My Words Have Been Published!

As a self-publisher in an age where anyone can be an author with a mouse click, perhaps this news is a bit old-fashioned. However, I started this year with a new goal of shopping stories to more traditional outlets. Places where the dreaded gatekeepers decide if you are indeed worthy.

And I have another success to report! To get straight to reading my story, “If Alpha Then Omega”, go here.

I only found Sci Phi Journal this year. They’re a speculative fiction publisher with a heavy tilt toward idea-driven (not character-driven) stories. Described as “the cosmic intersection between speculative philosophy, cultural anthropology and hard SF,” I couldn’t resist their intriguing themes and unique mission.

I mean, seriously, what else am I to do with my philosophy degree?

A match made in a theoretical and exhaustively-argued metaphysical paradise, I was stunned when they accepted my story for their Summer 2021 issue devoted to “xeno-anthropology and the ends of the universe.” I learned of this good fortune several months ago and have been dying to share.

And I’ll also mention, this isn’t the story acceptance I teased on my Facebook page!

Yep, you heard that right. Somebody else bought more of my strange tales. More on that later this year.

I set out in 2021 to write and submit a story every week. Ambitious. Likely a little crazy, really. I did it anyway.

As you can tell by the picture, I’ve had a few distractions. Our nomadic life has taken us to the fog drenched but inspiring Oregon coast where I’ve started a gig with the Forest Service. The extra time spent outdoors has been great for the soul but a drag on my writing productivity.

So far this year, I’ve penned and submitted 15 brand new stories and revised and submitted 3 more. Two of those, the revisions were extensive, but I felt they had good bones and were worthy of a second chance.

Of those 18 I’ve had 4 acceptances so far, two non-fiction and two fiction. And while that sounds dire to the uninitiated, that’s a decent rate for the semi-pro and pro markets I’ve been subbing to. And the best news? 9 of those are still in the submissions queues yet to be rejected.

I don’t want to bore you with the numbers (though it’s too late I suppose). However, after self-publishing for so long, I started to feel a certain devaluing of my art. Sure, monetarily it became a race to the bottom as one corporation in particular absorbed the self-pub scene and effectively began controlling prices. But with the constant churn of “content” out there, I also started to see how many genuinely talented writers were being drowned out by the signal-to-noise ratio.

While I’ve pursued these more traditional venues, I’ve also been reading their publications. With so much great material available, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.

My friend, Annie Neugebauer has written a masterful, compelling tale with, “If Those Ragged Feet Won’t Run,” out in Apex Magazine. It’s one of those edge-of-the-seat stories which is so hard to sustain. When I’ve tried to write those, they get stale quick. She manages to take every second of a harrowing event and keep a palpable urgency from the first word to the very last.

How can I tell if a story is any good? It sticks with me. I find myself thinking about it weeks after I’ve read it. M.L. Krishnan accomplished that with her story, “Bride, Knife, Flaming Horse,” in Apparition Lit. I love stories that make real, seemingly mundane things into something truly magical. Online dating makes a fertile topic for any kind of story, but when the personal is paired with the mystical, beautiful things happen. Truly worth a read or two.

Then there was a gut-wrenching experience I had while perusing Curiosities latest issue. Brimming with great tales, I found myself enraptured with the final entry, Paul R Hardy’s “Twilight of the Electric Shadows.” An inventive and touching piece about forgotten film characters and the lives they led, when I found out at the end the story had been published In Memoriam, it only resonated more.

A touching reminder of how we live on in our work. Of how many voices out there that can speak to you and how important this craft is to writers and readers alike.

I’ll have more news to share soon. Otherwise, the world is full of interesting voices waiting for an audience. I realize sorting through all the content is tough, but I appreciate that you’ve decided to stick around here.

Sincerely,

Russ

Thanks again for reading. But are your eyeholes tired? Remember, my robotic assistant is always available to tickle your earholes with a yarn or two… Check out my podcast!

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