I started writing "The Least of the Deathly Arts" in August of 2008. It was the story I workshopped during week 6 of Clarion.
It didn't have an ending when I workshopped it. I was tired, I was under deadline, and I didn't have the faintest clue how the thing should finish. So I just sort of stopped writing, and turned it in. (Er, sorry fellow Clarionites.)
It actually looks very different now, slightly more than three years later, than it did then. It turned out, as you see, that figuring out the ending was the key to all the bits in the middle.
I have such a love for this story. I loved writing it at Clarion. I loved doing all the research: funeral customs! medieval academic treatises on vampires! exsanguination! poetry! I love Noir, and I'm beginning to think she might have more stories for me to tell.
And I particularly love that it appears in Subterranean, which has long been one of my favorite publishers.
So here is the story, and I hope you love it, too.