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I’m happy to announce that my story “Blood and Gold” has been accepted for publication in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk (table of contents). Publication date is July 14, 2015; I’ll mention it again next summer!

Also, my story “Matchmaker” (originally published in Clarkesworld Magazine) has been translated into Galician and is up at Nova Fantasia: A casamenteira. (Galician is a Romance language, one of three spoken in Spain, the other two being Spanish [obviously] and Catalan.)

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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I’ve got lots of thing in progress. Recently, in fact, I remembered a couple of series I started plotting out but hadn’t started writing. Things are moving along, not quite glacially, but certainly slower this year than in previous years.

So this month, I’m taking a break. Maybe it seems counter-intuitive: if I’m going slowly, won’t things be even worse if I turn my back on my current projects? Well, frankly, it won’t make a lot of difference to most of them. However, I think I need a change of pace, doing something different.

Forward Motion (the writing forum I’ve been hanging out at since 2003) runs a challenge every May called Story-A-Day, or SAD. I’ve never gotten more than ten stories in the month, and some years, I haven’t even gotten one. This year, though, I’m going for full-out insanity. I may not actually complete a story each day — on days that I do flash, I might finish two; other stories might take me a few days to draft. I would like to finish the month with 31 new stories, of whatever length. Some of those will go up as Friday flash, fresh and new and straight to you, my readers. Others will get spell-checked, read to make sure they make sense, edited if necessary, and submitted to varying markets.

I may not get all 31. I’d like to get between 25 and 31, but the truth is, even if I “only” finish the month with five new shorts plus the Friday flash pieces, I’ll be ahead of where I am now.

That’s my current project.

What are you up to this month?


Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Current projects”– May’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the next posts in the series, by Sandra Barret and D. M. Bonnano.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on first stories, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Cover of Spells & SwashbucklersThe other day, I received my printed copy of Spells & Swashbucklers. It’s a lovely book. I handed it to my son to look at, and he got as far as “anthology” before putting it down. I pointed out my name on the back cover as one of the contributors to the anthology, and that was when he decided it was worth another look — even started reading my story!

That wasn’t the only arrival this week, however.

Cover of Fall 2012 issue of Space and TimeToday, I received copies of the Fall 2012 issue of Space & Time, which has my story “A Pretty Bauble,” a lovely mother-daughter story with sword fights and cats.

There’s something very satisfying about seeing something I’ve written in print. (Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy with electronic publication, too.) In that vein, I’d like to point out that Clarkesworld Magazine is reviving its anthologies (although it’ll be a while before 2011 — Year Five — is available) and Daily Science Fiction is also planning compilations of stories. Don’t worry — I’ll let you know when they’re ready!

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Did I tell you I have a new flash story coming out? “The Call” will be the e-mailed story for Daily Science Fiction on Monday, May 14. If you’re not signed up to get their e-mailed stories, this is a good time to do it. Or you can wait a week, and they’ll have it posted on their site.

Spells & Swashbucklers, an anthology of pirates and magic from Dragon Moon Press, has my short story, “Maskèd Panama.” The official launch party will be over Memorial Day weekend at Balticon, but it’s available for purchase now (paperback at Amazon) (Kindle).

I did pick a winner for the Live and Let Fly giveaway contest and e-mailed to find out what format of e-book was preferred. Nutschell, if you’re reading this, check your e-mail. If I don’t have a response by next week, I’ll pick another winner.

It’s been a month since I’ve done a post on genres, and I do intend to get back to them. Life’s just been hectic — to keep those up while doing the A to Z posts would have required a lot more pre-planning (which I’m noting for next year). I will start those again next Friday. I’ve actually been pleased to see people find my blog in search engines by looking for things like the definition of urban fantasy or what makes cozy mysteries different from hard-boiled ones. Clearly, these posts are filling a need.

The A to Z challenge was a lot of fun, and the hosts of the challenge encouraged everyone to do a reflections post. They said, “You can put up your Reflections post anytime between now and Saturday May 12th.” Mine will go up tomorrow. If you’re interested in my thoughts, what I liked, what I’d do differently, come check it out. Otherwise, feel free to go enjoy the weekend. It’s supposed to warm up about 10 degrees here and be sunny (which still leaves it cooler than California and Nevada — springlike weather here generally is for the most part in the 60s and 70s). I may even get outside to plant the flowers I bought from the fundraiser at my daughter’s daycare (begonia, portulaca, impatiens, and geranium).

