I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming publication of my story “Liminal Hill,” in the new Outliers of Speculative Fiction anthology, edited by L.A. Little. Look for the anthology in paperback and eBook at the end of November 2015. I’m delighted to be part of this group of diverse and fantastic writers. I feel a companionable bond with these fellow Outliers who are finding their way through the many paths and countless communities of this amazingly rich world of imaginative literature. Though we may orbit around the periphery of the speculative fiction world, we are no less passionate about our works and no less eager to have you read them.
This anthology started as a reaction to the current state of editorial relationships and submissions processes in the world of speculative fiction. After reading L.A.’s philosophy on why he was seeking to change the way writers and editors work together, I knew this was a perfect chance for me to jump back into the field and start submitting stories again for the first time in years. I was terribly nervous – my first submission of a story that I wrote several years ago to a new market in a field that has recently been facing serious challenges. My sporadic experiences with submitting have been typical of what most authors face: I would submit a story several times (sometimes more than a dozen), and each time the story would be held for weeks or months and then politely declined with a form letter. I understand the need for this type of process, as editors and slush readers are often overwhelmed with the epic tasks of reading and winnowing out the right stories that fit for them. But as a young writer, working hard to improve and edit my stories, I always felt a little lost with each rejection. There are a million reasons why an editor might say no, of course. But the rejections that mean the most to me are the ones that take the time to go above and beyond the form. The ones that communicate editorial feedback with the goal of helping to improve each story to its best potential.
I was fully prepared for another typical rejection, so it was an utter shock to get a long and very thoughtful email from L.A. with enthusiasm for the story and a request for a rewrite. After I got over the initial period of jumping about and cheering until I was hoarse, I carved time out for myself from robotics camps, preschool drop off and house renovations, to sit down and really dive into the story and rip it to pieces. The emails I received from L.A. were professional, courteous, and filled with thoughtful detail. In fact, I felt confident enough in his investment in the story to disagree with several of his suggestions. As a new writer, working with a new editor, it’s terrifying to say no to an edit! But this experience helped me to learn how to defend and support my choices and how to see edits as a critical creative motivator. The story that’s come out of L.A.’s suggestions and my many hours of rewriting is a dramatically better story than the one I submitted. I can only imagine how much time this type of intensive creative back and forth must have taken, on top of providing editorial feedback to every single submission he received. Kudos to L.A. for making a commitment to change the process, and for putting so much effort and investment in trying to improve the system.
I hope you enjoy this story. I can’t wait for you to meet Liminal Hill.