Saturday, May 29, 2010

Featured Author

I'm Torquere's Featured Author this week, with an interview and bio and all up on the site. Some questions were particular to A Hidden Magic and some were more general; check it out here.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Hidden Magic

My urban fantasy novel A Hidden Magic has been released and is available through my publisher's site. I'm sitting here vibrating with excitement, with this ridiculously huge smile on my face.

Oh, and they used the blurb I wrote and the excerpt I chose when I did my marketing doc, which is pretty cool. Unless you don't like it, of course, in which case it's all my fault, but there you go -- nothing's completely perfect, right? :)


A Hidden Magic -- Cover

Fey incursions into the mortal world have been on the rise, and Paul MacAllister's trying to figure out what the king of the local Elven enclave Under the Hill is up to and how to stop it. Rory Ellison was caught up in one of those attacks and nearly killed by a gang of goblins. He doesn't believe they were real, though, and is resisting anything Paul might say to the contrary.

Normally Paul would be willing to let Rory go his own way, at least until he's taken care of more immediate business. But Rory has a particularly rare gift, one the Elven king needs to have under his control in order to carry out his plan. Keeping Rory away from the fey who will use him, to death if necessary, means protecting him night and day, whether Rory agrees or not.


The rushing of the water and the squawk-twitter of the birds were soothing, almost hypnotic. The breeze blowing across the small river was cool; it felt good on Rory's overheated skin and it smelled like green. It was a wonderful place to rest, but it was time to move. He opened his eyes and tried to stand up... and couldn't.

He tried again with no better luck. He was stuck to the bench.

"Damn! Aren't they supposed to put up signs when they paint?" Resigned to being a total mess, he put his hand down on the seat for leverage, but it didn't help. And then he couldn't move his hand. "What the--? It couldn't have dried that fast!"

Then he remembered he'd brushed leaves off the bench before sitting; it hadn't been wet then, or sticky with anything. He tugged at his hand but it was stuck tight and pulling just hurt.

"Got a problem, sweet thing?" A screechy, smarmy-sounding voice squawked directly into his ear, and Rory whipped his head around while jerking as far away as he could. Hanging off the back of the bench and grinning at him with far too many teeth was a scrawny creature the size of a small, scrawny teenager, with scraggly hair and round, yellow eyes. The backwards baseball cap, multiple pendants, baggy basketball shirt, and shorts that dragged nearly to his ankles said "juvenile hoodlum," but the pitted, gray-green skin and the drooping points on the ears had Rory in a panicked freeze.

It's not real. It's not, I'm imagining it, it's not real and it can't hurt me unless I think it can unless I want it to it's not....

"Umm, this one smells tasty!" cooed another voice. Rory forced himself to look. It (she?) was a grayish purple and had the longest tongue he'd ever seen outside of a cartoon. Her hungry expression wasn't at all funny, though; it was pure menace, and the rough, pointed tongue-tip which rasped its way up his cheek burned like acid.

A pair of gray-orange hands appeared from behind him, one wrapping itself around his throat while the other slid around his forehead and braced. He couldn't move, and there were more of them, whatever they were, scooting and slithering around him, climbing up onto the bench and perching in his lap, hanging off his arms, rubbing and pinching and tasting. He couldn't move and his vision was blurring and darkening as they pressed in around him, tugging at his clothes, touching and licking any skin they uncovered. He couldn't move and all he could do was open his mouth to scream, but a long, dripping tongue slid inside and he couldn't make a sound.

Rory struggled instinctively at first, fighting the gripping fingers and burning tongues, but then he forced himself to relax. It's just an episode, he reminded himself. They're creations of a misfiring brain. They're not there, they're not real, they can't hurt you, relax....

He closed his eyes and let his muscles go slack, one set at a time as his doctor had taught him, while regulating his breathing. He pulled his awareness inward and focused on feeling the air rushing in through his nose and down to his lungs, filling them. He felt his heart beating, focusing his perceptions down into his own body until each lub-dub sent out a shockwave he could feel shuddering through his entire torso.

