I Just Made a Pro Sale!
I checked my e-mail this morning and found I'd gotten some really good news. The online publication Digital Science Fiction accepted my short story "Coil Gun" for publication. Details are pending, but the company tends to produce eBook anthologies available on Amazon.com and elsewhere. The first one, First Contact - Digital Science Fiction Anthology 1, is already available for purchase.
I'm excited because it's $0.05 per word. At the current word count, this comes out to be roughly $250, which is much larger than the haul from my BattleTech story "Skirmish at the Vale's Edge" ($196) and larger than my other three payments combined ($105 for three stories, only one of which was actually published). Plus, if I get a certain number of these sales at "pro" rates ($0.05/word plus), I can join the Science Fiction Writers of America and get to vote on the Nebula Awards.
The story takes place in a universe inspired by a challenge on my alternate-history forum. The board member whose handle is reddie challenged board members to create a timeline where there was a cold war between the United States and "the apartheid juggernaut"--a white-supremacist but overtly Afrikaner state similar in size and power to the Anglo-Saxon Draka of S.M. Stirling's novels. Think our world's apartheid regime on horse steroids, complete with our history's religious justification.
I started writing the timeline when I was studying abroad in Britain in 2006 and began writing the first short story set in that universe, "Picking Up Plans in Palma," the day after I returned home when I couldn't sleep. I started writing "Coil Gun" somewhat later but actually finished it first. What I ultimately ended up with was a cold war between the United States and the League of Democracies, this world's version of NATO, against the Indian Ocean-spanning Afrikaner Confederation and its allies in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, who form an organization called the Self-Determination Compact (this world's Warsaw Pact--they call themselves that because they view themselves as under siege by subversive Enlightenment values like secularism and democracy).
When it goes live, I'll post a link to where the anthology containing it can be purchased and then give you all a special treat--a link to the complete timeline of the Afrikanerverse, from the point of divergence during the Dutch revolt against Spain to the the decade after the war whose opening hours are depicted in "Coil Gun." I was planning on posting it tonight, but I don't know what kind of edits Digital Science Fiction would require. Changing the story might necessitate changing the overall timeline, depending on what's required.