May 2nd, 2008

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Upcoming in May's Fantasy Magazine: Sisters and Mirrors

Coming up this month in Fantasy Magazine:

Lisa Mantchev has brought us "The Stolen Word", about a child so bad that her mother sells her to a travelling  peddler - with interesting results. It's a fun, funny story, told with her usual strong voice. It's a great story to start us off.

Following that is the more somber "Mirror Images" by Rachel Swirsky, who asks what happens when the reflection in the mirror isn't the person you used to be?  Look for another Swirsky story in June as well.

The third week, we'll be publishing Holly Phillips' "The Small Door". Two girls investigate a mystery next door in a lovely story about coming to terms with impending grief.

We finish with another mirror story, Mari Ness's "The Shadow in the Mirror", who asks in turn -- what if that reflection isn't you at all? As it turns out, the answer is on the ominous side.

If you sent a submission in April and haven't heard yet with either a rejection or an "I'm holding onto this", feel free to drop me a query. What "I'm holding onto this" means is that I thought it was worth Sean taking a look at so we could discuss it - right now I've got fourteen in that folder, and we'll probably take two or three from it.

And I got my first snarky reply to a rejection - after the author asked for more feedback and I gave it to them! People never fail to surprise.
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Theme issues and anthologies

In theory, I think these are nifty. I like reading theme anthologies, seeing how different people have riffed and run with the same thing. It's a lot of fun.

As an editor, though, they make me a little sad. I turned down a story earlier that I would have taken, if it hadn't been for all the other stories using the same theme that have started coming in this month. I can understand writing a story for one if the theme provides you with a spark -- any reason for writing is fine and dandy. But writers who focus on them and say "Editor X is doing an anthology on Giant Mice Who Drive UFOs and I'd love to be published by them" and starts jotting down rodent names may be doing themselves a disservice because while that story may be great for the anthology, if it gets rejected, it starts out the race handicapped when another editor looks at it and thinks "Oh, another mouse UFO story, I'm already running one of those next month."

Generally, I think writers should think about the story first and the market only much much later. Do I submit to such anthologies and issues? Sure. But I look at the guidelines and think about what I have that might fit, usually, rather than creating something out of whole cloth.

What do you think? Am I off the mark in this? Anyone still got stories languishing from themes past?  Which comes first for you, story or market?

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Up, Off and Away

My hair is newly pinked and we're up at 4 am tomorrow to grab our plane and head off to the annual Armageddon Staff Gathering on the Outer Banks. In other years I've been able to combine it with visiting some non-game folks, but this year because there's a lot going on, I'm focusing on game stuff as we rev up for Armageddon 2.0. I apologize to the people I'm missing - hopefully I'll see you at WisCon or ReaderCon. This year we're hitting somewhere around 30 people at the gathering, and I get to meet my goddaughter, Leeloo. Hurrah!

If you're absolutely mystified as to what I'm talking about -- this is it and I've been doing it for over fifteen years.  (Yes, I am about as geeky as they come.) But the main thing is - I'll be scarce next week, but will be enjoying myself sitting watching the waves, drinking coffee, and playing Rock Band with my posse -- and hope that you all enjoy yourselves as much as I will be. I wouldn't count on swift answers to e-mail.