Success, or Rolling the Boulder Uphill

First of all, I know I keep saying that I’m going to do better on this whole blog thing and write more frequently.  Part of the problem is that I haven’t had a whole lot to write about lately, at least not much that I would consider blog-worthy.  Another part of the problem is my definition of blog-worthy.  I’m thinking about a more structured set up to what I write, with different themes on different days of the week.  It could happen.

Now with that disclaimer out of the way, I can move on to the following bits of good news:

–My short story, “The Hunt”, was published at Flashes in the Dark, a site dedicated to flash horror fiction, on August 5th.  I received two very nice comments—one from a friend of mine and one from my daughter—and I would encourage anyone with a few minutes to spare (the story is less than 1000 words long) to hop on over, give it a quick read, and tell me how great I am.  Yes, even if it means lying.  We writers have fragile egos and every positive remark, regardless of it sincerity, helps.  This story does have the distinction of being my first published piece, which leads me to . . . .

–My short story, “Salvation”, is now live at The Fear of Monkeys, a site featuring writing of a social or political nature.  I’m not sure when the story will go live, but when it does I’ll be sure to post it everywhere I can think of.  In the meantime, I recommend you check out the other stories they have already published.  The ones I have read are quite good and I am thrilled by the knowledge that I’ll soon be in the company.  “Salvation” is rather long (about 6000 words) but I think it is one of the best short pieces I have done and I hope other people think as highly of it as I do.

–My short story, “Santa’s Worse Stop”, will be in the fall issue of Ghostlight Magazine, an issue dedicated to dark humor.  I wrote that story mostly for fun, but when I found this issue of Ghostlight, I felt compelled to send it out.  I thought it was a riot and had a great time writing it and, except for my darling wife, everyone else that read it (yes, both of them) also thought it was very good.  In a related note, I’m currently working on the first of this year’s Christmas stories and maybe someday I’ll have enough to do an anthology of Christmas short stories, both fantastic and realistic, that will appear in bookstores everywhere.

Now, the question is this:  what now?  And the answer:  keep writing.  This seems like it might be easier now that I’ve had a few victories, but that is far from the case.  All three of these stories have been sitting for a while, lurking on my hard drive, waiting for just the right venue.  For the past year, though, I’ve been struggling to be productive, a result of numerous factors that I will explore in a future post.  I have a few more short stories in various stages of production, but finishing them seems more like an act of will now than an act of creation.  The work has become work, for various reasons, and I am trying to dig myself out of the creative rut I have found myself in.

I do have a few other stories out on submission.  My short, “A Coup in Chuckistan”, failed to gain notice at Glimmer Train (no surprise—they accept about .17% of all submissions), but I think the story deserves a good home somewhere.  “The Interview of Harper Milton Todd” is currently out on submission following positive remarks from anthology king, John Joseph Adams.  Never before have I been so happy about a rejection.  And there are a few other stories, biding their time.  I can’t say if my writing has improved, thus leading to these acceptances, although I think it has, but I have become a lot more adept at targeting my markets based on the writing I have rather than shooting stories out blindly into the ether and hoping for the best.

Hopefully, I can build on this with the other finished stories I have and the ones that are currently in production.  In time, I hope to have enough publishing credits that I feel confident about going after an agent to represent one of my novels, either one I’ve already finished or one of the serious works in progress I am constantly tinkering with.  Having a few requests for my full manuscript of Dead and Dying without any published shorts, I have high hopes for what I can do with a few credits to add to my resume.

Kiss my ass, Sisyphus.

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