Reven Archer Black: Author of Fantasy & Speculative Fiction

Home » Anthologies » What I’ve Been Working On: July-August 2014 Edition

What I’ve Been Working On: July-August 2014 Edition

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So I’ve been out of the blog-sphere for a few weeks, a bit of a habit for me with just about everything I do. In this case, it’s a matter of balancing social media use and interaction with the time it takes to plot, scheme, and write. Sometimes keeping up with social media is easy and a great way to unwind. Other times, it’s the first thing to go when I need to really focus.

This would be one of those times.

I’ve been rolling from one project to the next and staring down the deadlines for submission calls. Now that I’ve broken through the glass door of the Debut Publication’s Office for the New Author, I really want to make something of it. And I’ve been trying to get the Twitter thing going, too. Late, as usual, but at least I’ve made it to the party, right?

In any event, I know I’m behind on things, including my Inspiring the Author Within Blog Series. Which I’ll get done. One post at a time. It’s another one of those projects!

So what have I been doing?

Writing. More writing. Fussing with technology. Editing. More editing. Submitting and biting my nails. Just a normal time in the literary neighbourhood, except for the leisure vacation somewhere in between.

Here’s a bit of a glimpse.



Another short story for another anthology. This time, for the submission call from Belladonna Publishing. They wanted stories about Strange Little Girls (which, of course, makes me sing the song, “Strange Little Girl”, by the brilliant and awesome Tori Amos).

So “strange”, huh? I gave this one some thought. The character needed a quirk. Something special. Then it hit me: Synesthesia. It’s a condition some people have where their senses are mixed up. For instance, some might see colours when they read certain words or letters or numbers. Or they might hear something, triggered by something else that’s visual or by touch. I find it awe-inspiring though I can imagine how frustrating it is for the folks who experience it.

Originally the idea I had was a futuristic story paired with law enforcement and some genetics. Then I was reading an article about how common all of that is, especially with female characters. So I scrapped it. Went back to the drawing board.

Hark! I came up with what stuck.

It turned into an urban fantasy. Synesthesia remained but the rest of the story became more twisted. And thus, Dale Greere was born, and her two sisters. And Chad Rohmer. One of Dale’s quirks is that she suffers from a strange version of Synesthesia: she tastes auras. In this case, Chad tastes like a scrumptious sundae.

And then it all hits the fan.

I have to wait a few months to find out what will happen, although I read earlier tonight that Belladonna received 656 submissions for the anthology so … yeah. :O



I am determined to get this book done! It’s been a project for over 10 years and I’m getting oh-so-close to its end. It’s been sitting for a few months while I worked on short stories and novellas, but there’s a chance to submit it to a publisher I enjoy for consideration in the 2015 publication lineup. It’s my baby. My precious. My pretty little “Terry Goodkind meets GRRM meets Marion Zimmer Bradley” situation.

In July, I pulled it out and dragged it into reformatting so I can give it the last big edit before prepping it for submission. The files I had were messed up in the typical MS Word way, with the font/text code being confused. That, and I thought that putting it back to the original formatting would help me write the additions and extensions more easily. TNR annoys me to no end. So I submit in TNR 12, double-spaced, but I write in Arial 11 with spaces between the paragraphs.

Then I went through and figured out what needs to happen. I’ve put in probably about 365 days worth of edits into this thing and people have commented on how clean it is. Of course, I think I’ve over-edited in a few spots and missed some things, not to mention that there are some holes I’d like to fill.

To be honest, my previous editing attempts were trying to satisfy a 120,000 word limit with certain small publishers in mind as potentials should the agent search go poorly. Since I found out said publishers are maybe not-so-good – and found other publishers I like, who, incidentally, don’t have a 120k limit – I’ve decided to screw that and edit until it’s a damn good story. For now, I’ve raised the bar to a 150k cap. Anything more is a for-sure brick and I don’t want it going there if I can help it. But there are just some holes that have to be filled; otherwise, there are a lot of questions and gaps that will need answers way after the fact.

So here I am, adding things, removing things, replacing, extending. Whatever is necessary to tell the story proper. Working through the list of agents is on hold for now while the manuscript looks towards going the more adventurous route. With more hard work and luck, it’ll be done in a few weeks and I can get it off my desk. The hole it’s been burning is starting to smell up this place.


For What Is Taken & One Must Be Given

Two more short stories I started recently and they’re only partially done. They began shortly after encountering World Weaver Press on Twitter: their account followed mine, so I checked them out and followed back. I discovered they’re right up my alley on the speculative fiction road. Not only that, they have open calls for anthologies. I didn’t think I’d come up with anything so soon. In fact, I’d reserved myself to working on them later since the deadline is in October.

Yeah, I was wrong.

Thanks to another one of those good, warm showers, I came up with ideas that further blossomed overnight – literally. They go together, thanks to the nature of the submission call. For What Is Taken is inspired by the Corvidae anthology (crows, ravens, jays – that whole taxonomic group of birds) and One Must Be Given is for the Scarecrow antho. They will connect to each other, within each story and betwixt. They’re fantasy with some bits of horror by the looks of it, and first person … again. That’s okay, though. There’s a reason for that and it’s got something to do with the two narrators and where they intersect.

They’re unexpected but I’m still pretty excited about where they’re going. Twisted, as usual, and it’s making me giddy!


Twisted Tales and Other Submission Calls

And then there was the other stuff. I keep a folder with all of the submission calls I’m interested in for this year and I’m working on exhausting it. There are a few more short stories. And then there’s a novella for Pagan Writers Press, for their Twisted Tales series.

Now that’s one that’s going to take awhile.

The premise is to write a twist on myths, legends, and fables. I thought a fable would be fun but they’re all so happy and not as twisted as I like to put out. But myths … well, there’s a few of those to work with. At first I thought the story of Celtic Goddess, Rhiannon, would be fun. And then I considered something about the Morrigan. Now, my head’s stuck on Egypt and the Osiris Myth. If you want twisted, that’s one of the good ones!

Of course, it’s going to take more research. Not just into the story but the Gods, and even some Mary Shelley given the direction it seems to be heading. And some Star Trek. Maybe even the TV show, Almost Human (Karl Urban, I love you).

Yes, it’s going sci-fi. I don’t usually go there but I won’t ever count it out.


And there we are, caught up. It’s been a busy half year and the rest of the year isn’t slowing down if I can help it. Have to keep telling the stories and keep getting out there. Exposure through the work is just as important as direct marketing!

So here’s to all of us who work our hands until they cramp and our eyeballs until they’re dry as heck. /cue toast


(And just because I think I’m funny … some music while we have that toast, thanks to Heywood Banks.)


Thoughts? Comments? Musings that go great with cookies from the Dark Side?

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