Suddenly a nasal voice screeched into his ear, "You can't hide from us!" and the creature straddling his lap sank her teeth into his shoulder. Rory screamed and jerked, trying to throw her off, but he could barely move between the skinny arms clutching at him and whatever it was that held him to the bench.

Nothing! There was nothing holding him but his own imaginings. He fought to relax and focus but "nothing" yanked his head back by the hair and plunged her caustic tongue back into his throat, so deep he thought she'd taste the coffee he'd had on the way to the bus stop. He gagged and his stomach tried to expell the irritant but he couldn't move and she wouldn't stop and he tasted bile and couldn't help gagging and then it was much easier to relax because he felt himself fading and slowing and everything went fuzzy and smeary and then dark.


Paul plunged through the hole in the air as soon as Aubrey stepped back and nodded. He took off from hardwood and landed on packed dirt, near a particular curving bank on the Guadalupe River, which ran through the heart of San Jose. Paul came out with a Don't-Look on him, which Cal had cast on the group while Aubrey worked on the Port. A quick look around spotted both the mob of goblins feeding at a bench a dozen yards away, and the fact that there was no one else nearby. Excellent -- he wouldn't have to waste time or energy distracting onlookers or hiding any fireworks.

He stepped clear, his focus now on the goblins, and the others immediately followed one by one. They formed up on Paul and ran toward the goblin mob, yelling and waving cold iron weapons, hoping to at least startle the things off their victim.

The goblins swarmed like starving hyenas around a corpse, which was an unfortunate mental image just then. He heard Manny call, "Alive, but fading!" the tension grating in his voice.

Paul pulled his screwdriver out of a pocket inside his jacket and moved forward with Cal right behind him. Aubrey was prepping a banishing spell, but they needed to get the vermin off of Manny's friend now, not two minutes from now, and cold iron would get their attention nicely.

Cal moved up next to him, his favorite physical weapons against the fey -- a pair of heavy wrenches -- already in hand. Manny, on his other side, had his crowbar in both hands; pure iron, it was particularly effective.

Paul descended on the gang of goblins, the other two flanking him, and a moment later they laid into the creatures, stabbing and bashing and yanking them off their victim.

Magic sprayed like blood wherever their weapons hit. The goblins screeched and cursed and turned on them in a furious pack. Teeth snapped, claws slashed and curses stung, but each swing or thrust of a cold iron weapon sent a goblin shrieking and scrambling out of range, away from the bench and the pale, limp body draped across it.


Get the whole thing here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Two Good Deals, One For a Great Cause

A couple of the vendors who sell my stories are having special deals right now.

Fictionwise is having one of its 40% rebate on everything sales, for purchases made with a credit card. The link takes you to the two of my books they sell, but the rebate applies to everything. The way this works is when you purchase a book with a rebate, the rebated amount is credited to your "micropay" account, which can be spent later like cash. I like their rebate-on-everything sales because usually their rebates only apply to DRMed books, and I don't buy those. You don't have to join a club or anything; just create the usual online buyer's account and your rebate amount will be stored there for whenever you want to use it.

All Romance eBooks is having a promotion where authors and/or publishers are donating their royalties for the month of May to the National Center for Lesbian Rights -- which supports the rights of all LGBT people now, not just lesbians. The NCLR is representing Clay Greene in his attempt to get justice from Sonoma County for the horrible way they treated him and his partner, Harold Scull.

From NCLR's info page on Greene v. County of Sonoma et al.:

Clay and his partner of 25 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place, including wills and powers of attorney, naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.

In April 2008, Harold, who was very frail, fell on the front steps of the home he shared with his partner of 25 years, Clay Greene. Harold had endured open heart surgery, was on a number of medications that made him uncomfortable, and was in declining physical and mental health. When Harold fell, he did not want Clay to call an ambulance. But Clay knew that the fall was serious and that medical attention was required. He did what any of us would do—he called the paramedics. When Harold, in a fury, told the paramedics that Clay had pushed him, they reported the allegations, which were found to be unsubstantiated.