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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cover for Winter White short storyHvinde’s stepmother truly is the fairest of them all, goddess of beauty and ruler of the kingdom. Her priests, however, think it’s time to give somebody else a chance at the title of fairest, and at least one thinks Hvinde has a shot. What’s a girl to do when she’d much rather play bridge with the guards than primp for others?

As is probably obvious from the blurb above, this is my retelling of the Snow White tale, without hearts cut out, poison, or wicked stepmothers being forced to dance in red hot shoes made of iron. Read an excerpt below.Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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I uploaded another short story for sale on Friday. “Rise of Kencha” first appeared in Spacesuits and Sixguns, an online magazine that is no longer available. (The Website currently says something’s coming 4th quarter of 2011, in a rebirth of the site, so I check back every now and again to see if there’s anything there yet.) Dave Duggins, the editor, liked my story so much he made it the cover story and commissioned art for it. Happily, Krzysztof Biernacki gave me permission to use the art with the story once again. Below is an excerpt from the opening of the story, as well as the links to buy it, should you be so inclined.

Jani’s been working night shift since she broke up with the commander of her station, Lev Ren, but even with her grief, she notices the problems with engines and airflow on the station. What she doesn’t notice at first is the crew who have altered their bodies, giving up limbs and exoskeleton for machined parts. These crew are playing a game, a deadly game called Kencha. Jani can’t go to her commander, but she can’t let the station be corrupted, either. How she responds will affect everyone on the station.

Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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My short story, “A New Start,” is now available to purchase at the usual e-book stores for 99 cents. (Note that you do not need an e-reader to read this or my other stories. Kindle has free software available for PC, Mac, iPhone/iPod, and I think Android. Nook also has their program available for those who don’t own a Nook. And Smashwords has HTML, plain text, RTF, PDF, Java, and other formats. So if you’re interested, don’t let the lack of an e-reader stop you!)

When Fainche gets out of her family’s car at a rest stop, she doesn’t expect to come back and find her husband and daughter left without her. Imagine her surprise when she calls on her cell phone and another Fainche answers! She follows them, intent on discovering who the impostor is and how her family was fooled.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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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!

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

Banded Jade

Apr. 2nd, 2011 09:56 pm
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“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.

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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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?

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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My story, "Maskèd Panama" has been accepted into the Spells and Swashbucklers anthology. (TOC available here: http://vg-ford.livejournal.com/606113.html)
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If a short story market doesn't say, how soon can you submit to them again? Is it different for acceptance vs. rejection? (For example, Clarkesworld Magazine says "Do not submit another story for a period of seven days after receiving a rejection" and "Writers whose work is accepted may not submit again until six months after their story is published." Is that sort of policy peculiar to their set-up?)

Specifically, a market has accepted a story by me that has not yet been published. Is it okay to submit another one to them? I'll probably e-mail the editor to ask about their policy, but is there a general guideline?
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For those of you who don't know, John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton are running a fanfic contest. I've just e-mailed my entry. The auto-response reminds me that they're not asking for exclusivity, so I am free to do what I want with my story. I share it here, with you.

story follows . . . )
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Last year, I submitted a story to Good Housekeeping's short story contest. I wasn't really expecting to win -- Jodi Picoult was the judge, and I was reasonably certain I don't have the mainstream/literary chops to impress her. The theme was to write about women's life.

I wasn't really pleased with how the magazine handled logistics. Their site said that winners would be notified by December 15, but no change was made to that page saying that it had taken place -- not through the end of January. When I checked again yesterday, that's when I saw that they had changed it to say the winners had been notified, but gave no clue of who they are.

Okay, maybe they want the first broadcast of the news to be in the May issue when the story appears. If so -- well, their official rules also gave an address and said if you wanted a list of the winners, to send an SASE to that address by January 15. I mailed one in December. If, in fact, they're not sending those lists out until after the May issue is available, then a) they should have said so in the rules, and b) January 15 is a ridiculously early deadline to request it. ETA: I guess I just don't have enough patience. The list of winners arrived in my mailbox Saturday morning.

