S is for submission opportunities

Speaking of opportunities, here are some currently open anthologies (paying pro rates) to look at:

Bloody Fabulous, edited by Ekaterina Sedia. Prime Books. Urban fantasy, focused on fashion. 1,000-7,500 words preferred; December 1st deadline. Pay is 5 cents per word. For more on what she doesn’t want, see this.

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, edited by Warren Lapine. Wilder Publications. No word length restrictions, but he does discourage shorter stories. No theme, no specific requests for genre, other than it be genre — “the entire science fiction, fantasy, and horror spectrum.” Closed when filled. Pay is 10 cents per word to a max of $250.

Sword & Sorceress 26, edited by Elisabeth Waters. Norilana Books. Fantasy with strong female characters. Just opened to submissions last Saturday. Up to 9,000 words; May 13 deadline. Pay is 5 cents per word as advance against royalties. Pay attention to the formatting requirements.

Not a pro-paying market, but also worth looking at:

Warrior Wisewoman 4, edited by Roby James. Norilana Books. Science fiction featuring strong women characters. Up to 10,00 words; July 31 deadline. Pay is 2 cents per word.

Good luck to anyone submitting stories, and as always, thanks for stopping by and reading!

Banded Jade

“Banded Jade” is a story I sold last year, to Aoife’s Kiss. It appeared in the March issue of this year. I forgot to blog and mention when the issue became available for purchase, although I did update my ‘Short stories and flash fiction’ page. Why mention it today?

I got my contributor’s copy in the mail today. For some reason, the print copies carry more weight with my family than seeing my name on a Website, so my son was excited and my husband agreed that it was cool.

If you’re interested, you might check it out.

A is for April, alphabet, and awesome

Happy April, everyone! Although I’ve enjoyed some of the lovely pranks I’ve seen around the Net, there are none here.

I made the last-minute decision to join the A to Z Challenge for blogging this month. I started this blog posting 3-4 times a week. Now, I’m down to 2-3 times, and some weeks, I don’t even manage that. So this is an effort to get myself used to posting more regularly.

And my big news — I sold my story “Matchmaker” to Clarkesworld Magazine, and it’s up now as part of their April issue. This is my first sale to a SFWA-qualifying market, and it makes me eligible to join SFWA as an Associate member. (I need 3 short-story sales or 1 novel sale to qualify as an Active member. This fall, when Daily Science Fiction will most likely get SFWA-qualifying status, I’ll be up to 2 stories. With any luck — and lots of persistence — I might get the third one before then.) However, I’m waiting until July to join because that’s when their fiscal year flips, and I’d really rather pay dues only once this year.

What’s new with you this month?

publication news

My book review of I Have This Nifty Idea . . . Now What Do I Do With It?, edited by Mike Resnick, is up at Vision magazine. (This book was a 2002 Hugo nominee for Best Related Book.)

My short story, “Essence of Truth,” will be e-mailed tomorrow (November 5) by Daily Science Fiction. If you haven’t subscribed, it will be up on their Website next week. (But you don’t really want to wait a week to read it, do you?)

I now return to my regularly scheduled NaNo insanity.


I’m going to try to make Thursday a review day here on my blog. Not necessarily a formal review, just a “here’s something I read (or watched) and what I thought about it.” I will not be duplicating reviews that I’m putting up on Goodreads, or that I’ve written about elsewhere.


Last night, my husband was streaming a movie on Netflix, and I asked what he was watching. (I’d been putting the kids to bed, so I missed the beginning.) “It’s supposed to be a horror movie — The Screwfly Solution.” Me: “Like the Octavia Butler story?”

Yes, it was a reasonably faithful filming of Ms. Butler’s story. I hadn’t thought of it as horror, although clearly there was a threat to humanity and a lack of hope — both hallmarks of horror. I saw it as science-fiction, partly because that’s what I associate her work with, partly because there is a problem, and they’re trying to use science to create a solution. I love how fluid genre labels are — “It’s what I point to when I say this” indeed.

I found the story, when I read it, thought-provoking and enjoyable, despite a down-beat ending. When we watched the movie last night (which is short, by the way — only about an hour), I decided that it works better in the written form because you get the benefit of an internal view, thoughts and feelings. When we reached the end, my husband said, “That’s it?” In the story, there was no question that that was the end, or that the source was clear. In the movie, I don’t think it was as clear-cut.

I think I’m going to have to find the story again, so he can read it and see if he thinks the written form does a better job of resolution.

Have you seen films made from short stories? How do you think they worked?

Series characterization

With some series, it almost doesn’t matter where you pick up. Oh, sure, there’s a larger story arc across the series, but each book or story is written such that it can stand alone. Everything you need to understand what’s going on in the story is present in that story.

Jim Butcher does a good job of this with the Dresden Files. Yes, there’s a larger arc in Harry’s life through the series, but each book describes his home, tells about his basement laboratory and his “assistant” Bob, and gives a brief description of any relevant character and how and why Harry knows them. (Okay, I was a little confused when Michael Carpenter first showed up, but generally speaking, especially with recurring characters, they’re handled well.)

Some people don’t do this as well. In another series (that will remain nameless), I picked up the fifth book because it was the only one my library had. In the first chapter, the main character said about someone else that she didn’t understand why the other character was behaving in a given fashion, that the action made no sense to her, and that she went along with it. I put the book down and never read anything else by this author because I figured either the main character was too stupid to live and shouldn’t have gotten to the fifth book OR the author was assuming that readers, based on previous experience with the main and secondary characters, would agree that was a sensible method to behave. I didn’t have that experience.

Anything we write may be the first story (or blog post) that a reader finds of ours. If it doesn’t make sense or provide us with the tools to make it make sense, it fails for that reader.

This was recently brought home to me in a rejection of a short story. The editor said that it felt like part of a larger whole, a series where the reader might not know all that was going on with the characters. I had conceived the MCs as series characters (although, failing so far to sell this story, I haven’t written any more) and wrote a story where only a partial character arc was shown, without explaining any of the emotions or history behind it for the two main characters.

That might work for a chapter in a book, but it doesn’t for a short story.

Now I know what I’ve got to change with edits. Maybe that will translate into an acceptance the next time the story goes out. First, however, I have to do the work.