Revel in Yes

May the 4th be with you!

Apologies for the previous entry’s good intentions not manifesting into actual posts. It’s a hazard of being me — I will find some new way of reminding myself to do it. Make the task part of my bullet journaling lists, maybe.

However! I come bearing good news!

You may have noticed the sneaky “Forthcoming” label now at the bottom of the “Works By Reed” section of my home page. And the three entries below it.

Yes, that’s right: ACCEPTANCES! Multiple! In a row, even!

March and April saw me with a slew of acceptances on submitted stories. And you know what, I’m new at this, so I’m going to revel in excitement over a YES. I don’t want to lose that, or get jaded about it, or take it for granted. An Editor said YES they love my story! YES they want to publish it and put it in front of other peoples’ eyes!

Because all those NOs get to one after a while, you know? (And there have been many — the rest of you reading this who’ve ever submitted work for review, whether that’s auditions or stories or demo reels, know that feeling). But if I burn those YESs into my brain, those NOs won’t sting as much later.

Or that’s the hope.

Anyways, the stories that got a YES!:

“Bound by Oak and Stone”, a short story, to Tales and Feathers, for publication in late 2023/ early 2024.  This is set in the same world as “The Scribe’s Garden”, a little further forward on the timeline (but referencing a familiar character from Scribe’s Garden!).

Only a Cartographer can Map the world and enforce its bounds, and forcing a Spirwood stand into captivity is no easy feat. Spirwoods grow and devour everything in its shadow—even homes and villages. But this grove of Spirwood is different: it speaks to Cartographer Tasji in desperation, begging him not to Bind it, not to kill it.  It is all that remains. Over a night of negotiation and stubborn Scribing, Tasji finally agrees to take the Spirwood’s Voice to the one person who can have the Maps redrawn: the Empress.

“Silver Tracings in Starlit Skies”, a flash story, to Worlds of Possibility, for publication in late 2023.

Every year, the Codex Writer’s Group has on their forums a friendly flash-fiction competition called Weekend Warriors, where one has from Friday evening to Monday morning to write a 750-word-or-less story from prompts, every week, for six weeks. This was my first time competing, as there was an even more friendly score-less division offered. “Silver Tracings in Starlit Skies” was one of the results of that competition, and as science-fiction instead of fantasy is a bit of a departure from my usual well-trod paths.

A failing power grid also fails Torrie’s brother, who relies on life-support devices to maintain his slowly failing body. Her doctoral research isn’t progressing fast enough to save him, but the work she’s done can be turned to other uses. Ones that might save him, after all—and everyone else in their city.

And last but not least, ✨ “Canyon Masks” ✨ a novella, to GigaNotoSaurus, for publication mid-2023.

Oh, Canyon Masks. Where do I start?

The characters and the world of this story have been in my head for ages. I wrote it because I wanted to start small in the world, and work my way up to a full-sized novel (I have plenty of plans for more stories in this world, friends, no worries there!). Joke’s on me, because the current novel project is this novella, only expanded and deepened. (You get the good stuff here in the novella—the climax, the drama—and more involved character arcs, backstory, and world-build fun in the novel version).

Caleb Raith, of Canyon Masks
art by me, Reed Mingault
Lyssa Starborn, of Canyon Masks
art by me, Reed Mingault

Canyon Masks is the first thing I wrote intended for publication, back in late 2019/ early 2020. The first thing I wrote for an audience of more than my small tabletop gaming group. The first thing someone with experience told me was Good Enough.

It is so gratifying to see it come out into the world, to know others will soon get to read it and meet the people in it, too.  

Here’s the quick off-the-top-of-my-head pitch:

Caleb Raith, an ex-outlaw Marked by Sudai, the divinity of heroes, has finally tracked down and killed the man who kidnapped and mindwiped Caleb’s people.

But the murdered man was a mercenary warlord–and a crucial piece in a Plan orchestrated by the Rix–the divinities of fate and destiny. Lyssa Starborn (A Marked of the Rix, one of Their champions) undercover in the Warlord’s stronghold, now has to figure out how to keep the Rix’s Plan from unravelling and its rebellion against the desert’s tyrannical Waterlords from failing. Thankfully, Caleb has more than a passing resemblance (both physically, and elsewise) to the dead man, and Lyssa knew all the warlord’s secrets. Caleb will just have to play the part long enough for the Plan to be fulfilled.

Between the two of them, their Divinity-given magic, Caleb’s terrible horse, and a fair bit of luck, the rebellion will succeed. They’ll make sure of it. And learn how to work together again–and more–in the process.

With these acceptances, I’m also qualified to join SFWA under the new membership rules, which has been a goal since I started writing for serious!! Whooo!

And in a bit more good news: I’ll be at the Riding Excuses Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat this coming week (May 8-13th, 2023) in the mountains of northern Utah.

 A week of horseback riding, falconry demonstrations, fellow writers, away from the routine and expectations of home? Sounds like perfectly tailor-made-for-Reed heaven.

And with that, I will sign off for today. Picture me riding off into the sunset with the hugest smile upon my face.

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