Then Harold and Clay's nightmare truly began. Instead of handling Harold and Clay's case appropriately, the County of Sonoma filed for conservatorship of Harold's estate, seeking control of Harold's finances. Without authority, the county auctioned off everything that both Harold and Clay owned. Virtually all of the couple's belongings, including numerous pieces of art, Hollywood memorabilia and collectibles, were sold at auction or have disappeared. In an early visit by County employees to review the contents of the home, workers remarked on the couple's treasures, with one noting how much his "wife would love" a piece and a second commenting how "great that would look in my house" on another. When Clay objected he was told to "shut up."

County workers also removed Clay from his and Harold's home and placed Clay in an assisted living facility against his will. Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in a nursing home. Because of the County's actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 25 years, and he has been unable to recover his possessions.

That's really despicable. The county claimed Harold and Clay were only roommates when it came to visitation rights or the authority to make medical and financial decisions, despite Clay having a legal power of attorney (which was ignored). But it seems the county was treating them as legal partners who owned property in common when it sold the entire contents of their home to pay for Harold's medical costs. They couldn't even be consistent in their gross mistreatment of this couple.

All my stand-alone short stories up on ARe are part of the fund raising effort. I'll donate all my royalties from ARe to Clay Greene's legal fund at NCLR, to help him get some sort of justice out of this mess, and give Sonoma County officials the slap they clearly need to jar a few brain cells loose. If you've been thinking of trying some of my work, this'd be a good time to do it -- some good stories and helping out with a worthy cause. (And in actuality, I'm donating all my royalties for the quarter -- through the end of June -- since my statement doesn't break it down any farther than that.) Here's ARe's info page about the fund raiser, which includes a list of all the authors and publishers participating, with links to their books.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Anthology Markets

If you've just wandered in off the internet, hi and welcome. :) I do these posts every month, so if this post isn't dated in the same month you're in, click here to make sure you're seeing the most recent one.

Markets with specific deadlines are listed first, "Until Filled" markets are at the bottom. There are usually more details on the original site; always click through and read the full guidelines before submitting. Note that some publishers list multiple antho guildelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.

Non-erotica/romance writers: check out Fear of the Dark, Ladies of Trade Town (despite the title), Extreme Zombie Anthology, Times of Trouble, Panverse, and Horror Library.


1 June 2010 -- Working Stiffs -- Amber Allure

Series Type: Gay (M/M) -- Blue-Collar Love Affairs
Novella Length: 18,000 to 39,999 words
Heat Level: 3+ (Love scenes should be extremely explicit and contain graphic language. Stories may also contain sexual situations or storylines that push the envelope -- heavy bondage, spanking, as well as menage, domination and submission, multiple sexual partners, etc.)

Specific Guidelines: Each novella for this "picture/series" should feature at least one blue-collar hero (regardless of industry), who's a hard-working laborer considered "good with his hands" both at work and at play, and tell the tale of his love affair with a man of his own social class/standing (or maybe not�that's entirely up to you). Although stories should have a contemporary setting only, they may also be sub-categorized as romantic comedy, suspense or thriller, action and adventure, as well as BDSM. But once again, please keep in mind that at least one of your heroes must be "blue-collar" worker, just the sort of hero depicted in the above photograph. Moreover, all stories should have a "happily ever after" ending, or at least what is considered a "happily for now" conclusion.

Email Address: After preparing your documents according to the "General Submission/Formatting Info" listed above, please submit the full manuscript, synopsis, and query letter to:

[Heavily edited for space -- definitely click through for specific guidelines, and take note of the peculiarities in manuscript formatting.]


1 June 2010 -- Fear of the Dark -- Horror Bound Magazine Publications

Horror Bound Magazine Publications seeks short stories for an upcoming anthology entitled Fear of the Dark (Temporary Title). The point of the stories should be to investigate the human fear of the unknown, the dark, and the common themes found in nightmares.

Reading Period: We will read stories starting March 5th to June 1st 2010 (or until the anthology is filled). Those who we offer a contract will be contacted shortly thereafter.

Payment: Payment will be $0.01/word CAD, based on the final, edited word count from Microsoft Word rounded to the nearest hundred words, plus one contributor's copy.

All submissions should include an author bio and a short synopsis. We want to know why your short story fits our theme.

