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 the Shadow of God, There is Fire
Sandra M. Odell
The vase tumbled and shattered.
“Oh!” Rita dropped to her knees, hands trembling as she brushed bits of porcelain into her palm. She picked up a tangle of wispy brown feathers; they crumbled to dust. “Oh.”
“That was a Ming vase from the Hongwu period, Miss Jimenza,” Alban Hausmann said softly from his seat behind the cherry-wood desk, “a one-of-a-kind example of artisanship valued at over nine-hundred-thousand dollars.”
Rita squeezed her eyes shut. Between her work and her mother’s Social Security, they survived one check at a time. How would she pay rent and buy diapers while looking for a new job? “I—I’m so sorry, sir. It was an accident.”
“Your pay will be docked twenty dollars for the vase and another ten dollars for the feathers. Arrakockra nesting feathers, while not irreplaceable, are not easily come by. Please do try to be more careful.” He stood. “I will take my tea in the study after you have finished here.”
Rita made certain he had gone before she broke down in tears.
So, why did we take this story? The prose is magnificent and the character so real she polishes your silver. Add a very interesting speculative conceit and you have a winner. We asked for some tightening and Sandra delivered a very good rewrite. The original was 4800 words; final edit is 4600 words.
Tune in tomorrow for our next tease. The full Table of Contents is here.