to Touch". In that version (written by someone else), a skinned
human being was graphically portrayed, but it was not in the story I wrote. 
It was a suggestion only and the item could very well have been a department
store dummy under a sheet with ketchup poured on.  I love making the
reader's imagination work.  If I do fantasy there will always be some weird
or dark element to it.  I hate cute fantasy.  So I don't know that there is
all that great a range, but most things I write can be put under the heading
of horror, fantasy or sword and sorcery.
JVS: I know people miss Scavenger's.  I do and the Killer Frog contest.  I wrote a lot of short stories for it and have since placed most of them.  I was grateful for the kick start you gave me.

Working Writer (March/April 2002)