Submission guidelines: Stories should be 1500-5500 words, standard format, with the author's name, email address, and word count in the upper left-hand corner of the first page. Stories should be sent as email attachments in Microsoft Word to

We request first print rights and all electronic rights.


9 June 2010 -- The Ladies of Trade Town -- Norilana Books

The stories selected for this anthology will build on that varied background to tell well-crafted tales of the women and men -- and other sentient beings -- who "ply the trade" in a variety of times and settings. I'm looking for original science fiction, fantasy, and related genre short stories that entertain and play to the imagination of the reader. Show me something I haven't seen, read, or written. (For examples of that last, see "Lady Blaze" in Roby James's Warrior Wisewoman 2 and the title cut of the filk CD that gives this volume its name.) Humor, characters of all orientations and gender-identities, and new writers all welcome.

Despite the theme, I am *not* looking for porn, erotica, or gore-soaked horror. Absolutely no child abuse, incest, or non-consensual situations. Also not looking for poetry, fanfic or proselytizing either for or against the theme.

STORY LENGTH: between 3,000 - 10,000 words. Mostly looking for stories in the 5,000 - 6,000 word range, but I'd like to have a few stories on the upper and lower ends in the mix. The upper limit is firm for unsolicited stories.

RIGHTS PURCHASED: First English Language Rights and non-exclusive electronic rights. The anthology will be published by Norilana Books as a trade paperback edition in April 2011, to be followed by an electronic edition to be produced later.

PAYMENT: $0.02 a word on acceptance of completed anthology manuscript by the Publisher, as an advance against pro-rata share of the royalties after earnout, plus one contributor copy.

READING PERIOD: Opens January 5, 2010, closes June 9, 2010. Manuscripts received before or after this period will be discarded unread, unless prior arrangements have been made otherwise.


15 June 2010 -- Mine -- Ed. Shawn Clements, Torquere Press

Sometimes there can be no question about it: you're owned. And that possessive little growl from your own personal vampire or werewolf is the sexiest thing on the planet. "Mine" is a paranormal e-anthology about this most exclusive of bonds, edited by Shawn Clements. We're looking for m/m stories that sizzle, 3,000 to 8,000 words. Payment is a flat fee of $35.00 for first-time electronic rights. No reprints, please. Deadline for submission is June 15, 2010, with publication projected for October. Please submit the story, along with a synopsis, your contact information, and author biography, to with "Mine" in the subject line.


1 July 2010 -- Taken -- Torquere Press

Fangs. Claws. Ghostly shadows in the night. Taken is about the mysterious compulsion of the paranormal as it plays out in a m/m/f menage. An unearthly white lady who bewitches two handsome knights? A hapless mortal who finds himself the captive of the Faerie king and queen? Whatever the situation, you can guarantee the characters will be taken with each other. We want loving relationships and happy endings, though all sensual heat levels are welcome. Preferred length is 8,000 to 12,000 words. Payment is a flat fee of $75.00 for first time print and electronic rights. Deadline for submission is July 1, 2010. Please submit the story, along with a synopsis, your contact information, and author biography to with Taken in the subject line.


1 July 2010 -- Hot Summer Daze -- Amber Allure

Series Type: Gay (M/M) -- Summertime Love Affairs
Novella Length: 18,000 to 39,999 words
Heat Level: 3+ (Love scenes should be extremely explicit and contain graphic language. Stories may also contain sexual situations or storylines that push the envelope -- heavy bondage, spanking, as well as menage, domination and submission, multiple sexual partners, etc.)

Specific Guidelines: Each novella for this "picture/series" should tell the story of a hot and steamy summer affair. Whether your heroes meet at some exotic resort, on a luxury cruise, or even while hanging out at their neighborhood pool, a red-hot romance should develop between them and turn their lives upside down. Although stories should have a contemporary setting only, they may also be sub-categorized as romantic comedy, suspense or thriller, action and adventure, as well as BDSM. All stories should have a "happily ever after" ending, or at least what is considered a "happily for now" conclusion, so show us how the summers will sizzle once your heroes get together and realize what they have is a whole lot more than just a meaningless fling.

Email Address: After preparing your documents according to the "General Submission/Formatting Info" listed above, please submit the full manuscript, synopsis, and query letter to:

[Heavily edited for space -- definitely click through for specific guidelines, and take note of the peculiarities in manuscript formatting.]


