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Posts Tagged ‘Anthology’

As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

Ghost Horses and Dream Dogs

 By

Shanna Germain

There was no such thing as a jockey. Not anymore. But once upon a time, Dale had been one of the best. He was built for it, born for it—the one good thing his father gave him was his genes. A lack of height, a slim build, strong for his size, bones as hollow as birds’. He never had to throw up or do water loss to keep his riding weight. He was lucky like that.

Once upon a time, he’d rode the best. Mabel Gray. Thunderbolt Kid. Red Rider. Even Carlyle St. George, the big red roan with one blind eye that everyone wanted to retire, but who took the Triple when he was on the far end of five. Dale had lived for the thrill of those huge creatures under him, the stretch and pull of muscle and will, that last gallop to the finish line, horse and rider moving, breathing, almost flying, as one.

Now, there were only ghost horses and dream dogs. Nothing substantial, nothing that could hold even the weight of a small man. At night, Dale dreamed he was without gravity, a bird upon their see-through backs, dreamed that he had become as much of nothing as they were.

So, why did we take this story? One thing we definitely look for is variety in voice, in plot, in approach to the theme. We loved the language and the imagery of this one from the beginning, but a couple of us worried that it was not quite accessible (i.e. understandable) enough. I suggested a rewrite and Shanna came through with a wonderful revision that addressed our concerns very well.  The original was 3500 words; final edit is 3000 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

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As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

In Ruins

 By

J. M. Odell

Zahur heard Iko’s uneven shuffle, and straightened. Using the loose end of one of his bandages, he wiped up a drip of ochre pigment. Repainting the glyphs was a precaution, his way of ensuring they stayed fresh.

He hoped Iko came with good news. They’d been locked in limbo for far too long. Though the others seldom complained, Zahur felt responsible for their situation. Not that he’d done the deed; he’d been dead at the time. But Mhotep, chief architect of their pyramid, had known how to hold a grudge. Why else would he have hidden their invocation, stranding them on the path to the afterlife?

So, why did we take this story? A story that can make me laugh out loud and tear up in the same sitting gets my vote. The other editors also saw potential here. It’s a nice contrast to other stories and one reason we ended up rejecting another ancient Egypt set story that was as good in terms of story execution, but lacked this one’s range. We had some issues with pacing, particularly in the opening scene and Jo-Anne did a nice job addressing this in revision. The original was 5500 words; final edit is 4900 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

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As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

Norms

 By

Cynthia Ward

We walk. All around us, their eyes watch. Eyes like gems, like flame, like pools of water, tiger’s eyes, insect eyes, pools of blood. Many part around us. A few brush against us, touch us with hands, tendrils, fur. Once, feathers linger against my cheek. We walk, Trey, Aniye, and I. We walk past new shops selling food and drink, scent, fashion. We walk through whispers. “Norms.” “Why are they here?” “Ugly.” “Exotic.” “They really do look alike.”

Three Jennies stand in our way. Aniye shivers. We step aside. They move to block us. We stop. They stop: a nude, black-furred man with furled bat-wings; a man clad in white leathers, who seems carved from icicle, tall and thin, with white hair and eyes and skin; a slender maroon woman with a blue feather crest. A translucent shimmer surrounds her, the color of smoke. She has four breasts paired on her chest; her slit is on her abdomen, down-feathered.

So, why did we take this story? We liked the world building and the unusual cadence of the piece. We liked the issue it tackles and the way it comes full circle. We had some issues with pacing and repetition in the opening, and Cindy worked through that in revision. The original was 4000 words; final edit is 3625 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

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As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

Boll Weevil

 By

Nathaniel Lee

Jess drove his truck down the lines in the middle of the road on the grounds that he was drunk and it was safer that way. A half-empty bottle of Jameson sloshed on the bench seat, carefully secured with the passenger seat belt. Most of the rest of the liquor from the ABC store rattled in the truck bed. Jess wasn’t normally a thief, but he figured at this point it was technically just collecting abandoned property. Trespassing, at worst. Either way, he wasn’t spending the end of the world sober.

The lines were hard to see under a rippling carpet of shiny black bugs. The truck’s tires made a constant crunching sound, as if driving over bags of potato chips and pork skins. Didn’t smell nearly so nice, though.

So, why did we take this story? We liked the droll delivery of  apocalypse (of a sort). Not much happens, but it happens with panache.  Two of us liked it better than the other two, but all agreed it was a nice contrast to stories we had in hand. The original was 1000 words; final edit is 1000 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

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As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

A Feast of Kings

 By

David Sklar

She always slept on a bed of nails, but the night she took me home with her she had to be on top, and her gyrations ripped the flesh from my back. The candlelight showed wrinkles that I could not see by day, and I reached up to breasts that had looked firm when she was dressed but now hung over me like the Gardens of Babylon, withered pendula swinging through broad ovals as her face contorted above the noise of the two of us together.

I dreamt of bones in the desert, of sand beneath the sun.

In the morning I woke to the car horns of lower Manhattan, and she brought me breakfast in bed. The pins sank deeper into my bottom as I sat up. From a bowl of unglazed clay she fed me a dish that was both meat and mead, lifting morsels between her thumb and first two fingers to my mouth. Her cats prowled satellite paths around us, their hungry orbits tightening with each loop.

So, why did we take this story? There is power in this voice and skill in the telling. That aside, it’s a fascinating story of an epic power struggle through eternity and/or madness in Manhattan. I was a fan from the first read and two editors came aboard soon thereafter. The original was 1750 words; final edit is 1700 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

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As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

Lord God Bird

 By

Sarah Frost

Sal comes down from the tree and shakes his head. He wipes smears of black moss off his hands. I turn away. I will not let him see me cry. I sneeze, and blow my nose, and blame the damp wind that seeps through my clothes. It’s getting colder. Soon it will be winter, and time for us to leave. Time for us to move on to a new world, a springtime world, and begin our search again.

The bird haunts my dreams. I hear wingbeats when I go to sleep. I wake to her golden eye gazing into mine. I see her shadow in the trees when I go out, and when I come home. My people called her a god long after the Frenchmen informed us that gods wear the bodies of men, not birds.

So, why did we take this story? We liked the concept and cultural awareness of the story, as well as the way it embedded background through the main story action. Not to mention the intriguing take on an SF topic we’ve seen before, but never quite like this.  The original was 1800 words; final edit is 1775 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

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As I receive contracts and final edits from authors, I’ll post a teaser from their story here and on our Facebook page.  You know where to get the rest, right? Comments are welcome.

A Claw from the Western Paradise

 By

by Gwendolyn Clare

It was spring in the Valley of the Western Paradise, though Ao Jun knew not which spring. The valley air sung like a dirge with the approach of a living soul, music for Ao Jun’s ears alone, rousing him insistently. He shifted on his ancient nest, scales hissing with a sound like the patter of desert rain. He lifted his sinuous body, and the bones beneath him clattered.

In the pond to the south, the lotuses bloomed, white and pink blossoms suspended above the serene water. A thin gray mist clung to the valley floor, cluttered with bones, and to his sluggish thoughts.

Ao Jun let out a sigh through flared nostrils, his breath a cloud of rising steam. He had thought that he was, finally, the last of his kind — that no more would come. He had not expected to wake again.

So, why did we take this story? We liked the fable-like feel of this and the interaction between characters. We had some issues with story pacing and sequencing of the opening. Gwen worked on these issues in revision. The original was 2200 words; final edit is 2150 words.

Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.

Now, a word from my ego. Happy to report that my flash fiction “Godless” went live on the Daily Science Fiction site. Cool.

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