Laura Harvey is an editor, writer, bibliophile, horsewoman, historian, teacher, debate coach, nerd, DIY junkie, and occasional rescuer of kittens. She holds a BA, MA, and is ABD, making her an exceptional asset in Trivial Pursuit. She loves reading so much that all of her handbags share one crucial ability: fitting a standard paperback or Kindle. She lives in northern California with a menagerie of beasts (dogs, cats, horses, and family members).
Along with Assistant Editor Sarena Ulibarri and Editor-in-Chief Eileen Wiedbrauk, Laura Harvey will be reading queries for novels, novellas, serialized fiction, and single author collections in the open submission months of February, June, and September.
While we are open to all forms of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction if they are done well, we asked Laura Harvey to share what sorts of speculative fiction projects she hopes to find in the slush this year:
I love smart and snarky speculative fiction, from mostly-this-world-with-just-a-tiny-twist to immersive high fantasy. Monsters, magic, fantastic realms and epic struggles keep me reading late into the night, and still turning pages over my morning coffee.
In particular, stories that re-imagine old myths and re-invent monsters (vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, skin-walkers, assorted things-that-go-bump-in-the-night) grab my attention. Clever origin stories that re-examine standard lore (e.g.: silver bullets kill werewolves) stock my bookshelf.
I gravitate toward urban fantasy, alternate history, real world with fantastic elements, and high fantasy stories. Whatever I read, the story-world must be well-thought out. This is a must for magic systems: what can it do? What can’t it do? Who can use it? Why? I also love immersive secondary worlds that include their own histories, languages, societal structures and cultural norms.
The heroes I cheer for are complex individuals usually in over their heads but trying to swim anyway, preferably with a hefty dose of wit. Heroes win some battles. They lose some battles. They take proactive steps to fix their own problems.
Likewise, the best villains are complicated people. (Or monsters. Or deities. Or A.I. gone off the rails.) Villains might laugh maniacally and disappear with a swirl of their cape into a puff of smoke, but they also build orphanages, help old women across the street, and treat their loyal hound well. Most importantly, they have read Peter Anspach’s “Evil Overlord List” and taken it to heart.
Loves: Xanatos gambits, fresh looks at ghost/monster origins, magic systems.
Hates: POV head-hopping, sudden character stupidity for the sake of the plot, disparate mashes of real-world magical and/or spiritual concepts, perfect characters (posers), and cinematic openings.