1 July 2010 -- Extreme Zombie Anthology -- Comet Press

Comet Press is seeking novelette/novella length stories for a extreme zombie themed anthology to be published in August 2010 (trade paperback). We are looking for the most gruesome, twisted, disturbing, zombie stories imaginable.

Reading period: From February 1, 2010–July 1, 2010 (or until filled).
Word length: 15,000–30,000 words.
Multiple submissions: Up to two stories per author can be submitted. Please send as separate emails.
Payment: 1/2 cent per word, $150 max, plus contributor copy. Payment will be made upon publication.
Reprints: No reprints.
Response Time: 4–6 weeks. Rejections will be sent as soon as possible. Stories that make the first cut will be kept until the end of the reading period. Authors will be notified right away if their story makes the first cut, then the final stories will be selected at the end of the reading period.

We will send a confirmation that we received your story within 2 days. If you do not get this confirmation, please feel free to inquire or resubmit.

Attach the entire manuscript to email as an .rtf attachment.

In the body of the email please include: your name, pen name if any, address and email address, and brief bio. Include a brief blurb summing up the story and word count. Attache the story in a standard formatted .rtf document double spaced, standard font and size. First line of paragraphs indented, no extra spaces between paragraphs, except for scene breaks. Italics should be italized, bold in bold. Put "ZOMBIE SUBMISSION: TITLE OF YOUR STORY" in the subject of the email. Email to:


1 July 2010 -- Paranormal Month: Halloween Novelettes and Novellas -- Torquere Press

Novelettes (Single Shots) 10-20K words, Novellas (Highballs) 20-40K words, on a Halloween theme. Send your submissions to with "Halloween" and the name of the line in the subject line.


4 July 2010 -- Times of Trouble -- Ed. Lane Adamson, Permuted Press

Time travel. It's the ultimate impossible dream: the ability to step through a doorway into tomorrow or yesterday, seeing all the unknown wonders of the future—or correcting the awful mistakes of the past. It can't happen, of course. Oh, but what if?... And what if something went terribly, irreparably wrong? Times of Trouble, a new anthology of original speculative fiction from Permuted Press, is looking for grim, gritty stories about the unhappy unintended consequences of mucking about with the delicate fabric of reality. That doesn't mean there's no room for any note of hope, or the occasional happy ending—in fact, accomplishing such a feat effectively just might greatly enhance the author's chance of inclusion in this anthology—but the emphasis here is decidedly on the dark downside of time travel.

Times of Trouble most emphatically does not want to see any stories of clich├ęd wish fulfillment—don't bother submitting any stories in which Hitler is fortuitously killed prior to World War II—or those using time travel as a convenient plot device to place the protagonist "elsewhen" simply for the sake of a rousing adventure. (The Editor has nothing whatsoever against a good romp with Tyrannosaurs, but the place for such is not here.) Time travel must be integral to development of the story. Unless crucial to the plot, it is not necessary to expound at length on the actual mechanism of time travel. The "how" should be far less important than "what happens next?"

Examples of the sort of stories that will succeed in this anthology are "—All You Zombies—" by Robert A. Heinlein, "A Sound of Thunder," by Ray Bradbury (oh, look—you can use dinosaurs, if you do it right), and the classic Star Trek™ episode, "The City on the Edge of Forever."

Submissions open April 04, 2010 and close July 04, 2010, for stories of 3000 to 7500 words, and should be emailed to timetraveler at permutedpress dot com, attached as a .doc (preferred) or .rtf file in Standard Manuscript Format (as described—with many worthwhile pointers—at either or, both of which are fine examples for the writer). Submissions that fail to at least make an attempt to follow formatting guidelines will be rejected unread (but may be resubmitted in proper format).

Multiple submissions are not permitted, but authors whose attempts are rejected are not prohibited from making another effort. Simultaneous submissions are strongly frowned upon.

Payment will be US $.01/word for first worldwide print and eBook rights, payable on finalization by the Editor of the completed Table of Contents and issuance of a contract by the Publisher.