Long story short: I didn't win, I have no plan to submit this story elsewhere, and so I present it here for your enjoyment (or otherwise, I suppose). Note the pen name I subbed under.

Silhouettes
by
Anna Bennett Strong

Kelly closed the door to the twins' room. Robbie and Gwen would be asleep in minutes, she knew. Knowing that peace was coming almost made the bath water all over the floor, the temper tantrum over the wrong pajamas, and the three bedtime stories (with frequent interruptions) worthwhile. Sighing, she leaned against the jamb for a moment before pushing herself away and down the hall to clean up the bathroom. At least tonight, the water hadn't run down the stairs to damage the oak floor of the entryway.

The mop was downstairs in the kitchen, so she used the kids' towels to sop up the mess from the tiles. What was another load of laundry, after all?

Two hours later with the towels in the dryer and the dishwasher humming in the kitchen, she climbed into bed at last. Deciding she didn't have enough energy even to read a chapter of the book on her night table, she pulled up the stained daffodil-yellow comforter ("Let's get something cheerful to wake up to," her husband had said.) and turned out the light. Exhaling slowly, Kelly forced her neck muscles to relax. She was almost asleep when the phone rang.

It was her husband, Matt, of course. "I would've called sooner, but I ran into Billingsly in the bar before dinner, and we got to talking . . . "

"That happens a lot with him." Kelly remembered the one Christmas party where she'd met Billingsly, an affable man who could chatter about virtually anything, whether he'd heard about it before or not. He'd actually had some interesting insights into international banking that had impressed Kelly's regional manager when she brought them up. "How's he doing?"

"Oh, you know -- same old, same old. He asked me if I could stop by his office tomorrow for a few hours. He wants my opinion on a new system they're trying out."

"I thought the conference went through Thursday."

"It does--" The rest of whatever he said was lost in Gwen's wail from the next room.

"Duty calls," she said. "I guess I'll see you when you get home."

Gwen stood on her toddler bed, pointing at the blanket on the floor. Robbie had rolled over and sat up as Kelly came in.

"Want water."

"In a minute," she told him, leaning over to pick up Gwen's blanket.

"T'ank you." Her daughter clutched it to her chest with one arm and lifted the other toward Kelly, waiting to be picked up.

"Not now, honey. We all need to sleep."

Robbie's sniffles started first, followed quickly by Gwen's louder cries. Kelly didn't wait for them to swell to full volume. Instead, she scooped one up in each arm (though this had gotten harder in the last year, even with lunchtime visits to the gym) and settled into the corner rocking chair, cuddling the twins close and murmuring nonsense to soothe them back to sleep.

Matt always told her she indulged them too much, that they'd sleep through the night better if she just ignored them. Easy enough for him to say -- even when he wasn't out of town on a business trip, he could sleep through anything short of a semi crashing into the house.

Staring at the moon-etched silhouettes of leaves peeking around the window's curtain, Kelly rocked and counted the hours until Matt would be home.

#

Gulping at her macchiato, Kelly eyed the folders in her inbox. Each one represented documentation for a loan application. Half of them were probably still missing paperwork that she'd have to badger the customers about -- politely, of course.

The top folder was for the McCartneys, first time homebuyers who had saved enough to put fifty percent down on a rather modest house, an amazing accomplishment in the current economic climate. Pay stubs for both of them, bank balance statements, credit reports -- all was in order. Smiling, Kelly stamped "Approved" on their application and moved the paperwork into her "to file" box. She normally grouped her phone calls in the early afternoon; she'd call them then. If only all of the applications could be that easy.

Kelly was filing credit report requests for new applicants when her phone rang. "Second Commercial Bank of the Sierras, this is Kelly. How may I help you today?"

"I was thinking about you the other day and just had to call." The caller didn't bother identifying herself, but Kelly had no trouble placing the voice of Sue, one of her closest friends since high school friends.

She suppressed a guilty twinge at not having called Sue recently, too busy between extra time at work and time with the twins. "Good thoughts, I hope?"

