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My take on Snow White

Once upon a time,a long time ago in a kingdom far away from California, a young woman wrote a story about Snow White for literotica.

I started with two premises in mind—what if beauty was a curse, and what if the Evil Queen wasn’t evil? The result was a short story called “For Love of Snow White.” I wrote it in 2002 and barely thought of it for over a decade. But I saw a call for submissions that would fit the story, so I pulled it out of my archive, polished it up and sent it in. My editor asked me to expand it–which I did by about 10k words. The resulting story is still called “For Love of Snow White,” and while it is not erotica, it is a dark feminist take on the Snow White story.

Here’s a snippet

The carriage ride to the convent was long, and my book held little interest for me. Idly, I took my mirror from the pocket of my gown.

“Mirror, Mirror in my hand, who’s the fairest in the land?”

I received the answer I’d dreaded for five years. I was told “You, my queen, are lovely as a pearl, but your beauty cannot compare to the girl’s.”

The new god’s curse had struck in full.

“Mama!” Snow greeted me with a warm embrace.

“Snow! Let me look at how you’ve grown!”

No longer garbed like a novitiate, Snow White was breathtaking. She had hair as black as midnight cascading to her waist. Her skin was pale as the snow she was named for. Snow White’s eyes glowed bluer than any sapphire. Her lips formed a perfect red bow. She was dressed in a blue gown that accented her womanly curves and she moved with a grace that even I envied. Her voice was soft, yet carried a note of seduction that she seemed unaware of. She had reached her majority and her powers, although untrained, were at their full strength.

The king and priests had spoken—she was to leave, no matter what the head of the nun’s order thought of it. I took her home, too distracted by the mirror’s revelation and worried by Snow’s beauty to take advantage of the two hours alone in the carriage. She was silent, looking out a window rather than wanting to talk. Perhaps she was thinking of Charmaine. I should’ve taken her to the stone dance right away, bespelled the driver, anything. But how could I know what was to come?

You can read my almost novella in Myths, Monsters, Mutations edited by Jessica Augustsson, forthcoming from Jayhenge in 2017

I’m reading your entries

Whenever I submit to an anthology, I look at the response email with pretty much this look before clicking open to read it…

finding doryDid you like my story? Please say yes.

As the tables have turned, I thought it might be interesting to be transparent about my first experience as an editor.

I posted the call in late June, and I was shocked at how fast entries started to appear in my inbox. I made a point of replying to each email to let them know I’d received their entry, or to clarify my submission guidelines. There was a lull, and then in August there was another wave (that unfortunately coincided with an unplanned move) and today I found three emails where I’d received the entry but never responded. I feel like an ass and I’m sorry, three people who know who you are.

A few of you wrote and asked if I’d automatically reject something that arrived at 12:01am on Sept 1

I always wonder about this, too, and I’m almost always a last minute entry. Just ask any of my editors.

The answer I gave them–and now all of you–is that due to living in Asia, I’m 12 hours ahead of the East Coast of the US and 15 ahead of the West Coast, etc. September 1st was the day we celebrated Teacher’s Day at my daughter’s schools and they were both home on Friday September 2nd. As I told the people who asked–I wasn’t really watching the clock. This is also a charity anthology, so while other editors have their own rules, for a variety of reasons no, I wasn’t watching the clock.

How many submissions did I get?

Nearly thirty, and no, I wasn’t prepared for that. I don’t know if it’s just my own insecurities, but I was worried that I wouldn’t get enough submissions to make a full anthology. But an embarrassment of riches cuts both ways. Yes, I would make a full anthology. The downside is that I will end up rejecting stories that I love.

Have you read everything yet?

No. I’m trying. Professionally–I also have a story I need to edit, two to write, and some other commitments. Personally–I have two young children who have been on vacation for a week and don’t get back to school until Tuesday. (Send chocolate and earplugs.)

What are your top pet peeves from this process (thus far)

1–Not reading the call. (sending me file types I can’t open, sending working the body of your email)

2–Not putting your name on  your work.  I had multiple stories and poems with a title and no author’s name. Put your name on your work (this actually ties for #1 pet peeve)

3–Not adhering to the specified formatting. (I have sympathy because formatting was something I fucked up for years, and have only really figured out recently. I remember Lynn Townsend asking me to do something formatting related and my reaction was ??? That said, being on the receiving end makes it frustrating because now I have to reformat work).

When will I hear from you?

By October 1. As early as I can manage. I’m not blogging etc because I’m trying to prioritize reading.

Does a yes mean I’m done?

No, there will be edits. I find typos is Nora Roberts books. Mostly it will very little, as the competition is stiff (pun intended, sort of).

Does a no mean that my story/poem was bad?

Some stories are by authors who are still rough diamonds. Others are incredibly written but I can’t have five stories with the same theme. A rejection isn’t actually personal, although having received many I can say it still sucks. I’m sorry, Baby Dory with the giant eyes.

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