15 July 2010 -- Healing Hearts: Charity Sip Blitz -- Torquere Press

Doctors Without Borders is our chosen beneficiary for Healing Hearts, the Charity Sip Blitz 2010, and now we need writers to bring life to the project. We're looking for m/m stories with a medical, healing twist--and an international flavor is encouraged! All heat levels are welcome, and happy endings are strongly preferred.

Manuscripts should be original works of 3,000 to 8,000 words; no reprints, please. Authors will sign a one-year agreement to donate all royalties to Doctors Without Borders, with the understanding that Torquere Press will match all donations 100%. Deadline for submission is July 15, 2010. Please submit your story, along with a synopsis, your contact information, and author biography, to with Charity Sip in the subject line.


1 August 2010 -- Paranormal Month: Halloween Shorts -- Torquere Press

Short Stories (Sips) 3-8K words, on a Halloween theme. Send your submissions to with "Halloween" and the name of the line in the subject line.


UNTIL FILLED -- MM and Menage Steampunk Antho -- Ed. Leigh Ellwood, Phaze

Call: M/M and Menage Steampunk Anthology, Title TBA
Edited by: Leigh Ellwood
Projected release date: late 2010
Format: eBook (with possible print release)
Publisher: Phaze Books
Payment: $50 for one-time electronic and print rights, plus copies

Hey, all you steampunk enthusiasts, grab your goggles and get to writing! Phaze Books is planning an M/M (and bi-M menage) steampunk collection for eBook publication in 2010. If you have a yen for 19th century history with a touch of good humor and technological innovation (and a whole lot of manlove!), we hope you’ll send us your hottest steampunk erotic romance of 10K - 20K words. If you’re not sure about the genre, check out this Wikipedia entry for steampunk ( to get an idea of the style of stories we’re looking for. Think H.G. Wells or Wild Wild West, then turn up the steam factor with an incredible M/M or MMF/MMM match-up!

This call is open indefinitely until the spots are filled. Contributors will offer one-time electronic and print rights to their works and receive a one-time payment of $50 and contributors copies (eBook and/or print, if the book goes to print).

To submit to this anthology, please follow the Phaze Books structural guidelines at and attach your RTF submission to Leigh Ellwood, c/o Phaze Books at submissions @ phaze (dot) com. Please use STEAMPUNK ANTHOLOGY is your subject header.


UNTIL FILLED -- Panverse Three -- Ed. Dario Ciriello, Panverse Publishing

The anthology will be open to submissions until we have enough good stories.

Looking for pro-level novellas of between 17,500 and 40,000 words. Stories should be Science Fiction (except Military) or Fantasy (except Heroic/High/Superhero/S&S). We'll also look at Magic Realism, Alternate History, and Slipstream (whatever that is). The story should be original and unpublished in any medium (this includes web publication).

Depth of characterization will count for a lot – however clever the idea, if we don't care for the protagonist, we'll bounce it. We like stories that instill wonder. Subject matter is pretty wide open. If we care, can't put the story down, and find no big holes in the plot or worldbuilding, you've got a good shot.

What we don't want:

Military SF, High Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Horror, RPG, superhero, or shared-universe stuff, etc. Vampires and Cthulhu-mythos stories are strongly discouraged unless you've done something absolutely original with either theme. No gratuitous or wildly excessive sex or violence: what this means is that sex or violence which serves the plot is okay, within limits; the same goes for language. Think R-rated rather than XXX-rated.

[NOTE: there are some unusual bits in their formatting and cover letter requirements. Nothing ridiculous, but definitely click the link and read the full guidelines before submitting.]


UNTIL FILLED -- Horror Library, Vol. 5 -- Cutting Block Press

Cutting Block Press is pleased to announce an open submissions period for the 4th Volume of its Horror Anthology Series, +Horror Library+, to be published in trade paperback during 2009.

We're looking for the highest quality examples of all forms of Dark Fiction, running the gamut from traditional horror, supernatural, speculative, psychological thriller, dark satire, including every point between and especially beyond. No Fantasy or Sci-fi unless the horror elements are dominant. Read +Horror Library+ Volumes 1-3 to see what's already pleased us. Special consideration will be given those pieces that we find profoundly disturbing, though blood and violence on their own won't cut it. While we will consider tales of vampires, ghosts and zombies, we tend to roll our eyes at ordinary ones. They're just too plentiful. Your best bet is to surprise us with something that is different, while well conceived and tightly executed.

