New Story: For Art’s Sake – now live on Word Riot

This story is dedicated to CT.

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I’m proud to announce For Art’s Sake is now live on Word Riot; it is my third piece published in that very esteemed journal. I am endebted to Kevin O’Cuinn for his unflagging support and encouragement.

Please give the story some click-love here: http://www.wordriot.org/archives/5581

A permanent link will go on the Published Stories page.

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New Story: For Art’s Sake Accepted by Word Riot!

Huzzah!!

My flash fiction work, For Art’s Sake, has just been accepted by Kevin O’Cuinn, fiction editor at Word Riot.

This is a new milestone for me, a third piece of flash being pubbed in the same journal: Woo Hoo! (Deep endebted thankfulness to Kevin, as always.)

The pub date has not yet been determined but when it’s published I’ll let you all know with a joyous announcement and link for your reading pleasure. For now, a placeholder will go on the Published Stories page…

Thanks!

New Story Up at Word Riot!

Hi everyone,

Cloud Girl is now available for your reading pleasure in the July 2012 issue of Word Riot! I’m so pleased this piece found a home with the help of Kevin O’Cuinn, Word Riot’s Fiction Editor.

And to give credit where it’s due, Kevin suggested the title change for this piece – and I love the final title, it was a fantastic suggestion. It shows what trust and great relationships with editors can create…

All love traffic is most welcome at this link:

http://www.wordriot.org/archives/4342

Enjoy!

Stories Accepted by Word Riot and The Washington Pastime!

They say lightening doesn’t strike twice, but somehow Kevin O’Cuinn, Fiction Editor of Word Riot has seen his way to accepting another of my flash fiction works, this one titled Cloud Girl. Of course, I’m extremely grateful to Kevin and Word Riot for continuing to support and publish my work.

A while back I wrote some blog posts about a story I was writing about a crack addict that was challenging to write. The subject matter, the characters and the tone of the piece is dark and difficult so I wasn’t sure if it would find a home. Paul Karaffa, Editor in Chief of The Washington Pastime has decided to give The Ties That Bind a chance, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have a longer story appear in their journal. And for the very first time since my short stories have been accepted for publication, I will be receiving a payment; it is a token payment but for me an encouraging and hopeful sign for my own publishing future.

I haven’t been given a pub-date for these pieces yet, but I wanted to let my regular readers know that the extreme summer heat has not stopped these editors from allowing me to continue to make publishing progress.

As ever, when these stories go live I’ll publish the links in a blog post and the permanent links will be added to my published stories page.

Story Up at Word Riot!

I’m extremely proud to have my work in the May 2012 issue of Word Riot.

I’ve thanked Fiction Editor Kevin O’Cuinn on this blog before, but I can’t say it enough. His editorial support was tremendous and the final piece, Flame, has the marks of his deft guidance.

For me personally, some pieces are watermarks in my brief career as a short story writer. PANK was one, and now this.

All love traffic is appreciated.

CLICK HERE for Flame, at Word Riot: http://www.wordriot.org/archives/4051

New Story Accepted by Word Riot!

Word Riot, people. WORD RIOT.

I’m pinching myself…walking around in a daze. I feel elated.

Word Riot’s Fiction Editor, Kevin O’Cuinn, has provided crucial support and encouragement. Without him, this achievement would not be possible.

Kevin has been patient with my submissions (there have been many) and he’s provided the kind of tough-love all writers need from great editors. His guidance – and scalpel cuts – have been a master class in editing. I do my best to use his lessons on each new piece of fiction I craft.

All I can say is editor, friend and trusted mentor only begin to describe how highly I think of him.

The piece Word Riot accepted is called Flame. It’s a flash fiction work, and as soon as I find out which issue it will appear in, I will let you all know.

Finding markets for short stories

I subscribe to the Gotham Writer’s Workshop newsletter, and in the latest issue, I found a link to an essay by Jacob Appel on Tips for Placing a Short Story.

One comment caught my eye:

In 1998, I won the Boston Review’s annual short fiction contest for my story, “Shell Game with Organs”—a breakthrough event in my career that led me to obtain my first agent. At the public reading sponsored by the Review, I informed the audience that more than seventy-five other journals, both large and small, had previously rejected the piece.

I commend Jacob Appel’s determination to get his story out. I marveled that it got rejected 75 times. I percolated on this, because it gave rise to an important question:

Is it possible that 75 markets could be a home for one story?

I spend a lot of time on Duotrope combing through the database, but I often find myself lost trying to figure out where to send my work. It takes homework to know a market.

There are a few things to know about a journal before you submit:

1. Editorial guidelines

2. The tastes of the editors based on real selections – read, read, read the stories

3. Interviews with the editor

4. If the editors are also writers, read their writings (optional)

Lauren Becker is a case and point for me. Her work as the Editor at Corium is tremendous, but there are many of my pieces I shouldn’t send to Corium because it’s not close enough to her editorial mark. And yes, she’s rejected my work because of that but her feedback has been helpful to get closer to the bullseye.

