Call Me Crazy........
That's what I feel like I've been doing for the last 3 months since I took my body of work from the last year and a half and started submitting my babies to anywhere and everywhere. Submitting your work for publication is a grueling and demoralizing process. Rejection letters are a real bitch (especially to a tender soul such as your boy, Stu).
I submitted a total of 9 short stories (ranging from 3 pages to 19 pages long) to a variety of online and print magazines, anthologies, and forums. There was Clarkesworld Magazine ("Believe in God"), Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine ("Primal Problems"), Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine ("The Last Outpost"), Pseudopod Online ("God's Left Hand"), Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show ("Free At Last"), Sockdolager Online ("The Soda Machine"), Horror Library Volume 6 ("The Dissolution of a Bad Marriage"), Strangely Funny Anthology by Mystery and Horror, LLC ("Bobby McElroy"), & 9 Tales Told in the Dark by Bride of Chaos ("From the Drop").
I ran the gamut of what I had so far created. Sometimes the only way to get started on shit is to get started, ya' dig?
There's a story of a serial killer haunted by the ghost of one of his most personal victims. I spit out a science fiction yarn in 1st person about a man who discovers his Utopian society is on the verge of being swallowed up by some very primal nasties. I ejected the tale of a soda machine that dispenses a very potent drink that allows you to see one very fucked up future. Bobby McElroy is your typical loser who discovers that his mind has an amazing telekinetic force- which he uses with his friggin' dick! There's a tale of a battered wife on the run who forges a pact with some very powerful (and evil) allies. I haven't even submitted the love story.
You heard me. Love story. It's touching and shit.
The one that was accepted for the next installment of 9 Tales Told in the Dark is called "From the Drop". It's my longest short at 19 pages and over 13,000 words. It's also the one I've spent the most time revising and rewriting, although I do very little rewrite and I don't know the meaning of the term "rough" or "first" draft. I'm fastidious and methodical. I revise as I go. It's an OCD thing.
"From the Drop" is my love letter to H.P. Lovecraft. It's set (loosely) in the world of one of the only reality shows that I actually watch, Deadliest Catch. Bering Sea crab fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs on Earth. Earth only has one legitimate, unexplored territory left- the deep sea. What's down there? Is it a bad idea to fuck around in certain "hot spots"? These ideas disturbed old H.P. They have disturbed me since I drifted too far out at Isle of Palms one day as a kid and had to be brought back by a small craft. They have disturbed me ever since I was stung by a jellyfish at a North Carolina beach.
The ocean is fucking terrifying. I don't go there. I'll walk on the beach, but if you want to go swimming you're going to be doing it solo.
Anyways, this story was the one I had the most hope for and it paid off. I'm never at a loss for words, but I was speechless when I read that email: "We would like to publish your excellent short story......." Flabbergasted doesn't even begin to describe it.
It's not that I don't have confidence in my words; I certainly do. As those rejection letters (some form letters, some personalized) began to stack up I began to doubt myself. I wrote less fiction and did more blogging. Our homespun writer's workshop wasn't meeting much, and I have been really digging in at the career that DOES pay me in an attempt to get better. I didn't give up, but I did hesitate.
So, what's the moral of the story? Don't hesitate. Don't let the boo-birds and the people who look at you like you're fucking crazy dictate your life. Don't grab the brass ring. Make your own damn ring and platinum-plate that motherfucker!
Sure, it only pays a contributor's copy and a shot at inclusion in the big, year-end print edition. It's not like I'm being published in The New Yorker or Playboy or even Hustler ha ha ha!! Still.........
I can say that I am a published author and a practicing writer. Is that mad, you say? You're damn right it is. That's how I roll, batshit crazy and laughing like a damn loon. Come get some!