Guidelines: Stories will range between 1,000 and 6,000 words, though we'll look at longer works of exceptional merit. In that case, query before submission. Buying 1st worldwide anthology rights. No reprints. Paying 1.5 cents per word, plus one contributors copy. For established authors, rates may be negotiable. Response time: six months or sooner. Deadline: We will accept submissions until filled. All Queries to

Manuscript format: 12 point courier font, standard margins, left side of header: name, contact info, right side of header: word count, top of first page: title, author

Variances from traditional manuscript format: single space, NO INDENTS, ONE EXTRA space between paragraphs, use bold, italics and underline as they are to appear in story

Subject box: Short Story submission - title of story

Attach story in MS Word Document or RTF (only). Please paste your cover letter in the body of the e-mail. Send submissions to

[See the web page for a special offer on copies of Horror Library Vol. 1 for writers doing market research.]

Cover Art -- A Hidden Magic

I got my cover art for A Hidden Magic and am very pleased with it. :D

A Hidden Magic -- Cover

Fey incursions into the mortal world have been on the rise lately, and Paul MacAllister's trying to figure out what the king of the local elven enclave Under the Hill is up to and how to stop it. Rory Ellison was caught up in one of those attacks and nearly killed by a gang of goblins. He doesn't believe they were real, though, and is resisting anything Paul might say to the contrary.

Normally Paul would be willing to let Rory go his own way, at least until he's taken care of more immediate business. But Rory has a particularly rare gift, one the elven king needs to have under his control in order to carry out his plan. Keeping Rory away from the fey who'll use him -- to death if necessary -- means protecting him night and day, whether Rory agrees or not.


Working with my artist, Skylar Sinclair, was interesting, and less stressful than I'd been anticipating. [wry smile] Skylar was eager to get my input, and to try different things to make sure I was pleased with the final result, which I am. I was half afraid I'd end up with a two-nekkid-dudes cover by marketing fiat or something. Not that I can't appreciate a nice looking nekkid dude :) but this isn't that kind of book; having people see a nekkid-dude cover and buy the book expecting a lot of sex, then be disappointed and say disappointed-type things on their blogs would've been Very Bad.

Skylar suggested another stock photo site, iStockphoto, which I have to say is better organized than that other one I mentioned a while back. Or at least, the photographers who hang out there are better able to sort their pics into the proper categories, or maybe they just have staff to weed out the blatant errors. Whichever it is, it's not perfect, but the glitches were minor rather than being a significant percentage of the whole, which was much appreciated on my part when I was combing through pages and pages and pages of thumbnails.

I actually found three models who could've worked for Paul, my main protagonist. None were perfect -- a bit too young, a bit too pretty -- but they all came closer than I'd honestly expected. Stock photo models tend to be either fitness/underwear type models, very young and very pretty and very ripped, with lots of skin showing, or they tend to go in the other direction and be photographically interesting but not necessarily the sort of face one would write a romantic fantasy about. Paul's sort of between the two, but most of his attractiveness is charismatic rather than classic handsomeness, much less prettiness; I wasn't really counting on finding anything even vaguely appropriate.

When I did, Skylar picked one of the three which she thought went best with the art and superimposed the face over the lighter foliage section of the picture, sort of a misty blending thing. I'm sure there's some technical term for it of which I'm ignorant, but hopefully that's descriptive enough? [squint]

Anyway, I stared at the two of them for a while. I really liked the photo Skylar chose, and I'd wanted a character on the cover, assuming I could find one that worked, and I had. But at the same time.... Huh. I liked the one with the face, but there was something about the one without -- in the one with the face, the focus was the face. The rest of the image was relegated to background, and didn't draw the eye or have anywhere near as much impact. In the one without the face, the focus is on the landscape, on the setting, which I think draws one in and creates an atmosphere of fantasy without actually having pixies flying around in it. Skylar said she liked that one best as well, as did the head of the art department, but that it was my choice.