"The best. I wanted to thank you, actually. In high school, I was always jealous of you in art class. You were always so completely absorbed in painting, or in decorating the pottery you were going to fire in the kiln. I wanted something that made me that happy."

Smiling, Kelly touched the bowl on her desk, a souvenir of that art class. It had been a long time since she'd worked in clay. "And you want to thank me for that?"

"You were just so happy doing it, and you never stopped to ask permission to do what you wanted," Sue said. "That probably sounds silly, but I often feel like I have to ask. The other day, one of the radio stations had a call-in show, asking everyone to call and tell her what made them happy in life. That's when I thought of you, and I realized I needed something to do that makes me happy without worrying about what someone else was going to think."

"Glad I could help." Kelly glanced at her computer screen. The site was still waiting for her authorization code, so she entered it.

"Don't you want to know what it is?" Sue's voice was plaintive.

"Of course I want to know. What did I inspire you to do?"

"I put in for a transfer to the overseas division of my company, and I got it. I'm going to France next month! I'll be there for at least a year." The exuberance was back.

"You always wanted to go to France, I remember."

"Though I imagined myself wearing a beret and meeting some incredible Frenchman who would sweep me off my feet."

"I'd skip the headgear, but the man's still a possibility. Just not a co-worker, okay?" Kelly smiled at her friend's enthusiasm. "Send me postcards."

The credit report request had generated an error. Someone had put down the wrong Social Security Number. Kelly didn't know whether it was an honest mistake or if they'd deliberately used the wrong information -- she'd had illegal immigrants from Russia and Ireland before, trying to establish themselves in the country -- but she made a note of the bad numbers. Next up, calling all the customers about missing paperwork, as well as asking for verification of the SSNs.

She'd have to work through lunch, entering the new information. So much for working out to boost her energy levels. Stifling a yawn, she gulped at her drink again. There had been a time when this work could've been done faster, more enthusiastically, but that was BT (before twins), when she'd actually managed a full night's sleep every night. Or most nights, anyway, given the sort of activities that had led to the twins' arrival.

Maybe someone else in the office would bring her back a double caf drink when they went to lunch.

#

Sue's words came back to Kelly as she was working on getting the kids to bed. Robbie loved to fingerpaint with the soap in the bathtub, and Gwen wanted to look at every single detail of the pictures in her books. In their own fashion, each of them loved art as much as Kelly had growing up. She missed that freshness and joy; it was too bad she had neither time nor energy for such pursuits now.

The twins cuddled one on either side of her in the rocking chair as she read them Goodnight Moon, then lay down without a fuss. Elated, Kelly closed the door and headed straight for her room to catch up on her own sleep. Matt had already called to say he'd be leaving the conference early; the phone wouldn't interrupt her tonight. The only thing on her agenda was resting so she could be fresh and energized the next day.

At one, at two-thirty, at four-fifteen, and at five, the twins woke up.

She thought of Sue again. Right now, Kelly wanted to give herself permission to be selfish, to ignore her family, to do what she wanted again. Her family was supposed to be what brought her happiness now, but it was awfully hard to be happy when she wasn't getting any sleep.

Rocking the children to sleep again, Kelly stared out the window and watched the sky gradually lighten with dawn. The leaf silhouettes falling onto the walls would have made a wonderful pattern on pottery when she had been in high school. She'd narrowed her art focus to painting in college, but her work had been too representative for many of her teachers. Her easel and brushes had been packed away to the attic her junior year, and she hadn't even thought of them since, except when she and Matt had moved into this house. It was time to get them out again.

She could set the easel up here, in the twins' room, and paint the impressions that the night brought. She pictured herself with Gwen on one hip and Robbie curled up, sucking his thumb in the rocking chair. Quiet, peace, acceptance.

Perhaps she still wouldn't be getting any more sleep, but Kelly thought she could live with that. She would have some time that was just hers, without running around taking care of everyone and everything else. Yes, that would work well. She'd start with the shadows of the leaves.

- The End -
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I really do like the writing on this. However, it doesn't work as a story. Nothing the characters do has any impact on the ending. It might work as part of a longer piece, and I may use it for that when I figure out a longer story it'll fit into. For now, though, I'll just share it.

