Make that a hard military lesbian SF author. (grin) 2004 Clarion classmate Nikki Kimberline kimnik and her partner Dawn have started a small press, Blind Eye Books:
Blind Eye Books is an independent press, dedicated to publishing science-fiction and fantasy stories with gay and lesbian protagonists.
Our books span a wide variety of styles, settings and themes, but they are always exciting and positive. They are heart-pounding and heart-warming, sensual and sensational. In short, they are stories that we love and are proud to present to the world.
One of their projects is an anthology of "character-driven science fiction, fantasy or paranormal romance featuring gay or lesbian protagonists."
I've sold a short story "Don't Ask" to the Tangle XX anthology. So it's not that I'm a gay or lesbian SF author, it's that my characters are.
Actually, I'm really pleased with this short story. Set in my usual 29th century military SF universe, I wrote "Don't Ask" partly as a dare to Nikki, because she sometimes gives me grief about my hard military SF, but when I said I was writing something just for her, she specifically requested the Unified Star Fleet Marines and their armored fighting suits. Okay, no problem!
In a way, writing my two main characters as lesbians solved a major problem with a story I've been trying to tell for a while: How to get a first date on a military starship. You can imagine that between enlisted, NCO and officer ranks, plus the whole issue of who supervises whom, etc., I was concerned that the story might come off as a gender power play -- a male superior asking out a female suborbinate -- or its reverse. Utilizing two services, the navy and the marines, one gender and equivalent ranks solves all those problems. Story written.
The anthology is still partly open for submissions:
Submissions for Tangle XY (boy's edition) are now closed
Thanks to everyone who submitted. Choosing between the stories is going to be tough, but we hope to have our final decisions made by June 30.
Although we have all the M/M stories we need, we're still short on thrilling tales of Girl's Love. So we have extended the deadline for Tangle XX to September 1. See our guidelines page for more info how you can submit a story.
I'm posting this sale now, because I finally got the contract in the mail this weekend, signed it and sent it back this morning. Lately my attempts at rigorous records keeping have been all blundered up, as I get information through unofficial channels, such as the WOTF blog for Writers of the Future entries, rather than a simple single date for a letter.
In this case I submitted the original 4600 word story on February 9th. On February 19th I had a request for "more action", which I detailed in a series of e-mail exchanges and resubmitted a 10,900 word version on March 8th. Since then we've been doing a back-and-forth with Nikki doing a swell job of editing my writing to take out some of my verbosity -- and an attempt to simplify the story and some of the heavier military elements which may or may not be of interest to anyone.
They say that part of publishing is who you know -- it's why you go to cons, read blogs, attend something like Clarion, so you can meet people. Did I sell a story to Nikki BECAUSE she knows me? No. If the story had sucked, or I'd really missed the characterizations or their behaviors, no way would she've bought it. But I DID submit a lesbian SF story to a market because I knew the editor. Frankly, I might not have seen the call for submissions if it hadn't been that I knew Nikki -- certainly it's not for a lot of money. In a way, I'm helping support a new venture, and that's surely a good thing.
Anyway, for accounting purposes, "Don't Ask" was sold on 9 June 2007, the day I got the contracts from the P.O. Box. (grin)