For the first time ever, I will have a short story included in an anthology! In fact, I will have *two* stories in anthologies in the coming months, in addition, of course, to the publication and book tour for Wings Unseen, my first novel. “Treasure,” a fantasy fable appearing in Dark Luminous Wings from Pole to Pole Publishing, shares quite a lot in common with Wings Unseen, actually. Here’s the early anthology cover art that co-editor Vonnie Winslow Crist revealed in May:
“Treasure” is one of my oldest short stories — I began Draft #1 in 2007, and my filename at that time was “black and white.” That name reflects what I wanted to accomplish in writing this story — I wanted to play with the idea of a female thief being thrust into a culture very different from the more violent, selfish one in which she’d been raised, so different that she has a difficult time believing such a culture is real. Can someone raised to distrust everyone around her accept grace and love when freely given it? Is it truly given freely? You’ll have to read “Treasure” to find out what Enkid, the story’s protoganist, makes of these questions…under threat of a flying sea monster called the Laklor and the lure of a rock pillar that manifests jewels and….
And, I think that’s enough info on “Treasure” for now. 😉 If you’ve read an early ARC of Wings Unseen already, then you know those same questions are ones that factor heavily into Vesperi’s point of view in the book, though I might argue that figuring out how to deal with a culture so foreign to one’s own is also a hurdle for Janto and Serra, the two other main POV characters. Challenging our perspectives of how the world works can be one of the hardest quests there is. Obviously, the concept was strongly on my mind then; I began writing Wings Unseen in earnest around the same time I drafted “Treasure.” Both tales also heavily feature creatures with menacing wings. So does my horror short “Thlush-A-Lum” now that I think of it…
Before Pole to Pole’s acceptance of “Treasure,” I submitted it out a total of 18 times, resulting in 1 author withdrawal, 7 form rejections, and 9 personal rejections, including 2 from pro-level speculative fiction markets that got THISCLOSE to publishing the story — and I mean that! The editors of both mags told me they held onto it for so long because they’d been hoping to find a place for it but ultimately could not. I also significantly rewrote the story at least twice in the six years since I first sent it out. After all that, I think Dark Luminous Wings is truly where this story was destined to go as I can’t imagine a more perfect fit for it than what their call for submissions detailed:
The volume draws inspiration from Richard Henry Stoddard’s poem, Mors et Vita, particularly stanza two:
Under the awful wings
Which brood over land and sea,
And whose shadows nor lift nor flee—
This is the order of things,
And hath been from of old:
And last destruction;
So the pendulum swings,
While cradles are rocked and bells are tolled.
Send us your stories about angels and demons, dragons and fairies, airplanes and ornathopters—and more. Let your imaginations soar, but let your stories be found in the darkest of places.
Late October is Dark Luminous Wings’ planned publication date, and I’ll let you know where to order once I have that information. Until then, may your dreams be free of dark wings, but your mind prepared to tangle with them.