If any of you felt faint reading that, you are my peeps! Strange Horizons is my favorite speculative fiction mag on the web. I would be bowled over if I were to have my work accepted. With a 99% rejection rate, it's a slim, slim, chance, but for some reason, just submitting makes me giddy.
Second fave? The weekly Tor stories (it's really close, actually), followed by the Molotov Cocktail.
I also love 101 Fiction's seasonal issues, which combine spec fic with a theme. Reading the prismatic takes on the theme is an absolute joy. 101 Fiction is currently accepting subs for their spring issue, and you can read more here. Please submit! I did, and if another idea comes to me, I shall submit another. They're all frankly erotic at the moment; I had to clean up my first submission. Maybe I'll just let the next one go and see what Mr. Xero thinks *g*
Speaking of which, I was in love with vampires last issue. Here are two of what I call my Vampires in Prague series:
Prague in December
Winter in Prague is cliché. All the vampires slump into coffee shops, safe in the perma-gloom of December. They sip hot cocoa and listen to university students talking about Miller, Bessenyei, Proust. They remember reading a Magyar version of some play by an absinthe-soaked dramatist, and how the boards squeaked when the actors moved around on the old stage at the Estates.
They think of taking a protégé from among these, teaching them Latin, putting on a new show. But January is a stake to the heart of even the undead; so they drain their cups and wait for spring.
(ah, but one did take a protege! read about it here)
Renfield, of Late
Candle-snuffer for vampires. Decades on, and this is what he's become. He was promised so much more: young women in thrall, an exciting nightlife, a glimpse behind the pale curtain.
If they can wave them all into existence with a finger at dusk, why can't they put them all out? He stamps between rooms, uncaring how his steps ring out on the stones.
Maybe he'll leave Prague. Their candle bill will skyrocket.
In the last room, a note beside the coffin: Thank you! xx Mina
He folds it carefully and puts it in his pocket.
Maybe he'll stay another winter.
I love these little vignettes, an entire community in the shadows (and sometimes not!) of an old, old city. Ah, vampires! You are not all bare-chested demons with tight buns.
Trust me, as one gets older, one appreciates imperfection more.
So this is it. I hope you enjoy our next foray into wintry horror--I know I shan't. Fucking winter. Fucking snow. Fucking fuck fuck fuck.