Sunday, November 23, 2008

On the way to submissions

It was an eventful week; writing.

I sent off six stories; one of them is an ultra-short, just one hundred and twenty-eight words, but the rest are longer pieces than I have been attempting.

The longest, Coward's Steel, is almost five-thousand words. It's post-holocaust fantasy that went to Beneath Ceaseless Skies, a market I would love to crack.

Getting them ready for submission, I was reminded of inspecting my children, before sending them off to school.

I had such high hopes, when the kids marched out the door, and I feel the same way about my fiction. You pray that their faces stay clean and nothing is misspelled; that their shirt-tails are tucked in and word choices are perfect.

And no matter how old they become, or how elusive success may be for them, you always believe that with just a bit more work, they can make the grade. My son and daughter are both bestsellers, so I expect my fiction will find its way into print, one way or another.

Anyway, I got e-mail back, almost right away, on two of those six stories.

Chris Bartholomew accepted A Bannockburn Night for the December issue of Static Movement; it is two-thousand words. And Frank Byrns, at A Thousand Faces, said yes to A Son of the Night; it weighs in at just under three-thousand words.

The first is a ghost story of sorts that takes place in 1948, upon the chill waters of Lake Superior; the second introduces Rory Mathersby and his alter ego, Gargoyle, Seattle's Gray Guardian. A Thousand Faces specializes in super hero fiction. It's a quarterly print publication, so Rory's story won't be available to read until sometime next year.

I also got a rejection notice this week that made me laugh.

The folks at Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, an Australian pulp for speculative fiction, said no to This Little Piggie.

They said it was "a deliciously dark revisiting of a much loved tale". But they also said they "liked this joke the first time. And the second time too. And even the third. But ..."

They were right, of course; it is a retelling of the classic Pig Joke. You know the punchline; "A special pig like this one, you don't eat him all at once."

I am intrigued by the way jokes travel about, and so I was delighted to learn that one of my favorites had made the rounds down under.

Hope does jump back up, though. I'll find an editor somewhere who hasn't heard that punchline.