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”
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.
My story “Against the Venom Tide” has been accepted for publication in the summer issue of Mirror Dance. It’s set – although tangentially – in the same universe as my other recent stories “In the Belly of the Angel” and “Dance of the Splintered Hands“.
Looking forward to its appearance as this online quarterly magazine has great aesthetics and the editor, Megan Arkenberg, is also an awesome writer.
“Storm Kraken” by Ionnas.
My horror short story “The Velna Valsis” has been accepted by Fantasy Scroll Magazine and, touch wood, should be out later this year. Although the image below wasn’t part of the story’s origin (I came across it on the interwebs long after I had finished “Valsis” and sent it out on submission), I immediately thought of that dark, dark little story when I saw it…
Very happy to learn that my story “Dance of the Splintered Hands” has been accepted by Kaleidotrope
and should be published later this year. This is one of my favourite stories, certainly one of my favourite titles, and I’m very glad it’s found a home.
“Dance” contains some fugitive chickens. Hopefully they will survive edits. But nope — they are not the focus of the story.
No, the post title doesn’t refer to a vitriolic critique of the third instalment of Jeff VanderMeer’s excellent Southern Reach trilogy — my story “The Osteomancer’s Husband” has been accepted by Diabolical Plots for their inaugural year of publishing fiction. I am January. Or rather my story is. Yes, that’s next year. Here’s the ToC:
- March: “Taste the Whip” by Andy Dudak
- April: “Virtual Blues” by Lee Budar-Danoff
- May: “In Memoriam” by Rachel Reddick
- June: “The Princess in the Basement” by Hope Erica Schultz
- July: “Not a Bird” by H.E. Roulo
- August: “The Superhero Registry” by Adam Gaylord
- September: “A Room for Lost Things” by Chloe N. Clark
- October: “The Grave Can Wait” by Thomas Berubeg
- November: “Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House!” by Matthew Sanborn Smith
- December: “St. Roomba’s Gospel” by Rachael K. Jones
- January: “The Osteomancer’s Husband” by Henry Szabranski
- February: “May Dreams Shelter Us” by Kate O’Connor
Glad that my story was fished out of an anonymised slush pile by the folks behind the hugely popular and useful Submission Grinder. It’s a long wait until it appears, but the following image hints at the theme…
Miniature cement skeletons by Isaac Cordal
My flash story “The Maze of His Infinities” has been accepted by Perihelion Science Fiction and is now available in their February edition.
This story arose from a combination of a dream that involved The Construct as described in the story (I woke shouting: “Infinity is not a number!”), vague recollection of this New Scientist article, and a story prompt based on the lyrics of Blue Öyster Cult’s “In The Presence of Another World”. It’s one of those stories I wonder if I should have fleshed out to a fuller length, say 3 or 4K, or perhaps even longer….but oh well. So many ideas. So little time.
NB: Also my flash story “Starfish and Apples”, originally published by Nine, is currently available for free all this week at QuarterReads. This is the first time it’s been available without being behind a paywall and you can check it out here.
Serge Salat’s “Beyond Infinity” art installation.