(deep breath) It's done.
I've submitted Dragon's Rook, the first manuscript of my fantasy cycle, and now the waiting begins.
If it's chosen, the title of the novel may change, as often happens when editors or publishers think the title's off, or bland, or somehow not as punchy and marketable as they prefer. That's okay. I never really wanted to have anything dragon-y in the title, anyway.
As for the author name, since I write under two names, I'm not sure which to apply. Perhaps I'll try to keep the other one more for fantasy material, and Keanan Brand more for science fiction. (shrug)
I had originally intended to submit the manuscript for the current War of the Words contest, but something kept nagging at me, one of those not-quite-definable itches at the back of the brain.
Then, as I was sorting through papers (an ongoing process which might not be finished for the next week or so), tossing out obsolete stuff and creating new stacks of story fodder and notes, I happened upon material from Spring 2007. Turns out that I'd submitted an earlier version of the manuscript to a fantasy/sf/horror contest judged by a Tor editor. He scored my work so low that I left the conference feeling like a failure.
Crazy thing is, at that same conference, I took first place in a different category, and other entries were marked up and notated, letting me know the judges took the time to really read the work. The novel manuscript? Pristine. Not a pencil mark in sight.
Now, as a slush reader for a magazine, I've been known not to get past the first paragraph -- sometimes, the first sentence -- because the quality of the writing is so abysmal that there's no point in proceeding. However, as I looked over that contest entry after not seeing the score sheet for more than two years, there was that itch again in the back of my brain: Tor UK is part of the contest I was considering, and it was a Tor editor who didn't like my work. Probably didn't even read it.
So I looked him up online. From the interests listed and the acquisitions he's made, I figured out pretty quick we are likely on opposite ends of things like politics and religion. No way he'd like what I wrote.
On the other hand, I've enjoyed the work of some of his writers -- my tastes are eclectic, and I know what I like when I read it -- but, because of my beliefs, I'd probably be the one others regard as closed to different ways of thinking.
Anyway, after considering the facts, and still feeling that nagging brain itch, I decided to submit the manuscript to Jeff Gerke at Marcher Lord Press. He's already put out some good fiction, and the printing itself is excellent; there are some covers that just beg for the books to be read.
I didn't scrap the synopsis I'd written for the contest, but pared it down from three pages to one in order to fit the criteria, and then did a lot more work for the MLP submission than the WOW contest required, but I was glad to do it. Without reservation. Brain itch banished.
And now I wait.