Figured I'd get to this while the Fiction Vortex Serial Box contest was still active, and post 2015 reflections on a later date.
"Lessons in Blade and Barrier" is a finalist in previously said contest, and I guess my story would be representing the long undervalued Sword & Sorcery genre; and what better way to represent it with anthropomorphized garden fauna set against feudal Japan background. Why anthropomorphized lizard and mantis? You might as well ask, "Why the Ninja Turtles"? To me it's all supposed to be good actiony fun. Best of all, it's free to read!
The blade surged forward, more lightning than steel. The very air went dense with static. Izo tumbled more than dodged, leaped quickly to his feet, but found his balance off. There on the ground was his right forearm, clawed fingers clenching his katana.“No,” he gasped, throat suddenly dry. This couldn’t be real, just couldn’t. He didn’t feel anything missing. Eyes squeezed shut, he used his left hand to probe where his right forearm should be. His hand came away wet. He put two clawtips to his mouth, tasted iron and salt.Only then did he cry out.
The winner of the contest goes to have a ten-part serial (and more money), expanding the world/story that the author has established.
However, the contest is a bit broken. After you vote, you can see how many votes each story has, something I think should be hidden, otherwise an author knows how many friends and family to gather to beat the highest number. Last I checked, all I needed was 30+ votes to beat Fly Red Fox. But I don't feel all that compelled to rally 30+ votes, and Fly Red Fox is a pretty decent story.
I do commend Fiction Vortex for trying something new and hope this contest leads to more potential serials, something that I think is quite lacking in most magazines. For me, I don't need a serial to write sequels, though if an editor complains about wanting more characters/world then they should sign me up for a serial! Seriously, there's only so much you can fit in a 3K story.
Contest ends on January 18th, so check it out!