Debrief: MATTERS OF SCALE

MATTERS OF SCALE is available for purchase here

Moshel has hidden himself away for years, trying to keep the emotions of others from driving him mad. It’s in mechanics alone that he can find relief, the reliable tick of clockwork his escape. It’s only when he meets his counterpart, Tovah, that he realizes all may not be as it seems in his world, and there may be a way to change it. It’s all a matter of scale.

Publication date: April 13, 2015

Completion date: January 18, 2014

Number of times subbed:
Four–but only out of miscommunication (bear with me). Matters of Scale was, like most of my shorter fiction, written in response to a call, this time a steampunk call put out by Inkstained Succubus press. I immediately had an idea for it, banged out a story, and subbed it. The editors at Inkstained got back to me quickly: good idea, but the story felt cramped. They gave me a Revise & Resubmit with guidance to expand the story. so, I expanded it, subbed it again, and waited.

I confess, between working a day job, parenting, and sleeping I don’t often follow up as thoroughly or in as timely a manner as I should have. February spilled into March, which meandered into…holy shit, it was September and still no word. I assumed the anthology was dead. I subbed the (now novellette) elsewhere. One market rejected me with a letter expressing interest in future stories. Another gave me a form rejection soon after. I decided to table the story, not sure what to do with it. At 10k words, it was a decidedly odd and somewhat unmarketable length.

And then, out of the ether, voila! A note came from Inkstained saying that their editor was happy with it but had some line edits. I said I was happy to make them. Just like that, things were back on track.

BUT LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES! Always actually get that a dead end is a dead end in writing before you move on, because it might actually be that those editors are working hard (for months!) in the background, and you just don’t know it.

The story of the story:
Again, this story more or less wrote itself. When I hear steampunk, I think clockworks, and when I think clockworks, I think about the Semadran elves in Aerdh, my secondary fantasy universe. And no Semadran elf is more Seamdran than Moshel Atoosa’Avvah.

It was a particularly natural fit to got with a Moshel-centered story for an Inkstained call because Moshel was first introduced as an important secondary character in my debut novel, Resistance, which the fine folk at Inkstained published. This story works as an odd sort of prequel to some of the events of Resistance–but with clockpunk background.

Placing the story:
Ultimately, the story landed exactly where it should have. I never mind it when a story I write for a specific call winds up elsewhere, but I always feel an extra edge of accomplishment when they do. I wrote Matters of Scale for Inkstained, and Inkstained published it. Simple as that.


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Guest Post over at Inkblots from the Inkstained Succubus!

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Hi friends!

The fine folks at Inkstained Succubus, who published both my novel Resistance and my novelette Matters of Scale, have published an essay of mine crowing about why Diversity in Secondary World Fantasy is important and some of the ways in which I’ve sought to make that happen in my own works. Stop by and check it out if you’re interested!

-B

New Pub: “Matters Of Scale” released by Inkstained Succubus Press!

Matters of Scale cover

I’m thrilled to announce that my novelette, “Matters Of Scale”, has been published as a stand-alone work by Inkstained Succubus Press! The issue is available for purchase here, and I encourage y’all to check it out! Here’s a synopsis of the story to whet your appetite:

Moshel has hidden himself away for years, trying to keep the emotions of others from driving him mad. It’s in mechanics alone that he can find relief, the reliable tick of clockwork his escape. It’s only when he meets his counterpart, Tovah, that he realizes all may not be as it seems in his world, and there may be a way to change it. It’s all a matter of scale.

First, many thanks to the lovely folks over at Inkstained Succubus. I was thrilled to work with them again! I wrote this story as a response to a call Inkstained put out for steampunk short stories about a year ago, and when I hear steampunk, I think clockworks, and when I think clockworks, I think about the Semadran elves in Aerdh, my secondary fantasy universe. And no Semadran elf is more Seamdran than Moshel Atoosa’Avvah.

Moshel was formally introduced in my debut novel, Resistance but I have been writing him as long as I have been writing fiction. Moshel is the very first character I fleshed out on my own, and his is the very first novel that I wrote by myself. It was terrible–maudlin and overwrought, and it will never see the light of day. But I cut my teeth on him. Over and over. And he’s evolved as I have evolved.

In his formal introduction in Resistance, readers meet Moshel as a middle-aged man, someone who knows himself well, who has figured out who he is and what he wants. He still has room to grow, to surprise himself, but he is a man in control of himself. In “Matters Of Scale”, Moshel is not there yet. He is young yet, just barely out of adolescence, and still grappling with the weight of his own mind. In Resistance, Moshel is an almost paternal figure for Shandolin–gracious and supportive and competent. But he wasn’t always like that. He chides her for being brash, but I’ve written him so long…I know Moshel. I know he had a brashness, once, too. And I saw a call for steampunk, and thought about clocksprings, and then I thought about Moshel, but young and out of control and struggling.