Tantalus
by Erin M. Hartshorn

A tap sounded on the door; General Barros looked up. Major Pereira entered without waiting for an invitation. "Our contacts in Washington confirm it -- our neighbors have North Korean backing."

Barros shook his head and returned to poring over the maps spread across the rickety table in front of him. "Have there been any weapons shipments? Intercepted communications? A suitcase of money? Anything we can use to get world opinion on our side?"

He didn't want American troops in their country, and the international community wouldn't accept America's word for suspected violence any more, not without proof. Barros preferred that the bodies of his soldiers not be that proof.

Pereira dropped his pack onto the table, which shuddered but did not give way beneath the weight. "Nothing. The geek posse is sifting for video content, but no one trusts the viral links anymore."

Tracing a mountain ridge with his finger, Barros didn't answer immediately. If they used burros, they could get to the old air shafts and use the mining tunnels to slip behind the border. No more than a dozen soldiers -- half a dozen would be better -- to take out lines of communication. It wouldn't be one hundred percent effective; he had to assume the other side had satphones as well. The action might slow down whatever offensive was being planned to take their land, though.

"No one?" Barros asked. "My mother still believes she can pop corn with her cellphone, but refuses to believe the water's safe to drink."

At Pereira's silence, Barros glanced up. The other man avoided his gaze. No doubt Pereira did not want to express an opinion on the gullibility of mothers, or at least the mother of his commanding officer.

"Without our tantalite, however, we will have no new cellphones for her to fear, eh?" Barros straightened and clapped the lieutenant on the shoulder. "But my plan may yet keep our mines free."

Pereira did not look comforted. "At least until the next sortie."

"Or the one after that." Barros smiled wryly. "One engagement at a time, especially if our politicians must keep the peace with the corporations who buy our metal."

That was where the North Koreans came in. They wanted their own electronics megacorporation, and if they could corner half the world supply of tantalum, their production costs would be lower than their competitors', who were gearing up recycling efforts for old cellphones and decommissioned jet engines.

Getting volunteers for the cross-border mission would have been simple, but Barros preferred a hand-picked team. Within half an hour, the plan was underway.

As their burros wended up the dirt track to the air shafts, Pereira's brother pulled alongside Barros. "I don't know if we should believe the reports from Washington."

"Your brother told you?" Not that Barros was surprised, but he would prefer some pretense of confidentiality.

"I'm serious. Pyongyang made a big presentation at the United Nations six months ago about mining the asteroid fields to scrape up what small amounts of metal the M-types will yield."

Following the United Nations wasn't Barros' job, but he was intrigued. "Small amounts? They said that?"

"No, they played it up. Maybe a couple hundred tonnes of platinum a year -- if they find kilometer-long enriched asteroids. Kargel was optimistic on that front, but I'm not sure I agree."

"So are they really up there looking?" Barros leaned to one side to maintain eye contact as his burro rounded a switchback. "Or was it all public relations?"

The younger Pereira shrugged. "I suppose it might be both. Or maybe some other reason entirely. They certainly launched, and if they weren't heading for asteroids, we would've heard about it by now." He waved one hand. "My brother believes Washington. If we find any North Koreans today, I suppose we'll have our answer."

Barros grunted. Even if overseas backers were involved, they wouldn't be public about it. And if Pereira was wrong, then no major reinforcements would be called in by satphone, no mercenary forces or guerillas paid in whatever currency the North Koreans used. Maybe he'd ask Pereira later what they used for money, if he remembered.

They saw no one on their ride. Bird and lizard calls fell silent with their travel and then returned behind them, the normal animal behavior reassuring Barros that there was no one but his group to be seen. The ridge rose clear of jungle, despite the years since the mine had been used. If their opponents knew of this backdoor into their country, they would have spotters eyeing the ridgeline. Before they reached the top, Barros signaled a halt.

"We'll wait for full dark. We have a map of the original mine. It's not completely accurate, but that's why we have the night-vision goggles." Barros laid a laminated photocopy on the ground. "We'll rappel down to the second corridor; the first exits to our side of the border. Once we're down, we'll take this route through to the other air shaft. Getting out is going to be the tricky part."

