Made a new fiction sale, and received the go-ahead from the publisher to share the details!
My novella “Imperial Ghosts” has been sold to Deep Magic, the E-zine of Clean Science Fiction and Fantasy. Since 2002, this publication has been providing a home for speculative fiction which explores big ideas or conveys a sense of wonder without including heavy gore or explicit sex.
Needless to say I am incredibly thrilled to be working with editor/founder Brendan Taylor and the crew at Deep Magic. Venues that offer professional rates and remain open to longer works are rare in this field. The turn-around time is also nice fast–my story is slated for the December issue, which makes me very happy.
I’m more than usually pleased that this story has finally found a home, however, as I have been sending it out off-and-on for years now. I would tend to dust it off every 18 months or so, give it another revision and polish, and then try sending it to any venue or editor who hadn’t seen it. Nevertheless, this one always seemed to be my “almost-sold” story, the one that the editors would hold onto for a long time, seriously tempted to buy it, but then finally reject with a personal note that said they liked it, but it “didn’t quite work well enough”.
I’ve revised it in a few ways over the years, but it was editor C.c. Finlay at the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction who finally gave me the key to “fixing” the story, by pin-pointing the one scene that really was fatally flawed. I took a step back, looked at it with a fresh perspective, and agreed with him that it actually WASN’T right–that one scene was completely counter to the protagonist’s true personality and her sense of agency throughout the rest of the piece.
So I re-wrote it, in a very simple way. And boom. The story sold to the next editor who saw it.
I always try to listen to constructive criticism, but this is a really fantastic example of the most constructive criticism a writer can receive. A lot of people can tell you that something is not quite working about a piece of fiction–but a person who can point out the exact place where you might have lost your way is worth his weight in gold.
Many thanks, Mister Finlay! I owe you one.