I thought about it overnight, and decided to go with the one without the face. It's good to have a specific picture of Paul in my head now -- I'm really not good at coming up with specific facial images out of whole cloth, and my characters are more collections of characteristics in my head than actual faces -- but I decided that as a cover, the picture with the landscape alone worked better.

As it is, the cover suggests a fantasy world, something beautiful and mysterious Out There, something that beckons an explorer. It's completely different from anything I'd envisioned while trying to figure out what kind of cover I wanted, but looking at it, I think it works wonderfully. Of course, that's why Skylar's the artist and I'm not. :)


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Held for Consideration

I just got an e-mail from Elisabeth Waters, who's editing Sword and Sorceress these days. She's holding my story for further consideration. :D Seriously, S&S usually bounces a story within a day or three if they don't want it. I'm delighted that she's interested enough to want to sit on it for a bit. This isn't any kind of guarantee, but just the fact that she wants to hang on to it to see whether anything better comes along between now and the fourteenth is awesome!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

April Stuff

Lousy month for new writing, but an excellent month for dinking around with not-quite-there stories and getting them out the door. I always have a pile of WIPs on my hard drive; sometimes I go weeks or months without finishing anything, and sometimes I get a bunch polished up all at once. It's sort of like biorhythms that way. :) Last month I got four submissions out, which is more than I've done in one month in an amazingly long time, so that's cool.

I also got my marketing/admin doc for A Hidden Magic done and submitted, including several versions of a synopsis, at various lengths for various purposes. I'm counting that as a "synopsis" point, but I'm not counting the various bouts of sandpapering I did on the stories as "editing" because I don't know how to handle the wordcount on that. Does editing a 5500 word story equal 5500 words of editing, or does deleting 100 words equal 100 words of editing, or does dinking with a 258-word paragraph to turn it eventually into a 261-word paragraph equal three words of editing, or what...? No clue what McKoala's final verdict will be (and the Koala is absent until next week so I won't find out for a while) but I'm ignoring the whole editing thing and tentatively awarding myself five points.

Koala Challenge 5

I've also submitted to a couple of markets recently (Clarkesworld and Strange Horizons) where they have a form on their web site you fill out with your name, story title, cover letter info, etc., and then you upload the story right to their site, rather than e-mailing it. It feels a bit odd, but it works, so what the heck. I remember scoffing at this sort of thing a while back regarding a novel publisher's site -- brand new baby publisher, wanted you to copy/paste your whole novel into a box on their web site, and then click a button saying that by submitting you were assigning all rights to everything forever to the publisher [eyeroll] which made them sound rather... let's say "inexperienced" to be kind. I'd never heard of the "upload here" thing before with a legitimate market (and still hadn't at that point IMO) so it seemed part and parcel with the ignorance (at best) of the ridiculous rights statement. I can see this working well for shorter pieces, though (and even longer ones, to be honest, although it still feels a bit weird) and neither Clarkesworld nor Strange Horizons is going for a rights-grab, so that's fine.

On a more personal level, I tried backing off on the ibuprofen, cutting it down from 800mg twice a day to 400 twice a day. (I was originally prescribed 800 three times a day, but after a few weeks I eliminated the middle dose without much trouble.) The stuff works fairly well, but it dissolves your liver in tiny bits, and I've been taking it at this level for a couple of years now. :/ I was hoping I could get along with less, maybe taking a couple extra pills when I went to the gym or something. Unfortunately 400x2 leaves me too immobile to even consider going to the gym. I tried it for a couple of weeks to see whether it was something I could get used to, but it's not. So I'm back up to the 800x2, and the screaming in my joints is starting to quiet down a little at a time. I do need to find a doctor up here, though, and get a prescription for something else. There's got to be something I can take for the pain and stiffness that won't do a number on my liver, or anything else similar; it won't do me much good to maintain my already limited mobility if it means I need a liver transplant in five or ten years. :P

Next submission will hopefully be something for Sword and Sorceress. [crossed fingers] And if anyone else is considering that market, I found that the link I posted in the last antho call is now broken; the new page is here: Sword and Sorceress 25 guidelines.