"Sir -- that may not be the hard part," the younger Pereira said.

Barros turned to look at him, but the other man was staring at the sky. Barros followed his gaze. Balls of fire, larger than any local missile, streaked toward them.

"Take cover!" Barros grabbed the map and scrambled toward an outcropping covered with brush. His men dived in different directions; Pereira wound up with him.

"The trajectory's wrong," Pereira muttered as he peered over the edge of their shelter. "Those aren't local."

Maybe the North Koreans were taking a direct hand after all. The first impact shook the ridge, and Barros risked a glance. The missile was nothing more than a rock, maybe half a meter in diameter. Rocks -- asteroids -- hurled as weapons, not banned by treaties, giving the winners control of the tantalite. The younger Pereira had been right -- there was another reason.

He grabbed for his satphone to call the Ministéria and saw the next rock coming, too large to dodge.

-The End-
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My story "Being Green" is up at Aurora Wolf: http://aurorawolf.com/2009/09/being-green/

Go forth and read.
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Ellsea recently posted on her blog about Rejection: the death of hope. I replied over there, saying in part:
I always find it hardest when I really believe in a story and think that it has a shot. For example, the first year I submitted to the PARSEC short story contest (on a whim, almost, not expecting much), I got third place. When I didn’t even place the next two years, it hurt. (And really hurt when a friend won, though I was happy for her, too.) Now I’m waiting for the results of this year’s contest . . .
Today, of course, I got the results. Two stories submitted, neither of them placed. Again.

I only got the details for one of the stories; it didn't even make the short list. I seem to be getting worse at this instead of better. I already know what next year's theme is going to be ("The Color of Silence"), but right now, I don't know if I'll even bother trying. Whether I'm getting worse or the competition's getting better doesn't really matter, does it? What matters is that this particular brick wall is winning, and I just pulled my head away with a pulped-in section of skull and blood leaking out.

Now, having vented, I reconsider. Scalzi's one of the judges for next year. He liked "Rise of Kencha"; he had it short-listed for the issue of Subterranean he guest-edited, even though he eventually decided against it. Maybe I have a shot if I can get past the screeners. I've always said I don't do the rejecting of my stories; that's the editors' job. Not writing and not submitting -- those aren't my jobs.

Probably later this week, I'll look at "Family Man" with the feedback I got and do another edit pass on it, using some of the things I've picked up from reading Fire In Fiction by Maass. Then out the door it goes again. Because my job is to write and submit.
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For those who may be interested in story opportunities, if you haven't seen these already:

Real Simple's Life Lessons Essay Contest: up to 1,500 words, prize of $3,000, deadline September 9. (I'm not actually doing this one, but I put it out for those who are interested.)

Boston Review's Annual Short Story Contest: entry fee $20, $1,500 prize, up to 4,000 words. (Also not doing this one. Yog's Law, right? Money flows to the author.)

Footprints, edited by [livejournal.com profile] ericreynolds and [livejournal.com profile] jaylake: 4,000 to 10,000 words, submission period August 15 to November 15.

The Phantom Queen Awakes, tales of Morrigan: 50 to 6,000 words, deadline December 1.

Federations, edited by John Joseph Adams: up to 5,000 words, submission period November 1 to January 1. (My stories never grab him for [i]F&SF[/i], but it can't hurt to sub, right?)
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Number shorts written: 41

Number sold: 4

Number trunked: 8

Number in "to edit" pile: 11

Number that are really just openings of longer stories: 3

Number currently out to market: 10

Number waiting for specific market to re-open: 1

Number I should get off my butt and get back out to market: 5
eimarra: (Default)
Last fall, Dave Duggins of Spacesuits and Sixguns accepted my short story, "Rise of Kencha," for issue #4. That issue is now live, and my story provided the inspiration for the cover artwork. Check it out: Spacesuits and Sixguns

I've also had two short stories accepted for anthologies by [livejournal.com profile] ericreynolds of Hadley Rille Books. I'll have stories in both Ruins Metropolis ([livejournal.com profile] maripat, thanks again for the crit!) and Barren Worlds! I'll post when they become available.

July 2017

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