I’m glad this episode in Moshel’s history has come to light. I wonder what other bits and pieces of him have yet to surface.

RESISTANCE Cameos

Resistance CoverYou can purchase Resistance here directly from Inkstained Succubus (support small presses!) or here from Amazon.

Resistance is set in the secondary fantasy world of Aerdh, which to date is where most of my writing is set. I consider myself a digressive writer; by that I mean that my ideas for new stories are inspired by the one’s I’ve already written or am currently writing. The stories I write become nest, tangled and interrelated. One way this happens is by cameos.

Sometimes when I’m writing a minor character springs to life. Sometimes, they demand their own stories. This is, actually, how Resistance was born: Inkstained Succubus put out a call for self-rescuing princesses, and I knew a pair of tertiary characters who’d appeared in a few unpublished works of mine were due for their moment in the spotlight. I wrote a short story—“Proof”—about them. The anthology I wrote “Proof” for didn’t pan out, but Inkstained Succubus did me the great honor of requesting that I give Shandolin and Rivna and even brighter spotlight: their very own novel.

Maybe you’ve read Resistance and maybe you’d like to see more of some of these characters. Due to my digressive writing style there’s only a handful of people in the book who only appear there.

A Tale of Rebellion, a series of novels I’m currently mired in the middle of, features some pretty prominent cameos from our friends in Resistance. These books are just a couple of years after Resistance, and there is a meaty section in the first book, Extraction, which takes place in the City of Mages. There, we meet again Shandolin, Rivna, Moshel and even Velo and Po. Kel plays a prominent role in Extraction, appears again in its sequel (The Incoming Tide) and is shaping up to be a major character in the third book in the series (The King and His Makers).

Some characters even have their own short stories all to themselves. Moshel Atoosa’Avvah is the lead in “Matters of Scale”, a short story of mine currently in submission and open to beta readers. Rivna’s father, Pahvo, gives readers a glimpse of what life is like from his perspective in “Blue Flowers,” a short story included in Crossed Genres’ Fierce Family anthology.

Even the City itself appears again. For insight into what the City of Mages looks like quite a few years after the events of Resistance, you could check out “The Other Side of Town,” currently available to read for free over at Redhead Ezine.

Happy reading!

RESISTANCE Excerpt #1: A Discovery

Resistance CoverThis is an excerpt from my novel, Resistance, out now from Inkstained Succubus Press! You can purchase Resistance here directly from Inkstained Succubus (support small presses!).

The second she turned the corner, Shandolin saw the silhouette of a man with a missing leg hanging from the eaves of the bar. She broke into a run. A string of denials rang through her mind: no, no, no, no. As she got closer to Madan’s body, the denials grew desperate, grew louder, until they fell out of her mouth. “No, no, no!” But Shandolin’s shouts were no use; it was he, and he was dead.

Madan hung by the neck from the metal beam of the Cardinal’s Nest’s sign. His feet were a tantalizing, horrible two inches above the ground. There was no breeze that morning in the City of Mages, but his body revolved in slow, tight circles anyway.

Shandolin stepped into a pool of congealed blood and tugged at her friend’s body. “No, fuck, no.” Her eyes blurred with tears, and it wasn’t until she felt the bloody stump of his left arm that she realized the damage his killers had done to his body. She leaped back; her earlier shouts ricocheted off the walls of the neighboring buildings.

Shandolin, Doe to her friends, took a second to compose herself. She drew in a deep breath and dropped her eyes to her now-bloody footprints. She choked back a sob and forced herself to look back again at the body of Madan. His face was frozen forevermore in pain. Both of his long-fingered elvish hands and both of his pointed elvish ears were missing. She saw scrawled across the door of Madan’s bar a message painted in tall, black Qin letters: Flout not the Emperor’s grace!

Shandolin—a refugee elf born in the Tahrqin-ruled City of Mages—had survived as long as she had because she possessed an inordinate amount of common sense. The City was diverse, yes, but the humans, the elves and the satyrs all lived under the thumb of the Imperial Qin. She whispered an apology to her friend’s body, and then she ran.

RESISTANCE has a home!

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Hey folks! I’m happy to announce that Resistance will be published by Inkstained Succubus press! I am honored to be part of their community of authors and super excited to be working with them on my debut novel! We are currently in the editing process, and Resistance is projected to be released in February 2014.