Sixty-five swings (or never give up on a story)

Warrior Wisewoman 3 coverI have a "new" story, entitled "A Bird in the Hand," in the upcoming anthology, Warrior Wisewoman 3, due out this month. See right for the beautiful cover. I include quotes around "new" because I wrote this story fourteen years ago, the second story that I ever wrote (so if you do track this one down, please be gentle). I'd actually sold this story a couple of times in the past, but those markets both folded before the story was published. For any short fiction writers out there, there is a lesson here. Despite the mounting pile of rejections and the frustrations of two close calls, I kept the story in the mail (or email), and was finally rewarded with a sale to a respected anthology series. How many times did I keep it in the mail?

Sixty-five. That's right. Sixty-five swings and a miss (not counting the two phantom sales) before it found a real home and saw the light of published day. This is my record for rejections before a sale, breaking my previous high (set last year on a story written the same year as this one) by ten. If any of you have read my story "Spirit Dance," this is another tale about the Heroka, my race of shape shifters, and the Tainchel, the shadowy covert government op that hunts them. An early review states "a very interesting turn-around story, in which our expectations are upended at the last minute. ...a good read, and sadly, far too relevant to our own present world."