This evening, I made a decision that before summer wraps up, I'm sending out a minimum of at least three stories to publishers. I'm nearing the end of a couple that I'm excited about, and once I'm able to transfer them off my laptop onto a CD (or get my internet to work) I'll be pressing on full speed. Here's what I've got planned:
"Mark of a Saint" (Deep Magic) - This story is a prequel to my story "The Saintly Fianche of Malitane." The latter starred Fianche's daughter, really, and in "Mark of a Saint" I write about Fianche and some of the issues she has. It's shaping up to be a really nice little short story. There's not a lot of action, per say. The conflict is internal, but I'm excited to send it in to DM to see what they think. It adds backstory to Fianche's staff, which they wanted a little more of when they accepted "The Saintly Fianche." Whether or not it gets accepted, I'm glad that I wrote it.
"Personal Universe" (The Sword Review) - This is actually sci-fi, which is not my typical genre. It was inspired just a few weeks ago by the comments of an agnostic on the boards, and I'm pleased with the way it's come together quickly. I feel like "Personal Universe" and "Mark of a Saint" are sister stories; they were both started around the same time, they are both about the same length, they'll both be finished around the same time (hopefully), and they are both destined to be sent (first) to my favorite e-zines. Anyway, this one was really fun to write, and I'm excited to send it to the team and see what they think. It won't be anonymous now, if any of the staff read the blogs, but that's ok. I can take it.
"Again and Again and Again" and "To the Halls of Valhalla" (Paradox) - Both of these are quasi-historical fiction. "Again" is historical; it's one of my gems that's already been sent out and rejected. I hadn't really looked at it since until tonight, and I had forgotten some of the changes I had made since the original story (funny how that works). I don't think it'll need as much work as I thought it would. I'm also open to trying Amazing Journeys with "Again." "Valhalla" focuses on the Valkyries of Norse mythology. It's a contemplative/reflective piece, one I wrote when my friend Steve and I decided we were going to both write stories about the Norsemen (which came from a strange comment about Norsemen that turned into an inside joke). It's very rough; it's mostly dialogue right now, so I need to smooth it over, tighten it, and just make things a little more interesting. "Again" will go first.
"City of Honor" (Amazing Journeys) - "City of Honor" was inspired by the book "Honor Lost" and is dedicated to all women killed in the name of family "honor." This story is in its very rough first draft. This one'll probably take the most work, but it's one of my babies (er, well, aren't they all?) because I found "Honor Lost" so powerfully chilling and sad. I hope my piece will inspire in the readers a sense of sadness and loss as well.
I put sticky notes on my mirror to keep me working on these stories. I have about a month to get out three, and with the car ride to and from NY within that month, I'm pretty sure I'll get that done. Probably the biggest obstacle is getting ink for my printer. I'm very excited. I've only sent out one batch before, three stories at the end of July last summer. It's been a whole year, and I've finally got some pieces that are almost ready to be sent out. I will, of course, be anxious to hear back from every one of the editors (or to spy on them at those where I volunteer), whether that be in form of rejections or acceptances.
Brilliantly enough, these are all paying markets. Wouldn't that be fun?