So it's about that time again. Submissions for the Sword & Sorceress anthology typically open in mid-April, and a few months before, I always look through my backlog, pick two stories in that vein (S&S allows one submission, then a second if the first is rejected), and edit them.
I'm always surprised how few stories I have that fit the profile: most of my stories are female-focused, but not necessarily action-based, low magic or restricted to personal stakes. Grant that the more recent anthologies don't seem to adhere strictly to this; I recall reading tales with exotic, magic-fueled worlds and/or kingdom-wide stakes. But of course, classic sword-and-sorcery stories often deviate from the bullet point definition, too. I tend to err on the side of choosing the stories that more closely align to it.
Right now, I have five stories marked for readthrough and decision:
Free To Fly
These stories run the gamut as to when they were written: Speechless is by far the oldest, and I think - though I can't recall - I even had it polished up for a previous year and ended up not sending it because my first submission was shortlisted. But as I've matured as a writer, my ideas have grown, and this one may end up trunked. (Or I may ask for readers to help me fix the issue. If I think it's even worth it. Sigh.) By contrast, Free To Fly is fairly recent, while Fireworks and Shade Trees are the most recent tales I've finished.
They range in length, too: Fireworks is flash fiction; Speechless is over the 7,000 word mark, which is, of course, a harder sell.
I'm concerned that Hearing Voices and Free To Fly may be too unconventional for S&S. Hearing Voices is written from a first person plural perspective (aforementioned "voices"), while Free To Fly has an open / ambiguous ending. Fireworks plays with my synesthesia research, while Shade Trees is actually from Fantasy-Writers.org's December "holiday remix" challenge.
As I think about it, I probably need to make the decision on Speechless before I do anything else. If I feel it's worthy of submission, this is the place to start.