I’ve written about persistence before, but it’s a subject I want to return to. See, I’ve been sending stories to Clarkesworld for years now. Because of its fast turnaround time (typically a rejection only takes a couple of days, sometimes even less) it’s one of the first places I and many other writers send a new story. It’s high paying, prestigious, publishes great stories by some of the best writers in the field, has great art direction and production values — why not see if your brand-spanking new story is one Neil Clarke might be interested in before sending it anywhere else? So that’s what I’ve done. Many times. Over the years. 15 times, to be exact. Each time rejected.
Until my sixteenth submission, a few days ago.
Yes, this is a sly way to announce my story “The Veilonaut’s Dream” has been accepted by Clarkesworld. I still can’t quite believe it.
So you — yes you, with your seemingly endlessly growing pile of rejection e-mails — there is hope. If not this story, maybe the next. Keep trying. Keep improving. Stay professional. Read the guidelines. Push on through that dark night of the soul — we all get them, all of us. Try new styles, new subjects, new ideas, new characters. Keep getting feedback, keep an open mind, keep the faith. Because one day… you never know.
(PS. Just make sure it’s not a zombie story.)
“The Long Route to Acceptance”
Spent Father’s Day with the boys and wife, tootling around Oxford in the afternoon. Unfortunately tickets weren’t available for the new Tolkien Exhibition at the Bodleian Library, but instead we browsed around the Ashmolean Museum and rummaged through the nearby city centre bookstores, followed by pizza and cheesecake. To cap it off, came back home to find the 2018 Spring edition of Mythic magazine landed on the doorstep. So all in all — for me — a pretty good day.
52 stories from the first year of Metaphorosis magazine have been collected in this handy (and chunky!) tome, available from your favourite online book retailer now. Always a thrill and a privilege to see one of my stories in print, and this will make a very handsome addition to the trophy shelf.
…edited by David Steffen, is now available to pre-order at Amazon and other retailers coming soon. This collection includes all 25 stories published in the first two years of fiction on Diabolical Plots, with absolutely fantastic cover art by Galen Dara and the layout by Pat Steiner.
The contents are:
- Foreword • David Steffen
- The Osteomancer’s Husband • Henry Szabranski
- Bloody Therapy • Suzan Palumbo
- The Banshee Behind Beamon’s Bakery • Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
- The Blood Tree War • Daniel Ausema
- Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House! • Matthew Sanborn Smith
- May Dreams Shelter Us • Kate O’Connor
- Not a Bird • H.E. Roulo
- In Memoriam • Rachel Reddick
- Virtual Blues • Lee Budar-Danoff
- The Princess in the Basement • Hope Erica Schultz
- The Superhero Registry • Adam Gaylord
- The Grave Can Wait • Thomas Berubeg
- The Weight of Kanzashi • Joshua Gage
- One’s Company • Davian Aw
- The Avatar In Us All • J.D. Carelli
- Do Not Question the University • PC Keeler
- Curl Up and Dye • Tina Gower
- October’s Wedding of the Month • Emma McDonald
- The Schismatic Element Aboard Continental Drift • Lee Budar-Danoff
- A Room For Lost Things • Chloe N. Clark
- Further Arguments in Support of Yudah Cohen’s Proposal to Bluma Zilberman • Rebecca Fraimow
- Future Fragments, Six Seconds Long • Alex Shvartsman
- Taste the Whip • Andy Dudak
- Sustaining Memory • Coral Moore
- St. Roomba’s Gospel • Rachael K. Jones
David Steffen is one of the genuine good guys of the genre. Check out his Long List anthologies of Hugo-nominated stories and look out for further Diabolical Plots collections coming out in the near future.
News that one of my favourite stories “She Is Chosen” has been accepted by MYTHIC magazine and will be appearing in their Spring 2018 issue in March. There will be a print edition, too, which I’m very much looking forward to getting my grubby little hands on.
My story The Dreaming Forest is out in the first issue of dark speculative magazine The Wyrd. Download it now: it’s free, and there’s a bunch of great stories in it.
Forest is sort of a sequel to Starfish and Apples and also to Survivors, the result of a spontaneous story-in-a-day duel with RJ Barker. If the setting, of a world dominated by carnivorous trees, appeals, then here’s a taste:
On our second night in the forest, exhausted after a day spent skulking in a fern-shrouded hollow as the trees roused into terrifying activity around us, I stumble over a raised, slime-covered root. Without thinking, I grab hold of a nearby branch. The claw-tree’s thorns pierce my padded glove and my cry of pain echoes through the moonlit wood.
Good luck to the team at The Wyrd. I hope their magazine goes from strength to strength.
The Wyrd Magazine, Issue 1, art by Jonny Lindner.
Crikey that title is a bit portentous. Anyway, just news of the sale of my very shorterest story ever, “Cast Down”, to Daily Science Fiction. At only 144 words, I don’t think I’ll be beating that personal record very soon. And, typically, this just after a blogpost saying I had eschewed flash in favour of longer length works. Never mind. Here is the opening line, courtesy of a tweet by Simon Spanton:
The smooth skin and delicate ear of the actual broken and discarded God.
“The Roaring Silence” – Portion of the cover art for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band 1976 album, design by Shirtsleeve Studio.
“Cast Down” should be appearing later some time this year.