She asked me to provide the following:
1) a revised synopsis to be used in her pitch letter
2) a 1-2 paragraph biography, mentioning my short story credits
3) a list of books similar to Willow Knot, also for the pitch letter
4) list of my next projects, for possible multi-book deal
Rewriting my synopsis was the hardest part, unexpectedly. A lot had changed, not only the order of events in the story, but the addition of scenes and characters, fleshing out the love story (heh, heh) and giving Alard more space, Asafia's storyline being brought forward, and so on. After a week I decided to take what I had down and send it off with a note that I was willing to rework it further.
The bio was easy, after writing similar ones for submissions and author notes.
The list of books like mine. That had me clutching my head and groaning, in full flush of that great Canadian sentiment, who do you think you are? where the Central Committee for Due Modesty would knock at my door politely before coming in and smacking me around for getting above myself. I cast myself on the mercy of my beta readers, both the Furtive Scribblers and my VP-mates, and finally came up with a list. Which is, as was pointed out to me, not me saying I write as well as any of those on the list, but that I wrote like them. (relieved sigh, Central Committee drives past my house but doesn't stop)
The next books. It happened that I had been enlivening a moderately dull meeting by making notes to myself and arranging my next stories in the order I thought might make sense. This presupposed, perhaps, more writing time than I could really expect, but who knows?
The Willow Knot - sorta historic fantasy, retelling of 'Brother and Sister' (Grimm 11)
The Cost of Silver - dark historic fantasy, alt-ECW period with vampires and witchhunters
Skinned - sorta historic fantasy in WK's world, mashup of 'Bearskin' with 'Snow White & Rose Red'
The Fate of the Dead - historic fantasy, alt-Georgian, ghosts invading England
Interspersed with three YAs using the Aerial Mail Express world, each with a different protagonist and different peril: sky-pirates, the gold rush, the fur trade. Pretty sketchy yet, but would make a good break.
Next bit of good news is that "Bluebeard Contented" has been accepted - by the first market I sent it to, Cabinet des Fees, which seemed the perfect place for an odd little Perrault-ish retelling. Much woohoo! that they agreed.
We would like to accept "Bluebeard Contented*" for publication in our January 2011 issue. It is too good to pass up, but it doesn't really fit in with our forthcoming September issue. If this is acceptable, please let me know and I will issue your contract.
Acceptable? Oh yeah!
Two rejections, to keep things balanced.
Thank you for submitting "Climbing Boys" to ABYSS & APEX. It was well received here, but after some thought we have decided not to accept it for publication.
I hope you'll consider us again, and I wish you the best success in placing this story elsewhere.
and another for "Gods-Meat" from Beneath Ceaseless Skies, with Scott continuing to give excellent feedback, which is a great plus for submitting there.
Thanks very much for sending this to me. I'm sorry that it's not quite right for me. I liked the stormy vibe in the opening, but I couldn't get a feel on what general sort of world it was, Weird West or something more traditional fantasy. More importantly, I also couldn't get a feel there for the narrator's character. His early internal monologue gave a great voice to the bleakness of this place and normal existence there, but I didn't feel as much of himself coming through in that as I was hoping, his own attitude or hopes or fears or drive, what was pushing him as a person forward and what might be pushing the story forward too. I appreciate your interest in the magazine. I enjoyed reading your work again, so I hope you will feel free to send more.