Editor Kevin O’Cuinn at Word Riot drives me (pleasantly!) batty with his wonderful rejection notices. Really I can’t thank him enough for the time and effort he puts into those notes. Alas for me, I still haven’t cracked the code on Word Riot yet. I will someday, damn it. When I do, it will be because of Kevin’s persistent guidance on what is appropriate to submit.

This leads me back to Mr. Appel. How is it possible to have 75 different markets that could have been the right place to submit the same story? Is it possible?

I don’t have THE answer, but I have MY answer: probably not.

The fact that Mr. Appel won a prestigious award from The Boston Review flies in the face of my comment, but I don’t think his experience is typical. If you got rejected for a story 75 times, chances are good you need to either rewrite it, or scrap it altogether.

After reading Jacob Appel’s essay I looked back over the list of journals I’ve submitted to over the past few years. I couldn’t say if there are more than 75 journals on the list. This year, even before I read his essay, I’d already begun combing through the hit lists of other writers as a way to introduce myself to new journals.

For example, I met Nicolette Wong, editor of A-Minor, on Court Merrigan’s blog. Later, I submitted to A-Minor … and yes, got rejected … but it was a great experience. Ms. Wong is an editor who certainly knows what she does and doesn’t want, which is always helpful.

I’ve raved on my blog before about Court’s “Failure” page, and he’s introduced me to journals like Neon, Revolution House, and Flywheel. I hadn’t looked at those markets before seeing them on Court’s list, but I’m glad I came to know of them.

There is no magic when it comes to finding the best markets to submit your stories. It takes upfront work to identify a market where a story could fit editorial tastes, and each interaction you have with the editor or staff is an opportunity to refine your understanding of that market.

After that, hopefully you can step back and watch your hard work and persistence pay off.

I am not cool

I’m not cool. I’m not a hipster. I don’t live in Brooklyn. I’m not hipster enough for Brooklyn. I’m not a lesbian. Lesbians are cool and hipster. They get extra points if they have tattoos and multiple piercings. I don’t have any tattoos (or multiple piercings). I’m not sure what kind of tattoos I’d have if I got any, but I probably wouldn’t get cool ones if I did. I’d probably get a tattoo of a butterfly and then my hipster friends from Brooklyn (I don’t really have any) would tell me that’s SO 1980’s. Yeah, that’s probably what would happen.

An editor friend of mine, (in other words, an editor I befriended by sending them lots of emails and they graciously answer,) recommended I read The Chronology of Water. Another editor friend of mine said it’s a fantastic book and she wants to know what I think of it when I’m done reading it. (I just started reading it.)

After two pages of reading it I have an opinion about me, not the book or the author. I thought, yeah, I’ll never be able to write like this. I’m not just un-cool, I’m so far out of the loop on what is cool it’s a freaking miracle any of my writing has seen the light of day. She starts the book by describing how she delivers a stillborn baby. It’s a fucking memoir. Non-fiction. Yeah well, game over, check and check mate. Mad respect to the author, for sure, and I’ll continue on in my un-coolness.

And then, THEN, an author friend of mine sent me an email telling me about that whole Adrien Brody kerfuffle over at MuuMuu House. So I went and read that thing and I was completely horrified and disgusted by it. I guess now when a 21 year old girl (yes, GIRL) decides to be self-destructive and publish her self-destructive sex-capades for all to read like a car wreck happening in slow motion, we’re all supposed to read it and clap and say how cool it is? Well I’m not. It wasn’t cool and I’m not cool about it. And shame on the 40+ year old pervert asshole who took advantage of the situation. That girl needs adult guidance, role models and help, not publishing.

Maybe this blog post is really about how I can’t keep up anymore. I just started reading The Rumpus, and I’m getting hooked on HTML Giant and I regularly read PANK, Word Riot, Wigleaf, Dogzplot, and many other talented writers – and editor-writers too – and I’m running out of time and room in my brain for what’s cool. All these things I’m mentioning are cool, I know they’re cool and THEY know they’re cool.

How does a writer without an MFA and without connections to Brooklyn or Berkeley or any other cool place get known? (Am I worthy of being known…yet? I keep asking people to read my stories, so clearly I’d like to be known.)

And since we’re being honest, I don’t even really know who is cool. I know who I think is cool but even that is my own limited knowledge based on where I’ve been stumbling around on the internet to do my reading. I know what I LIKE and I know what I RESPECT – but is that good enough? I wish I knew the answer to that question, but as I’ve already said, I’m not cool. I don’t know the answer.

I want to hang out with the cool kids, and be in their company, but I think they might think I’m a poser. A wanna be.

I feel like a poser when I look at my stories and their stories. I don’t want to write what they write, I want to write what I write – just better.

I want to be good enough to write the stuff people say…wow, did you read that? That was cool.