I said much earlier in the year that 2009 might prove to be a good year for anthologies, and - though the acceptance I mysteriously alluded to back then disappeared into the ether - it's looking like the prediction was on the money. Editor Robert J Santa has picked up my very long short story No Rest For The Wicked for Ricasso's Press's upcoming heroic fantasy anthology Through Blood and Iron, making four antho sales this year, along with the two from last year yet to come out. That's a good three or four inches of shelf space!
No Rest For The Wicked had as troubled a birth as anything I've written, and has the dubious honour of being my first "fixer upper". It all started with a short story called Gambit, which was almost-but-not-quite me trying to write straight heroic fantasy. It was a decent little tale, but it didn't really wrap up, and - partly for that reason, partly because I'd had fun writing it and partly because I thought its heroes deserved a longer run - I decided to write a sequel. That became How to Get Ahead in Sorcery, and ended up being about three times longer than the story it span off from.
Gambit clocked up a few rejections, which I'd like to think were because of its sense of incompleteness rather than because it completely sucked. I realised, after a while, that I'd left myself with two stories that were pretty much unsaleable on their own, since How to Get Ahead... relied heavily on information in its predecessor. I decided that, rather than resign them both to the "dead" folder, I'd have a go at turning them into what they should have been in the first place, a single story - and so No Rest For The Wicked was spawned. At the time it seemed like an exercise in futility, since stories of almost 10'000 words are a phenomenally hard sell. Thankfully Mr Santa proved me wrong - and paid me the magnificent compliment of a Fritz Leiber comparison in the process.
I mention this in the vague hope that someone may find it interesting, but also because when Through Blood and Iron appears it will probably explain a lot, not least the odd section title headings. No Rest also links into a number of my other published fantasy stories, a fact that I'll probably explore a bit more once it's out for people to read. Which, fingers crossed, shouldn't be too far in the future...