And so I started scoping out the subbing world.
And holy carp - vampires are fantasy?
To be honest, I don't like labels, but they smooth the gears that run the world - from political parties to religions to ethnicity to genres in the world of story telling and it would seem I needed to know *what* exactly I'd written in order to sub it to the right corner of the vastness that is the internet publication universe.
"It's a monster story" isn't quite enough to make the cut as a horror story any more. Creatures like Frankenstein, vampires, werewolves, and zombies now merrily traverse the line between fantasy and horror - in part, yes, to the weird tales of creature-human romance that frequent the young adult sections of bookstores with the bizarre section title of "Paranormal Romance."
I'm so very sorry, but really? Romance with the undead?
Anyway, back to Butterflies.
I spent quite a bit of time struggling with this - where did my story belong? To which market should I send it?
Eventually, I asked the writers I frequently loiter about the internet with - the Horror Hounds of AW - and finally, finally came across an answer.
Simplified, it is this
Creatures that elicit a reaction of terror from one's MC, in a story in which encountering such creature would be an aberration = story of the horrific.
Creatures that one's MC casually encounters without terror whilst strolling through the neighborhood, often which ends on a "happily ever after" note would be more along the lines of a fantasy tale.
So. With the two thus defined where does Butterflies fall?
Originally, as published with Emerald Tales, it was horror - even in its mostly "tell" voice.
In the second rendition, it was dark fantasy - the vampire was chatty and even kind of silly, the end bordering on the flippant.
Then the third --
Ok, quick derailment --
While I was considering the third rewrite, I received an email from someone who asked if my stories were based in New England, that some of the writers she enjoys most write about that corner of the U.S.
At the time I responded, I said no, that my stories frequently take place in Anywhere, USA.
But I'd forgotten about Butterflies.
The fort in the beginning of Butterflies is indeed loosely based on a fort in Burlington, Vermont that captured my imagination as a kid.
I completely fabricated the history of the original, actual fort, but the one in my mind when I first wrote and each time I subsequently rewrote this story is indeed based off a real place in Vermont.
And back on track --
I realized, on this last rewrite, that I didn't like my vampire. He was too chatty, too flippant, too not what I like to read about.
So I axed him and went in search of another beastie.
And oooo, did I find him.
The Abenaki Indians, natives to the area in which I grew up, possess lore telling of an undead creature much resembling a vampire. Corpse-like during the day, it rises in the dark to drink and munch on whatever human is unfortunate enough to be anywhere near this creature when it wakes.
This guy went into Butterflies.
And his tale is all about the dark side.
There'll be no romance with this blood sucker.
Butterflies, retitled "Heather" is currently out on submission